Arthritis is commonly associated with the elderly but it is, in fact, the leading cause of disability among people of different ages and genders. The main symptom of arthritis is inflammation of body joints. Light therapy has been touted as an effective treatment for arthritis. But, does it work?
History of Red/Infrared Light Therapy for Arthritis
Since the late 1980s, physicians have used red and infrared light to treat arthritis. At the start of the millennium, there was enough empirical evidence showing that light therapy could be used to effectively treat all types of arthritis.To date, numerous studies have been conducted to determine the types of joints that are prone to arthritis and that can be effectively treated using light therapy.
Presently, light therapy is widely accepted as an effective treatment for arthritic pain and as a preventative measure against joint inflammation diseases.
Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis usually occurs as a result of prolonged inflammation of one or more joints. It is also possible for a joint to suddenly become inflamed as a result of an injury to any part of the body. When the body is unable to rejuvenate stressed joints, arthritis may develop.
Other common causes of arthritis include:
- The body’s inability to convert carbohydrates or glucose into energy. Deficiency in glucose metabolism has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Clinical hypothyroidism, which often occurs at the onset of arthritis.
- Hormonal dynamics:
• Women are three times more prone to rheumatoid arthritis than men and this condition is more difficult to cure in women too.
• Pregnancy has been shown to alleviate symptoms of arthritis in some women.
• The presence or absence of adrenal hormones has been associated with arthritis.
- Nutrient deficiencies and in particular calcium deficiency has been linked to all types of arthritis.
- Liver health has a strong correlation with increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Admittedly, different types of arthritis are caused by different factors and there is a lack of unanimity over the main cause of this disease. However, it is agreeable that a reduction in energy production has a major effect on the body’s overall functioning, resulting in inflammation of joints.
Infrared/red light therapy activates the production of ATP, a natural energy element produced by cellular metabolism. Conventional treatment of arthritis involves the artificial administration of ATP in the early stages of arthritis.
What is Light Therapy for Arthritis?
Light therapy generally helps to alleviate all types of pain and fastens the healing process on any part of the body.
Arthritis is primarily characterized by intense pain, which worsens as the condition progresses. Red or infrared light, directed toward the affected joint, can help ease the pain, with patients seeing results almost immediately.
Clinical studies show that light therapy can reduce pain on all parts of the body including knees, fingers, wrist, hands, elbows, back, shoulders, jaws, and legs.
Knees are the most commonly affected joints. People with knee arthritis are more prone to disability but studies show that light therapy can effectively eliminate pain and heal inflamed knee joints entirely.
Due to their small size, fingers, hands, wrists, and toes are the easiest to treat and often require minimal doses of red light to eliminate pain.
There are two common types of arthritis—rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Treatment of osteoarthritis typically entails direct exposure of the affected area to light while rheumatoid treatment involves either directing light to the inflamed joints or to the blood in the affected area.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. This means that while the joints are outwardly inflamed, the main problem is the immune cells, thus the need to expose these blood cells to light. Studies have shown that red and infrared light is effective in treating autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism.
How Red and Infrared Wavelengths of Light Work
When exposed to an affected area, red and infrared light in the 600nm and 1000nm wavelength range is absorbed by the body's cells and this boosts production of ATP through a process known as photobiomodulation.Researchers have proven that red and infrared light boosts energy production. It has also been shown that this type of light can easily penetrate and get absorbed into the body.
Several theories explain how exactly red and infrared light works to increase energy production at the molecular level.
a) Scientists argue that light therapy causes cells to release Nitric oxide (NO); this might be beneficial because:
- NO causes molecular stress so its elimination from the cells is helpful as it allows oxygen production and respiration.
- Harmful oxygen species are released.
- It allows vasodilation, which can help alleviate inflammation of joints.
b) Light therapy increases the distance between water molecules, which means organisms, including proteins and enzymes, are able to work with less resistance, therefore, improving the overall functioning of the cell.
While cellular functions in the body are not fully understood yet, it is clear that exposure to light therapy boosts the performance of cells, including those found in joints.
Making the Most of Light Therapy for Arthritis
When using LED devices for arthritis, it is important to consider the device’s wavelengths and strength of the light.
It is advisable to choose a device with wavelengths in the range of 800 and 900nmm, not more and not less, to ensure deep tissue penetration. Ideally, 820nm offers optimal light penetration to the affected joints.
When it comes to the strength of light, the ideal power density is 50mW/cm² projected across an area of a few cm².
Bottom line: Look out for an LED device with wavelengths in the 800-850nm range and with a power intensity of not less than 50mW/cm².
