Less chronic pain, more gain – We speak to the people behind the revolutionary Red Light Therapy treatment

One of the body’s biggest enemies is chronic pain. It is a pain or discomfort that has been experienced on and off, for three months or longer, with the limbs and back typically affected. According to statistics, 1 in 5 South Africans suffer from chronic pain to some degree, with women more likely to be affected than men.

While there is no definitive cure for chronic pains, there are a wide range of creams and gels available on the market to help alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, many of them are not effective – leaving people to deal with the consistent aches and pains for the rest of their lives. Not to worry – there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Red Light Therapy, is that light – serving as a new technology available in South Africa to help alleviate physical and emotional symptoms associated with chronic pain. The Cape Town-based team currently consists of Steven McEwen (Co-founder & CTO), Jacki McEwen-Powell (Co-founder and CEO) and Marian Draper (Studio Manager).

Wanting to know a bit more about the product and its potential benefits, Gumtree managed to speak to Jacki McEwen, Co-Founder of Red Lab, and asked her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:

What are the immediate health benefits of Red Light Therapy compared to soothing gels/pain relief creams?

Soothing creams are absorbed into the skin, producing a numbing sensation in the area applied, to relieve pain. Red Light Therapy exposes you to low levels of red and NIR light, a type of energy your eyes can’t see, but your body can feel as heat. The Near-Infrared Light penetrates deeper into the body, healing and recharging the body’s cells at a muscular and bone level. Together or separately, when applied directly to the skin, body pain and muscle tension can be relieved almost instantly.

Has this type of technology been used before on the body and is it a first to be used in South Africa?

Red Light Therapy has been used in various forms since the 1800s, mostly for its therapeutic effects on fungal infections, eczema, sleep disorders, psoriasis and emotional well-being. NASA popularised the use of Red Light Therapy in 1993, when Quantum Devices (Barneveld, WI) developed a light-emitting diode (LED) for NASA to use in their plant growth experiments. The experiments demonstrated that red LED wavelengths could boost plant growth, but coincidentally the scientist’s skin lesions began to heal faster as well. Short term the heat relaxes the muscles and eases pain instantly. Simultaneously, the Red and NIR light increases ATP (energy) production from the mitochondria. When exposed to Red and Near-Infrared light, a chain of complex physiological reactions occur, particularly in damaged tissues, and the process of cell repair is activated and accelerated. Red Lab is South Africa’s first clinical-grade Red Light and Near-Infrared Light studio, making this groundbreaking technology available to the masses.

Though Red Light is not considered a cure, have you had any cases or instances where people reported little to no chronic pain(s) after (continued) use? Almost all our customers across the board have experienced little to no chronic pain with regular use. One client, Mary, reported her sciatica had disappeared. Another client, Maureen, a hairdresser suffering with tennis elbow was able to drastically reduce her pain and anti inflammatory medication, and Shelly uses the Flex Pad regularly to help manage her muscle pain, lower back pain, and ease her joint inflammation.

Is Red Light Therapy safe to use, and is it medically approved?

Yes. It has been proven in numerous studies that Far Red to Near-Infrared LED photo rejuvenation does not harm the human body. The energy delivered is safe for all skin types. Red Light Therapy is a safe and painless treatment. Red light therapy is distinctive from other light-based therapies because it promotes beneficial healing without inflicting damage on the body. All Red Lab therapy lights are official FDA Class II Medical Devices and manufactured in an FDA registered facility.

Are there any possible negative health benefits associated with Red Light Therapy?

Red Light Therapy carries no known serious side effects. According to Michael Hamblin – associate professor at Harvard Medical School and a noted expert on red light therapy⁠ – “You could use RLT for 24 hours a day and wouldn’t damage the skin. It’s almost impossible to cause any harm.” However, while Red Light is side-effect-free, temporary tightness or redness is possible if you have sensitive skin. This can be alleviated by reducing the treatment time or moving farther back from the device. But overall, red light therapy is very safe.

Do you currently have a popular or most-used model amongst customers?

All three of our devices are very popular, for different reasons, based on the individual needs of our customers. Our Big Bank is preferred by those who want daily full body and mind Red Light Therapy benefits in as little as one 20-minute session per day. This device allows you to unlock your body’s full cellular potential every day. Our Flex Pad is a portable, rechargeable neoprene pad, embedded with 100 NIR and 50 Red Light LEDs. This device is great because the handy Velcro straps allow you to strap the fully charged device to any part of the body requiring treatment, at 20 minutes per treatment area. This medical-grade device safely relieves pain associated with many physical ailments or injuries.

The RED LAB Handheld Unit is a portable, rechargeable device consisting of 30 LEDS with 3 settings: 1: Red Light, NIR & Blue Light (a great setting offering all round benefits including acne treatment); 2: Red Light & Blue Light (great for skin related issues) and 3: Red Light & NIR (ideal to use at night when you don’t want any blue light exposure but want both muscle and skin benefits). Once fully charged, the device can be targeted (held 5cm away) at any area of the body requiring treatment. Several treatment areas can be covered, to a maximum of 60 minutes per 24 hour period. This is the ideal entry-level device for those looking for a cost-effective solution with broad-spectrum results including anti-ageing, acne treatment, pain relief, scar and wound healing and the treatment of muscle spasms or injury.

Will the range of Red Light Therapy products be extended in future?

As Red Light becomes more popular as a natural, non-invasive and broad-reaching treatment, we will undoubtedly increase our product offering.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.

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