Chemotherapy patients oftentimes suffer a tremendous amount from the procedure, which can lead to difficult side effects including oral mucositis, an extrordinarily painful and common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation.
But one relatively new treatment may hold a world of promise for chemotherapy patients — red light therapy, which is becoming popular among holistic health practitioners and avant garde holistic health nuts worldwide.
According to a two-year clinical trial the technology, which NASA originally developed for plant growth experiments on space shuttle missions, has the ability to successfully reduce the painful side effects from chemo and radiation in bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients.
During the trial, the patients were given a far red/near infrared Light Emitting Diode treatment called High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or HEALS, to treat their oral mucositis.
“Using this technology as a healing agent was phenomenal,” said Dr. Donna Salzman, clinical trial principal investigator and director of clinical services and education at the Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, according to an article from NASA.gov published in 2011.
“The HEALS device was well tolerated with no adverse affects to our bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients.”
The trial found that there is a 96 percent chance that the improvement in pain in the high risk patient group was the result of the HEALS treatment.
The NASA created device is less expensive than a day’s hospital stay, and it is said to help suffering patients with nutrition (since eating can be so difficult with painful mouth and throat sores), less narcotic use for pain, and an increase in patient morale, Dr. Salzman said.
Unfortunately, it is not commonly offered at hospitals.
Thankfully, red light therapy is making in the medical and holistic health fields because of the wide range of conditions it can treat and improve.
“The number of conditions red light can treat is ‘continuously expanding,” said Michael R. Hamblin, PhD, a principal investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, according to an article from Healthline.
Red Light Therapy’s Main Healing Benefits
Among the other benefits offered by red light therapy include improvement with:
-Tissue regeneration and collagen production
-Cancer therapy side effects
Potential Red Light Therapy Side Effects
Reports of side effects have been minimal, although there is always risk of burning, swelling, and similar sensations if red light therapy devices are used for too long.
For those who may be wondering about cancer patients and red light therapy, a preliminary 2012 study published in the Photomedicine and Laser Surgery journal also found that the use of LLLT (low-level light therapy) even in people with malignant cancer does not promote tumor growth.
Overall, there is little research to suggest negative health effects of using red light therapy devices, although further research could shed additional “light” on the topic and it is recommended to consult with a professional before using.
Where to Find a Red Light Therapy Device
The use of red light therapy devices is not common in hospitals, despite the promise shown by the aforementioned NASA study on chemotherapy patients and people in need of general wound, skin, and cell repair among other health benefits of red light therapy.
Many people have taken to using red light therapy devices at home.
I personally am a fan of the red light therapy devices from Mito Red Light.
The one I use includes both infrared and near-infrared light therapy modes, which both offer different unique healing benefits (more on that in a future article).
More and more red light therapy companies are coming out with new products with each passing year, so keep your eyes peeled for future advancements and tweaks in the technology.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Prior to the article a sample Mito Red Light product was given to AltHealthWorks for review purposes. A small portion of any sales will go to support our blogging activities.
Consult with a doctor before using for cancer recovery or any other ailment.