Although red light therapy has been used in clinical settings all around the world since the 1980’s, it has only recently gained popularity in the US and Western Europe for weight loss. Most people have heard about the benefits of red light being discovered by NASA astronauts who were using it to help grow plants in space, but everyday practical application is another story. Today, red light therapy is recommended by many doctors, myself included, to speed up healing after injuries as well as skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and even acne!
Now that people are getting so many benefits from red light therapy, I’m surprised I never thought of using it for weight loss. Then I came across a local studio offering a new weight loss treatment called Lipo-Melt using red light. Being a big fan of the red light already, and skeptical of weight loss treatments, I had to investigate! After doing some digging, it’s my hypothesis that a process of detoxing, red light therapy, and clean eating will jump start fat loss and deliver fast results.
What is Red Light Therapy?
When undergoing red light treatment, a physician will use a hand-held device or larger wrap to directly apply red light to the affected are. This includes red light we can see, as well as infrared light we can’t see. Light is delivered in units of nanometers of wavelength, red light using about 635 nanometers and infrared at 880 nanometers. The higher the number, the more intense, so infrared is really good for healing after injuries, helping the skin, as well as melting fat!
Light boxes and panels that allow people to soak up red light at home are growing increasingly popular. On top of that, a lot of tanning salons now offer LED red light beds that have all red light bulbs. These beds give off more of a pinkish glow, so they aren’t as intense as the medical grade equipment, but they still deliver the skin tightening, collagen boosting affects that help reduce wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite.
The most important thing to know about red light is that unlike ultraviolet light it is not harmful. When red light is exposed to the skin it works wonders.
Benefits specifically related to weight loss include:
– Stimulating cells
– Boosting energy
– Speeding up detoxification
– Burning what’s stored in cells
– Helping recover after workouts
– Reducing sore-muscle pain
– Stimulating metabolism
How Red Light Therapy Works
Please know that red light therapy is not a miracle cure or instant body transformation. What I have found, and how red light can help, is in providing results faster. Many people struggle with weight loss because they give up on their workout routine or diet because they aren’t seeing results. Men are the lucky ones when it comes to losing weight, it’s faster for them, but women have a tough time. We can totally change our lifestyle and not see any numbers move on the scale for a while. It’s frustrating! So, using red light therapy to get faster results can help people stay motivated and stick to their weight loss goals. Plus, it’s backed by science, so it’s not just a fad that’s going to be replaced by the next hot thing.
Our body reacts so well to red and infrared light because all of our cells have receptors in them that are targeted by light wavelengths. The light improves the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body, which is the source of energy for all the body’s cells. We need ATP. Without it, we don’t function. Without enough of it, we don’t function very well. Because of ATP’s effects on metabolism, red light paired with a detox plan has a lot of potential for improving weight loss.
Why is Red Light Therapy Better than Other Options?
It’s true, when it comes to weight loss treatments there is a lot of competition out there. So many procedures that all claim to deliver long-term results fast while being non-invasive. Some of the most popular are:
– Ultrasonic Cavitation which uses ultrasonic waves
– Radiofrequency Lipolysis which uses radio frequency
– Non-Invasive Body Contouring
– Cool Sculpting which uses freezing temperatures
All of the above treatments recommend multiple visits for achieving optimal results just like Lipo-Melt, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Red light therapy for weight loss sets itself apart by not causing cellular damage. Red light stimulates fat cells, promoting natural fat-burning responses, rather than freezing or killing them. It would be great if we could use this treatment at home, but the 5000 LED microchips used in the pads for Lipo-Melt treatment is a much more intense dose of red light than the lights available for home use.
What the Procedure is Like
Lipo-melt therapy is a unique treatment using panels of red light that can be applied to the entire body with wraps and the also applied to the face. Here’s a rundown of what happens during a treatment session and tips on how to get the most out of every treatment.
– Start out by going in very hydrated
– The specialist will measure your body for documentation before and after
– Get down to your skivvies – The more direct exposure to the light, the better it will work
– You’ll lay face up on a table wrapped in the light pads and face mask for a quick 20 minutes
– There shouldn’t be any redness or signs of discomfort
– Drink more water!
– You’ll spend 10 minutes on a vibration exercise machine that shakes you! This is a fun and effective way – to help with lymphatic drainage – also developed by NASA – very interesting!
– Before you leave, you’ll get a neoprene compression wrap they’ll advise you to wear daily
It’s a quick visit that clocks in a just about an hour, that’s recommended a few times a week. Packages of 6 or 12 treatments seem to be the average.
The Process I Recommend To Boost Weight Loss
Being a doctor, I’m not a big fan of quick weight loss tricks. There is so much money in the weight loss industry, a lot of what’s out there is too good to be true. I always try to focus on healthy habits, and even if red light therapy can provide a boost to weight loss, it’s not a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise. That’s why my practice is currently testing a protocol that combines red light therapy with detoxing and clean eating.
Start with Detoxing
Ideally, for about 7-10 days before red light therapy, cleanse the body. I use M’lis Total Body Cleanse Kit in my office.
Pay special attention to:
– The liver – eat at least 2 cups a day of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots or beets
– Colon – eat 6-8 cups of veggies a day – cooked or blended in a smoothie is best
– Lymphatic system – 2 cups celery, 1/4 cup parsley, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 cup fresh/cooked cranberries
– Kidneys – same as the lymphatic system cleansers
Goal: 6-8 cups of veggies a day – mix and match from the list above
To help detoxification, make sure to stay hydrated, take more B vitamins and folate, and try dry brushing.
Schedule Treatments Regularly
The average process for Lipo-Melt is visiting 2 to 3 times per week for 6 or 12 treatments.
Do Whole 30 Diet for Clean Eating
After the first treatment, commit to eating cleaner by trying out the whole 30 diet. It’s designed for 30 days, but the longer you can cut out things like processed foods and alcohol, the better your results will be.
Give it a Try
If you’ve been struggling with weight loss and are frustrated about not seeing results, red light combined with a detox can be the kick-start your body needs. Plus, we all want results we can see! Seeing results is the best motivation, knowing your hard work is paying off. We all need a little extra boost sometimes. With red light, you’re getting the boost in a healthy way that’s not killing the cells in your body. In fact, it’s helping them work how they’re intended to as most of us have toxic cells and reduced metabolism due to the air we breathe, water we drink, the processed foods we consume and the stressful lives we lead. Paired with a good detox and clean eating, red light therapy can be that boost to kick your cell’s metabolism back in gear. It’s time to harness the healing powers of red light. It’s not just for NASA anymore!
This blog post is a summary of a podcast on the same topic. Click here to listen to the podcast!