Red Light Therapy and Circulation
Good circulation is imperative for a healthily functioning body. This ensures that both oxygen and blood continuously flow throughout the body which is needed for organs to function effectively. A good circulation system allows our wounds to heal quicker, our brains function better and gives our skin a healthy glow. How can we improve this, you may ask? Let us tell you!
How does blood circulate?
For our blood to move around our bodies, we use the cardiovascular system. This includes the heart and blood vessels – which run throughout the body. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart and veins are responsible for carrying deoxygenated (or used) blood back to the heart. The systemic circulation system transports blood that is both oxygen and nutrient rich through the arteries to the organs, muscles, tissues and cells. Here it picks up waste substances like lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The pulmonary system uses the oxygen that we inhale in our breath to reoxygenate the blood. The heart acts as the pump, which coordinates all of these steps. So, a properly functioning circulatory system is obviously very important.
What if mine isn’t great?
There are a number of factors that can impact the circulatory system, which includes:
- Smoking – causes damage to blood vessels
- Atherosclerosis – build up of plaque in the arteries
- Diabetes – too much glucose in the blood vessels causes damage
- High blood pressure – causes weakening of the vessel walls
- Obesity – puts you at risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol (which could cause atherosclerosis)
- Increase cardiovascular exercise – walking, hiking, running and stretching
- Quit smoking – this will allow blood vessels to regain strength
- Drink green tea – antioxidant rich tea helps to increase the width of blood vessels and reduce inflammation
- Decrease stress levels
- Reduce processed food intake and increase foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as tuna, salmon and sardines)
- And yes, you’ve guessed it.. red light therapy!
What can a lamp do for my circulation?
We promise, its not as far fetched as it sounds. The energy captured in the photons of light emitted by our red light therapy triggers a cascade of reactions in our bodies which result in an improved blood circulatory system. This is primarily through the increase in nitric oxide concentration. This nitric oxide is a like an energizer bunny for our bodies. It instantly causes the widening of blood vessels and capillaries in our bodies, acting as a natural vasodilator. This widening allows for improved circulation where the red light therapy device is applied. Nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood now arrives at the tissues and nerves for an effectively and efficiently functioning body that can return to a homeostatic state.
A study on the effect of light therapy on vascular dysfunction in diabetic patients was performed. This study, performed in 2017 by Keszler et al., noted that red light exposure stimulated vasodilation in blood vessels through the increased release of nitric oxide, which restores dilation of vessels even when the endothelial cells of the blood vessels are in a state of dysfunction. This leads scientists to a new phase of research – where light therapy can be used as a potential new treatment for diabetic vascular diseases.
Another study, published in the Journal of Developmental Medicine in 2016, investigated the effect of red light therapy on skin blood flow in children. Nineteen children, a mixture of girls and boys, all diagnosed with meningomyelocele (a type of spina bifida), were analysed after exposure with a red light device with Xenon 133 radioisotope as the marker. The results were incredible! The children’s skin blood flow increased from 7.47 ml/100 g/ min before light exposure to 11.08 ml/100 g/min after light exposure. Findings showed that light therapy significantly increased blood flow in the skin, resulting in dramatic improvements in skin condition healing.
Incredible right? Still not convinced? If you really need more proof go check out our blogs here.
Or, if we've managed to convince you to buy a Mychondria device..
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Written by: Caroline Bursey