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Recently, my doctor recommended adding red light therapy to stimulate cellular energy production and grow new stem cells injected into my lower spine. Since I have documented the spinal stem cell procedure in a previous story, this article aims to educate readers on the benefits of red light therapy for various health and wellness purposes. I will also share the results of my journey with red light therapy related to the stem cell procedure.
First, what is inflammation? Let’s examine the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments. We will also review how red light therapy promotes balance, optimizes cellular function, and supports your body’s response to inflammation and pain.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation may come into your field of awareness if your body becomes red, hot, swollen, or painful in response to an injury or an infection. Inflammation isn’t just a symptom; it’s a complex process in every living thing. Think of inflammation as your body’s programmed response to danger. It’s one of your immune system’s first actions against germs, irritation, and cell damage. However, according to Harvard Health Publishing,
if inflammation becomes a chronic problem, it can also be a route to disease and wider dysfunction in the body. 
What Causes inflammation?
Inflammation can be caused by almost anything that puts the body under stress. There are clear physical causes of inflammation like injuries & wounds, bruises, burns, splinters — and even stem cell procedures. Harvard Health Publishing states:
Inflammation also occurs due to biological factors like infection from germs and stress. Chemical irritants, toxins, and alcohol can also trigger inflammation. 
Furthermore, Medical News Today reports:
Our bodies can become inflamed in response to environmental stressors — like inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, dehydration, and exposure to toxins. 
Over time, these environmental factors can play a role in developing chronic inflammation with more serious long-term health implications.
Signs and Symptoms of Inflammation
There are five classic signs of inflammation:
- loss of function
Chemicals like bradykinin, a peptide that promotes inflammation and histamine, cause pain that your body releases to stimulate your nerve endings as a warning of danger, according to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. 
An abundance of clinical evidence, such as findings reported in the BMC Medical Journal, shows how:
Inflammation can cause depression, and vice-versa; depression can cause inflammation. .
This is big news for mental health practitioners, who should consider the whole client — mind, body, and spirit- instead of the narrow view of brain function.
Acute or Chronic Inflammation?
We know not all inflammation is harmful to your health. Acute inflammation can help our body recover from a specific problem. In a normal response to stress or injury, inflammation sets in within a few hours and works to clear the damaged tissue and start the repair process. Once again, Harvard Health Publishing tells us:
Once the injury or strain is healed, the inflammation fades away. 
However, the same report states chronic inflammation is often caused by:
frequent acute inflammation, as well as viral infections, autoimmune reactions, recurrent tissue damage, and foreign bodies that aren’t removed. 
The Evolution of Inflammatory Diseases suggests chronic inflammation can be quite painful and lead to other conditions like:
Arthritis, lackluster skin, poor gut health, and even increased risk for some cancers. 
We know chronic inflammation is common in Western society and may be the underlying cause of other diseases, such as:
- heart disorders
In the medical paper Chronic Inflammation, I was surprised to learn how over half of all human deaths are attributed to inflammation. 
Current Inflammation Treatments, Risks, & Side Effects
Inflammation is often treated with NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include supposed lower-risk, over-the-counter varieties like aspirin and ibuprofen that can treat symptoms of acute pain.
When serious chronic inflammation arises, patients often take prescription NSAIDs. However, according to several publications on the topic, these medications have shown numerous risks for people over age 60 and kidney risks for the general population. [7,8,9]
In general, established inflammation treatments only address the symptoms of inflammation, like pain and swelling, not the root causes, like cellular function, tissue repair, and biological imbalance.
Given the limitations of existing treatments, it’s of no surprise people look beyond NSAIDs and pharmaceuticals for solutions to chronic inflammation and pain. Lifestyle factors (diet, exercise, sleep quality) play a significant role in keeping the body balanced so acute inflammation doesn’t become chronic.
There is a reason humans are encouraged to soak up the morning sun. Healthy light exposure is also essential for cells to repair, regenerate, and make energy efficient. Next, let’s examine how light, specifically red light therapy treatments, helps to support the cellular response to inflammation and pain.
Red Light Therapy For Pain Relief and Inflammation Management
Red light therapy treatments are a perfect way to support a healthy lifestyle by enhancing cellular function. Like exercise, nutritious eating, restful sleep, and beneficial light exposure, it helps manage inflammation and pain.
What is Red Light Therapy?
A simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers wavelengths of red and near-infrared (NIR) light to the skin and cells. The term “red light therapy” refers to treatments from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that deliver specific wavelengths of red and NIR light to the skin and cells.
Red Light Therapy and Inflammation
According to the medical paper, Low-level Laser (Light) Therapy Increases Mitochondrial Membrane Potential:
light therapy treatments help supply the mitochondria in your cells with the light needed to make the ATP energy that powers your body. 
Red light therapy allows a person to supplement the sunlight they get from their environment with concentrated wavelengths of red and NIR light.
What Science Says
Dr. Hamblin from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, is one of the world’s leading photomedicine researchers and believes light therapy produces an “overall reduction in inflammation.” 
To summarize the paper, Dr. Hamblin shares how:
red and near-infrared light acts as a mild form of stress that activates protective mechanisms in cells. When red light hits the skin and penetrates into cells, mitochondria are nudged to make energy more efficient. This boosts the production of healing anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that speed up healing. 
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Several medical journals report how red and NIR light helps balance the body’s inflammatory effects by boosting cellular energy and reducing oxidative stress. Wavelengths of red and NIR light have been shown to stimulate the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse. They can optimize the cellular respiration process that makes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy, which increases function, speeds healing, and can reduce inflammation & discomfort, as demonstrated in numerous peer-reviewed studies. [12,13,14,15,16]
The research paper Individual Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Risk of Acute Kidney Injury speaks to how:
Red light therapy also supports arthritis and joint pain relief by improving blood flow to damaged tissues. 
To conclude, when cells receive the healthy light they need, the whole body has the potential to work more efficiently, with improved circulation and reduced inflammation.
My Experience With Red Light Therapy
When I stand between two warm red lite panels, I’m intrigued by what activity must occur at the cellular level, particularly the possibility of stem cells adhering to and regrowing the bottom three vertebrae of my spine.
Given the intensity of the wavelengths of red and NIR light, I cannot stand between the panels for more than 10 minutes; otherwise, my body limits how much light can be absorbed through the skin. Exceeding ten minutes is a waste of time, and I appreciate the quick in-and-out experience of the protocol.
As I’m standing in between the panels, I have observed the following:
- Parts of my skin appear translucent; I can see the veins in my legs
- I feel the tiny hairs on my body “stand up” and tingle
- My body feels warm and good, nurtured
- I experience calm and, later, a gentle fatigue
Within an hour of experiencing red light therapy, my lower back feels low-level discomfort; however, according to the stem cell doctor, this is a normal part of the process.
Now, as I move into the second month of recovery from the stem cell procedure, it is too early to tell if the stem cells are maturing until I receive an MRI in March 2024 to see physical developmental changes. Red light therapy is a critical success factor in ensuring a positive outcome from the stem cell procedure.