Medically reviewed by Karen Wolters, RN and Joanna Fearnley, LPN
If you are like most active individuals, you probably enjoy engaging in sports, but hate the sore muscles you experience after a good game. So have you ever wondered if there exists an easy way to reduce the time needed for post-game muscle recovery? And is there a safe and effective way to decrease muscle fatigue for better athletic performance? The simple answer to these questions is yes, there is — non-invasive, fast-acting, and risk-free Red Light Therapy!
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The good news for all athletes is that a simple and easy twenty-minute Red Light Therapy session before and/or after any type of sports activity or exercise can make a big difference in muscle performance, muscle fatigue, and recovery time! And not only can Red Light Therapy accelerate the repair of muscle damage, it can even help prevent it!
Red Light Therapy Benefits Athletes
In a nutshell, Red Light Therapy is the use of light at different wavelengths and intensities to “…induce biochemical changes in tissue in a stimulatory or inhibitory manner.”1 Red Light Therapy is also known as “light emitting diode (LED) therapy; “photobiomodulation (PBM),” and “phototherapy.”
With each passing decade, science continues to discover more and more therapeutic benefits that Red Light Therapy affords skin, muscles, nerves, cartilage, tendons, and even bones. Red Light Therapy’s benefits for muscles are especially exciting for athletes:
· Red Light Therapy can enhance muscle performance
· Red Light Therapy can delay and reduce muscle fatigue
· Red Light Therapy can repair muscle damage
· Red Light Therapy can prevent muscle damage
· Red Light Therapy can improve postexercise muscle recovery
As a 2013 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training confirms, “Investigators could conclude that exposing skeletal muscle to single-diode and multidiode laser or multidiode LED therapy positively affects physical performance by delaying the onset of fatigue, reducing the fatigue response, improving postexercise recovery, and protecting cells from exercise-induced damage.”2 This makes Red Light Therapy a very valuable therapeutic tool for all athletes, whatever their performance level. So why does Red Light Therapy affect such beneficial results in skeletal muscle?
How Red Light Therapy Supports Muscles
Red Light Therapy produces wide-ranging effects at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels when Red Light Therapy pads are placed on the body. Photons of light emitted from the pads are easily absorbed through the skin, penetrating deeply into several inches of tissue. This light is then converted into signals that induce cascades of therapeutic chemicals to be released in cells that trigger, support, and speed up the body’s innate healing processes.
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One of the therapeutic chemicals that Red Light Therapy boosts is “adenosine triphosphate (ATP),” which is vital for muscles. “Muscles rely heavily on adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the biological source of energy needed for muscle work, and therefore robust increased ATP levels are the most popular hypothesis to explain the extraordinary effects that PBM appears to exert on muscle tissue.”3 So, by using Red Light Therapy pre-game, athletes can increase their skeletal muscle ATP levels, resulting in better working muscles for better game performance.
Red Light Therapy Reduces Recovery Time
Science has discovered that the level of ATP in muscle cells can make a big difference in not only performance but also recovery time. “Skeletal muscle adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels are severely depleted during and following prolonged high intensity exercise. Recovery from these lower ATP levels can take days, which can affect performance on
subsequent days of exercise.”4 But by using Red Light Therapy post-game, athletes can replenish the ATP levels in their muscles for faster recovery time!
When to Use Red Light Therapy
Is it better to use Red Light Therapy pre- or post-game? Although most researchers have chosen to study the effects of Red Light Therapy before physical activity, there are studies that have found that Red Light Therapy provides benefits both before and after physical activity. “However, evidence has shown positive effects in the application before and after exercise in the ability to prevent injuries related to muscle fatigue and also in the improvement of the recovery process.”5 Another study stated, “Both preconditioning (light delivered to muscles before exercise) and PBM applied after exercise can increase sports performance in athletes.”6
It is interesting to note that Red Light Therapy administered before activity can also help improve muscle recovery after exercise or sports. One study found that even though Red Light Therapy was administered as a stand-alone therapy to high-level soccer players before exercise, performance and recovery were also improved, with Red Light Therapy, “…enhancing athletic performance and improving postexercise recovery.”7 And a 2016 study of twelve male athletes also concluded that Red Light Therapy administered pre-exercise “…can enhance performance and accelerate recovery of high-level rugby players in field test.”8
Add Red Light Therapy to Your Exercise Equipment
Whether Red Light Therapy is administered pre- or post-game, or both, its therapeutic benefits for muscle endurance and performance during sports and exercise, and muscle recovery after physical activity are undeniable. To summarize, Red Light Therapy, “…can improve muscle performance, reduce muscle fatigue during exercises, and benefit the muscle repair.”9 So keep a Red Light Therapy device wherever you train or exercise because, “Phototherapy appears to be a viable treatment modality for skeletal muscle. It is safe, easy to administer, and noninvasive and has no known side effects and few reported contraindications.”10
Choose HealthLight For Red Light Therapy Pads
Just as all exercise equipment is not created equal, so it is with Red Light Therapy devices. To get the best support for your muscles, purchase your Red Light Therapy device from HealthLight. All HealthLight systems are durable, high quality medical-grade devices for both clinics and consumers that deliver the optimum amount of joules into the body for fast-acting and dependable pain relief, plus the acceleration of your body’s innate healing processes! HealthLight makes the most powerful clinical-strength Red Light Therapy devices available in today’s marketplace to provide you the therapeutic benefits of Red Light Therapy in the convenience of your home. HealthLight offers a wide choice of Red Light Therapy pads and controllers to meet the needs and budget of any individual, family, or health practitioner. Your muscles will thank you!
