Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s healing process, but too much inflammation can wreak havoc on the body. Inflammation is typically caused by things that put the body under stress. There are physical causes of inflammation like injuries and wounds, but inflammation also occurs in response to biological factors like infection, poor nutrition, dehydration, inadequate sleep, and stress.
Pain is a result of inflammation. When the body is stressed or injured, pain lets us know that something is damaged and attention is required. Our bodies have a number of biological response mechanisms that are immediately engaged when pain triggers the alarm. Not all inflammation is necessarily bad for your health. Acute inflammation is a normal response to injury where inflammation works to clear the damaged tissue and start the repair process. Once the injury is healed, the inflammation fades away.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is caused by frequent and persistent acute inflammation, typically from viral infections, autoimmune reactions, and recurrent tissue damage. Chronic inflammation can be very painful and may lead to other conditions, like arthritis, damaged skin, poor gut health, and increased risk for cancer and other illnesses.
Inflammation is often treated with powerful anti-inflammatory prescriptions, or milder drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or NSAIDs. Unfortunately, these drugs only address the symptoms of inflammation and do not typically impact the root causes like cellular function, tissue repair, and increased circulation.
Lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and sleep play a major role in keeping the body in proper balance, so acute inflammation doesn’t become chronic. Red and near-infrared light exposure is also important for optimizing cell performance, so cells can repair, regenerate, and make energy efficiently.
Red light therapy also improves blood flow to damaged tissue which helps with chronic inflammation caused by autoimmune disease, infections, or repeat injuries. Improved blood flow and reduced inflammation help the entire body work more efficiently and with less pain. Another key mechanism for how red and near-infrared light therapy work to reduce inflammation is through hormesis. Hormesis works by stressing out the body and temporarily increasing free radicals. When you think of hormesis, think of exercise. Hormesis, just like exercise, is the process by which a stressor stimulates changes that actually improve health.