REDjuvenate Light Therapy Center in Pittsburgh helps relieve pain for some | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

REDjuvenate Light Therapy Center in Pittsburgh helps relieve pain for some

1762648_web1_ptr-REDjuvenate1
Courtesy of REDjuvenate.
Red light therapy is designed to help alleviate pain.
1762648_web1_ptr-REDjuvenate2
Courtesy of REDjuvenate.
Red light therapy is designed to help alleviate pain.

Seeing red gives Beth Cober the ability to get up and go.

A few times each month, the Morgantown resident drives to Pittsburgh to visit REDjuvenate, a light therapy center in East Liberty.

Cober, who suffers from fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, lies in a whole-body light therapy bed for up to an hour at a time. The device uses wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to penetrate the skin and create a biochemical effect within the cells that increases mitochondrial function. The FDA-approved treatment is known to reduce aches and inflammation, relax muscles and joints and increase blood circulation.

For Cober, a recent knee-surgery patient, it’s a healthy alternative to pain pills.

“I’m always looking for complementary treatments to go along with seeing my regular doctor,” she said.

When saunas, massage and acupuncture didn’t work, she headed to REDjuvenate, where a trained technician used a THOR handheld laser therapy device on her swollen knee. After a few sessions, she said she ditched her crutches.

Dr. Dwight Heron, a radiation oncologist in practice for nearly two decades, is co-founder of REDjuvenate. For years, he’s used the procedure to ease the side effects his cancer patients experience, such as skin irritations and mouth ulcers.

He said clinical trials pioneered in Pittsburgh giving insight into how red light therapy works and the ways it can help everyone — from people with chronic diseases to fatigued office workers to athletes with injuries — find relief.

REDjuvenate is the first facility of its kind in Pennsylvania. The center opened on Penn Avenue in June. It boasts a bed, several hand-held units and two technicians: Christa Iams and Giulio Conte, who both graduated from Slippery Rock University with degrees in exercise science.

When people arrive, they fill out an intake form to help the staff determine the best treatment options: localized treatment, whole body application or a combination of both. Treatments vary from 10 minutes to an hour a few times a week, depending on the patient.

Tony Recchia, a PGA champion, made an emergency stop at REDjuvenate in the middle of a three-day golf tournament when pain began restricting his swing. He had treatments on his back and shoulders and hit the links the following day, better than ever.

The lifelong athlete, who played football at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1980s, said he’s tried every method of easing sports-related discomfort, but he’s most impressed by red light therapy.

After Recchia’s son hurt his hip flexor during a basketball game, the teen “went red” and was back on the court within a week. In his prime, it took the elder Recchia six to eight weeks to recover from the same injury using other remedies, such as ice baths.

“I am an extreme believer in it,” he said of the treatment.

Heron and the other shareholders, many of them fellow physicians, hope to add more beds to the East Liberty location and then open centers in the North and South hills and eventually cross state lines with their concept.

Cober hopes they make it to Morgantown.

“Ideally, I would like to go twice a week,” she said. “It does make a difference in my energy level.”

Kristy Locklin is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.