Like any other therapeutic procedure, Light Therapy, or photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) has a certain stigma attached to it even though successful research on Light Therapy dates back 50 years1. Occasionally, folks think that Light Therapy is associated with tanning beds.
This couldn’t be further from the truth because Light Therapy doesn’t emit any ultraviolet (UV) light2. Not only does Light Therapy not emit UV light, but research demonstrates that it can actually reduce the damage done from UV light. Certain information out there is especially confusing to people due to the variations in study designs3 or pure sensationalism from the media.
However, most of the myths associated with Light Therapy and its adverse effects have proven wrong. In this article, we’ll tackle the myths concerning this method for anyone eager to know the truth about it.
Light Therapy Is Only for People Fighting Depression
There are a few different types of light therapy. Light Lounge uses a type of Light Therapy called photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT). It’s used primarily to heal and restore cells after sports injuries, for instance. PBMT involves light emission through lasers or LEDs which relieve chronic pain, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and inflammation disorders4. Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) has more benefits and applications than once thought. It is just one example of light being used to help alleviate pain and regenerate tissue.
Another type of Light Therapy is called Blue Light therapy. It is different from PBMT therapy since it consists of sitting by a very bright light box for approximately 30 minutes each day in the morning for two weeks5. Professionals use it to relieve the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)6,7, which is a form of depression that affects people periodically due to low exposure to sunlight. While it successfully alleviates the symptoms of SAD, the therapy can help with other mood disorders.
All Types of Light Therapy Are the Same
There are different kinds of Light Therapy available today. Photobiomodulation therapy works at wavelengths of light at 630, 660, and 850 nanometers. Currently, numerous companies offer different wavelengths as a solution. The specific therapeutic window (of wavelengths) is critical for Light Therapy to have healing effects.
For instance, when you apply the light in the red, near-infrared, and infrared spectrum (630, 660, and 850 nanometers) on a specific part of the body, it decreases pain and inflammation. Moreover, it can be useful to reduce muscle damage, atrophy, and increase muscle mass, thus accelerating healing and improving athletic performance8. It’s why Light Lounge aims to help people whose training is physically demanding, such as marathon runners. Also, as mentioned earlier, Light Therapy can promote healing in patients with traumatic brain injury.
There Are Too Many Side Effects
Some online sources note that Light Therapy is potentially affecting skin and eyes, causing headaches and irritability. Nonetheless, it depends on the type of therapy used and your overall health. Luckily, there’s a complete lack of long-term adverse effects from photobiomodulation to date9.
Blue Light therapy (SAD treatment), on the other hand, can cause jumpiness, headache, or nausea10 in certain people.
Many folks opt for this (PBMT) method as their go-to remedy for various chronic conditions due to the lack of documented side effects and its documented efficacy. The vast range of therapeutic advantages from using Light Therapy only supports their decision and lets them enjoy a healthy and productive life.
Infrared Lasers Can Burn My Skin
Infrared lasers don’t cause friction or heat. The low energy density doesn’t produce heat, and the method with this type of lasers is therefore called “cold laser therapy”11. The fast pulsing of the laser dissipates heat and creates a beam of light that doesn’t burn skin. It won’t destroy your cells nor burn your skin.
However, if used incorrectly a few of the Light Therapy lasers may be strong enough to cause minor skin irritation, this is why it’s important to see an experienced technician.
Light Therapy Has the Same Effects as Tanning Beds
Light Therapy (PBMT) uses primarily lasers and LEDs which mostly emit red, near-infrared, and infrared lights. The lasers are powerful and need to be applied by a trained technician to heal the skin and other parts of the body.
Tanning beds, on the other hand, use UV light, a dangerous light for human skin. They are mostly used for tanning purposes. People use it to acquire a cosmetic tan before a vacation or to improve their appearance. However, “UV radiation induces DNA damage in the skin, which can initiate carcinogenesis [cancer growth].” 12
Should I Try It?
Many myths surround Light Therapy and its effects, and we tackled only the essential ones. Should you decide to try it, make sure you double-check the evidence surrounding it and consult knowledgeable professionals. Before you choose to use Light Therapy to improve your health, understand why and when to use it for the best outcomes.
In case you’re interested to know more about Light Therapy and the positive effects it can have on your well-being and health, contact us, and find out if it’s the right choice for you.