Red Light Therapy For Muscle Recovery
There are numerous studies conducted to prove that red light therapy has a positive influence on physical performance. This has led many pro athletes and trainers to include sessions of red light therapy application in their workout routine.
Top pro athletes make a habit of engaging in long hours of high-intensity workouts.
Consequently, they develop muscle soreness, fatigue, pain, and inflammation which keeps them from participating fully in future workouts. Besides, muscle soreness may cause serious injuries when athletes work out.
Red light therapy not only improves physical performance but also inhibit the onset of muscle soreness and fatigue resulting from workouts.
For this reason, many athletes and trainers have taken a liking to red light therapy.
There are numerous studies that supports the notion that states that “red light therapy prevents muscle soreness and increases the rate of muscle recovery. The experiences of some elite athletes and fitness experts are also documented in this article.
How Red Light Therapy Fuels Your Muscles
The application of red light therapy involves the delivery of a safe and concentrated dose of natural light within the red and infrared wavelength to your skin. Cells are stimulated in a process known as photobiostimulation and oxidative stress is decreased. Hence, more energy is generated for biological activities. Consequently, there is an increase in function and healing rate plus a marked reduction in pain and inflammation.
Red and Infrared wavelength of natural light encourage the production of antioxidants which reduces oxidative stress - known to have a strong association with fatigue. Antioxidants also promote the production of heat proteins – substances that prevent oxidative stress and early cell death. 
Various researches conducted on the effect of red light therapy demonstrates an increase in blood circulation which improves oxygen and nutrient supply to the site of injury. Thus, the rate of healing is accelerated and toxic substances are eliminated in the process. .
Research Shows Red Light Therapy Prevents Muscle Soreness and Fatigue
There are numerous studies and clinical trials that demonstrate the prevention of muscle soreness and fatigue by red light therapy. Some of them are highlighted below:
✅ Less Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness
Pain and stiffness felt 1-3 days following participation in a workout or vigorous physical activity is termed delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). A certain clinical trial investigating the effect of red light therapy and exercise draws the following conclusions:
Participants treated with red light therapy experienced a more significant reduction in pain compared to those in the control group.
The pain scores as assessed by the McGill Pain Questionnaires were significantly different in a 48-hour period.
Summarily, red light therapy has a positive impact on symptoms relating to DOMS. 
A clinical trial conducted in 2014 shows that the application of red light therapy before any form of vigorous physical activity improves skeletal muscle performance, reduce biochemical markers associated with skeletal muscle injuries and prevent DOMS.  These findings are in line with those from a previous study which demonstrate that red light therapy application before exercises slows down the onset of muscle fatigue. 
✅ Less soreness & damage after intense workouts
A 2014 study conducted on healthy young adult males who had participated in “damaging eccentric exercises” shows that red light therapy application before such activities prevents a significant loss in the range of motion and muscle strength, and reduces muscle soreness. .
✅ Postmenopausal women feel less soreness from exercise
Red light therapy is demonstrated to have a positive impact on muscle soreness across a wide variety of populations, including women in their postmenopausal years when applied in combination with exercises.
The findings of a 2014 clinical trial show that red light therapy not only improves the performance of the quadriceps muscles but also decreases the onset of peripheral fatigue in postmenopausal women. .
A combination of treadmill training and infrared-LED therapy has an increasing effect on muscle power and slows down the onset of leg fatigue in females in their postmenopausal ages. 
✅ Less running damage
A 2012 clinical trial shows that red light therapy application reduces the incidence of oxidative stress and muscle injury in runners. This is achieved by modifying the redox system. 
✅ Less Knee Muscle Fatigue
A 2018 study reports that the application of red light prior and following an exercise session results in lower incidences of muscle fatigue.  Findings from another study published in 2010 indicates that the application of red light therapy prior to an exercise prevents the buildup of muscle proteins in the blood serum. 
✅ Fighting Inflammation
There are many studies that report a reduction in inflammation on the application of red light therapy. 
This is supported by experiences shared by many red light therapy users. One of them is Jorge Cruise, a celebrity trainer who told us that he advises his clients to incorporate red light therapy into their daily workout routine. He notes that many clients are unable to take part in workouts due to inflammation, Furthermore, he admits red light therapy application allows clients to attend gym sessions regularly since pain is reduced.
Red light therapy leads to a lower level of creatine kinase which is an indicator of decreased incidence of muscle fatigue: Creatine Kinase is an enzymatic substance produced in large quantities following skeletal tissue injury. Hence, it is used as a biochemical marker when assessing the level of muscle damage. 
Many studies demonstrate a marked reduction in CK levels following the application of red light therapy. A recent systematic review published in the Clinical Journal of Medicine analyzes the effect of red light therapy on creatine kinase levels in blood serum following exercises. 14 studies were reviewed in this meta-analysis and the authors discovered that there was a decrease in CK levels after applying red light. 
