Thyroid diseases are among the most misunderstood conditions. Many misconceptions about hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism abound. For example, it's commonly assumed that hypothyroidism is a disease that will require life-long meds. That isn't always true, as it can have temporary causes, such as pregnancy. In such cases, the disease dissipates when hormone levels stabilize. Yet another mistaken belief is that all OTC supplements are safe for treating thyroid diseases. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn't regulate all these supplements, which may even harm your health.
So thyroid diseases can be misdiagnosed and mismanaged. If you suspect you have a thyroid problem, your best bet is to get your thyroid hormones checked and see your doctor. Should they determine that you do, then work with your medical specialist for the best ways to manage or cure it. In this article, we'll discuss red light therapy for the thyroid gland, a potent cutting-edge treatment to complement your thyroid care program.
Why is it essential to have a healthy thyroid?
Before we talk about red light therapy for thyroid, let's first discuss why you need to keep this particular organ in optimum shape.
Your thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just under the voice box (or Adam's apple). A gland is an organ that secretes substances that have specific functions to perform. The thyroid is among the body's vital organs, taking care of its metabolism, growth, and development by supplying the body with the right amount of thyroid hormones it needs at a given time.
Your thyroid gland produces three hormones: T3, T4, and calcitonin. Follicular cells in the thyroid gland use iodine from our diet to create the first two types. T3 and T4 are in charge of managing the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how fast your body burns calories when at rest. C-cells produce the last one, calcitonin, to help regulate calcium levels by reducing them. Too much calcium in the bloodstream can cause your bones to weaken, create kidney stones, and disrupt the normal functioning of the heart and brain.
Sometimes you need a lot of thyroid hormones, like when you need extra energy to keep warm in low temperatures or to have a healthy pregnancy. On the other hand, an excessive supply of thyroid hormones can also cause serious health issues. Having too little or too many hormones can lead to these thyroid problems:
Hyperthyroidism is what happens when you have excessively high levels of thyroid hormones. When your thyroid gland is hyperactive, its production of hormones goes into overdrive. It can lead to problems such as:
- Sleeping problems
- Heat intolerance
- Weight loss
When you have deficient levels of thyroid hormones, then you probably have an underactive thyroid gland. This condition is called hypothyroidism. Some issues that can come from it are:
- Low body temperature
- Cold intolerance
- Congestive heart failure (when your heart can't pump efficiently)
- Weight gain
- Poor memory
Other potential thyroid problems are thyroid enlargement (known as goiter) and thyroid nodules (soft, fluid-filled lumps in your thyroid). Most are generally benign, although a few can be cancerous. A robust thyroid can help keep these health conditions at bay.
How does red light therapy work?
If it sounds familiar, that's because red light therapy has been around since NASA astronauts originally used it to help heal wounds and grow plants in space. Eventually, further scientific research and technology led to the discovery of even more significant health benefits.
How then does red light therapy work? It's quite simple. A device beams red and near-infrared light onto the neck where your thyroid is located. Red light is different from other types of therapeutic light because its long wavelengths can stretch to 700 nanometers. This allows the red light's energy-activating capabilities to reach the core. As a result, different beneficial interactions trigger cell repair and regeneration and boost cellular functioning.
Red light can therefore activate deep-tissue healing to make skin radiant, reduce inflammation, relieve joint and muscle pain, and many other benefits. And today, the medical community and health care practitioners have also included red light therapy in their pro-thyroid health arsenal for auto-immune disorders, including certain thyroid conditions.
How safe is red light therapy for thyroid?
Red light therapy has become a popular treatment for many health conditions because it's safe, painless, and non-invasive.
Although red light therapy mimics the natural healing powers of the sun, it doesn't harm the skin with the effects of harsh UVA and UVB rays. Instead of solar radiation, the long wavelengths of red light are a form of electromagnetic radiation that doesn't burn or hurt the skin.
Red light therapy can also stimulate tissue rejuvenation without damaging the skin's surface, unlike laser or IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy.
Benefits of red light therapy for thyroid
Specific to the thyroid gland, red light therapy can deliver the following considerable health benefits:
It helps strengthen the ability of the thyroid gland to regenerate.
The electromagnetic waves from red light therapy reach and work with the mitochondria, the cells' powerhouses that release energy. This enables the thyroid cells to function optimally, adjusting your hormonal supply based on your body's needs.
It helps reduce medication time in Hashimoto thyroiditis (hypothyroidism).
Dr. D.B. Höfling of the University of Sao Paulo Medical School in Brazil led a study on the effects of red light therapy on individuals with hypothyroidism. He and his team discovered that close to 50% of those who participated in the experiment were able to entirely stop taking medication during the nine months of follow-up. The red light effectively regenerated the thyroid follicular cells responsible for releasing normal concentrations of T3 and T4.
It protects your thyroid against natural killer cells.
We know that our bodies are equipped with a natural defense mechanism to protect them from bacteria, viruses, and other threats. However, this system can go into overdrive. When this happens, lymphocytes, the white blood cells in our immune system (or antibodies), attack other cells. To date, scientists still cannot categorically pinpoint what causes auto-immune disorders. One theory is that the culprits are hormones. This is also supported by the fact that women are more susceptible, especially during their reproductive years.
When the antibodies in the thyroid are out of whack, this can turn on the thyroid gland all the way up to overproduce hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism. Or it can also reduce the hormones down to basement levels, causing hypothyroidism.
Research shows that red light therapy can reduce the presence of thyroid antibodies and prevent auto-immune disorders from interfering with your thyroid's normal processes.
Dos and Don'ts of red light therapy for thyroid
- See a doctor to properly diagnose your thyroid condition and work with them for the best thyroid care program.
- Do keep in mind that red light therapy for thyroid works best when combined with a healthful diet, an active lifestyle, proper sleep hygiene, relaxation sessions, and regular consultations with your medical doctor.
- Although red light therapy is safer on the eyes than traditional lasers, you may want to use adequate eye protection while undergoing the treatment.
- Be consistent with your red light therapy sessions. The typical treatment duration is 20 minutes, which you may need to undergo weekly for up to ten weeks, depending on your doctor's advice.
- Home sessions can be as effective as clinical sessions. For best results, use the latest cutting-edge technology of the HigherDOSE infrared line of at-home wellness tools.
- Red light therapy virtually poses no risk of side effects. However, it's always possible for low-quality red light machines and gadgets to cause tissue and cell damage. Thus, it's critical that you choose the most effective and reputable infrared devices, such as the HigherDOSE Red Light Face Mask, which combines red and near-infrared light technologies to optimize cellular functions. It's innovatively designed with head straps that you can use on any body part, including your neck for optimal thyroid health while on the go.
Another option is the HigherDOSE Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna so that you can bring the HigherDOSE heat home with you. Heal and recover in your own heated fitness oasis and boost your immune function, circulation, and blood flow. Or you can indulge in the HigherDOSE Sauna experience by visiting our Infrared Sauna NY branches in Soho or Williamsburg. While you're there, check out our lymphatic massages for next-level detoxification. Check out the complete range of HigherDOSE products and services today!