1 Borsa PA, Larkin KA, True JM. Does phototherapy enhance skeletal muscle contractile function and postexercise recovery? A systematic review. J Athl Train. 2013 Jan-Feb;48(1):57-67. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.12. PMID: 23672326; PMCID: PMC3554033, p. 57.
2 Borsa PA, Larkin KA, True JM. Does phototherapy enhance skeletal muscle contractile function and postexercise recovery? A systematic review. J Athl Train. 2013 Jan-Feb;48(1):57-67. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.12. PMID: 23672326; PMCID: PMC3554033, p. 65.
3 Ferraresi C, Huang YY, Hamblin MR. Photobiomodulation in human muscle tissue: an advantage in sports performance? J Biophotonics. 2016 Dec;9(11-12):1273-1299. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201600176. Epub 2016 Nov 22. PMID: 27874264; PMCID: PMC5167494, p. 2.
4 Seifert JG, Brumet A, St Cyr JA. The influence of D-ribose ingestion and fitness level on performance and recovery. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Dec 20;14:47. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0205-8. PMID: 29296106; PMCID: PMC5738882, p. 1.
5 Machado AF, Micheletti JK, Vanderlei FM, Nakamura FY, Leal-Junior ECP, Netto Junior J, Pastre CM. Effect of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and light-emitting diodes (LEDT) applied during combined training on performance and post-exercise recovery: protocol for a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Braz J Phys Ther. 2017 Jul-Aug;21(4):296-304. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.05.010. Epub 2017 May 20. PMID: 28579190; PMCID: PMC5537481, p. 303.
6 Ferraresi C, Huang YY, Hamblin MR. Photobiomodulation in human muscle tissue: an advantage in sports performance? J Biophotonics. 2016 Dec;9(11-12):1273-1299. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201600176. Epub 2016 Nov 22. PMID: 27874264; PMCID: PMC5167494, Abstract.
7 Tomazoni SS, Machado CDSM, De Marchi T, Casalechi HL, Bjordal JM, de Carvalho PTC, Leal-Junior ECP. Infrared Low-Level Laser Therapy (Photobiomodulation Therapy) before Intense Progressive Running Test of High-Level Soccer Players: Effects on Functional, Muscle Damage, Inflammatory, and Oxidative Stress Markers-A Randomized Controlled Trial. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Nov 16;2019:6239058. doi: 10.1155/2019/6239058. PMID: 31827687; PMCID: PMC6885272, p. 1.
8 Pinto HD, Vanin AA, Miranda EF, Tomazoni SS, Johnson DS, Albuquerque-Pontes GM, Aleixo IO Junior, Grandinetti VD, Casalechi HL, de Carvalho PT, Leal-Junior EC. Photobiomodulation Therapy Improves Performance and Accelerates Recovery of High-Level Rugby Players in Field Test: A Randomized, Crossover, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Dec;30(12):3329-3338. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001439. PMID: 27050245, Abstract.
9 Ferraresi C, Hamblin MR, Parizotto NA. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on muscle tissue: performance, fatigue and repair benefited by the power of light. Photonics Lasers Med. 2012 Nov 1;1(4):267-286. doi: 10.1515/plm-2012-0032. PMID: 23626925; PMCID: PMC3635110, p. 15.
10 Borsa PA, Larkin KA, True JM. Does phototherapy enhance skeletal muscle contractile function and postexercise recovery? A systematic review. J Athl Train. 2013 Jan-Feb;48(1):57-67. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.12. PMID: 23672326; PMCID: PMC3554033. P. 65.
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