The famous fitness coach Ben Greenfield uses red light naked every morning. He flips a switch, flooding the room with a bright red glow. Then he stands naked in the red light for 20 minutes.
“It seems to like, wake you up a little bit; it kind of simulates sunrise,” Greenfield tells. “And it’s almost mildly addictive — the feel-good effect of how you feel after you use one of these.”
Greenfield, a 39-year-old fitness instructor, is an evangelist for red light therapy, a treatment that’s increasingly popular in the world of sports, beauty, and biohacking. Some converts to red-light therapy treatment soak in the ruddy glow for a very personal reason.
Red Light Therapy
Light therapy has been for hundreds of years. Recently, we can trace it back to 1967 with Hungarian scientists, red light therapy, scientifically known as photobiomodulation or low-level laser (light) therapy, has made a comeback in the last two decades.
Michael Hamblin, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, explains in a 2017 research paper on the topic that the treatment was confined to a “SCIENTIFIC WASTELAND,” and widely considered “SNAKE OIL.”
Indeed, some studies suggest light therapy stimulates mitochondria, a.k.a. the “powerhouse” of a cell, and increases the production of adenosine triphosphate, the organic chemical that carries energy in the body and plays a big role in metabolism.
In Kaiyan Medical, we are on a constant quest to optimize our brains and bodies. Some studies have actually demonstrated that exposing the torso or the testes to light can potentially increase testosterone. In fact, studies on the effects of light on the testes go way back to 1939, when researchers exposed various parts of men’s bodies to UV light. They found that men’s testosterone levels went up by 120% when the participants’ chests were exposed to UV light, and they went up by 200% with UV exposure to the genital area.
Sunlight exposure directly to the testes reportedly has an even more profound effect, boosting production in Leydig cells (the cells that produce testosterone) by an average of 200%
The theory is this: while sunlight has many beneficial effects, such as vitamin D production and improved mood, it is not without its downsides. Too much exposure to sunlight, particularly to sensitive areas like the skin around your precious ball sac, can create sunburn, excess radiation, inflammation and damage. And let’s face it: you don’t want a shrunken, shriveled, dehydrated dick, no matter how impressive the tan.
Red light, however, is different than sunlight. Red light is comprised of light wavelengths in the range of 600–950 nanometers (nm). According to red light therapy proponents, red light works to stimulate ATP production, increase energy available to the cell and in particular, increase the activity of the Leydig cells in your testes, which are the cells responsible for testosterone production.
In the last five years, light therapy researchers and red-light therapy companies set their sights on men like Greenfield — the guy who gets naked every morning in his home office. “The impact of [low-light therapy] on sexual health is an emerging field, but I see its potential to improve sexual function and libido with recent studies,” Hamblin says. “It has been shown to improve sperm function and may have applications in increasing fertility in both men and women.” Research on sexual health applications of red-light therapy is relatively minimal in men, and basically nonexistent for women. A few studies in animals suggest red light therapy might influence LEYDIG CELLS — the body’s sperm producers, which live in the testicles. Another study in humans suggests red light therapy can increase testosterone levels and sexual satisfaction.
Don't let the Fear Defeat You
Sexual health issues — from “low T” to erectile dysfunction — can be challenging to treat because of the social stigma, Goldstein explains. There’s a “fear,” the urologist says. Many men are ashamed and avoid seeing a doctor. “If they can get something over the counter that's purported to help them, millions of men will be willing to try it and maybe they would never buy it again,” Goldstein tells. “Good advertising and good marketing will create a market for a product, whether it's proven to be of value or not.”
One of the biggest concerns for those who suffer from Low-T is infertility. Several studies show that red light therapy helps increase sperm motility, which is essential for successful impregnation. In 2017, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, found that sperm exposed to 630nm red light increased sperm swimming speed and force.
A similar study by researchers from Iran found an after exposing sperm to an 830nm NIR light device. Sperm motility is associated with cellular energy; more energized sperm will swim with greater vigor. This is a vital component of male reproductive health, and success in improving sperm motility points to the use of red light therapy as a way to treat male infertility.
Feeling Like a Super Hero
On top of using red light, both Greenfield and Wiles eat healthy, work out regularly, and practice stress-management techniques. Which habit, or a combination of each, helps them “optimize” their sex life or their physical health isn’t clear.
Even though the research doesn’t match their claims — yet— Greenfield and Wiles have no intention of slowing down. “Before I go and give a presentation or if I'm giving a lecture or even if I'm just seeing a patient in clinic, I'll go ahead and throw that thing on and I will feel like a million bucks," Wiles says. "I’ve noticed increased overall sexual health, sexual satisfaction, and stamina." Recently, Greenfield has been shining the light for one very specific reason: He and his wife are trying for a baby. “Sometimes if I know I've got like a date night with my wife or we're going to have sex that night, I'll wait until the evening to do the treatment because the immediate effects are even better, especially the blood flow," Greenfield says. "Erectile quality is just better right after you use it.”