Large Base of Clinical Research Shows Red Light Therapy Enhances Muscle Recovery
Many pro athletes and expert trainers who use red light therapy can attest to the positive effect of red light therapy on muscle recovery. Numerous studies assessing the healing and regenerating effects of red light therapy solidify the claim made by fitness experts and world-class athletes. A meta-analysis done in 2015 concludes that red light therapy improves muscle performance and increases recovery rate. 
Pro Athletes Use Red Light Therapy for Muscle Recovery
The recent findings derived from numerous studies conducted do not stray away from the notion that the application of red light therapy accelerates muscle recovery. Hence, users’ especially professional athletes gain immensely from red light therapy.
TJ Dillashaw: He holds the current championship title in the UFC bantamweight division. At 32 years, he participates in one of the most physically demanding sport available. TJ advocates for the use of red light therapy, particularly for ageing athletes who are seeking to stay healthy. In 2018, he published a guest post which emphasised on the importance of red light therapy in muscle recovery.
A faster rate of recovery for pro volleyball players using red light therapy: Beach volleyball involves more muscular effort at the stomach and leg regions. However, elite players benefit greatly from the application of red light therapy.
A clinical trial conducted on pro volleyball players reports that biochemical markers including creatine kinase, blood lactate, and c-reactive protein are reduced following the application of red light therapy after exercise.
Lauren Fendrick is a top volleyball player and uses red light therapy too. She participated at the 2016 Rio Olympics and will likely take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She remarked that she has learned to concentrate more on her recovery following the 2016 Rio Olympics. On that note, red light therapy provides assistance in speeding up the recovery rate following a workout.
A faster recovery rate for pro soccer and rugby players with red light therapy: Clinical trials conducted on professional soccer and rugby athletes to assess endurance, speed and recovery ability demonstrates that red light therapy speeds up recovery rate. On this basis, athletes are advised to incorporate red light therapy in their workout routine to enhance recovery. Findings from another study indicate that there was a significant reduction in blood lactate levels (p ≤ 0.05) and perceived fatigue (p ≤ 0.05). 
These findings are consistent with the result derived from the research done on the rugby field.
Endurance Athletes Trust Red Light Therapy
Amelia Boone: She has won a lot of medals in obstacle racing and holds a full-time position as an attorney. When she sprained a ligament in her forefoot, she gave red light therapy a try. After a few sessions of application, she only has encouraging words to say about red light therapy and admits that it is important in recovery.
A top athletic trainer and triathlete, Ben Greenfield says red light therapy is beneficial with respect to sleep, sex drive, and muscle recovery.
Here are other top trainers and fitness experts who attest to the goodness of red light therapy.
NFL celebrities such as Patrick Peterson, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Keenan Allen have the same disposition towards red light therapy. You can read up on the experiences shared by other top athletes using red light therapy in their workouts.
✅ Recovering from demanding workouts
Findings from a 2014 clinical trial indicates that red light therapy reduces muscle soreness following vigorous physical activity, particularly when applied immediately after. 
✅ Quicker recovery for postmenopausal women
Studies assessing the role of red light therapy in the prevention of muscle fatigue also shows that postmenopausal women experience a faster rate of muscle recovery.
A 2013 clinical trial conducted on 30 postmenopausal women assessed muscle recovery and muscle tolerance within a 6-month period. A control group was involved in treadmill training, while the other received a combination of treadmill training and infrared light therapy. There was a reduced recovery time for the participants who received infrared therapy. The authors concluded that light therapy and training enhances muscular performance and accelerates recovery rate in postmenopausal women. 
✅ Red light therapy is more effective than cryotherapy in speeding up muscle recovery rate
A 2016 study compared the effects of red light therapy and cryotherapy as standalone treatments on muscle recovery. The findings reveal that light therapy has an optimal effect on muscle recovery and reduces DOMS and creatine kinase activity. Subsequently, the authors inferred that light therapy will lower the level of biochemical markers responsible for muscle soreness to the baseline, a day after high-intensity eccentric contractions. 
Past researches support the positive findings made by the more recent studies. An instance is given with a 1990 study which analysed various soft tissue injuries. The conclusion was that light therapy has a significant positive effect on muscle recovery, and increases the rate of healing. 
Bottom Line: Red and Infrared Light Therapy Speeds Muscle Recovery and Prevents Muscle Soreness
Many studies indicate that red light therapy is important in preventing muscle soreness and accelerating the rate of muscle recovery following a workout session.
The clinical findings from these researches are supported by the experience of incorporating red light therapy into workouts as shared by top athletes and fitness experts. Being an Olympic athlete is not a criterion, it is for everyone across all ages including the young persons and elderly individuals.
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