According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 1 out of 10 women suffer from negative postpartum symptoms. These can severely affect their quality of life as a new mother. It can also affect the lives of their partner and their children.
This article explores the possibility of using red light therapy as a treatment for postpartum healing, which can help improve mood as well as with the burden of being a new parent.
Red light therapy can help with a variety of different conditions related to physical healing after delivery. The treatment is safe for short and long-term use.
Here are some ways that red light therapy may be able to help.
Healing From an Episiotomy, C-Section, or Pelvic Floor Laceration
An episiotomy or pelvic floor laceration associated with a vaginal delivery can be very painful for weeks after giving birth. Red light therapy helps reduce pain and inflammation to speed up healing.
Likewise, you can reduce pain, speed up healing, and treat and help minimize C-section scars.
It may not be feasible for you to start red light treatment immediately after a C-section, but home treatment is easy and convenient at home.
The sooner you start red light treatment postpartum, the better. The treatment supports the formation of normal healthy skin tissue instead of scar tissue. This is especially helpful in the case of an emergency C-section that would otherwise leave a prominent scar.
Red light therapy has also been used in a variety of clinical settings to help women reduce post-partum pain.
“As a Women’s Health and Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation specialist, I've seen remarkable outcomes in pain and inflammation reduction as well as faster healing of post-surgical scars and childbirth-related pelvic floor lacerations using PlatinumLED therapy lights. I recommend starting with low-level red light therapy at wavelengths R+ 630nm and 660nm during the acute healing phase and gradually incorporating and increasing the NIR settings as the wound progresses to the proliferation and remodeling phase."
Functional Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy, Dr. Alayna Newton, PT, DPT, FAFS
Better Skin with Red Light Therapy
A mother’s body undergoes wild hormonal fluctuations before and after pregnancy. This can result in acne.
Red light therapy offers relief from acne by helping to kill acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin, as well as boosting skin cells’ ability to fight off bacterial infections.
Reduced Stretch Marks
Red light therapy can reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Stretch marks form when collagen and elastin proteins are ruptured during the rapid stretching of skin that occurs in pregnancy.
Red light therapy supports collagen production, which helps to form normal skin. Along with boosting collagen production, red light therapy supports the production of elastin, which allows the skin to stretch. This flexibility is needed to help grow normal skin as stretch marks fade.
Postpartum Hair Regrowth
Some women experience postpartum hair loss. Red light therapy can help activate the hair follicles and stimulate them into hair-growing mode.
Postpartum Weight Loss
If you’ve gained weight during pregnancy, red light therapy can help. It works by promoting tiny pores in fat cells which allow lipids to leak out. These are essentially fat. One study showed a complete emptying of treated fat cells after six minutes of red light therapy.
This study used lasers, but these results have also been observed with high-powered LED red light therapy devices like the BIOMAX series.
Red light therapy can also promote the growth of muscle mass, which may increase the rate of the metabolism and help burn fat naturally.
Reduced Nipple Pain During Breastfeeding
Before or after you nurse your baby, try red light therapy for a few minutes. Breastfeeding pain could come from a baby that is a very vigorous eater; impacted milk ducts; dry skin; or inflammation from an infection.
Red light therapy can also effectively reduce pain. Meanwhile, blue light can kill bacteria on the surface of the nipples to treat or prevent infections that cause pain.
Traces of blue light at 480nm have been integrated into the BIOMAX Series to supplement the R+ and NIR+ wavelengths also provided by these panels.
Joint and Muscle Pain
A woman's joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles go through a lot of trauma during childbirth. Red light therapy can help ease the pain in the pelvic area that occurs from giving birth.
Lack of sleep is one of the biggest challenges that new parents face.
Red light therapy can promote sleep because it doesn’t interfere with your circadian rhythm.
Every time your baby cries at night, you probably go into the baby’s room, turn on the lights, and see what’s going on. Switching on the light immediately adds a lot of blue light to the room which signals wakefulness, especially if you use “bright white” LED lights that mimic natural sunlight.
Our circadian rhythms are influenced by the amount of blue and red light exposure we receive. Blue light is highly stimulating to photoreceptors. Red wavelengths are soothing.
If the circadian rhythm is off (thanks to having to get up for nightly feedings and to calm a fussy baby) this directly affects hormonal balance, immune function, and metabolism.
Do not sleep with your LED light therapy device on. Any kind of bright light will stimulate wakefulness!
To have more energy during the day in those early weeks of a baby’s life, take a red light therapy session before bed. When you are sleeping (when your baby lets you sleep) the quality of your sleep will be better.
Red light therapy can also treat sleep inertia, that awful groggy feeling you get when you wake up after a sleepless night. Red light therapy works to increase alertness and mental abilities in shift workers, medical professionals, pilots, and any other occupation that has people staying up when they should be asleep. That's great news for sleep-deprived parents!
Tip: use red-tinted bulbs in your baby’s nursery at night to minimize blue light emissions that interfere with sleep. You’ll be able to do diaper changes or midnight feedings without having to turn on the room lights. Red-tinted bulbs are not the same thing as red light therapy but the bulb coating will make the nighttime atmosphere more soothing and you and your baby will be able to get back to sleep faster than if you use normal light bulbs.
How Does Red Light Therapy Help?
One of the key ways that red light therapy could be effective on both psychological and physical conditions is its ability to stimulate the mitochondria.
A condition called mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to many diseases. Mitochondrial dysfunction can occur because of inflammation, chronic stress, or even pregnancy.
Therefore, supporting the body at the cellular level could be a way to accelerate the process of healing from childbirth. This can lead to normalized hormonal balance and improved brain function, including relief from postpartum depression.
Check out the Learning Center to discover how red light therapy works to treat a variety of health conditions.
How can you use red light therapy to treat postpartum depression and get your body back after having a baby? Use the best red light therapy devices available:
The wavelengths that will help support your body after pregnancy include blue, red, and near-infrared. The BIOMAX Series RLT panels contain a proprietary mix of wavelengths:
- 480nm blue light to help combat acne and help reduce bacteria on the nipples or surgical scars
- 620 and 660nm red light to support skin health, treat stretch marks, promote good sleep, and regrow hair
- 810, 830, and 850nm near-infrared light to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and soothe joint pain; these wavelengths can also support brain health
The BIOMAX Series panels are exceptionally powerful. You can even link two or four of these modular panels together to increase power and treatment size.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more!