Biohacking is the practice of changing our chemistry and our physiology through science and self-experimentation to energize and enhance the body. It’s a broad definition, but that’s also because the concept is constantly evolving. It includes implementing lifestyle and dietary changes that improve the functioning of your body, as well as wearable technology to help you monitor and regulate physiological data. It can even run to extremes such as using implant technology and genetic engineering.
The possibilities are endless, but they are all rooted in the idea that we can change our bodies and our brains, and that by doing so we can ultimately become smarter, faster, and better as human beings.
Start biohacking your body by using wearables like the FitBit or the Apple Watch to track the way you operate. You could also start experimenting with the power of music in your everyday life and adopting a sustainable healthy diet. But if you’re ready for something new, and something different, consider one of these non-invasive methods from our biohacking guide:
Biohack Tip 1: Red Light Therapy
Have you ever spent a lot of time indoors and begun to feel… off? Our bodies and brains need light to function at their best. Not only does the sun give us an important dose of vitamin D, but it helps us in a number of other physiological and emotional ways. Let’s look a little closer – specifically at the light wavelengths between 600 and 900 nanometers (nm). How does this range of light waves impact us and how can we use it to biohack the body?
Studies have shown that your body responds particularly well to red and near-infrared wavelengths, which range from 600 to 900 nm. This particular range of light waves is absorbed by the skin to a depth of about 8 to 10 millimeters, at which point your mitochondrial chromophores absorb the photons. This activates a number of the nervous system and metabolic processes.
In plainer terms, red light therapy has become an increasingly popular form of biohacking used to treat a number of conditions. It has been proven to relieve pain,reduce inflammation, and restore mood. And because it is a non-invasive and non-chemical treatment, it’s not as intimidating as other forms of biohacking.
Biohacking Tip 2: Functional Music
With over 100 billion neurons that are constantly using electricity to talk to each other, your brain is like Grand Central Station. If everyone is chattering loudly at the same time, it can be tough to concentrate on what you need to get done. That’s where music biohacking comes in. Brain activity can be measured in a wave-like pattern and determines if you feel alert, sleepy, relaxed, or stressed. Things that can affect your brainwaves include the activity you are currently performing, how much restorative rest you’ve had, and what you’ve just eaten or drank.
One of the most reliable ways to change your brainwaves is through a consistent sound wave. Audio entrainment, a form of music biohacking, uses binaural beats and tones to synchronize with your brain waves and induce a meditative, relaxed state. You can access programs developed specifically for your own brain and the activities you want to accomplish at Brain.fm. If you’re not ready to go that far, you can still change your mood and mindset by queuing up your favorite playlist and listening while you work out, cook breakfast, or commute to work.
Biohacking Tip 3: Osteostrong
We talk a lot about cardiac health. After all, heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States. Everyone needs to be aware of cardiovascular diseases and how to protect themselves as best they can. As a culture, we also talk a lot about skin health – slathering on sunscreen as part of our daily routine and supplementing our diets with collagen-boosting foods. Weight loss, inflammation, memory, GI health, and how an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise can prematurely age you – these are all at the forefront of our minds. But how often do we think about the health of our bones?
A decrease in bone health creeps up on you and most people are unaware of how bone density changes over time. Roughly up until the age of 30, men and women actually build more bone than they lose, so we are constantly strengthening our bones and working on bone density. But when we hit our mid-30s, things change. And if you’ve passed that benchmark, you may have felt that shift.
After reaching their mid-30s, women lose about 2% of bone density every year, and that continues for a few years following menopause. This leaves women with a high likelihood of experiencing osteoporosis.
So what do you do? Consider trying OsteoStrong, a non-pharmaceutical way of improving bone density, strength, and balance as one of your biohacking techniques.
According to OsteoStrong’s website, research indicates that the stimulus required to activate the growth of healthy bone tissue is 4.2 multiples of body weight. However, this level of force would be exceptionally difficult to achieve on your own. That’s why OsteoStrong utilizes the Spectrum System, which is part of a new category of devices called the Robotic Musculoskeletal Development System (RDMS).
Biohacking Tip 4: Gratitude
How we view life has a huge effect on our moods, how we treat others, and our general levels of fulfillment. When you have an abundance mindset, you’re consistently grateful for everything that comes your way and is always focused on the positive. Have a hard time adopting this type of perspective? Changing your mindset is really about nothing more than practice. You need to consistently refocus your brain to see the positive in every situation until it becomes second nature. These biohacking techniques and tools can help:
A gratitude journal in which you write three to five things you’re grateful for helps you reframe the day to focus on the positive and reflect on all the good things that happen to you.
