Red Light Therapy Mitochondria Neuroplasticity
HOW DOES RED LIGHT THERAPY WORK?
When delivered within the optimal wavelengths and energy levels, red and near infrared light protect your body’s cells from nitric oxide damage, which can otherwise stop the cell’s production of ATP when you’re stressed or ill. Red light photons allow your cells to continue utilizing oxygen effectively by minimizing the absorption of nitric oxide. Only red light therapy can reach all the way into a cell’s mitochondria to stimulate healing and regeneration to help improve your appearance, performance, and overall well-being.
RED LIGHT THERAPY FOR PAIN
From ibuprofen to prescription medications, we humans do what it takes to alleviate and eliminate physical sensations of pain. But often, the methods we use only mask or dull the pain temporarily, and do nothing to target the actual cause of the pain.
Red light therapy for pain offers another—often preferable—approach that targets the source of pain and boosts the body’s natural healing processes. This non-invasive practice has risen in popularity over the years, thanks to technological advances in at-home devices. Many types of light therapy are touted as pain-relieving, but the most well-studied kind of LED light therapy uses red light and near-infrared light. Here’s an overview of how light therapy for pain works, and how to use at-home light therapy devices for pain relief.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy uses light-emitting diode (LED) devices to expose the skin to concentrated wavelengths of red or near-infrared (NIR) light. These are considered part of the visible spectrum of light, although the human eye can’t reliably detect the full infrared spectrum. Red and NIR light wavelengths are known to benefit the human body as particles of light (known as photons) pass through the skin into deeper tissues.
When photons enter individual cells, they stimulate energy-producing organelles known as mitochondria; this, in turn, causes mitochondria to produce more energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Scientists believe that cells energized with ATP are better able to repair and replicate themselves. By extension, this promotes the healing of the skin, bone, muscle, and connective tissue.
Unlike ultraviolet (UV) light, red light will not burn the skin. You may feel a warming sensation, but when used as directed, red light therapy is safe and free from side effects.
How Red Light Therapy Helps Alleviate Pain
Unlike over-the-counter or prescription painkillers, red light therapy—also called photobiomodulation, or low-level light therapy (LLLT)—doesn’t block our perception of pain. Instead, it works at the cellular level to promote optimal cell functioning that results in a healthier, pain-free body.
As a natural and effective treatment, red light therapy has shown great therapeutic potential in clinical trials for treating a variety of conditions. These include (but are not limited to) osteoarthritis and other joint pain, bone breaks, muscle injury, connective tissue disorders, nervous system disorders, and spinal disorders.
But how does red light therapy actually work? Here are a few ways it mitigates pain and heals the body at the cellular level.
Red Light and Inflammation
Inflammation is a common source of pain. Although acute inflammation is an immune system response and part of the natural healing process, chronic inflammation can impede the body’s ability to heal. Red light mitigates the body’s inflammatory response by stimulating cellular repair and regeneration.
Red Light Increases Cellular Energy Production
Red light stimulates mitochondria, leading to a frenzy of energy production. Energized cells can perform specialized functions at peak level, and can replicate and perform repairs to the body, such as healing injured or inflamed areas, which leads to a quicker recovery.
Red Light Increases Blood Flow
By stimulating the formation of tiny blood vessels known as capillaries, red light helps increase blood flow to a treatment area. This creates a rush of nutrients and oxygen to cells and aids in the removal of waste that may interfere with the healing process.
Red Light Increases Collagen Production
Red light therapy has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, an important structural protein present in skin, muscle, and connective tissue. And while this collagen-building effect makes red light therapy a popular anti-aging treatment, it also explains its effectiveness in painful cutaneous (surface) and some subcutaneous (just below the surface) wounds and injuries.
The main function of the Mitochondria is to generate chemical energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which then powers the cell. This little molecule of ATP is like our body’s currency. It is used for all of our movements, cell repair and to keep our body temperature stable, no matter what the temperature is outside of our body.
It is microscopic, so tiny that 4000 of them can occupy a single liver cell. They have their own DNA. This means that Mitochondria only originate from other mitochondria. This tiny organelle, (literally: "tiny organ"), is unlike any other organelle in the aspect of having it's own unique DNA, other than the chloroplast. The amazing comparison is that the chloroplast is responsible for photosynthesis in green plants, using light to create energy. Mitochondria are also stimulated by red light to create ATP, our body's energy.
Once upon a time, when out planet had just manifested, this world's atmosphere was mostly carbon dioxide. Green single celled bacteria formed in the oceans, then small algae began to thrive. As the algae absorbed CO2 and emitted oxygen, the atmosphere began to change to a more oxygen rich environment.
The Mitochondria was likely one of the first, if not the first, oxygen breathing entity. Since the world was evolving to an oxygen rich world, the Mitochondria thrived, and was likely absorbed into, eaten if you will indulge me, and became part of thatCO2 breathing creature. This made that creature more adaptable to the new environment, Now it is a part of all creatures that evolved from those slimly, single celled algae.
Caring for Your Mitochondria
How can we care for our precious Mitochondria? The short answer is exercise, especially bursts exercise like HIT (High Intensity Training). Also, we need to eat a lot of varied vegetables. Our body also farms CO-Enzyme Q10 from our diet and body also creates it. However, we create less as we age. The Mitochondria use CO-Enzyme Q10 to create ATP. Many pharmaceuticals, especially Statins, which are used to lower cholesterol, deplete the production of CO-Enzyme Q10. Therefore, if you take Statins or are in the upper age brackets, CO-Enzyme Q10 is a supplement you definitely want to add to help care for your Mitochondria.
The following foods have COQ-10:
Heavy metals, refined sugar and other toxins slow down the process of the Mitochondrial’ production of ATP. They process everything in order to get the correct base nutrients to make ATP. If they need to break down metals, toxins and sugar, they will wear out faster, and out body will need to replace them, taking our system. COQ-10 is oil soluble, and thus absorbs slowly, so it is better taken with food. It also doesn't get stored by the body, so it is an essential nutrient that we need to replenish.
There is another way to stimulate Mitochondria that is just beginning to get some attention. Recently in the journal: Perspectives on Psychological Science, the authors Kramer and Bressan report that their studies suggest that the path to mitochondrial health is a familiar one: Exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a nutrient rich diet, and engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga Qigong and meditation can all have a positive influence. Adding mindfulness to the movements, and both brain health and Mitochondrial health is improved. So thus we'll experience this work with Neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity, by definition, is "the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury." ~ Oxford Languages
The dynamic nature of the brain is maintained by its neuroplasticity which is closely related to consciousness. In his book, Norman Doidge wrote:
"The idea that the brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity is, I believe, the most important alteration in our view of the brain since we first sketched out its basic anatomy and the workings of its basic component, the neuron."
We each control neuroplasticity in our own brain. Movement, together with imagery, done in a conscious manner, while utilizing breathing techniques is a superior method to create a healthy brain and health Mitochondria. They are forever linked to our good health and wellbeing.
The rewiring of your brain is a result of neuroplasticity, which includes two things: Neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) and synaptogenesis (new connections between between neurons). You can enhance the growth of those two things through movement and visualization, reflective self-inquiry, and mindfulness.
Through visualization, you can turn an abstract hope into a picture that not only inspires you, but also guides you. According to a study called “The Future of Memory: Remembering, Imagining and the Brain,” the human brain can’t always distinguish between a memory and a vision of the future. Knowing this, when we do our Qigongs with the visualizations, we are both changing our brain, through neuroplasticity, as well as stimulating our Mitochondria to make more ATP.
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