Experts and top researchers in the areas of anti-aging and longevity are currently shouting from the rooftops the benefits of light therapy. Some even argue that how we use the different spectrums of light is just as important (on a cellular level) as what we eat.
As mentioned in my last article, I am obsessed with light and the incredible benefits different spectrums have on our cells, skin, hormones, pain, and healing.
I became interested in photobiomodulation because our daughter is struggling with eczema, and after researching how red and near-infrared light impacts the body on a cellular level, I had to try it.
If you are involved in the ‘biohacking’ world, you have probably seen people like Ben Greenfield, Dr. Mercola, Wellness Mama and many others standing in front of a red light device they have in their home, well that device is called the JOOVV and the company that created it are on a mission to get this powerful device into the homes of people all over the world to promote radical health and healing.
I wanted to do this light therapy on my one-year-old so having a device in my home seemed like the only solution that would make it practical.
What is Photobiomodulation?
Light therapy or photobiomodulation uses different spectrums of light to affect the body. We are going to be focusing on red and infrared.
Just like food can be broken down into certain nutrients, light can be broken down into different spectrums. Each spectrum effects your biology differently.
Once absorbed into your body, light energy is converted into cellular energy, which kicks off a series of metabolic events like the formation of new capillaries, elevated production of collagen, and the release of ATP.
Specific wavelengths of red light create a biochemical effect in our cells that serves to increase mitochondrial function. This improves ATP production in the body.
ATP is the source of energy for every cell in the body. Without it, we don’t function at all. Without enough of it, we don’t function well.
Unlike many other types of treatments, red light therapy is completely safe, non-invasive, uses no chemicals, and has no harmful side effects. It simply harnesses the natural healing and rejuvenating benefits of a specific range of light and delivers this energy at a higher rate than the sun (without the harmful UV rays). It is a very relaxing and energizing experience that is quickly becoming a revolutionary treatment in numerous medical specialties due to its many applications and benefits.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Skin & Hair
Red and near-infrared light therapy has been extensively studied for improving the skin and has become a prominent treatment within the dermatology arena. Light therapy is an effective treatment that can help a wide variety of skin conditions and is backed by a robust amount of clinical evidence. While many traditional skin treatments provide temporary relief, these studies have demonstrated real, lasting skin changes resulting from light therapy.
- Fades scars and stretch marks
- Improves skin tone and complexion
- Stimulates production of collagen and elastin
- Improves appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks
- Reduces acne, rosacea, and eczema
- Increases circulation
- Fuels muscle tissue
- Prevents muscle fatigue
- Enhanced muscle growth
- Speeds up recovery
Wound Healing and Tissue Repair
- Light in the spectral range of 600 to 1,300 nanometers has been found to be useful for promoting wound healing, tissue repair, and skin rejuvenation
- Red light therapy directly stimulates regenerative processes in the skin through increased cellular proliferation, migration and adhesion. Red light therapy has been shown to positively affect skin cells through regeneration of fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and modulation of immune cells (including mast cells, neutrophils, and macrophages) all found within skin tissue.
Reduce Joint Pain and Alleviate Arthritis
- Vast Amount of Clinical Research Shows Benefits of Light Therapy for Arthritis and Overall Joint Health
- Red light works by targeting the pain and inflammation of arthritis. It helps this disease the same way it works with other conditions – cells absorb wavelengths in the red and near-infrared range, where the light is converted into cellular energy, which enables cells to function at a higher capacity
Thyroid and Hormones
- There is strong research to back up the effects of light therapy on different types of thyroid problems. A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study in the May 2013 issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine studied possible benefits of light therapy on chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. Researchers from this study found that near-infrared light therapy helped improve the participants’ overall thyroid health.
- Has been shown to increase testosterone by 300%
Reduced Depression and Fatigue
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners explain how light helps improve health, immunity and recovery.
- Light is a form of energy, and our bodies are just big energy systems. Light has the power to stimulate specific meridian points and chakra zones in the human body.
- Red is said to stimulate the first chakra because it correlates most strongly with our survival instinct.
- While acupuncture uses tiny needles to achieve bodily harmony through stimulating certain points in the body’s energy system, light therapy uses focused, visible, red wavelengths in much the same way.
- Red light has been shown to be naturally energizing.
How to Choose the Right Light Device
Here is where it can get tricky. There are many devices on the market, but it is important to know which ones work, and which ones don’t.
Here is what to look for:
- What wavelengths does the device deliver? SUPER IMPORTANT
- What is the power output – or irradiance – in mW/cm2?
- How large is the treatment area of the device?
- What is the warranty duration and how long will the LEDs last?
From the researchers at JOOVV:
The effectiveness of the red light boils down to just a few: the wavelength and the amount of energy delivered to the skin surface.
Most studies on red light therapy, including the original research funded by NASA, point to optimal wavelengths in the mid-600 nm and mid-800 nm range. Research has also shown our cells respond best when at least 4-6 Joules/cm2 of energy is delivered. The amount of time to deliver this specific amount of energy is determined by the intensity of the light at the surface of the skin.
Unfortunately, most red light therapy devices don’t publish their output intensity, which makes it nearly impossible to determine how much energy is being delivered to the treatment area.
When we designed the Joovv Light, we refused to settle for anything less than the optimum wavelength of light along with unparalleled output. With 120 degree lenses on the diodes, at a distance of 18”, the light rays reach an area of 56” x 26” with an intensity (irradiance) of .017W/cm2. This allows the Joovv Light to deliver 4 Joules of red or near infrared light to your body in less than 4 minutes. And 6 Joules in under 6 minutes!
My Experience with Light Therapy
Like I mentioned, I wanted this device for my daughter to see if it could help her eczema.
Every night after bath time, we sit in front of the JOOVV. I was not expecting it to help with her itching but it definitely has. I have also noticed that having this as a part of our nighttime routine has helped her fall asleep and stay asleep- once the red light comes on, she knows sleep is around the corner. I love knowing her cells and body are benefitting every time we use the light and I am excited to use the JOOVV long term to help heal her skin entirely.
I ended up loving it myself as well. I sit and read in front of it every night and have noticed improvements in my skin tone and mentally it just makes me feel rejuvenated. I plan on doing this long-term for hormonal balance, collagen production, and overall cellular health.
Raven, P. H.; Johnson, G. B.; Mason, K. A.; Losos, J. B.; Singer, S. R. How cells harvest energy. 2014 In Biology 10th ed. AP ed. pp. 122-146. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Reece, J. B.; Urry, L. A.; Cain, M. L.; Wasserman, S. A.; Minorsky, P. V; Jackson, R. B. Cellular respiration and fermentation. In Campbell Biology. 2011 10th ed. pp. 162-184. San Francisco, CA: Pearson.
Facial Rejuvenation in the Triangle of ROS – Andrei P. Sommer and Dan Zhu – Institute of micro and Nanomaterials, University of Ulm, 89081 Ulm, Germany July 24, 2009