Take a gratitude walk where you give thanks and send positive energy to every living thing you see. If you walk to work or take a morning jog, you can easily incorporate this into your normal routine.
Write a weekly letter of gratitude to someone who has helped you or who means a lot to you. It could be a family member, a long-lost friend, or even a coworker who always remembers to stock your favorite coffee.
Begin the day with a ritual, such as meditating, and set an intention to be grateful for all you encounter.
Biohacking Tip 5: Supplements
Exercising, eating right, and developing the right mindset are important steps tounlocking an extraordinary life. Biohacking helps you take this to the next level by incorporating supplements that improve focus, increase energy, and help your body benefit from the most bioavailable forms of nutrients available.
We often don’t get all the vitamins and minerals we need to keep us at peak performance. High-quality supplements in the form of pills, shakes, bars, or drinks can fill the nutritional gap and help boost performance, detoxify our systems, and achieve daily energy.
Tony has created a variety of health supplements, drinks, and bars that help you feel your best every day and make biohacking the body easy.
Color Light therapy is based on the idea of restoring balance by applying color to the body. Its history is rooted as far back as the Mayan culture.
In India, Ayurveda, an ancient form of medicine practiced for thousands of years, is based on the idea that every individual contains five elements of the universe that are present in specific proportions unique to each individual, including their personality type and constitution. When these elements are out of balance, Ayurveda works with the energies inherent in the colors of the spectrum to restore this balance.
In ancient Egypt the art of healing with color was founded in the Hermetic tradition, the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks used colored minerals, stones, crystals, salves, and dyes as remedies, and painted treatment sanctuaries in various shades of color.
In China, traditional Chinese medicine incorporates color to be associated with each organ and elemental system. This healing method looks at the idea that every individual is a balance. The first color wheel was invented by Sir Isaac Newton. He split white sunlight into red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, and blue. He then joined the two ends of the color spectrum together to show the natural progression of colors.
Light Therapy has been valued throughout history as a remarkable source of healing. Today, the therapeutic applications of light and color are being investigated in major hospitals and research centers worldwide. Results indicate that full-spectrum, ultraviolet, colored, and laser light can have therapeutic value for a range of conditions from chronic pain and depression to immune disorders.
Light Therapy has been reported, as part of a healthy lifestyle, to temporarily reduce swelling, relieve pain, decrease inflammation, accelerate open wound healing and greatly reduce overall recovery after medical/surgical procedures. Patients have demonstrated an increased range of motion, decreased muscle tension and spasm, and improved circulation.
Rejuvenating LED light therapy can be used for temporary pain management such as joint and back pain, sore or torn muscles, sprains, arthritis, post-surgical scars, burns, wounds, and more. When used with infrared technology, light therapy (phototherapy) is one of the most effective and non-invasive ways to improve overall wellness.
Light therapy is also used to temporarily relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD affects individuals when the lack of sunlight results in seasonal depression. Phototherapy helps with SAD by resetting the internal biological clock (Circadian rhythms), helping individuals sleep better, and regulate their mood. Even companies, such as GE and Philips, have created phototherapeutic products to improve and regulate mood.
Light therapy is also a growing treatment for anti-aging. Many individuals have seen a temporary reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, and age spots.
Light therapy is “effective at improving the appearance of the face, neck, and chest by reducing the signs of aging, wrinkles and age spots”, says Web M.D. Combined with infrared therapy, LED phototherapy can be a great way to revitalize skin.
Healing With Color
Color is light split into different wavelengths vibrating at different speeds and at different frequencies. Objects that ABSORB all wavelengths and DO NOT reflect are black in nature. Objects that REFLECT all wavelengths and DO reflect are white in nature. Between black and white lies COLOR. Colors are wavelengths of energy that, to us, appear as color because of the potential and capabilities of the object to either absorb or reflect the energy.
In the early 1990s, RLT was used by scientists to help grow plants in space. The scientists found that the intense light from red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helped promote the growth and photosynthesis of plant cells.
The red light was then studied for its potential application in medicine, more specifically to find out if RLT could increase energy inside human cells. The researchers hoped that RLT could be an effective way to treat the muscle atrophy, slow wound healing, and bone density issues caused by weightlessness during space travel.
You may have heard of red light therapy (RLT) by its other names, which include:
low-level light therapy (LLLT)
soft laser therapy
cold laser therapy
low-power laser therapy (LPLT)
Red is called “The Great Healer”. So far is the most popular light therapy. To wind down before bed, use red light. “The color signals that it’s night, which may encourage the body to produce melatonin,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., an advisory board member for SleepScore Labs.
