Red Light Therapy 101 for Moms
Light therapy (also known as red light therapy, and photobiomodulation) has really taken off in recent years as a natural skin and beauty treatment, but a good device can do a lot more than just rejuvenate your skin. When it’s done right, light therapy can also have a significant impact on your sleep, energy, mood, and hormone health. Plus, it’s showing incredibly promising results for women’s health and fitness in particular.
If you’re new to light therapy, it can be a little confusing though. There are a lot of different devices and approaches, and some are definitely better than others. This post will explain how light therapy works, and focus on all the health benefits for women. Personal red light therapy is a fairly new technology, but there’s actually a big base of clinical research that bears out a wide range of health advantages, with almost zero risks or side effects.
This post covers the basics of red light therapy. Also make sure to check out our article that goes into greater detail about how to choose the best device. I break down several brands and give you my pick for the best red light therapy you can put in your home. When you’re ready go to my Which Red Light Therapy Devices Are The Best article to find out more.
Red Light Therapy 101
How does red light therapy work? Let’s go over the basics!
A red light therapy device delivers wavelengths of natural light directly to your skin and cells. The treatments are very simple, and you can do them right in your home. The style of devices vary, but in most cases you just have to sit or stand in front of a panel of lights, or else hold a handheld light device near your body. A lot easier than restrictive diets and strenuous exercise! But for many women, even better results. How?
The basic principle is the importance of natural light for our health and function. Humans used to get a lot more natural light from the sun and being outdoors, but more and more we spend our time indoors, taking in blue light from our screens and overhead lighting. That hurts our sleep, and more. When we don’t get enough natural light, it’s similar to not eating enough nutrients, or not drinking enough water. When we get a lot of all 3, our cells can perform at a higher level.
Natural light treatments help your cells and your body make more energy, and they’ve also been shown to increase circulation, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Most moms I know are all too familiar with getting weighed down by swelling and inflammation, or just feeling more tired than they should. That’s why I like red light therapy so much. It’s a simple process to do the treatments, but done right, the benefits can be far-reaching across your whole body.
Red light therapy devices used to be found only in spas or specialty treatment centers, but now there’s a bunch available for in-home or on-the-go use. Remember, I’m going to break down the leading brands and offer my recommendation in my next post. Stay tuned!
First, let’s check out what red light therapy can do for moms!
How Does Red Light Therapy Improve Women’s Health & Fitness?
One of the biggest reasons light therapy has taken off in recent years is all the scientific support behind it. Well over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies have been published on light therapy, with overwhelmingly positive results, and a general consensus that there are few notable side effects or risks from natural light treatments.
Light therapy is probably best known as a skin and beauty aid, and now lots of pro athletes are using it to train and recover. What first caught my eye was all the cool research focused on women’s health and fitness. I’ll go over some of the other benefits of light therapy later in this post. First I want to share what light therapy treatments have proven they can do for a woman’s overall health.
Red Light Therapy Helps Women Gain Strength & Improve Workouts
When I can get my leg exercises in, I dread the feeling of my achy legs the day after with achy legs as I run errands, work, and try to keep up with the kids. Red light therapy treatment before you exercise helps ease that post-workout soreness.
That’s what researchers in Brazil determined when they tested light therapy on women ages 18-30 who did strenuous leg exercises.  The women who received light therapy treatments before leg exercises showed more torque and power, with less soreness afterwards. I love that!
Postmenopausal Women See Big Workout Improvements with Red Light Therapy Too
Women of any age can experience these benefits. There are lots of women in my life who don’t let age or schedules stop them from getting to the gym. Light therapy has been found to help postmenopausal women recover from exercise and strain.
A study a few years ago followed 30 women over 6 months. One group of women received near infrared light therapy and went through treadmill training, while the other group just did the treadmill. The women who did light therapy with their workouts showed way better recovery times, and significantly better performance in the treadmill training. 
Another study showed that women in their 50s had significantly more quadricep power after light therapy treatments, with less fatigue. Win-win! 
No matter your age, research has shown how pre-exercise red light therapy treatments can make a huge difference on your performance and recovery. I’m all about stronger, healthier women of all ages!
Less Joint Pain & Inflammation for Women
I’m on my feet all day. And I know a lot of other moms who are the same way. We can’t just take a full day off because our knees or wrists are acting up. So we work through it, which is not ideal.
Before I knew about red light therapy, my options for joint pain and inflammation weren’t great. Prescription painkillers and over the counter NSAIDs have a ton of side effects, including heart and stroke risks. I have never been one to take handfuls of pills, but there was always a bottle of ibuprofen in my purse.
Red light therapy treats chronic inflammation by increasing blood flow to the damaged tissues. And reducing inflammation is important for all sorts of disorders. Women have felt relief in their knees, necks, backs, and even their jaws.  I feel it most in my knees, where I used to have pretty intense pain at least once a week. That pain has definitely decreased with consistent red light therapy sessions and I can even stretch farther and move easier.
Healthier Skin with Red Light Therapy
This is one of my favorite things about red light therapy: a noninvasive way to get clearer skin without any peels or chemicals. It your boosts your collagen production naturally, rejuvenates your skin, and lessens wrinkles & signs of aging.  I love a good spa day as much as anyone, but I also love being able to get professional quality treatment in my home.
It is used by some of the top estheticians in the world. Having the right device in your home is like having a Hollywood skin care professional just hanging out in your spare bedroom. Talk about convenient!
Better Thyroid & Hormone Health with Red Light Therapy
Managing thyroid conditions and other hormonal imbalances can be difficult and require long-term medications. Red light therapy has had some early successes in helping people manage hypothyroidism especially, and is showing positive results for other types of hormone regulation. One recent study found nearly half of participants were able to stop taking their levothyroxine medication after light therapy. 
Conclusion: Red Light Therapy is an Exciting Natural Health Treatment with Big Results for Women and Moms
By now, I hope you have a better idea of what red light therapy is and what it can do for your health. I’ve personally been using a red light therapy device at home and seen some pretty awesome results! In my next post, I’ll talk more about my own light therapy experiences. I’ll also dive deeper into different red light therapy options and brands for people who are considering giving it a try.
 dos Santos Maciel T, Muñoz I, et al. Phototherapy effect on the muscular activity of regular physical activity practitioners. Lasers in Medical Science. 2014 May;29(3):1145-52.
 Paolillo FR, Corazza AV, et al. Infrared LED irradiation applied during high-intensity treadmill training improves maximal exercise tolerance in postmenopausal women: a 6-month longitudinal study. Lasers in Medical Science. 2013 Feb;28(2):415-22.
 Paolillo FR, Corazza AV, Paolillo AR, Borghi-Silva A, et al. Phototherapy during treadmill training improves quadriceps performance in postmenopausal women. Climacteric; Journal of the International Menopause Society. 2014 Jun;17(3):285-93.
 Hamblin M. “Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation”. AIMS Biophys. 2017; 4(3): 337–361. doi: 10.3934/biophy.2017.3.337
 Wunsch A and Matuschka K. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. Feb 2014; 32(2): 93-100.
 Hofling DB, Chavantes MC, et al. Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. May 2013; 28(3): 743-53.