If you’re one of the millions of men who have erectile dysfunction (ED) in the US, you know how devastating and disrupting this condition can be.
But you’re not alone. ED affects around a third of men and is the most common sexual dysfunction.
Depending on the cause, treatments can include therapy, medication, surgery, or a combination of all three. The more we learn about ED, however, the more solutions become available.
In particular, natural therapies are proving successful at addressing the issue in a more holistic way.
One such option is red light therapy. This non-invasive procedure can help treat ED in many ways, making it a good choice for anyone looking to avoid other types of medication and/or their side effects.
What is erectile dysfunction?
There are many reasons a man may experience ED. These range from hormonal complications and injury to age and mental health issues.
Regardless of the cause, ED happens when blood flow to the penis is restricted. This results in a loss of function (an inability to get and/or maintain an erection) and can be extremely difficult for both the patient and partner. This is a disruptive condition that can cause physical issues and associated anxiety, depression, loneliness, and poor self-esteem.
The conventional treatment for erectile dysfunction is medication or, in cases where there is an identifiable obstruction, surgery.
The most well-known and widely prescribed drug for the condition is Viagra, which stimulates blood vessels to increase circulation. However, like all medications, Viagra and its cohorts come with a range of side effects, potentially causing damage in other areas of the body.
Does Red Light Therapy work for erectile dysfunction?
Red Light Therapy provides a more natural solution for erectile dysfunction.
Studies show red light therapy can pass through the skin to:
- Speed wound healing
- Reduce inflammation
- Ease pain
It’s widely used to treat skin conditions, hair loss, nerve damage, joint complaints, muscle pain, and more.
Non-invasive, gentle, and effective, red light therapy shows promise as a treatment for ED in many ways.
How Red Light Therapy can treat ED
While there’s not a lot of medical literature showing the application of red light therapy directly for ED (yet), there are some studies that hint at its effectiveness. In addition, there are many more studies supporting its benefits in ways relevant to the condition – such as red light’s effect on blood flow and other contributing factors.
Stimulates blood flow
The biggest factor in ED is blood circulation. Sexual function is disrupted because the penis simply isn’t getting enough blood as the vessels are constricted.
One paper, in particular, shows that both red and near-infrared light improves vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels so blood flows more freely). Going one step further, research suggests that red light, at a wavelength of 670 nm, is the most effective in terms of vasodilation.
Hormonal imbalances can cause ED, and there’s some evidence that red light can help.
Testosterone wanes as men age. If levels drop too much, men may experience low sex drive and erectile issues.
In one animal study, mice exposed to 633 nm red light saw significant increases in their testosterone levels.
Another study (this time on men!) further supported these results. Patients enrolled in the trial saw their testosterone increase by 33.5 percent after ten, 10-minute sessions of exposure to red light at 635 nm.
Boosts the brain
Often, what’s going on in our heads simultaneously affects our bodies.
Unfortunately, there’s a strong link between mental health and ED. Depression, seasonal affective disorder, and anxiety can all play havoc with our sex drive – leaving us with low libido and trouble performing.
Red light therapy is a proven mood booster, helping to alleviate a range of mental health issues.
In terms of ED, it appears that exposing parts of the brain (via the scalp) to red light can improve sexual function by stimulating those areas affected by depression.
In one study, participants suffering from depression and related sexual issues sat under a near-infrared lamp, emitting 823 nm rays.
Each session lasted 20-30 minutes, and treatment was spread over the course of several weeks. By the end of the trial, every participant reported significant improvement in sexual arousal and libido.
Red light therapy has a range of proven benefits, including better circulation, improved mood, and hormonal regulation.
While there’s no clear body of evidence yet (relating to its use specifically for ED), red light therapy is a treatment with tremendous promise and potential. As science catches up to its therapeutic power, more trials will likely take place.
In the meantime, you may consider exploring red light as part of your wellness plan. If you do, always be sure to research your treatment carefully – doing your due diligence on providers and/or devices.
It’s worth noting that this form of therapy is considered extremely safe. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on any device you’re using, and talk to your doctor if you’re worried about adverse reactions or notice any ill effects.