Red light can also improve your workout. Just one to five minutes of exposure to red and infrared light right before exercise boosted strength and prevented soreness, says Ernesto Leal-Junior, Ph.D., the head of the Laboratory of Phototherapy in Sports and Exercise at Nove de Julho University in Brazil. “Certain wavelengths of red and infrared light-660 to 905 nanometers-reach skeletal muscle tissue, stimulating the mitochondria to produce more ATP, a substance that cells use as fuel,” he says.
Green is the universal healing color. Originally, the color of love. Green is midway in the color spectrum; therefore, it contains both a physical nature and a spiritual nature, in equal balance and in equal harmony.
Gazing at green light can reduce chronic pain (caused by fibromyalgia or migraines, for example) by up to 60 percent, according to a study in the journal Pain, and animal studies have shown that the beneficial effects can last up to nine days. “Looking at green light seems to lead to an increase in the body’s production of enkephalins, pain-killing opioid-like chemicals. And it reduces inflammation, which plays a role in many chronic pain conditions,” says researcher Mohab Ibrahim, M.D., Ph.D.
More studies are needed before doctors can make recommendations on how and how often to use green light to treat migraines and other pain, and Dr. Ibrahim says you should see a physician before trying to treat yourself at home. But at this point research indicates that exposing yourself to an hour or two every night-either by using a green light bulb in a lamp or by wearing glasses fitted with tinted optical filters-may decrease migraines and other types of chronic pain
Helps to treat and prevent hyper-pigmentation by inhibiting the production of excess melanin which then prevents it from traveling to the surface. It will help break up the melanin clusters that are already on the surface.
Yellow helps awaken mental inspiration arousing a higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent color for nervous or nerve-related conditions or ailments; fueling the solar plexus. Yellow has a very enriching effect upon the intellect. Yellow can be used for conditions of the stomach, liver, and intestines. It can help the pores of the skin by repairing scarred tissue. These rays have an alkalizing effect which strengthens the nerves. Awakening, inspiring, and vitally stimulating the higher mind promoting self-control. Typical diseases treated by yellow are constipation, gas, liver troubles, diabetes, eczema, and nervous exhaustion. Providing clarity of thought, increasing awareness, stimulating interest, and curiosity yellow energy is related to the ability to perceive or understand.
The yellow is used for treating redness, flushing, irritation, and Rosacea. It may also reduce the appearance of the tiny blood vessels on the nose and face.
Blue light therapy technology is an additional option for the treatment of acne. Research has shown in-office and at-home systems produce positive results.
“Blue light therapy effectively helps alleviate this common skin condition affecting 50 million Americans and 94 percent of all females, according to Judith Hellman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, in practice in New York City. Dr. Hellman, who practices medical dermatology and specializes in dermatological surgery, laser surgery, and anti-aging skin treatments, explains how the blue light treatment system works for acne, its uses, and her clinical experience with the technology.
It is used as a gentle acne treatment to control oil production in the skin as well as reduce inflammation. It also promotes the synthesis of protein and collagen.
Orange has a freeing action upon the mind, relieving repression. Because orange is a blend of red and yellow, it combines physical energy with mental wisdom, inducing a transformation between lower physical reaction and higher mental response. Thus, it is often referred to as “The Wisdom Ray.” Orange is warm, cheering, and non-constricting.
Through orange, we are able to heal the physical body (red) and, at the same time, induce within the mind (yellow) greater understanding. Orange helps assimilate new ideas. Orange is the best emotional stimulant, helping to remove inhibitions paving independent social behavior. Bring joy to your workday and strengthen your appetite for life. Orange aids in repairing inflammation of the kidneys, gallstones, menstrual cramps, epilepsy, wet cough, and all sinus conditions.
Violet is the last color we can see before light passes on to ultra-violet. Violet purifies our thoughts and feelings giving us inspiration in all undertakings. The violet energy connects us to our spiritual self bringing guidance, wisdom, and inner strength and enhances artistic talent and creativity. Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in church windows.
Light therapy uses colors for their proposed wellness abilities in treating emotional and physical disturbances. Light therapy is based on the premise that different colors evoke different responses in people. For example, some colors are considered to be stimulating, whereas others may be soothing. Color therapy has been suggested for many uses, based on tradition or on scientific theories. Consult with a health care provider before using color therapy for any use.
Infrared light penetrates to the inner layers of the skin at about 2 to 7 centimeters deep. Hence, it reaches the muscles, nerves, and even the bones. Many studies have shown that a frequency of infrared light, with wavelengths from 700 to 1,000 nanometers, is best used for healing inflammatory conditions.
The use of electricity for healing purposes began in 2,750 BC when people used electric eels to give electric shocks. Electricity and magnetism were used in people with just little success. However, in 1975, transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) was developed to treat chronic pain. It was not until recently that infrared therapy was developed to improve wound healing, reduce the pain caused by arthritis, boost endorphin levels, and bioactivate neuromodulators.
