If you suffer with the symptoms related to arthritis, you might be researching the benefits of using a red light therapy as we speak! Ancient healers knew that exposure to the sun helps treat a variety of ailments from anxiety and sleep disorders to infections and skin rashes.
Light therapy manufacturers now offer a wide range of handheld, wearable and hands free devices for self care use at home or your office. They claim to harness the same healing effects known to be gained from exposure to sunlight and there is a long history of research treating a variety of health conditions.
These devices house light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and are used to simulate specific wavelengths of visible light shades like red, amber and blue or non visible infrared light ranges. Each light type has its own range benefits, some overlapping and do not contain the known to be harmful UV wavelengths.
The question we will answer in this article is – Can light be used effectively for the treatment of some or all types of arthritis?
Who Suffers From Arthritis?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) arthritis is defined as inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually includes joint pain and stiffness. In the United States,
- 24% of all adults, or 58.5 million people, have arthritis.
- leading cause of work disability with the most common form of arthritis being osteoarthritis.
- other forms include gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Being inactive or even being overactive can lead to weakened joints and surrounding muscles and can progress into arthritis so appropriate daily activity and recovery time is important for both prevention and managing this condition.
For those that struggle with traditional activity, considering other ways to get moving that offer less impact such as vibration plates can help improve symptoms and in combination with light therapy you may be able to find relief sooner while improving your health overall whatever your ideal may be.
General symptoms of arthritis are things like pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can affect multiple organs and cause other widespread symptoms. Severity can change from day to day making do it yourself therapies even more essential and desirable. You can use your red light therapy when symptoms present, when you need to get some relief right now - instead of having to travel to a clinic or center for relief. Owning your own self care tools makes consistent use more possible and with substantially less overall investment.
How Light Therapy Treats Arthritis Symptoms
The FDA has cleared light therapy for use to relieve pain associated with arthritis. Non-invasive red light therapy works by boosting our mitochondria - raising cellular energy, increasing cell function, and accelerating healing.
Exposure to sunlight boosts our serotonin levels which helps improve sleep and strengthens our immune system. Modern light therapies employ specific healing wavelengths within the sun’s light spectrum.
There is what’s referred to as the “therapeutic window,” where these changes to our cellular activity can offer many positive health effects like pain relief from your arthritis and other chronic symptoms. Today’s clinical treatments and do it yourself light therapies are equipped with low energy light-emitting diodes (LEDs) exposing you to red or near-infrared (NIR) light. Red light ranges from 620 to 750 nm and near-infrared 800 to 2,500 nm.
The healing effect of light therapy has long been known in scientific communities. It’s been 30 years since researchers evaluated the effects of low-power light therapy on pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee (1). Notably pain reduction after the treatment was more than 50% with significant functional improvement in the red and infrared groups.
What Kind of Red Light Therapy is Best for Arthritis?
Selecting a light therapy device best suited for your needs will depend on what area you are wanting to treat and if you have other intended applications in mind. If you are treating a chronic symptom, something specifically designed to target that would be your initial consideration. For more general use a device designed for treating larger areas might be more encompassing.
Red light therapy is more associated with skin surface conditions whereas near-infrared goes deeper, below the skin surface and is more suited for joint aches and pain.
Infrared saunas are always a popular choice and have been for decades! Those seeking weight loss and recovery benefits take advantage of the sweat factor for increased detoxification aspects which can also contribute to pain relief. Lifestyle friendly designs are making them more accessible and affordable than ever before. Lifepro has recently launched several laydown/wrap sauna styles that are a fraction of the price of a traditional box saunas, and you don’t have to commit to a lot of space or electricity costs either.
From full sized light panels right down to pocket sized tools, light therapies are in demand and making everyday life much more manageable for many suffering with the symptoms of arthritis and other painful conditions. Consider something that offers both red light therapy and infrared if wanting to treat both skin and below the surface. Use different self care tools for different applications or combine them! Many of Lifepro’s therapies can be used at the same time to get that needed pain relief faster!
Get Your Joints Moving Again with Red Light!
Whether you are just wanting to move and feel better or a compliment to enhance current training, light therapy products can offer the pain relief you are looking for and over time help reduce symptoms possibly even eliminate with regular use. Be consistent! Just because your arthritis pain or swelling has improved, don’t stop using your device.
Many of our members find they can keep those aches and pains away and don’t need to use their light therapies tools as often or for as long. Once the body becomes accustomed to light therapy, it may require less time or frequency. If you stop using, you may find symptoms slowly begin to return as our lifestyle and activities tend to say the same. Consistency is key with most things in life to achieve long term results.
(1) Stelian J, Gil I, Habot B, Rosenthal M, Abramovici I, Kutok N, Khahil A. Improvement of pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee treated with narrow-band light therapy. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Jan;40(1):23-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1992.tb01824.x. PMID: 1727843.