If you struggle with addiction, addiction recovery or a mental health disorder, seeking effective noninvasive treatments can make all the difference. One possibility has shown itself in an emerging treatment: LED light therapy.
A promising avenue for those with addiction and mental health issues, LED light therapy can offer support and solace, affecting emotional well-being and potentially helping create feelings of calmness. It may also reduce withdrawal symptoms during the initial stages of addiction recovery.
Shedding Light on Light Therapy: An Overview
Addiction and mental health disorders can take a significant toll on a person’s overall well-being. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, LED light therapy is showing promise as an adjunctive therapy.
LED light therapy, or light emitting diode therapy, is a noninvasive treatment that utilizes different colors of light to stimulate cellular processes. By understanding its application, individuals in recovery can potentially benefit from this innovative approach to healing.
Conditions Treated With Light Therapy
LED light therapy is a growing choice among professionals for treating an array of physical and mental conditions.
LED Light Therapy for Emotional Well-Being
Recovering from addiction and managing mental health disorders often involves a complex interplay of emotions and stress. LED light therapy, particularly the soothing effects of red and near-infrared wavelengths, can help promote emotional well-being. These lights have the potential to reduce stress, anxiety and even symptoms of depression. With regular sessions, individuals may experience a sense of calm and improved emotional stability.
Face Light Therapy: Boosting Self-Esteem
A crucial aspect of addiction recovery and mental health management is self-esteem and self-confidence. Face light therapy can help individuals regain their self-assurance by addressing common skin concerns that may be affecting their self-esteem. Achieving healthier and clearer skin can be a confidence boost on the path to recovery.
Blue LED Light Therapy for Substance Abuse Recovery
For those on the journey to overcoming substance abuse, managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be a significant challenge. Blue LED light therapy, which uses an LED light for your face to combat acne, may offer an unexpected benefit. Some research suggests blue light can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, potentially making the recovery process more manageable.
Mood Regulation and Light Therapy
Light therapy for your face isn’t just limited to skin care benefits. Research has shown that exposure to specific wavelengths of light, such as the calming effects of red light, can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers. This may be particularly helpful for individuals dealing with depression and anxiety.
How LED Light Therapy Works
LED light therapy is simple, effective and painless. From a scientific standpoint, LED light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate activity within the cells of the body. First, the skin absorbs the light energy emitted by the LED lights. This light then penetrates the skin and affects the cells’ energy centers, called mitochondria.
This mitochondrial interaction causes an increase in the production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP — a critical part of the energy and functionality of the cells. This heightened production of ATP enhances and promotes cellular activities, including circulation, metabolism and nitric oxide release. Nitric oxide is a molecule that helps the body’s blood vessels relax.
Specific light wavelengths may have an influence on the levels of neurotransmitters in the body, which can help with regulating mood and alleviating pain. LED light therapy treatments may also help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which help not just with regular, healthy sleep but also general overall well-being.
LED light therapy is being used more and more in clinical settings by professionals who are specially trained in its application. Light therapy devices are also available for at-home use, although these devices aren’t regulated by the FDA. Users typically sit in front of the LED light therapy box and relax during the treatment session. Before purchasing an at-home LED light therapy device, it’s generally considered best practice to consult with a physician or a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist.
Effectiveness and Research Findings on Light Therapy
The potential effectiveness of light therapy in aiding addiction recovery and managing mental health disorders is an area of growing interest.
Scientists say bright light treatments like LED light therapy are effective in easing major depression, postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This emerging treatment is a more frequently recommended alternative to medicines for depression, including SAD. Unlike antidepressant drugs with delayed onset and potential side effects, light therapy offers a quicker response, typically improving symptoms within a week. The side effects, such as mild eyestrain and headaches, are infrequent.
For patients who need to minimize the use of medication, light therapy holds great promise. This is especially true for people who have limited mobility, since this demographic tends to suffer from depression at greater rates.
Research into the usability and effectiveness of LED light therapy continues. A 2023 study is looking at the use of green light in treating inflammation and pain following surgery. The goal is to reduce the amount of opioid medication necessary to manage post-surgical pain, since patients with depression, sleep problems or anxiety often require more opioid medicine following surgery. A previous clinical trial showed that green light therapy may be useful in decreasing chronic pain, depression and anxiety in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and migraine.
Researchers believe that green light affects the brainstem’s rostral ventromedial medulla, which is the body’s pain center. Green light increases the substances that naturally occur in the brain and fight anxiety and pain.
Is LED Light Therapy for You?
LED light therapy is usually well-tolerated by most patients since the procedure is noninvasive. Because of this, it’s a growing option for use in an array of applications, from skin care to the management of pain and alleviation of symptoms associated with several mental health conditions.
The potential of using LED light therapy as a complementary tool in addiction recovery, recovery from traumatic injury and mental health management is worth exploring. This approach offers a glimmer of hope on the path to recovery and mental well-being. Reach out to Sun Health Center to learn more about the various therapies available to support you on your recovery journey, including noninvasive neurotherapies and IV therapies.