Infrared therapy technology allows people to harness the benefits of the sun, without being exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. Also, infrared therapy is safe and effective, without adverse side effects. As a matter of fact, infrared light is safe and is used even for infants in neonatal intensive care.
Infrared light is absorbed by the photoreceptors in cells. Once absorbed, the light energy kickstarts a series of metabolic events, triggering several natural processes of the body on a cellular level.
In Kaiyan, we are in love with light therapy. We believe in the natural balance in our bodies. We develop devices such as the Aduro mask which will provide you with the full range of color light therapies.
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Life without light is darkness. Light plays a vital role in our healthy life. Now the light is expanding the business scope in business for LIGHT THERAPY.
Light therapy also known as phototherapy is a simplified process, where the skin is precisely exposed before a light-emitting source on a routine. This light resembles natural light which helps to stimulate cells in the affected section.
Light Therapy has a notable history. It started back in 1903, when Niels Ryberg Finsen, developed a device that produced synthesized light. He was also awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine for this discovery. Later in 1938, a hospital in Massachusetts performed effective testing on patients with colored lights.
Light therapy at the present considered as one of the standard of care for the treatment of various diseases by most of the healthcare professionals.
According to research, the global cosmetic products market is estimated to be valued at US$ 69 billion in the year 2025. One of the emerging business amongst the beauty and medical market is LIGHT THERAPY.
Light Therapy Market size was valued at USD 811.8 million in the year 2018 and is expected to witness a rise of 4.6% CAGR from 2019 to 2025.
Drivers for the growth
The reason behind the growth of the market is driven by factors like the increase in dermatological disorders such as acne vulgaris, psoriasis, wrinkles. Light therapy market includes the usage of various lights like red, blue, green in dermatological as well as medical, health, sports industry too. The application of light therapy is vast and wide, which makes the market more diverge. It gives different companies an opportunity to participate and explore the market.
Additionally the rising disposable income, growth of upper middle-class population and increasing awareness of beauty products.
Also, modern users are more inclined towards the non-invasive treatment. With favorable reimbursement scenario in and advancement in the product technology, the liking of the light therapy has increased.
The Handheld devices for skin treatment (HDST) category held over 16.5% revenue share in 2018 and is now estimated to grow significantly by 2025. There is a wide adoption of handheld devices in home-care settings since the handheld devices have the ability to avoid the cell disruptions during light therapy treatment.
Light Therapy Market, By Product
Handheld devices for skin treatment (HDST) segment held over 16.5% revenue share in 2018 and is projected to grow significantly by 2025. Ability of handheld devices to avoid cell disruption during light therapy device placement will upsurge its adoption in noninvasive interventions. Wide adoption of handheld devices in homecare settings will thus spur segment size.
Light visor segment is projected to witness robust CAGR of more than 4% over the forthcoming years. Adoption of portable lightening units such as light visors for effective patient management will accelerate segment growth over the coming years.
Light Therapy Market, By Application
Light therapy market is evolving day by day. In the past decade, there is a significant growth in this market. The wide range of applications in health, fitness, sports, beauty and medical field has increased the interest of buyers.
Sleeping disorder market segment was valued over USD 110 million in the year 2018 and is estimated to witness a similar trend during the upcoming years. The rising prevalence of sleep disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), insomnia and jet lag and will uplift this segment growth. Additionally, the rising demand for light therapy for patients suffering from circadian rhythm will amplify the adoption of light therapy in the predictable future.
Another segmentation of application is the different forms where light therapy is being used like clinics, salons, home, hospitals etc. Dermatology clinics held more than 26% revenue share in 2018 as per a report. Also, the application at home is at soar. The end-users convenience is a major reason for the home-care setting application great market value which was around USD 495 million in 2018.
Light Therapy Market, By Light Type
Blue light segment accounted for more than 26% revenue share in 2018 and will exhibit substantial growth over the coming years. Extensive adoption of blue light in the treatment of sun damage as well as premalignant or malignant skin cancer should propel segment growth.
Red light segment is anticipated to witness around 4.5% CAGR over the forthcoming years. Wide application of red-light therapy in the treatment of orthopedic conditions such as joint pain, inflammation and arthritis will surge its adoption over the coming years.
Light Therapy Market, By End-use
Dermatology clinics held more than 26% revenue share in 2018 and will exhibit momentous growth over the forecast timeline. Rising incidence of skin disorders coupled with increasing demand for non-invasive procedures will foster segment growth during the forthcoming years.
