Red Light Therapy for Improving Your Mental Health
2020 has been a tough year in nearly every aspect, but especially in terms of mental health. Between COVID-19 and the stresses of everyday life, life is much more mentally difficult now than at almost any time in recent history. Fortunately, advances in medical technology, such as red light therapy, can help improve mental health.
Rise in Mental Health Struggles in 2020
Mental health issues during 2020 are real. A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that nearly 8 out of 10 people said the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives. An astonishing 60% said that they felt overwhelmed by the number of issues facing the nation. These mental health issues affect overall health too, with most of the respondents reporting feelings of tiredness, restlessness, loneliness, and unhappiness, along with difficulty thinking or concentrating.
Dealing with the stress and the effects it has on our mental health is difficult, particularly when isolation and changes in schedule associated with the pandemic are factored in. The good news is that you can improve your mental health, optimize wellness and self care, and manage sleep irregularities in ways that let you reset and recharge yourself for 2021. You can practice mindfulness, for example, which means you focus on living in the moment without interpretation or judgment. Mindfulness can help you manage depression, anxiety, depression, stress, and even addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A Deeper Look Into How Red Light Therapy Can Help Improve Your Mental Health
Red light therapy can impart beneficial effects on the brain by stimulating the mitochondria, which are the part of the body’s cells that produce energy. Simulating the mitochondria with concentrated red and near-infrared light provides an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body and increases circulation. Red light therapy also supports metabolic activity to optimize the chemical reactions occurring within your brain cells and the rest of your body. When applied to your brain, red light therapy can enhance metabolic capacity to improve the brain cells’ ability to take in oxygen. The therapy can also boost antioxidant response to the free radicals that can damage your brain cells.
Red light penetrates deeper into the skin than other kinds of light, and this deep penetration makes it easier for cells inside the body to absorb the light. Scientists also refer to red light therapy as photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) because of the way red light influences the function of body cells. To harness the power of red light and direct PBMT to specific parts of the body, health professionals have created red light beds and targeted deep tissue laser therapy systems.
The effects of red light therapy can improve physical health problems, but it can also address mental health issues, such as depression. Furthermore, PBMT can support healthy cognitive function to help you think more clearly. Feeling better and thinking more clearly is a great start to improving your mental health.
Improve Sleep & Mood
Red light therapy can also boost your mental health by helping you sleep better and improve mood. This type of therapy can stimulate the hypothalamus, which is the part of your brain responsible for the circadian rhythm that tells you when it is time to go to sleep and wake up. Bright light, like that found in sunlight and bright light boxes, help the brain feel more awake. When it is dark, your hypothalamus produces melatonin, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Red light, like that used in red light therapy, tells your hypothalamus to produce melatonin to help you fall asleep.
Achieve Full Body Wellness
The cumulative effects of red light therapy can reduce inflammation, sleeplessness, and depression. PBMT can also promote circulation, metabolic activity, metabolic capacity, and cognitive function that can help you achieve full body wellness. The state of wellness is more than just the absence of illness—it is an interconnection between the different aspects of our physical, emotional and mental states. Red light therapy helps strengthen the bonds between these states; it also creates an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and relaxation.
A Part of Self Care
PBMT can also help you nurture self care habits to improve your mental health during these difficult times. Self-care is a set of practices that preserve or improve your health. Self care practices include eating a nutritious diet, exercising daily, getting enough sleep, going outside for a breath of fresh air and change of scenery, and interacting with others in a safe, healthy manner.
While 2020 has been a difficult time for nearly everyone, self care and the advanced technology of red light therapy can help you get through for a happier and healthier 2021. For more information on the benefits of red light therapy for improving mental health, contact a nearby provider who offers TheraLight Full Body Photobiomodulation light bed services.