Recovering Your Body: An Athlete’s Guide to Light Therapy

Light therapy is an amazing tool for so many different ailments. From acne to aging to achy muscles, there are tons of different things you can do with light therapy. Many athletes have begun turning to light therapy to help them soothe their achy muscles and sports-related injuries.

What is Light Therapy & How Does it Work?

Light therapy, also referred to as red light or infrared light therapy, involves taking a special low-light wavelength lamp and pointing it at the skin. The light seeps into the skin and can jump-start tissue recovery. It does this through collagen stimulation and increased blood flow, among other things. Clinical studies have long focused on using light therapy to increase mood and decrease seasonal affective disorder. But, newer studies are focusing on using light therapy for relief of sore muscles, pain and other athletic related issues.

Light therapy utilizes biology to help you recover. Essentially, red light therapy helps the mitochondria in muscular cells complete their respiration cycle more efficiently, which makes the muscles less likely to suffer fatigue. Light therapy also works to reduce inflammation that damages cells and makes muscles sore. Light therapy has also been shown to help grow muscles, making it not only a workout recovery asset for sore muscles, but also something that can help make your workouts more effective. Lastly, although studies about light therapies long term benefits are still in the works, it’s been shown that since light therapy improves the mitochondria respiration cycle, this can lead to better activation and formation of the muscle stem cells that eventually develop into healthier muscle tissue. This means that those who use red light therapy on their muscles will have long-lasting healthy muscle tissue as a result.

Benefits of Light Therapy

Light therapy has numerous benefits. Although this is a guide specifically for athletes, it’s important to mention how light therapy can help you in and outside your sport. Light therapy has been shown to make a difference when it comes to healing from injuries. Like muscle recovery, light therapy has an effect on the cells that control rejuvenation and production. It can speed up the wound healing process and reduce the appearance of scars.

As mentioned before, light therapy has a huge effect on muscles and joints. Red light therapy stimulates collagen production and can help with the rebuilding of cartilage. It’s also been shown to reduce pain associated with sore muscles and injuries. These effects make it an essential tool for any athlete. Even if you take away the pain relief, a majority of people do experience benefits from less muscle soreness, faster recovery and better muscle tone.

How to Use Light Therapy as an Athlete

To begin with you’ll need to use a high powered, red or infrared light. It’s been shown that infrared penetrates the skin’s layers better, but red works as well. The reVive® dpl® Nuve is an excellent choice, because it’s affordable, has a large treatment area, and is handheld and easy to maneuver. For a smaller, more affordable option, check out the reVive® Clinical.

Once you’ve purchased and read the directions for your device, you can begin using it. Studies show that it’s most effective to use light therapy before exercise or sports practice. Studies have concluded that using light therapy before exercise improves performance as well as recovery. If you only want the recovery benefits, using light therapy after exercise does show some benefit for muscle recovery compared to no light at all.

Other options for pain relief and muscle recovery other than a single handheld light include wraps, like the reVive® Compression Wrap, mitts, like the reVive® dpl® Flex Mitt, and even slippers, such as the reVive® dpl® slipper.

Light therapy can provide countless benefits to anyone, but especially athletes. Using light therapy in combination with your current workout regimen could help you see better results and feel better overall. Make sure you check out reVive® for all of your light therapy needs.

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