If you are like nearly half of all adults in the United States, you have been trying to lose weight. In this article we’ll go over red light therapy for weight loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that, among adults trying to lose weight, about 63 percent were trying to lose weight via diet or exercise.
A healthy lifestyle is the best way to lose and maintain weight, but sometimes dieting and exercise are just not enough to take off the weight and keep it off. Fortunately, advances in medical technology can help you reach your weight loss goals. Red light therapy is one of the most effective technological advancements when it comes to losing weight.
Manufacturers are now providing red light therapy devices for professionals and various other businesses to help their clients reach and maintain a healthy weight. The results are so astounding that many people post red light therapy weight loss before and after pictures on the internet.
About Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss
Red light therapy is a scientifically proven approach to weight loss. Also known as photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), red light therapy harnesses the power of light energy to trigger beneficial changes to the body.
Light travels in waves that have measurable lengths, heights, durations, and frequencies. The specific length of the waves, known as wavelength, determines the color of the light. Different colors have different wavelengths. Violet has the shortest wavelength and red has the longest.
Researchers have discovered that, at specific wavelengths, light can have beneficial effects on the body. Specifically, scientists have found out that red light can stimulate the cells and tissues of the body in ways that speed healing, reduce inflammation, and support the growth of healthy new cells and tissues.
Photobiomodulation is a technique that uses LED bulbs to bathe specific parts of the body in red light. The light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the cells and tissues of the body. Once inside cells, the red light stimulates mitochondria, known as the “powerhouse” of the cell because of the way the mitochondria converts nutrients into energy. Boosting energy production helps improve the way cells function, which speeds healing. Improving cellular function with red light therapy can also improve weight loss results.
The low down on Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss
Everyone is unique when it comes to how their bodies metabolize food – some people can eat anything they want and still remain thin, while others gain weight just by looking at food. Just as people gain weight differently, they also lose weight differently; what works for one person may not work for another. Using red light therapy for weight loss can help improve the results of diet and exercise in a number of ways, so it is the perfect complement to diet and exercise for nearly everyone.
Increases muscle mass
Even when you are at rest, your muscle tissue burns more calories than does your fat tissue. This means increasing your muscle mass can help you burn more calories, even when you are doing nothing.
Research shows that red light therapy can increase muscle mass. In a 2016 study of identical twins, researchers found that using photobiomodulation on leg muscles right after a workout increased muscle mass.
Red light therapy can also improve how well your muscles perform, which means you can exercise longer and with less pain or risk of injury. Another study involving 36 male participants with beginner or moderate physical activity habits revealed that undergoing photobiomodulation therapy immediately after performing leg presses could increase muscle performance.
Regulate thyroid hormone production
The thyroid is a gland located at the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. The gland secretes hormones that play a major role in metabolism, or how well your body converts calories to energy. Producing large amounts of thyroid hormone revs up your metabolism, so you calories faster and lose more weight while taking in the same number of calories. When the thyroid produces an inadequate amount of thyroids, your metabolism slows down and you gain weight, even though your caloric intake has not changed.
In some health conditions, known as autoimmune disorders, your immune system can create antibodies that damage your thyroid gland. Research shows that red light therapy can suppress autoimmune activity to stimulate normal thyroid function, which can ultimately restore healthy metabolism to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Reduce insulin resistance
Body cells absorb sugar, or glucose, from the bloodstream for use as energy. Insulin is a hormone that “unlocks” body cells so that they can absorb sugar.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, which means the cells cannot get energy they need to function well. The lack of energy causes an increase in hunger, so you eat more even though your body cannot process the blood sugar it already has.
In a 2015 study in Brazil, 64 obese women participated in a program that combined aerobic and weight training exercise with red light therapy. The researchers measured the participants’ insulin levels and fat loss. The results of the study shows that adding photobiomodulation therapy to an exercise program reduced insulin resistance in participants – the combination also reduced fat in the treated area by 5.6 percent.
Reducing fat cells
Red light wavelengths cause small openings to develop in fat cells. These openings allow fatty acids, known as lipids, to escape from the cells. In one study, researchers found that a four-minute exposure to red light caused fat cells to release 80 percent of their lipids; by six minutes, the cells had released almost all the fat.
Exposure to red light may also stimulate a natural process, known as adipocyte apoptosis, which is a normal process of cell death. Fat cells can release lipids during adipocyte apoptosis, reducing the fat cells even further.
Red light therapy can calm hunger pangs by controlling leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones that regulate appetite. Research published in 2012 found that photobiomodulation therapy reduced hunger hormone levels by 19 percent.
Improved sleep quality
While researchers are still working to understand the relationship between sleep and weight, the National Sleep Foundation says that the lack of sleep affects ghrelin and leptin levels in a way that makes you feel hungrier than if you got enough sleep. Research shows that red light therapy can improve sleep quality.
Inflammation does more than cause localized swelling – it can cause serious health concerns. In fact, research shows that long-term, low-grade inflammation can contribute to obesity. Red light therapy reduces inflammation to help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
If you find yourself rushing to the pantry when you are feeling down or upset, you may be engaging in “emotional eating” that can cause weight gain. Stress may also cause overeating and excessive snacking that helps pack on the pounds. Red light therapy can help boost your mood to reduce emotional eating; it can also make you feel more motivated to exercise and practice good self-care that includes a nutritious diet, which can also promote weight loss.
Reduce cellulite for targeted weight loss
Cellulite is a type of fat situated just below the skin that gives skin a dimpled or “orange peel” appearance. Cellulite is stubborn and hard to get rid of, even with diet and exercise. Fortunately, red light therapy targets cellulite.
In a 2011 study, researchers assigned female participants to one of two study groups: one group that did only high-intensity treadmill training and another group that underwent red light therapy while doing the treadmill training. The researchers found that the participants in the group that used both exercise and red light therapy achieved reduced cellulite in the buttocks and hips, while the treadmill-only group did not. The results of another study, which followed 65 male and female participants, found that photobiomodulation therapy could spot-reduce excess fat stored around the participants’ waist, hips, and thighs.
Clearly, red light therapy is an essential part of any weight loss plan because of the many benefits it provides. Photobiomodulation therapy can help control appetite and insulin levels, improve sleep, boost mood, reduce fat cells, and even provide targeted weight loss by spot-reducing cellulite. For more information about red light therapy for weight loss, consult with your weight loss professional or red light therapy provider.
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