Healthy Living

Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss: Benefits, Side Effects and Review

Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss: Benefits, Side Effects and Review

Introduction to Red Light Therapy

Everybody wants to lose weight without any dieting or exercise. Since long, people have been trying pills, injections, berries and natural herbs that can help to shed those  extra pounds. But generally, these do not seem to work. Common goal for many people is to lose the extra fat and weight loss. Some may be able to do it with the help of diet and exercise, but some may not.

Sometimes, there are issues in the health of the person that do not allow proper functioning of the metabolic rate. A large number of problems are associated with being overweight. Diseases such as blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, diabetes and backache are associated with being overweight. Also, the physical appearance of the person is affected. The person may look dull and ugly.

Though it is important to lose extra weight to enjoy good health, but the method adopted for shedding that extra weight should be safe and effective with no side effects. One such method is red light therapy. Infrared light therapy, also known as red light therapy is used for pain management, to fasten healing of wounds, burns, wrinkles, jaundice, eczema and to improve blood circulation.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red Light Therapy is known to be an effective procedure and involves procedures that are natural and simple. There is no use of needless, surgeries or incisions, so it is a safe method. In this therapy, the mitochondria of the fat cells are stimulated. This causes the release of fatty acids into the interstitial space. During excretion and urination, the extra fatty acid is passed out.

This treatment is non-invasive and uses infrared light beams from lasers, tanning bed-like devices or lamps. These beams penetrate about 8-10 millimetres deep in the skin. Red light therapy helps in the signs of skin inflammation, aging, eczema, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis, scarring, sun damage, acne, dryness, wrinkles, joint pain and stretch marks. It also improves the tone and firmness of the skin.

Generally, one to four sessions in a week is needed and each session lasts for 15 -20 minutes. This therapy is approved and regulated by FDA. It is generally found in salons and spas. As such, no side effects have been associated with it and both men and women can use this treatment.

For a specific amount of time on a regular basis, the person is asked to sit or lie down in front of the light. One such red light therapy device is infrared body wrap, which consists of pads or bandages made of silicone. This emits infrared light. The light is emitted around the legs, arms and torso. It is supposed to help with the shape of the body and improve the cellulite appearance.

An undercover video reporter tried this body wrap device and claimed that upto 1400 calories can be burnt by this device. In 2010, FDA approved Zerona which was a laser manufactured by Erchonia Medical Inc. It would remove unwanted fat from the body using the red light therapy and without any surgical procedures. Clinical trials were conducted. Many people using this laser treatment lost almost an inch from the region of thigh. However, after about two weeks of the treatment, it was found that the fat was returning. Hence, no significant weight loss happened.

Several such infrared devices have been approved by FDA. These devices give temporary relief from pain and increase the circulation of blood in local areas.

Working of Red Light Therapy

At certain wavelengths, light energy is absorbed by our body. Our cells carry out the daily functions at improved levels in response to this energy. This helps in recovery of muscles, maintaining health of the skin and increase in the ability of the body to process fat.

Red light therapy works on two mechanics, namely bioenergetics and blood flow.

  • Bioenergetics - Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. It causes oxidation of glucose when stimulated. The mitochondria of the fat cells are stimulated by the red light therapy. This process happens during the cellular respiration. In cellular respiration, the stored energy is broken down and converted. This causes certain waste products to be released.The wavelength of red light is between 600nm to 1000nm. A key copper enzyme in our cell is stimulated by the red light wavelength, which produces more cellular energy. This causes efficient burning of glucose which increases the healthier cells and reduces stress. The increased metabolic rate then causes the weight loss, though a similar ATP enhancing effect is also shown by other agents such as thyroid hormone.
    The main principle of red light therapy is to keep the metabolic rate high. It has been shown that dieting and exercise for a longer period of time decreases the metabolic rate. People on low-carb diets or who have been under long periods of stress or been on low calories repeatedly have a metabolic rate that is diminished. Red light therapy works in opposition to this. It boosts energy in the body and acts as a buffer against stress.
    Clinical trials have been conducted to support this mechanism. It has been stated that this mechanism is based on chromatophores' absorption of red and infrared photons which causes mitochondrial membrane potential, consumption of oxygen and adenosine triphosphate and an increase in reactive oxygen species. This therapy reduces fat, reduces weight and improves the lipid profile of the blood.
  • Blood flow - Wherever the red light falls, this therapy is believed to increase the flow of blood in that area. Hence, larger amount of energy is produced and the flow of blood is improved. Essential nutrients are made available to the body, so the health is maintained.From the respiratory enzymes, the nitric oxide molecules are photodissociated by the red light wavelength. This contributes towards the vasodilatory effect. This indicates that cells can provide more glucose as well as produce more energy. One mechanism also suggests that light therapy affects the cells that store fat, which are the adipocytes. They cause the lipids to disperse. Hence, this helps to wash away the fat cells from the body.What actually motivates people to lose weight is when they look at themselves in the mirror. Different sorts of therapies and treatments used are referred to as body contouring, which either do not work or make the problem worse. They also produce undesirable effects on the body. Red light therapy helps to lose weight from a specific range of natural light and provide energy boost to our cells.Red light therapy was performed in some subjects for four weeks and they were told not to change their exercise habits or diet. It was noted that in just four weeks there was statistical and cosmetic reduction in the girth of the waistline. In another study, there was reduction in each part of the body as well as the overall circumference. Hence, it was concluded that circumference of specific areas can be cut down with the help of red light therapy.Also, in another study, the light therapy was found to be beneficial in contouring thighs, waist and hips. Even the effect of the wavelength on the body was researched by using this therapy on 86 people at wavelength of 635 nm for twenty minutes per session. The session was conducted on alternate days for two weeks. This wavelength was found to be safe.

