Is Red Light Therapy Good For Fibromyalgia?

More and more people who suffer from chronic pain are opting for color therapy for long-term pain relief. This type of phototherapy delivers colored light rays to alleviate pain and promote healing when directed to different parts of the body.

Colored light promotes the release of endorphins and serotonin, which help to ease pain and improve mood. Color therapy usually utilizes four main colors i.e. violet, blue, white and red.

For many years now, red light therapy has been used to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain as well as mood disorders.

Read on to find out how red light therapy can help with fibromyalgia. 

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder characterized by chronic pain, sleep disorders, mood and memory issues.

Symptoms may be triggered by surgery, physical trauma, psychological stress or infection. Symptoms may also develop over time without a single trigger event. Other accompanying symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and tension headaches. 

Research shows that repeated simulation of the nerves causes changes in the brains of people with fibromyalgia. This change process involves an abnormal spike in neurotransmitters, the chemicals in the brain responsible for signalling pain. Neurotransmitters store memories of the pain, causing the patient to be overly sensitive to pain.

What is Red Light Therapy? 

Red light therapy involves the use of low-power red light wavelengths to treat a variety of disorders. The red light is directed to the skin and is absorbed into the body to promote gradual healing.

Because red light is a low-wavelength light, it only penetrates about eight to ten millimeters into the skin. It is at this level that red light is able to affect the nervous system, metabolic processes, and cellular energy.

Due to its properties, red light therapy is the preferred alternative treatment method for all sorts of pain including those caused by tissue damage, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy, wounds and incision, and neurological damage.

Red light therapy works by:

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    Boosting the release of ATP from mitochondria to increase the body’s energy levels.
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    Promoting RNA and DNA production.
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    Stimulating the lymphatic system. This aids in eliminating waste from the body.
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    Boosting blood flow. This helps to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and cells.
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    Promoting the formation of small blood vessels.
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    Improving production of fibroblasts and collagen, which help with joint and skin health.
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    Repairing damaged soft connective tissue.
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    Minimizing inflammation.
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    Reducing the symptoms of free radical damage associated with aging.

Red Light Therapy and Fibromyalgia 

Red light therapy is often used to treat the symptoms that accompany fibromyalgia. Specifically, red light therapy can help to alleviate:

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    Sleep issues

Red Light Therapy and Muscle Pain

Numerous studies have found that red light therapy can be effective in the management of pain. When red light penetrates the skin, it promotes mitochondrial functioning. Mitochondria promote healing as well as the production of collagen and protein. Red light therapy also works at the cellular and muscular level to minimize inflammation.

Red Light Therapy and Mood Disorders/ Depression

Chronic stress can contribute to ill health and increases the chances of headaches, muscle pain, arrhythmias, and all sorts of nervous system and cardiovascular disorders. High levels of stress can also predispose an individual to depression and mood disorders, which are major accompanying symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Research shows that light therapy can minimize symptoms of non-seasonal depression and anxiety in the same way that antidepressants do. Exposure to red light therapy can improve mood, increase mental alertness, and boost energy levels. 

Red Light Therapy and Fatigue 

People with fibromyalgia often suffer from chronic fatigue. Red light therapy has been shown to be effective in minimizing fatigue by boosting energy levels, resolving sleep problems, and easing anxiety. Red light can also increase alertness, minimize carbohydrate cravings, and boost libido.

Red Light Therapy and Insomnia

Fibromyalgia can cause sleeping problems such as insomnia. Inadequate sleep can worsen physical pain symptoms and alter a patient’s perception of pain.

In addition to employing best practices to help you sleep well, you can also use red light therapy to alleviate symptoms of insomnia. Exposure to red light calms down the nervous system, and helps to eliminate stress and anxiety, allowing you to sleep better.

How Infrared Therapy Relieves Your Pain

When red light penetrates your body, it warms up your cells and muscles. This increases both your heart rate and blood flow.

An increase in blood flow allows your body to release toxins and waste that could be causing internal inflammation. Blood flow also supplies nutrients to the cells, which helps with the healing process.

Red light therapy is applied to the areas where you are experiencing. The recommended exposure time is about 15 to 20 minutes. Most patients experience immediate relief.

Red Light Therapy and Fibromyalgia: Side Effects

Red light therapy uses low-level light wavelengths to increase cellular energy in your body. This type of light emits photons that are absorbed into the body and converted into cellular energy to eliminate pain and promote healing.

There are no known side effects of using red light therapy. Due to the low-level wavelengths, red light therapy does not produce heat and will therefore not damage the skin, tissues or internal organs.

Regular exposure to red light therapy can help you cope with common fibromyalgia symptoms such as muscle pain, sleep problems, mood disorders, and fatigue. Before using red therapy for fibromyalgia, it is a good idea to consult with your physician.