Dr. Terry Wahls, a clinical professor of medicine, is known for her holistic approach to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and other chronic autoimmune conditions.
She emphasizes the importance of lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and stress management as part of her protocol. Recently Dr. Wahls started to implement red and near infrared light therapy as an additional treatment to support her health.
In this post, we reveal Terry’s story, how she got started with RLT, what’s her protocol and what particular device she uses. Besides, we learn more about how and why RLT can help people with autoimmune conditions and what they should consider before using it.
The incredible healing journey of Dr. Terry Wahls
Terry became well-known for her remarkable health transformation after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite receiving conventional medical treatments, her condition continued to worsen over time, leading her to rely on a tilt-recline wheelchair for mobility.
To regain her health, she delved into research on nutrition and nutrients that support brain health and cellular function. She designed a diet and lifestyle program, that helped her to regain her health.
If you want to discover more about her journey and protocol, see this article.
Her inspiring journey hasn’t stopped there, though. She keeps looking for potential treatments and therapies that can further support her healing. That’s how she began to utilize the benefits of red light therapy, too.
How Can Red Light Therapy Help with MS and Other Autoimmune Conditions?
Red light therapy or photobiomodulation in other terms, uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate cellular healing and regeneration, which holds significant potential in addressing autoimmune conditions.
The underlying mechanism involves the interaction between light and mitochondria, which is the energy-producing organelles within our cells. So, these receptors are particularly sensitive to red and near-infrared light (NIR). When exposed to light, they can absorb photons and become more efficient in producing ATP, which is the cellular energy currency (1). All of this contributes to DNA repair, protein synthesis, and ultimately to better health and overall well-being.
Even though, RLT seems to be a promising therapy for autoimmune conditions, further research is needed to fully understand its mechanism and the efficiency of this on individuals.
Dr. Terry Wahls’s Red Light and Sauna Therapy Protocol
Terry Wahls both takes advantage of the benefits provided by infrared lights and the heat of the sauna.
One of the products she uses is made by SaunaSpace, a brand that offers a unique approach to sauna sessions. The benefits of their products derive from a combination of light therapy and heat therapy.
As they use both near and far infrared lights with additional heat, it contributes to triggering biological processes that reduce inflammation, stimulate blood flow, improve oxygenation, and boost energy production at the cellular level.
Terry usually spends her sauna sessions after working out. During that time, she also likes to do some exercises that stimulate her vagus nerve - which is ultimately responsible for calming the mind and the body. Check out this video on her Instagram to learn more about it.
The other product she regularly uses is the portable infrared panel offered by LifePro.
She basically advises to do these sessions tailored to one’s needs. No strict time limits or super specific recommendations. She says, one can use it while working out, or while watching TV. She also highlights the pros of using RLT for MS patients.
"Unlike traditional heat therapy, light therapy does not generate heat, making it an ideal alternative for those with MS who are sensitive to heat."
If you want to learn more how to use red light therapy at home, read our expert’s article.
Terry also uses LifePros’s other product from time to time for targeted treatment. Among other things, this device alleviates muscle spasm and helps treat skin conditions. See her full video here about this topic.
Undoubtedly, Terry has become an ambassador of red light therapy as she promotes this solution to everyone who wants to support her well-being. She states that:
"The benefit and the beauty of the red light is that it stimulates the efficiency and the effectiveness of the mitochondria and is improving the efficiency of the immune cells to do the repair."
What If Someone Has Heat Intolerance?
For individuals experiencing heat intolerance - which is quite common among autoimmune patience - Dr. Wahls in an interview with Brian Richards recommends a gradual approach using red light therapy.
You can access the whole interview below.
They suggest controlling the duration of the therapy sessions. Starting with shorter sessions and slowly extending them over time.
Another option is to adjust the distance between the target body area and the device. So in the beginning let’s keep a longer distance and as our tolerance is broadening, move closer to the panels.
The key point here is to embrace the concept of hormesis, which involves introducing mild stress to the body to promote resilience and adaptation. By starting gradually and avoiding severe stress, one can build heat tolerance without exacerbating symptoms.
What Shall You Do With All This Information? What's Next?
- Gather more research about the benefits of red light therapy and its mechanisms to understand its potential for autoimmune conditions.
- Explore gradual integration of RLT into daily routines, as suggested by Terry Wahls.
- Consider consulting with healthcare professionals before adopting this new therapy.
- Learn about other devices - such as LifePro and SaunaSpace, for implementing RLT at home.
- Stay informed about emerging research on red light therapy and autoimmune conditions for a well-rounded understanding.