Best Way to Use an LED Light Device for Arthritis
For best results with your light device, direct it close to the affected joint. For smaller areas such as hands and toes, pain relief can be experienced immediately.
For severe arthritis, especially affecting larger joint areas, long-term use is required for significant results.
Studies show that rheumatoid arthritis is best treated by directing the light device over a vein.
The same treatment method would be effective for other types of arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis.For osteoarthritis, focusing the device directly on the arthritic joint would help to alleviate pain.
How to Choose a Device for Arthritis Light Therapy
For many arthritic patients, debilitating pain can make heading out to the clinic really difficult. Clinics usually use laser devices and while these are effective, they are typically too expensive to purchase for home use.
Buying an LED device is a more convenient and affordable option. It has been scientifically proven that LEDs are just as effective as laser devices for the treatment of arthritis.
Red light has wavelengths in the range of 600-700nm while infrared light wavelengths range between 700-100nmn. Researchers have found that wavelengths higher than 800nm penetrate deeper into the bone, making infrared light devices the best option for the treatment of arthritis.
Red light devices are particularly useful for the treatment of hand and feet arthritis but inflammation of larger joints such as knees and shoulders needs to be treated using infrared light devices.
Our recommended Light Therapy Devices for Arthritis:
Tendlite is a leading light therapy device that has been found to heal joint inflammation up to 60 percent faster.The treatment process is non-invasive—just focus the device on the arthritic joints for about one minute on each area. With this device, you will need to spend more time treating each affected area to see significant results.
Tendelite in very effective as it is within the recommended wavelength range of 800-900nm. It also comes with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
Light therapy has been scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for all types of arthritis. Light therapy, especially with the use of infrared light, helps to boost energy production, which aids in alleviating inflammation in joints. Arthritic patients are advised to use LED devices in the 820nm range for best results in healing arthritic pain. Ideally, you should focus your device on the affected area for about 2 to 20 minutes for smaller joints and larger joints respectively.
Does light therapy work on arthritis? ›
Conclusions: Low-power light therapy is effective in relieving pain and disability in degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee.Does light therapy work for joints? ›
Red light therapy has been proven to reduce joint pain and improve range of motion by reducing inflammation and stimulating healing within the joint, especially the knee joint.Is a sun lamp good for arthritis? ›
Infrared Light May Be Useful in Controlling RA Symptoms
“Low level laser therapy is very effective symptomatic care, but it is not a curative. However, it does not involve injections, medication, or narcotics and is not painful, and is good at decreasing pain, inflammation, and swelling,” he says.
Natural light therapy & inflammation treatment: Red light therapy alleviates chronic inflammation by increasing blood flow to the damaged tissues, and it's been found in numerous clinical trials to increase the body's antioxidant defenses.How often should you do light therapy? ›
You may need a treatment each week for about a month. Then you might need maintenance treatments every month or every few months. Some at-home devices may also require a substantial time commitment. You might need to use your device twice a day for 30 to 60 minutes for four to five weeks.How long does it take light therapy to work? ›
Response usually starts in a few days, and by two weeks the symptoms should be definitely improving. Most people need to continue light therapy throughout the winter until the springtime.Can I do red light therapy at home? ›
Is Red Light Therapy At Home Effective? Infrared Light Therapy at home is just as effective as going to a salon or spa which has a Red Light Therapy Panel. The beauty of LED Light Therapy is that it is a non-invasive skin procedure. This means the treatment is painless and super easy to do at home.Is red light therapy good for hip pain? ›
Laser therapy uses red light to relieve pain, increase blood flow and allowing the body to reduce inflammation. The infrared light is used to accelerate the healing process, stimulating on a cellular level.What does red light therapy do? ›
What is red light therapy? Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that uses low wavelength red light to reportedly improve your skin's appearance, such as reducing wrinkles, scars, redness and acne. It's also touted to treat other medical conditions.Can you overdo LED light therapy? ›
What Are the Risks? Red light therapy is generally considered safe, even though researchers aren't exactly sure how and why it works. And there are no set rules on how much light to use. Too much light may damage skin tissue, but too little might not work as well.
