How Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy Offers Relief from PTSD Symptoms

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that can arise following exposure to traumatic events, affecting millions worldwide. Traditional treatments include psychotherapy and medications, but these are not universally effective and can have undesirable side effects. In the search for innovative treatments, red and near-infrared light therapy (RLT/NIR) has emerged as a promising complementary approach, offering a non-invasive, side-effect-free method of alleviating PTSD symptoms. This article explores the scientific rationale behind using RLT/NIR for PTSD and highlights its potential benefits based on current research.

Understanding PTSD and Its Impact

PTSD is characterized by a range of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and sleep disturbances, stemming from altered brain function and neurochemistry following traumatic experiences. Effective treatment is crucial not only for alleviating these symptoms but also for improving the overall quality of life for those affected.

The Science Behind RLT/NIR

RLT/NIR involves the use of specific wavelengths of light (typically between 600 nm to 1000 nm) to penetrate the skin and underlying tissues. These wavelengths are absorbed by mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of cells, leading to increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), reduced inflammation, and enhanced cellular repair and regeneration. The therapy has been widely recognized for its benefits in wound healing, pain reduction, and anti-inflammatory effects.

RLT/NIR for PTSD: How It Works

  1. Neurological Effects: RLT/NIR can penetrate the skull and reach the brain, where it promotes neuronal repair and neurogenesis. This can help restore normal brain function and neurotransmitter balance, addressing the root causes of PTSD symptoms.
  2. Sleep Improvement: Many individuals with PTSD suffer from sleep disturbances. RLT/NIR has been shown to improve sleep quality by regulating circadian rhythms and reducing anxiety, which can be particularly beneficial for PTSD sufferers.
  3. Reduction in Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a known factor in the development and perpetuation of PTSD. RLT/NIR's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce systemic inflammation, thereby potentially mitigating some of the physiological triggers of PTSD symptoms.
  4. Stress Reduction: By promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, RLT/NIR can help lower stress levels in individuals with PTSD, further contributing to symptom relief.

Evidence and Research

While research on RLT/NIR for PTSD specifically is still in its early stages, preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence suggest positive outcomes. For instance, veterans and others who have experienced traumatic events report reductions in anxiety, improvements in mood, and better sleep after undergoing RLT/NIR treatment. These findings are consistent with the known benefits of RLT/NIR on brain health and stress reduction, providing a strong foundation for further investigation into its potential as a treatment for PTSD.


Red and near-infrared light therapy offers a new horizon for individuals struggling with PTSD, presenting a gentle yet effective option for symptom management. Its ability to improve neurological function, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation without adverse side effects makes RLT/NIR a compelling addition to current PTSD treatment modalities. As research continues to advance, there is hope that RLT/NIR will become an integral part of comprehensive care plans for PTSD, shining a light on the path to recovery for those affected by this challenging condition.