Red Light Therapy for Lupus: Hope and Healing

Red Light Therapy for Lupus: Hope and Healing


There may be no permanent cure for lupus, but with the proper treatment, patients can often drastically reduce their symptoms. 

In the following sections, we discuss why red light therapy may be an optimal treatment for reducing flare-ups while also treating other inflammation-related ailments. 


What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects many parts of the body including the joints, brain, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, and blood. 

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because it may manifest in various parts of the body, and the varied symptoms can be hard to pinpoint.  

But like other autoimmune disorders, lupus is often diagnosed using blood tests, urinalysis, biopsies and antibody tests.

Some of the symptoms of lupus are as follows:

  • Chest pain, particularly when breathing deeply
  • Headaches or confusion
  • Muscle pain
  • Rashes
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Mouth sores
  • Swelling of the face, arms and legs
  • Swollen glands
  • Blood Clots

Symptoms may occur suddenly or in some cases develop gradually over time. They often manifest as flare-ups. 

There are several different types of lupus. The most common is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which occurs throughout the body causing widespread inflammation.

Rarer forms of lupus include cutaneous lupus erythematosus, neonatal lupus, and drug-induced lupus, which is often temporary. 

Systemic lupus erythematosus is often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, hydroxychloroquine, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants. 


UVA-1 Treatment

Some doctors treat lupus flare-ups with UVA-1 light. While effective at treating symptoms, UVA-1 therapy can also lead to skin damage and skin cancer. For this reason UVA-1 treatment is usually only used on patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus that is resistant to conventional treatment.

Another study suggests that UVA light may actually cause lupus flares. This is why patients are often advised to avoid sun exposure.  


Avoiding Lupus Triggers

Lupus patients can minimize their flare-ups by identifying triggers and avoiding them. To some degree, triggers vary from person to person, but they often include environmental toxins, smoking, stress, and hormonal imbalances. 

Patients are also advised to avoid sun exposure, to remain active, to de-stress, and to get as much quality sleep as they can.

In the next section we provide more information about how red light therapy may also be used as a treatment for lupus, but with none of the undesirable side effects.  


Can Red Light Therapy Treat Lupus?

Researchers find that ATP-deficient mitochondria are central to the disease process. 

One of the causes of lupus is mitochondrial dysfunction. The mitochondria are the parts of your cells that generate energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP.

The benefits of red light therapy occur at the cellular level, providing energy to the mitochondria to stimulate healing and reduce inflammation. 

Red light therapy supports mitochondrial health and promotes cellular homeostasis, which signifies optimal functioning. 


RLT and Inflammation

Oxidative stress and inflammation go hand-in-hand in creating mitochondrial dysfunction. Red light therapy has powerful antiinflammatory properties. 

Reducing chronic inflammation is one of its most important benefits. Reducing inflammation helps support cellular performance. This in turn has a ripple effect of faster healing throughout the body since all bodily systems are related.

The treatment has been used successfully on inflammatory disorders including psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.


RLT for Chronic Pain 

Red light therapy is used to treat osteoarthritis joint pain as well as lower back pain, neuropathy pain, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and muscle pain.

Red and near infrared light have analgesic properties. They speed up healing and shorten the duration of pain. 

One study on temporomandibular disorder (TMD), or pain related to the temporomandibular joint which connects the jawbone to the skull, revealed a significant decrease in pain among patients receiving red light therapy treatments.

Red light can ease nerve pain and painful irritated skin. Infrared light can help reach painful spots deeper in the body including the joints.

Currently, no studies exist about lupus-specific pain relief using red light therapy; but the use of red and particularly infrared light on various types of pain is well-documented.


RLT and Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome is another condition that is closely linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. 

While not necessarily related to lupus, boosting mitochondrial ATP production using red light therapy can help the body restore energy.

Chronic inflammation can also cause fatigue. The body is under stress when it tries to flush out inflammatory cytokines. Cells under stress divert their energy to fighting inflammation, which leads to systemic fatigue. 

The kidneys and liver are responsible for detoxifying your body on a daily basis. When they don’t function properly because of lupus, the body becomes lethargic, because it’s under a heavier toxin load.

Red light therapy has been used to treat chronic kidney disease by addressing mitochondrial dysfunction and reducing oxidative stress.


RLT and Hair Loss 

Lupus attacks all cells, including healthy cells. It also causes widespread inflammation which can cause hair follicles to stop growing hairs.

Red light therapy is a popular treatment for hair loss. It works by stimulating the hair follicles into a growth phase. Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a big role here as well. Lupus-damaged hair follicles go into dormancy, but they may start growing again when inflammation is reduced and cellular homeostasis is restored.


RLT and Skin Irritation

Red light therapy reduces inflammation that causes skin rashes. It also boosts collagen production to help restore skin texture.


RLT and Circulation

Good circulation is important for your health, but improving blood flow also has a surprising effect. It mimics the anti-inflammatory effects of some glucocorticoid steroid drugs. 

Red light therapy boosts circulation by increasing nitric oxide (NO) production. This vasodilator temporarily increases the diameter of blood vessels to allow blood to flow freely.

This may bode well for patients with Raynaud’s Syndrome, which is related to certain types of Lupus.

Patients who start using red light therapy to treat a specific condition often find improvement in other conditions. 

The Learning Center is a wealth of information on how red light therapy can speed up muscle recovery and wound healing, treat neuropathy, reduce the appearance of scars, and treat chronic skin disorders like acne and psoriasis.


PlatinumLED for Optimal Treatment 

All PlatinumLED  red light therapy panels feature R+ and NIR+ lights as well as traces of blue. 

Check out the BIOMAX Series to see which panel may be right for you.



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