What is Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy can help Overcome fatigue and Improve Energy Levels, Sleep and Mood.

If you paid attention in biology classes at school you’ll already know that light is vital for the health and growth of every living species on this planet. In humans, natural light is necessary for everything from vitamin D production to balancing the circadian rhythm.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, time spent outdoors soaking up these much-needed rays is highly insufficient. We spend so much time indoors under artificial light looking at bright screens.

It’s not surprising that our circadian rhythm, sleep and energy levels are completely compromised.

Luckily, there is a way to get more of the good light waves without drastically changing your lifestyle or even leaving the house. And it’s been used by scientists and astronauts at NASA- Red Light Therapy. 

In short, here’s how it works. 

Red Light Therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level light therapy (LLLT), is a completely natural and non-invasive treatment that heals the body on a cellular level.

Red Light devices, such as those stocked by Red Lab deliver low-energy red and near-infrared (NIR) light waves to the body through LED diodes. Red light waves penetrate the superficial layers of the skin, and the longer wavelength NIR light targets deeper tissues like nerves, muscles, tendons and bone.

Red light strengthens the mitochondria, the part of the cell that creates energy. This energy is the cellular energy that keeps your body running, all in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The brain, heart and ovaries contain the highest concentrations of mitochondria, with 5-10 times the mitochondria per cell than you have anywhere else. By doing so, this procedure increases energy levels. 

This explanation makes it obvious on the surface of the possible benefits this would have on our system as a whole, but let’s dive into 3 important factors that most of us don’t associate with improving our body on a physical level.

Energy levels:

Feeling drained and depleted throughout your day can affect your mood, social life, productivity and health. Finding methods on keeping energy levels high can change your life for the better. Below are some studies that demonstrate how Red Light Therapy can help maintain these high levels.

Research [1] published in 2019 detailed a 3-week study of 19 people in an office environment. The researchers found that using a combination of red and ambient white light in the afternoon improved circadian rhythm and increased alertness in the period after lunch, when many people have a dip in their energy level.

Red light therapy is an exciting treatment for those dealing with general fatigue as well as people with more serious chronic conditions including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis.

One study [2] treated fibromyalgia sufferers with Red Light Therapy three times a week. Not only did they have reduced pain at the end of the study, but fatigue had substantially decreased too. 

Sleep:

Sleep relies on many things but what is clear to us is that it’s habit and rhythm based. If we can utilise methods of setting our perfect circadian rhythm we will reap some incredible health benefits that will give us the energy to enjoy every waking and sleeping hour. Here’s a small blueprint that we can use to hack and shape our circadian rhythm. 

In the morning, you want to tell your body that it’s time to wake up. Brighter lights are best and blue light, in particular, can help shut down melatonin production and raise your energy for the day.

Sunlight is always best because of its full spectrum of light and color, but for those of us who don’t live where it’s always sunny, a normal white light is fine. Halogen lights are the most like natural sunlight, although they’re not full-spectrum.

You can also expose yourself to some brighter red lights for a few minutes in the morning for a mitochondrial boost. We recommend using our Red Lab handheld device on either of the first 2 settings, which include blue light into a quick therapy session. 

At night. This is when you want to block all the blue light you can. Blue light suppresses melatonin production, which will make it a lot harder for you to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Here are a few ways to use light to support a healthy circadian rhythm:

  • Turn off bright lights before bed
  • Stop using compact fluorescent lights (those curly bulbs). They give off unhealthy amounts of blue spectrum and may cause eye strain
  • Switch to amber or red bulbs, which have no blue spectrum, or do a very brief (5 minute) red light therapy session.Using a red light therapy device in the evening before bed can regulate your natural circadian rhythm to help you fall asleep faster and encourage deep, restful sleep.
  • Stop staring at bright screens for two-plus hours before bed
  • Wear blue-blocking glasses if you’re looking at screens after dark
  • Adjust the light on your screens to the warmer end of the color spectrum after dark (called “Night Shift” on iOS devices)
  • Black out your sleeping area with blackout curtains and cover exposed LEDs

Getting good sleep is one of the best things for health.

Mood: 

Sunlight helps you relax [3] and destress through the release of endorphins [4]. These hormones can also help manage pain, support hormone regulation and even bolster your immune response. The red and near infrared light wavelengths found in our Red Lab devices harness the benefits of the sun’s light and present it in an easy to use home remedy on those days that it’s just impossible to get some decent sun exposure. 

Sunlight also increases dopamine release, dopamine receptors and serotonin in your body. This is one of the reasons light therapy is recommended as a form of treatment for mental health conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is associated with low levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

[1]  Figueiro, M. et al. (2020) ‘Light, entrainment and alertness: A case study in offices’, Lighting Research & Technology, 52(6), pp. 736–750. doi: 10.1177/1477153519885157.
[2] Ruaro et al. (2014). Low-level laser therapy to treat fibromyalgia. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24801056
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6250104

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