Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, uses concentrated levels of light to treat many ailments in different parts of the body. For instance, skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema are known to be effectively treated by light therapy. It’s also commonly used to improve mood and sleep disorders, cancers, and even jaundice in babies. While most treatments involve exposing the patient to natural or artificial light sources, others require medications to enhance the effectiveness of the therapy.
There are many great posts to read online that provide more information about this treatment. If you’d like a quick guide, here are some types of light therapy and how they’re used in treating different conditions:
1. Red Light Therapy
In red light therapy, a particular wavelength of red light is used to trigger biochemical effects on cells within the human body which significantly affects the skin and the internal organs such as blood vessels and hair follicles.
Here are some benefits of red-light therapy:
• Repair sun damage on the skin
• Helps defy signs of skin aging like wrinkles, discoloration, etc.
• Aids detoxification and minimizes inflammation
• Can be used to treat various skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and cold sores as well as improve the appearance of stretch marks and scars
• Stimulates hair growth to fight baldness
• Minimizes skin pores
Apart from its cosmetic use, Australian occupational therapy clinic Apricus Health notes that red-light therapy is also known to treat many kinds of chronic pain as it can provide targeted pain relief.
2. Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy is commonly used to treat acne and other skin ailments caused by bacteria. As such, it’s commonly performed in dermatological clinics. While it does not claim to clear up acne on the skin, it’s known to positively impact the health of the skin overall. Apart from being non-invasive and pain-free, blue light therapy also doesn’t require any recovery time and is proven to be gentle and safe for many skin types.
Apart from skin treatment, it can also help alleviate symptoms of mood and sleep disorders and some types of skin cancer. However, doctors warn against using blue light therapy if you have porphyria which enhances light sensitivity.
3. Infrared Light Therapy
This treatment uses infrared radiation sourced from heat lamps to increase metabolic and circulatory functions which are useful in providing muscle pain relief. Apart from this, infrared therapy is also used to reduce body fat by breaking down fat cells with heat. It’s also believed to aid with sleep problems, stress, and fatigue. Like other variants, this type of light therapy is also a painless and non-invasive procedure.
4. UV Light Therapy
Different wavelengths of UV light are used to treat serious skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo. Since UV light can effectively eliminate bacteria and fungi, it’s also used to clear white and blackheads, acne, and other skin blemishes. Apart from these, UV light is also believed to treat jaundice for newborns, as well as improve blood circulation and the immune system.
5. SAD Light Therapy
In seasons when sunlight is scarce, some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This condition can make people feel lethargic and depressed. To counter its effects, some resort to receiving full-spectrum therapy which mimics natural sunlight. During the therapy, patients are instructed to stay in front of a lightbox for 30 minutes to maximize their light exposure. When exposed to bright lights, people can maintain healthy levels of serotonin and melatonin which are needed to regulate mood and energy levels.
Some of the benefits attributed to the use of full spectrum light therapy include enhanced color perception and mental awareness as well as improved mood and productivity. Compared to taking synthetic drugs, many believe that this light therapy is more effective and safer as there are no reported side effects after treatment.
Light therapy has increased in popularity across the globe and has been proven safe for use by experts. However, it may be important to note that these treatments should only be carried out by accredited specialists. Apart from this, it’s also advisable to receive light therapy in government-certified clinics that follow safety regulations and standards in your area. Also, though it’s also considered safe for patients of all ages, it may be helpful to consult your physician first before receiving any treatment.
Moreover, while it’s generally proven to pose no significant health risks, artificial light therapy also has side effects which include headache, nausea, and eyestrain. However, these side effects are usually mild and are quick to fade away after a few days. As such, it may be wise to consider these before receiving any form of light therapy so you can be prepared should you experience them.