Are Red Light Therapy Results Permanent?
Red light therapy can address various health and wellness concerns, including wounds, scars, pain and inflammation, overuse injuries, and even wrinkles. If you are like many people who already undergo red light therapy – or are thinking about having this non-invasive treatment – you might wonder if the results are permanent. The answer is that it depends on several factors.
To understand when and why the results of red light therapy may be permanent, it helps to review how this treatment works. Red light therapy is a photobiomodulation therapy that uses light energy to stimulate beneficial changes in the body. A light therapy device emits specific wavelengths of light that the body readily absorbs. Once inside the body, the light boosts cellular energy to help the treated cells heal.
Stimulating energy production helps the treated cells and tissue function better at whatever job they perform. For example, collagen and elastin are tissues that provide structure and elasticity to the skin. Boosting collagen and elastin production with red light therapy can smooth and firm to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles from sun-damaged skin. Stimulating muscle cells with red light therapy can help warm up muscles before a workout and can help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after exercise or sports. Red light therapy can also speed healing and address chronic inflammation caused by oxidative stress.
The Results of Red Light Therapy Are Permanent for Some Conditions, Temporary in Others
While red light therapy can provide meaningful improvements in a wide variety of conditions, the results for photobiomodulation for some conditions are not always permanent. In some cases, you will need to undergo repeat treatments to maintain the health benefits of red light therapy simply because of how the body works. For example, your body replaces your skin every 40 to 56 days, so you may need to repeat red light therapy to keep lines and wrinkles away.
Permanent Results from RLT
Red light therapy can provide permanent results for some conditions. The results may be permanent when you use red light therapy to speed up wound healing. The treatment accelerates healing by reducing inflammation, increasing tissue formation, aiding in the development of new blood vessels, and stimulating the increase in the fibroblast cells that support tissue repair. As a result of these processes, the wound heals quickly and permanently.
Red light therapy can also permanently reduce the appearance of scar tissue. Photobiomodulation stimulates the production of high-functioning skin cells that gradually replace the abnormal cells that makeup scar tissue. Once the new cells replace the abnormal cells at the wound site, the scar tissue disappears permanently.
The results of red light therapy are also permanent when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation that often accompany an injury. Once the treatment improves blood flow, the cells get the oxygen and nutrients they need to heal quickly.
Temporary Results from RLT
Some conditions require additional follow-up treatments, though. Overuse injuries caused by repeated movements may require long-term treatment with red light therapy, especially if you continue to engage in the activities that caused the overuse injury in the first place. Overuse injuries, also known as repetitive strain injuries, affect the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons to cause tenderness, stiffness, or tingling in the affected area. Examples of overuse injuries include jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis), shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and tennis elbow.
Chronic conditions such as arthritis may require long-term treatment with red light therapy. Arthritis is a group of conditions that causes swelling and tenderness of the joints, resulting in pain and stiffness when you move the affected joint. Red light therapy reduces swelling and tenderness in ways that help improve the symptoms of arthritis. Unfortunately, arthritis is a chronic, progressive condition, which means it gets worse over time. Because there is no cure for arthritis, you will need to repeat the red light therapy treatments to maintain the results.
You may also need to continue red light therapy treatments to maintain your weight loss results. Red light therapy improves metabolic rate, which is the efficiency at which your cells burn sugar for energy. When added to a low-calorie diet and exercise plan, red light therapy can help your body burn fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite. The metabolism-boosting effects of red light therapy are temporary, so you’ll need to repeat treatments to keep your metabolism revved up.
No matter what condition you hope to resolve with red light therapy, the results of all red light therapy treatments are more dramatic and noticeable once you have finished your treatments. Depending on the condition you are treating, you can expect to undergo 10- to 20-minute red light therapy sessions three to five times a week for a month or longer.
For more information on red light therapy and how long you can expect the results of this treatment to last, consult with your healthcare team, trainer, or other red light therapy provider.