EMDR and PTSD on Veterans: Can Light Therapy Help?

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While many of us have been fortunate never to experience war, innocent civilians and veterans are examples of those who experience PTSD after conflict. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in individuals who've witnessed a traumatic event.

Typically, those who engage in armed combat have a high chance of witnessing terrible scenes that traumatize them upon returning home. Once being exposed to life or death events, going back to living a regular civilian life is an immense struggle for many people. However, PSTD can occur in all people, with approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults being affected by PTSD per year.

The symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Intrusive thoughts and memories
  • Anxiety
  • Alterations in mood and cognition
  • Hypervigilance
  • Insomnia
  • Risky behavior
  • Nightmares
  • Anger and irritability
  • Self-isolation
  • Avoidance

Various therapies are provided to veterans experiencing PTSD, including group therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, or stress inoculation therapy. However, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a popular alternative therapy that's proven to reduce PTSD symptoms significantly in comparison to other therapies.

EMDR involves a series of stages, helping the individual process the traumatic memory while moving his/her eyes back and forth by following the therapists’ finger. The therapy relieves PTSD symptoms by allowing the individual to process their trauma.

But EMDR treatment works best when complemented with red light therapy. Why? Because red light therapy can help reduce the symptoms of PTSD, including insomnia.  Light plays a crucial role in the human body. Red light therapy is a non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatment option for those with PTSD. But how does it work?

Red light therapy boosts the cells' energy via natural light, increasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. Thus damaged cells can heal, and new cells are produced quickly, creating a high functioning and optimal system. However, that's not the only thing red light therapy can do. Red light therapy improves an individual's sleep quality, which balances melatonin production and syncs the sleep-wake cycle.

A study from 2014 on cognitive function and traumatic brain injury (TBI) showed that participants had significantly decreased episodes of PTSD and improved sleep quality. Red light therapy can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety as many mood disorders affect the circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle.

While EMDR treatment will help process the traumatic memory, red light therapy will give the body the support to achieve internal balance and reduce PTSD symptoms. When dealing with PTSD, we need to approach it with a full-body treatment. The body, mind, and soul need to sync. With red light therapy, veterans with PTSD can gain control of their lives again and heal from the inside out.

Luckily, Kaiyan Medical produces MDSAP-certified and FDA-approved light therapy products and devices for your own at-home treatment or even for your patients. We've worked hard to provide solutions for both patients and healthcare practitioners, catering to various needs. Whether you're looking to private label your own light therapy devices or for home use, contact our team, as we would love to help you through your light therapy journey.