Red light therapy has been gaining a lot of traction as a type of therapy that is geared towards wellness. Its effects are so promising, in fact, that it is being used as the first line of treatment for a whole host of maladies and ailments.
Given the fact that this type of therapy has so many uses, you may be wondering if it is good for improving brain functioning as well. Improving brain functioning involves things such as better memory, being able to learn faster, and also processing complex information much faster. Well, the purpose of this article is to do just that and to look at the effects of light therapy on the brain and hence, the mind.
Red light therapy is a type of therapy that also goes by the name of photobiomodulation, or it is sometimes even referred to as low-level laser therapy. This consists of a spectrum of light that is visible but is very narrow. These lights are specifically red and also are in the near-infrared wavelengths.
This particular type of light really does have the potential to stimulate a lot of effects on the bodies of humans. It has been made use of in order to treat many skin conditions that are chronic, in order to accelerate muscle repair and recovery, etc.
A lot of anecdotal evidence and clinical studies have also suggested that this type of therapy holds a lot of promise for improving the functioning of the brain as well. Researchers are of the belief that this type of therapy can be really useful in improving the cell function of the brain.
This has the potential, in turn, to improve and enhance the overall functioning of the brain. It may even be useful in helping treat many psychiatric conditions and also to improve the healing time for stroke and/or injury.
What exactly is red light therapy, and how does it work in optimizing brain functioning?
When undergoing red light therapy, the light penetrates the skin at depths of varying levels. The therapeutic benefits of this type of therapy mainly occur at the cellular levels.
This is very much unlike medications as it tries to solve the underlying problem from the inside out in order to promote better health. This also includes brain health as well. Below are a few examples of how exactly the process works:
- The main benefit of this type of therapy is in improved cell functioning at the metabolic level. When the light that is emitted from this type of therapy and goes into the body, it is responsible for stimulating energy production that is metabolic in the region of the body known as the mitochondria. This is sometimes referred to as the batteries of the cells. These are the things that are the energy centers of the body’s cells, including the brain cells as well and stem cells produced in the bone marrow. The main logic here is that when the cells are energized, then they will work much more efficiently.
- This type of therapy also has the ability to stimulate blood flow in the cerebral region and to also increase the levels of brain oxygenation. This really does have the potential to help people who have TBI to recover from the horrible condition that is known by the name of neurovascular dysfunction. This condition can often result in much lower levels of brain oxygenation and also much slower recovery.
- Red light therapy also has the ability to help with protecting the neurons of the brain from damage. What this does in effect is to safeguard their longevity and their survival as well. Red light therapy also slows the death of cells that are caused by inflammation.
- This type of therapy also really does well in reducing oxidative stress from the brain, and it also helps promote the circulation of blood. This really does have the potential to help battle the symptoms of depressive disorders, which are major and also Alzheimer’s disease.
- This therapy model also has the potential to drastically reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a type of immune barrier against foreign bodies, which can include things such as viruses and bacteria as well. Inflammation that is acute is a part of healing that is necessary. However, chronic inflammation and that too, especially in the brain, can have a lot of negative effects. This type of chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases that are neurodegenerative and also some particular mood disorders.
- Red light therapy also helps stimulate the growth of neurons. This process is known as neurogenesis. This type of therapy also is responsible for stimulating synaptogenesis. This is the formation of these synapses in between the neurons. This has a very dramatic effect on the neuroplasticity of the brain. This is very important as neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to reorder itself through the formation of new neural pathways and connections. This can be of particular benefit for those who suffer from cases involving TBI. This is where there has been a noticeable degeneration of cognitive functions. In cases such as these, red light therapy can really be a part of a more comprehensive program for treatment that may include other things such as cognitive and/or behavioral therapy.
- Red light therapy also helps in maintaining optimal brain functioning as it stimulates the production of stem cells. These are the cells that are the master cells of the body. These cells can normally be found in the bones and also the bone marrows that are present in the body and mostly in an inactive state. They are ready to become active and be mobilized as is required of them. Usually, this is in response to some sort of injury or some other possible cause of death to cells and/or dysfunction of the cells.