Home-care settings segment was valued around USD 495 million in 2018 due to increasing patient preference towards home-care. Benefits offered by home-care settings such as quality treatment at affordable prices and reduced risk of dermatological clinics acquired infections will fuel the business growth.
Light Therapy Market, By Region
North America light therapy market will witness over 4% CAGR over the analysis timeline. Rising prevalence of skin disorders including eczema and skin cancer in North America is key factor driving light therapy business growth. Strong foothold of key industry players in the region will positively impact industry growth.
Asia Pacific light therapy market was valued more than USD 175 million revenue in 2018. Urbanization, changing lifestyle and increasing prevalence of depression and hypertension in the region will favor regional business growth. Increasing healthcare reforms in countries such as China will further drive Asia Pacific light therapy industry growth in the coming years.
As humans, we are made of energy and fueled by light. While nutrition and exercise play a role in our well-being and health, light plays a crucial role in us functioning optimally. New and groundbreaking research is unearthing a new understanding of how our cells function and the evidence points to the power of light.
Through technological advancements in science, it’s discovered that our bodies operate similar to a battery. Wavelengths of light give us power, while our overall health determines our ability to receive and maintain the energy from light. And this is where light therapy comes into the equation.
What is Red Light Therapy
Science has proven that our bodies interact with specific wavelengths that benefit our bodies in various ways.
Red light therapy devices, such as light therapy masks, shine red and near-infrared light onto the skin, stimulating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within the mitochondria. By stimulating ATP, damaged cells heal, and new cells are produced faster than normal. But we’ll talk more about that in-depth a little later.
Red light therapy comprises both red light and infrared wavelengths, penetrating through the skin’s layers, right into the cells. Red light wavelengths boost collagen and elastin and improve cell communication. It penetrates superficially and helps aid various skin conditions.
Near-infrared wavelengths stimulate healing, increase mitochondrial function, and improve blood flow and tissue oxygenation. Near-infrared wavelengths penetrate deeply into the body.
Recharging Your Body From Within
At the core of your body’s healing capabilities are the mitochondria. The mitochondria play a vital role in your internal organs and tissue, including the liver, skin, heart, and muscles. It’s in charge of the body’s energy supply via ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
With both working together, they provide energy to our body and maintain the cell cycle and growth. This is why you’ll often hear the mitochondria referred to as the “powerhouse of the cell.”
Here's how the mitochondria is affected by red light:
LED light wavelengths from 600-800nm(red) and between 810-850nm(infrared) penetrate through the skin into the cells via a red light therapy device.
Light enters the cell's mitochondria, absorbed by chromophores which include EZ water and protein cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), resulting in stimulating activity.
Subsequently, three molecules are affected: Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), and Nitric Oxide (NO).
Interestingly, our body weight is made of 70% water, with 99% of our bodies' molecules also made of water, making it a powerful component in red light therapy treatment.
Research by Prof Gerald Pollock of the University of Washington proved that water adjacent to a cell is structured water, also known as EZ water. This specific water forms a separation of charge, functioning in the body as positive and negative poles - similar to a battery.
What Does “Red Light Therapy” Mean?
While we’ve been talking about red light therapy, what does it actually mean? Typically, “red light therapy” refers to natural light treatments which deliver red and near-infrared wavelengths as natural sunlight using LEDs or cold lasers.
While you may think red light therapy includes all colors of light, it doesn’t. The term doesn’t include blue or white light, and it isn’t equivalent to full-spectrum light. Red light therapy doesn’t rely on heat, differentiating it from other light-based treatments such as infrared saunas and heat therapy.
Red light therapy is also known as RLT, photobiomodulation (PBM), phototherapy, LED therapy, LED light therapy, infrared therapy, low-level laser therapy, or low-level light therapy (LLLT).
Red Light Therapy: The Multilevel Treatment
As stated before, red light therapy works to heal the entire body and functions on multiple levels.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
Retrograde mitochondrial signaling
Reactive oxygen species
Water, opsins, chromophores, cytochrome c oxidase
Gene transcription factors
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Inflammation, Cytoprotection, Proliferation
Stem cell production and migration
Immune cell viability
Retrograde mitochondrial signaling
Transforming growth factor
Pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines
Mitochondrial membrane potential
Muscles: Increase endurance, tone density
Brain: Improves cognition and immune
Nerves: Repair and pain relief
Healing bones, tendons, and wounds
Increases hair growth
Improvement of the collagen network, anti-aging, skin disorders
Fat re-absorption improved by enhanced micro-circulation
Improved immunity and lymphatic system
Systemic Effects: Positive Affects on Bodily Systems
Red light therapy affects the body in multiple ways, including bodily systems:
Fascia is the thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds virtually every organ, muscle, nerve fiber, blood vessel, and bone in place. While it performs as an internal structure for your body, the fascia also contains nerves, making it almost as sensitive as skin.