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

  • Red light therapy improves the energy level of the body. Even during the treatment, the person stays active and fully energetic. The technique is non - invasive and lean tissue is maintained.
  • This treatment can be done at home and it does not interfere with your normal daily routine. A person undergoing this treatment can continue with the daily routine or tasks.
  • There are numerous ideas in the market on products to lose weight, but they may lead to side effects. Red light therapy is without any side effects and is an absolutely safe procedure.
  • Red light therapy need not be performed in a medical clinic. It can be performed at home. You need not spend money on expensive contouring in spas or clinics that cause unwanted side effects. A red light device can be purchased and used at home according to your convenience. However, it is necessary to be consistent when using this therapy. Use a correct device that can use optimal power and provide the correct wavelength.
  • It is believed to never cause any side effects, since it is a non-invasive method. Patients who have undergone red light therapy have never complained of any pain or discomfort. Red light therapy adds collagen and elastin which tightens and tones the skin and at the same time, it drains and shrinks fat cells. It makes the skin look young and beautiful. It transforms the person and makes the person slim and active.

Over the years, researchers have analysed and tested this method. It is an efficient and safe method and also helps in making the skin smooth and regaining its vibrancy.

What are the Side Effects of Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy provides maximum benefits without causing any harm to the body. Unlike other therapies such as surgeries and other techniques, red light therapy is safe for the body. It makes the waistline of the body visible by safely removing the fat under the skin in the tissues. It eliminates fat without any pain and makes the body slim and in shape. It does not need any recovery time and enables the patients to remain active throughout the treatment. It tightens the loose skin and also tones it.

Along with weight loss, red light therapy is also used for anti-aging treatment. This therapy is similar to the tanning bed with red lights. Red light therapy burns over 500 calories per session. Compared to a normal person not using this therapy, red light therapy enables burning over 2000 extra calories. The mechanism is simple and calories can be burnt in the safest way.

Red light therapy controls the levels of ghrelin and leptin, which are hunger-related hormones, thus affecting hunger. Red light therapy reduces the appetite of the patient so the person tends to eat less. The stored fat is used by the body and thus, extra fat is not accumulated. Red light therapy causes loss of fat systemically and locally. Even with a single day of using this therapy, the person can look smarter and healthier.

Reviews of Red Light Therapy

There have been reviews that could not find any link between the therapy and weight loss. This therapy might work just for concerns related to skin. Some doctors even claim that there have been no successful results, it only helped reduce cellulitis. After a research, it has been stated that the long term use of this therapy is not promising and success rate is too low.

However, there have been some clinical trials that support this therapy, but it cannot be considered as an option for effective weight loss. Some people recommend to skip the red light therapy since it does not work. There is no such evidence that can state for how long will the effect of the treatment last or whether it really works for some patients.

Bottom Line

Great results can be achieved by using red light therapy. It helps in weight loss and reducing fat. This process is natural, simple and safe. There are no surgeries involved and this method is painless. Red light therapy reduces weight loss and anti-aging. Also, it makes the person active and full of energy by increasing the metabolism. Thus, it prevents lethargy.

During this treatment, you need not sit at home and can continue with your daily work. No time is needed for recovery. This technique is safe and can be trusted blindly for weight loss. Overall, red light therapy has shown positive effects for weight loss and fat reduction. It is a safe and non-invasive procedure. It improves not only the health, but also looks of the person.

Key Takeaways

  • Red light device consists of infrared light beam
  • Red light at certain wavelengths stimulates mitochondriala and ATP production.
  • It has multiple uses. it is used to heal multiple conditions such as eczema, anti-aging, diabetes, burns and wounds etc.