How Does Red Light Therapy for Nerves Work?

How Does Red Light Therapy for Nerves Work

Dealing with nerve damage is tricky, especially when regular treatments like medications only ease the pain temporarily. But there’s good news. Research is showing that alternative methods, like red light therapy, might help your nerves grow and repair.

We’ll dive into a simplified version of the science behind red light therapy and how you might be able to use it to regrow your own nerves.

How Red Light Therapy Works

The process by which light therapy can kick-start the regrowth and regeneration of your nerves is a highly interesting one. We’ve known for about 50 or so years now that light interacts with human tissue in different ways. What the medical community has been learning more recently, though, is exactly how those interactions work.

Scientific advancements in fields like quantum physics and molecular biology have allowed us to understand how the electromagnetic photons that make up light energy interact with our cells on a molecular level.

Michael R. Hamblin is one of the leading experts on this type of therapy and has produced a number of research papers outlining the way it works for cell regeneration and healing.

ATP Production

Many of the benefits that come from red light therapy are due to the tendency of certain types of light energy to kick-start the release of certain compounds and growth factors by the cells in our body.

One of these is known as ATP — this is a nucleotide that acts as a sort of “energy currency” within the body, meaning it gives your cells the energy they need to accomplish tasks like migration and metabolism. They fuel your cells so that they can do their work, in other words.

Schwann Cell Growth

Red light therapy has also been shown to stimulate the growth of something called Schwann cells. These are the cells responsible for making myelin sheath. This is a protective coating that covers your nerves and helps to make them more able to relay messages. Schwann cells are also helpful when it comes to the kind of growth and regeneration necessary after nerves are damaged.

Increase Nitric Oxide

Yet another result of red light therapy is the increase of something called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide stimulates cell reproduction, relaxes muscles, promotes wound healing, stimulates collagen production, and, very importantly, stimulates nerve transmission. Nitric oxide is also beneficial for increasing circulation, which helps to take oxygen and nutrients to the injured nerves, as well as in repairing damaged tissues.

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A Host of Healthy Benefits

Perhaps the best part about low-level laser therapy is that it’s safe and noninvasive through the simple and painless absorption of light particles. Unlike UV rays that are produced by the sun, the types of light used in red light therapy can’t burn or tan your skin. Rather, the effects are taking place on a deeper level.

Some of the many benefits of red light therapy include:

  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased production of anti-oxidative compounds
  • Pain reduction
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Healing stimulation
  • Myelin production
  • Increased cognitive performance
  • Sleep improvement

A Complementary Treatment

Important to note is that red light therapy for nerves should be used as a complementary treatment. This means, in other words, that it should be used together with other ways of encouraging nerve health. For example, if the cause of nerve damage is known and can be eliminated, such as alcohol, chronic inflammation, or a pinched nerve, then the cause of damage should also be addressed. Red light therapy is often not enough to rebuild damaged nerves all on its own. Nerves also need a healthy environment to thrive that may be accomplished with healthy lifestyle factors, like an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, quality sleep, and stress management.

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