As mood disorders like depression and anxiety are on the rise, the need for healthy coping mechanisms rises with it. Daniel F. Kripke, M.D, professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, theorizes that light therapy may remedy feelings of depression and anxiety, especially in those who experience it seasonally.
Phototherapy has the ability to mimic light that is necessary for a positive mood, Dr. Kripke explains. As it is seen in nature, mammals tend to be lethargic in the winter and aggressive in the summer due to differences in available heat and light. In addition, People with anxiety and depression tend to have improper circadian rhythms and light therapy may help to correct that.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red Light Therapy is a type of phototherapy or low-level laser therapy (LLLT) that emits warm light at a safe wavelength for the body to absorb on a cellular level. In this process, there is no tanning or burning of the skin as the light does not contain UV rays.
How does Red Light Therapy work?
Red Light Therapy uses an all-natural, therapeutic red light to power your cells and promote energy and healing. It does so in two main ways:
Increased ATP: Red light therapy helps to increase our bodies levels of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. ATP is necessary for energy production and is sometimes referred to as the “energy currency of life.”
Cell signaling: Different light wavelengths have different effects on the body. We know that UV rays have damaging effects because they are very strong but red light has a much lower and safer wavelength. As the safe light waves permeate the cells, the create a better oxidative environment which makes them better at synthesizing proteins, activating enzymes and regenerating cells.
When red light is focused on the head and the light waves on the brain, the rays are able to permeate the brain, promote blood flow, and release serotonin and endorphins. Several studies (like this one from 2019) show that an array of mental disorders ranging from schizophrenia to autism, depression and anxiety are caused by improper blood flow in the brain and may be remedied by activities that trigger blood flow.
Sleep, Red Light Therapy and Mood Disorders
Mood disorders can seriously disrupt sleep patterns and healthy circadian rhythms. When we don’t get enough healthy sleep regularly, it can in turn make the symptoms of mood disorders worse. In addition, we are living in a technological world with harsh light sources left and right. Red Light Therapy has the ability to remedy the effects of these bad light sources and help us to get a better night’s sleep.
A 2018 study conducted in Brazil showed that in patients suffering from migraines and sleep disorders, Red Light Therapy not only decreased the number of migraines, but it was the only treatment that remedied their sleep disorders, too.
Phototherapy has the ability to treat dozens of conditions in a way that is completely safe, natural and healthy. Aside from having the ability to remedy depression, anxiety, migraines and sleep disorders it can promote wound healing and tissue repair, decrease pain and inflammation, and reduce side effects of cancer treatments! How will you use phototherapy?