Does light therapy work for inflammation? ›
Research in the journal Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia highlights the fact that light therapy may help wound healing in a few ways, such as by: reducing inflammation in the cells. stimulating new blood vessels to form, which doctors call angiogenesis. increasing helpful fibroblasts in the skin.How often should I use LED light therapy at-home? ›
You'll need to go back once a week for up to 10 weeks, then only once every few months. At-home LED devices can be used at your convenience without having to go to any appointments. The downside is that the results may not be as dramatic.Is there any new treatments for arthritis? ›
These include anakinra and canakinumab, which block IL-1, another immune system protein involved in inflammation. IL-17 inhibitors and IL-12/23 inhibitors. These drugs are useful in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. They include secukinumab, ixekizumab, and ustekinumab.Which is better red light or infrared light? ›
If you want to treat skin conditions on the surface, Red light LED session is focused and effective. If there is toxicity in the body or stronger metabolic effects are desired, an Infrared session may be the better choice.Can red light therapy help with knee pain? ›
A study from 2014 found that combined red and near infrared light therapy was effective in reducing knee pain, while improving the quality of life in patients with knee injuries.Can I use light therapy all day? ›
Patients can read or have breakfast as they use the light. It is important that light therapy be used consistently on a day-to-day basis including weekends. Light therapy differs from standard antidepressant medication in having a more rapid therapeutic effect, usually within the first several days of treatment.How do you do light therapy at home? ›
- Get the right light. Your light box should have a 10,000 lux exposure. ...
- Avoid staring at the light. Keep the box just off to the side and about a foot away.
- Take your time. You should absorb light from your lamp for about a half hour a day. ...
- Start in the morning.
Red light therapy can treat rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other chronic skin conditions. The treatment can also reduce the appearance of skin wounds, stretch marks, and mild scars. Sessions should last 10 to 20 minutes, occur three to five times a week, and continue for one to four months.How long should you sit in front of a light therapy lamp? ›
Light therapy requires individuals to sit in front of the lamp (about 14 to 24 inches away from your face) daily for 20 to 30 minutes. Researchers recommend to not go over 30 minutes a day. The light therapy causes a chemical change in the brain to produce less melatonin and more serotonin to help improve your mood.Can you use light therapy twice a day? ›
Treatment sessions can last from 15 minutes to three hours, once or twice a day, depending on individual needs and equipment used.
In what conditions is light therapy effective? ›
Light therapy boxes can offer an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Features such as light intensity, safety, cost and style are important considerations. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically occurs each year during fall and winter.How long does red light therapy take to see results? ›
How long does it take to see results when doing red light therapy? Every individual may respond differently to specific treatments and results will also depend on the goal you want to achieve. However, with daily use, you should be able to see improvements in 4 to 6 weeks.Do you need goggles for red light therapy? ›
A: It is not required that you wear eye protection, nevertheless the lights are very bright and may be uncomfortable for some individuals with sensitivities to light. Q: Is Red Light Therapy similar to tanning? A: No not at all. You will not get a tan from Red Light Therapy, nor does it expose you to damaging UV rays.What does red light do to the brain? ›
The Benefits of Red Light for Your Brain
Research on red light therapy and brain health shows that natural light improves reaction time, attention, memory, and executive function. Some of the benefits that show the most potential are as follows: Improved cognitive function. Improved recovery from stroke.
It may help with conditions such as muscle strain, dental problems, aging skin, and cognitive decline. Red light therapy should not cause pain or burn your skin. If you experience any irritation, please discontinue use and consult a healthcare provider.Is red light therapy worth it? ›
Yes, it may very well be an effective treatment for hair regrowth. “There is actually over a decade worth of research using red light—oftentimes LEDs, sometimes lasers—to promote hair growth,” says Dr. Jagdeo.Does red light therapy reduce wrinkles? ›
Red Light Therapy and its Anti-Aging Results
Because of these, red light has the power to smooth overall skin tone; reduce fine lines and wrinkles; repair sun-damaged skin; lighten and fade stretch marks and scars; hasten the skin's capacity to heal blemishes; and diminish flushing, redness and broken capillaries.
Blue light therapy is most commonly used to treat sun damage and premalignant or malignant skin cancer growths. It can actually be used to prevent skin cancer and remove both precancerous skin lesions and cancerous skin lesions that haven't spread to other areas of the body (or metastasized).What serum do you use with LED light therapy? ›
Using an anti-aging cream or serum following your PBMT session may speed up results. For best results, choose products that contain peptides, retinol, vitamin C, or argan oil.Can I use red light therapy everyday? ›
Can you do red light therapy everyday? The answer is yes. As long as you are following the manufacturers instructions, you can use red light therapy everyday. If you have chronic pain, it's recommended to start a daily routine with using red light therapy.