The fascia may look like a layer of tissue; however, it’s made up of interwoven layers of collagen and elastin fibers. The fascia is overlooked, yet over recent years, it has been the key to understanding how changes in one area of our body affect others. Red light therapy works to improve communication within the fascia network.
The gut-brain axis connects the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Recent research discovered the importance of gut microbiota concerning these interactions.
Red light therapy can positively influence mood and neuropsychological issues by the following:
Reducing gut spasms and bowel inflammation.
Increasing neurotransmitters, activating the brain’s immune system, thus increasing blood flow and eliminating toxins.
Reduce blood pressure and increase circulation to eliminate brain fog and anxiety.
Changes the vagus nerve, which connects the gut and brain. It plays a role in stress and social communication.
Changes of the micro-biome.
Red and near-infrared light penetrate through the skin into the cells, which results in low-dose metabolic stress that strengthens the cells’ anti-inflammatory and natural defense systems. In turn, the body becomes resilient to infections.
Safe and low exposure to red light therapy improves the body’s response to external viruses and bacteria. Red light therapy can influence the immune response in the following ways:
Enhances proliferation, maturation, and motility of fibroblasts.
Activates macrophages to behave as phagocytes.
Increases production of fibroblast growth.
Proliferation and activation of lymphocytes.
Release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mast cell degranulation.
Activation of mast cells results in reduced inflammation.
Red light therapy is scientifically proven to increase the micro-circulation of blood and support the circulatory system as a whole by stimulating the development of new capillaries which carry oxygen throughout the body.
Proper oxygen supply and flow are essential for the proliferation of cells, protein synthesis, tissue restoration, inflammatory response, and angiogenesis. In addition, circulation is also responsible for waste elimination, specifically degenerated cells.
The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, neurons, and neural support cells, which is your body’s command center. It controls your movements, automatic responses, and other body systems such as digestion and breathing.
Red light therapy affects the nervous system in the following ways:
Releases growth factors.
Increases the vascular network and collagen.
Facilitates neural regeneration.
Regenerates the nerve lesions and damaged nerves at a faster rate.
Improves the electrophysiological function.
Myelination of fibers.
For all forms of nerve damage, red light therapy offers non-pharmaceutical treatment options.
Red light therapy shows impressive results regarding stem cell growth, maximizing the potential of stem cell implantation for various medical needs. Therefore, red light therapy may show positive results after surgery to stimulate stem cells which repair tissues and organs.
In studies, red light therapy has proven to stimulate mesenchymal stem cells in bone marrow, enhancing their ability to reach the brain. This research shows the possibilities of using red light therapy to heal degenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
The Origins of Modern Red Light Therapy
It’s clear red light therapy provides multilevel treatment to the body, becoming a popular natural and holistic option for both professionals and consumers, but where did it come from?
Light therapy technology isn’t new; it’s been around for decades as NASA experimented with red light therapy during the 1980s and 1990s. Over the past 10-20 years, red light therapy reached a breakthrough in LED lighting technology, allowing the production of safe and affordable clinical and at-home devices.
We mentioned red light therapy being a holistic treatment option, but what does that mean. Holistic medicine is a full-body approach to healthcare. By focusing on the body, mind, and soul, the body receives the full support and care it needs to function optimally.
Principles of Holistic Medicine
Holistic medicine is based on the following principles:
Optimal health is the combination of emotional, mental, spiritual, social and physical wellness.
The focus is to prevent first, and treat second.
The disease or illness is not caused by a single area, rather the whole body.
The purpose of treatment is to identify the underlying cause of the disease, rather than treating only the symptoms.
6 Main Benefits from Red Light Therapy
While there are endless benefits the body receives from red light therapy, here are the six main benefits.
Relieves Pain And Discomfort
Photobiomodulation, in other words, red light therapy, has proven effective against carpal tunnel syndrome, mucositis, neck pain, menstrual cramps, temporomandibular joint pain, and neuropathic pain from amputation. It also significantly reduces the pain of hypersensitivity while improving sensorimotor function.
These improvements come after anti-inflammatory cells populate the injured area, providing long-lasting pain relief. In addition, it’s also been shown to provide effective relief by affecting the following:
Represses cyclooxygenase and prostaglandins.
Activating peripheral opioid receptors.
Increasing endorphins serotonin release.
Stimulates the metabolism.
Changes nerve transmission.
Red light therapy has proven to be highly effective in rapidly treating wounds from burns, scars, bedsores, ulcers, surgery incisions, and diabetic neuropathy.
NASA strongly supports this claim as this technology was used in treating wounds. Red and near-infrared light proves effective in all four phases of the wound-healing process:
These processes are regulated by various factors connected via nitric oxide (NO) signaling release, adjusted by light energy.
