Red and near infrared light offers athletes a noninvasive treatment for soft tissue injuries, providing recovery and pain relief. Athletes who suffer injuries to their shoulders, back, legs and other areas may benefit from light therapy. NASA conducted research throughout the 2000s indicating that the red light stimulated energy production within cells, effectively providing enough fuel to boost tissue regeneration and accelerate the healing process.
Red light has a particularly short wavelength, meaning that each individual wave is extremely close to the waves in front of and behind it. The shorter the light’s wavelength, the deeper the light can penetrate into the skin, making the short-wavelength red light ideal for using in therapy.
As the red light penetrates the skin, continuously reaching the light-sensitive mitochondria within the body’s cells, ATP (adenosine triphosphate – the energy currency inside the cell) production increases for the duration of the treatment, accelerating the recovery of injured tissue.
Once the red LED light has increased the cell’s energy production, each cell within the treated area begins producing new cells to replace the cells of the injured tissue. Once ATP production increases, so does a cell’s production of fibroblasts. These cells provide the building blocks of the body’s connective tissue, producing collagen and other soft tissues and making increased fibroblast creation particularly helpful in treating sports injuries involving torn tendons or ligaments.