Can I use light therapy mask everyday? ›
Red light therapy is one skincare treatment that responds well to multiple daily uses and using it more than once a day may bring you faster results. A red light therapy device does not harm the surface of your skin or the underlying tissue.Does blue light therapy reduce inflammation? ›
Conclusions: This study showed that narrow-band blue light has anti-inflammatory effects on keratinocytes by decreasing the cytokine-induced production of IL-1alpha and ICAM-1. In addition, blue light demonstrated synergistic effects with low-dose UVB light.Do LED lights help with pain? ›
The investigators have shown green and blue Light emitting diode, (LED) light produced antinociception (analgesia) and reversed neuropathic pain associated with several models of chronic pain.What does purple light therapy do? ›
Purple LED is a combination of red and blue wavelengths, offering dual benefits of both skin clearing (blue) and anti-ageing (red). Purple is also beneficial for cellular oxygenation and regeneration to promote enhanced skin fitness and vitality. Yellow LED is used as a restorative therapy for sun damaged complexions.How do you prepare for LED light therapy? ›
Preparing for LED Light Therapy? You should prepare your skin for the treatment by performing your regular skincare routine. Remove all the dirt and excess oil from your face using a cleanser, and then rehydrate with a toner. There is no need for any extra preparation.What does the yellow LED light do? ›
Yellow Light Therapy is used to increase wound healing, collagen induction, skin hydration and the overall health of the skin.Is there any new treatments for arthritis? ›
These include anakinra and canakinumab, which block IL-1, another immune system protein involved in inflammation. IL-17 inhibitors and IL-12/23 inhibitors. These drugs are useful in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. They include secukinumab, ixekizumab, and ustekinumab.How long does it take for red light therapy to work? ›
Trophy Skin's RejuvaliteMD Red Light Therapy at-home red light therapy device is FDA-approved to treat full facial wrinkles. You can use it a minimum of 5 minutes, a few times per week (5 days a week is ideal, if daily treatment is impossible), for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks to see results.What is the difference between red light therapy and infrared light therapy? ›
Red light is visible and is most effective for use on the surface of the skin. Red light occupies the “long end” of the visible spectrum with wavelengths of 630nm-700nm. Infrared light is invisible and is effective for use on the surface of the skin as well as penetration of about 1.5 inches into the body.Does infrared light help with inflammation? ›
Photobiomodulation (PBM) also known as low-level level laser therapy is the use of red and near-infrared light to stimulate healing, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation.
What's the best painkiller for arthritis? ›
NSAIDs are the most effective oral medicines for OA. They include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) naproxen (Aleve) and diclofenac (Voltaren, others). All work by blocking enzymes that cause pain and swelling. The problem is that some of those enzymes also help blood to clot and protect the lining of your stomach.Is it good to massage arthritic joints? ›
Massage should make your arthritis pain and stiffness feel better, not worse, says Veena Ranganath, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Medicine.What do most doctors prescribe for arthritis? ›
- NSAIDs . Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. ...
- Counterirritants. ...
- Steroids. ...
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
Clients are also encouraged by the fact that red light therapy is safe – because it does not harm the skin or the underlying tissue, there is virtually no risk of overdoing it. What's more, the drug-free treatment rarely has any side effects.Do you have to wear goggles with red light therapy? ›
A: It is not required that you wear eye protection, nevertheless the lights are very bright and may be uncomfortable for some individuals with sensitivities to light. Q: Is Red Light Therapy similar to tanning? A: No not at all. You will not get a tan from Red Light Therapy, nor does it expose you to damaging UV rays.Can red light therapy reduce belly fat? ›
It's a type of body sculpting that may help you get rid of stubborn fat. Most research shows that red light therapy removes some fat from your waist and arms, but results are modest at best. Furthermore, it's very costly, and it's unknown how long the results will last.Is infrared heat good for arthritis? ›
One of the most effective treatment methods for osteoarthritis is heat, and this is exactly why Far Infrared Sauna Therapy (F.I.R.S.T.) is one of the best ways to help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.Is red light therapy just a red light? ›
Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that uses low wavelength red light to reportedly improve your skin's appearance, such as reducing wrinkles, scars, redness and acne. It's also touted to treat other medical conditions.Is red light therapy worth it? ›
Yes, it may very well be an effective treatment for hair regrowth. “There is actually over a decade worth of research using red light—oftentimes LEDs, sometimes lasers—to promote hair growth,” says Dr. Jagdeo.What LED light is good for inflammation? ›
Red LED light is also thought to reduce inflammation while improving circulation, which can give you a healthier glow.
Can I do red light therapy at home? ›
Is Red Light Therapy At Home Effective? Infrared Light Therapy at home is just as effective as going to a salon or spa which has a Red Light Therapy Panel. The beauty of LED Light Therapy is that it is a non-invasive skin procedure. This means the treatment is painless and super easy to do at home.Does red light help with pain? ›
One of the biggest advantages of RLT is that it can be used on specific parts of the body. Oral pain medication, on the other hand, works on pain chemicals and nerve endings all over the body. “Red light treatment delivers focused pain relief,” says Michael Newman, MD, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California.