An issue the body encounters when trying to heal a wound is low oxygen flow, and red light increases the flow of oxygen, speeding up the natural healing process. By reducing inflammation and increasing oxygenation of the wounded area, blood vessels can form, rapidly repairing the area, lessening pain and scarring.
By reducing pain, red light therapy eliminates the reliant on pharmaceutical painkillers during the healing process.
The human body receives energy on the cellular level, maintaining communication between organs and ensuring disease resistance.
A strong immune system works to protect the body from harmful bacteria and viruses at all times. With red light therapy, the body receives a boost of support as it releases nitric oxide and melatonin, two components involved in DNA repair and antimicrobial.
This process is called hormesis. Red and near-infrared wavelengths penetrate through the skin into the cells, causing mild metabolic stress, which stimulates cells to activate their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant response.
With the support of red light therapy, the body is better prepared to fight infections. Numerous studies have proven red light therapy to have the following effects on the immune system:
Improves melatonin production
Increases NO levels
Improves antioxidant production
Improves thyroid function
Stimulates T cells pre-operatively
Increases flow of neurotransmitters
Boosts collagen and elastin production
Encourages lymph node activity
Enables the transportation of immune cells
Stimulates optimal function of cells and organelles
Inflammation in the body can be acute and topical (short-term, resulting from sprains, infections, and accidents) or chronic and general (long-term, caused by ongoing conditions).
Acute inflammation is a healthy bodily response; however, chronic and general inflammation can negatively impact long-term health.
As of today, the current treatment for inflammation is NSAID or steroid drugs, both having a detrimental effect on the healing process and long-term health. Red light therapy stimulates the body to activate its natural healing mechanism, reducing the health risks of long-term drug use.
Red light therapy decreases the number of inflammatory cells, increases fibroblast proliferation (cells that synthesize collagen and other matrix macromolecules), stimulates angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels), and activates the body’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant response.
The following conditions are connected with chronic and acute inflammation, all proving promising results with red light therapy treatment:
Neuron inflammatory disorders such as Alzheimer’s
Irritable bowel syndrome and colitis
Red light therapy is extremely popular in competitive sports and performance. It offers natural and non-pharmaceutical treatment, which applies to many areas of the body.
Aside from the overwhelming benefits on overall health, red light therapy encourages muscles growth and repair by stimulating the production of ATP, which aids in faster recovery and better performance.
Red light therapy used before training prepares and strengthens the body while aiding muscle recovery after training.
Here are the scientifically documented effects of red light therapy:
Reducing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
Enhanced endurance and performance
Increasing sleep quality
Improving sexual function and libido (including Testosterone)
Aiding weight loss
Boosting cognitive function
Reversing skin aging
Reduces symptoms of depression and seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depressions, impacting 5% of Americans, specifically during the winter when there’s less natural sunlight. SAD is also known as seasonal depression or winter blues.
Many people treat SAD symptoms via bright white light treatment, mimicking the sun’s light daily. However, researchers recommend natural light treatment, like red light therapy, to help with light deficiency. Over recent years, physicians recommend red light therapy alongside psychotherapy and medication.
Who Can Use Red Light Therapy?
While many people are using red light therapy devices for at-home treatment, red light therapy systems are found in many clinical and professional settings:
Skincare Professionals: Red light therapy is a popular skincare treatment among Hollywood celebrities, including Kourtney Kardashian, Julia Roberts, and Emma Stone. Leading skincare professionals like dermatologists and aestheticians use red light therapy to help promote collagen production, reduce wrinkles, and treat skin conditions.
Health Practitioners: Health practitioners from all specialties are incorporating red light therapy into their practice. Dentists use it to reduce inflammation, physicians for mental health conditions, and oncologists for cancer side effects.
Natural Health Experts: Leading voices in the health and wellness industry such as Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Ben Greenfield, and Dave Asprey strongly support the use of red light therapy. Paleo and Keto health experts like Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Luke Story, and Dr. Anthony Gustin also support red light therapy.
Sports Medicine Pros: The National Sports Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) adopted red light therapy to treat sports injuries. Top trainers and doctors, including Dr. Troy Van Biezen and Dr. Ara Suppiah, use red light therapy to heal their athletes.
Elite Pro Athletes: Professional athletes worldwide, including NFL stars like Patrick Peterson, UFC champion Anthony Pettis, and gold medal gymnast Sanne Weavers use red light therapy to enhance performance and quicken recovery.
Fitness & Training: World-renown fitness trainers, including Lacey Stone and Jorge Cruise, use red light therapy to enhance athletic performance and muscle recovery.
Supportive Cancer Care: The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) recommends the treatment of red light therapy for oral mucositis (OM), a common symptom of cancer treatment.
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