We get so caught up in the material world that we often forget our body is actually mostly energy. Without getting too quantum on you, it’s important to remember that the physical part of you is only a small part of who you actually are.
Our bodies give off energy and we are affected by energy – but it’s so easy to forget because we can’t see it. This concept is also somewhat tricky to understand. It’s why some people are sensitive to EMF that’s put off by Wi-Fi devices, and how electroencephalography (EEG) scans of the the brain can measure energy emitted.
We are creatures that evolved to live in light. These days we spent about 90% of our time indoors and as a result have significantly reduced the amount of exposure we get to various light wavelengths. Also called photobiomodulation, red light therapy provides just the right wavelengths our body uses for rejuvenating processes.
The Importance of Light Wavelengths
Since the invention of the light bulb in 1879 we changed the light landscape completely. For the same reason people often recommend avoiding screens before bedtime, light has the distinct ability to affect our biology.
All light falls on a spectrum. Visible light ranges from 400 nm (close to ultraviolet) and 700 nm close to infrared). When it comes to red light therapy, the range is usually between 600 to 800 nm and often referred to as near infrared or NIR. This can be considered the therapeutic sweet spot of light therapy.
What Red Light Therapy Does in the Body
People skeptical of light therapy usually have a hard time believing it because we focus so much on the biochemical processes. But just like plants convert light energy into chemical energy with photosynthesis, we have processes in our body that allow us to take near infrared light and turn it into our cellular energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
ATP is the energy currency of our body – when you don’t have sufficient ATP processes in your body, you feel it in your own personal energy levels. Your body needs ATP for nearly every single process and without it you would die within seconds – this is actually how the poison cyanide works.
To build ATP, your body uses an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase, which binds oxygen with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and hydrogen (H). This takes the molecule NAD and makes it NADH, which produces ATP in the process.
We need sufficient cytochrome c oxidase and NADH to make ATP. If you have too much nitric oxide, it can swoop in and take over cytochrome c oxidase, so it’s not as available to make ATP. Too much nitric oxide can be caused by many things including, stress and illness.
Photobiomodulation stops nitric oxide from using up the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme so it can be available to make ATP.
Pretty cool, right?
This is why red light therapy is so effective, because it gives your body more energy molecules to work with. When your body has more ATP available it can focus on rejuvenating processes that it once had to put on hold. These include repairing your skin, reducing inflammation, and speeding up much needed recovery processes.
11 Science-backed Red Light Therapy Benefits
When you look at the research behind the benefits of photobiomodulation, a few themes come to light (pun intended). First, you’ll notice that a lot of the benefits have to do with skin and tissue. This could be because when it comes to your survival, repairing the wrinkles on your face is low priority, for example.
Essentially, when you free up ATP in the body with red light therapy, your body has more energy to work with. Scientifically backed benefits of red light therapy include:
- Stimulating the production of collagen and elastin
- Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Improving the appearance of stretch marks
- Increasing blood circulation
- Evening out skin complexion
- Speeding up workout recovery
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing joint pain and arthritis symptoms
- Improving athletic performance
- Speeding up wound healing
- Reducing symptoms of skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea, and eczema
Personally, I’ve had a lot of success with red light therapy in people who experience chronic pain or have autoimmune skin conditions. Because red light therapy reduces overall inflammation, especially in the skin, it’s often a treatment that provides a lot of relief to those who have previously suffered with little help from other therapy options. Anyone with eczema or rosacea will tell you how extremely frustrating and painful the condition can be, and red light therapy is a good option for people with these conditions.
Red Light Therapy At Home
Fortunately, because there’s a shift in the world of health to combat daily assaults on our body from our modern lifestyle, we have access to helpful tools and tricks to restore homeostasis in the body. Red light therapies used to only be available inforward thinking doctor’s offices and with other healthcare professionals, but now companies are making high-quality products that you can use in the comfort of your own home.
Joovv is a company that created an LED red light therapy panel you can keep in your bathroom or bedroom. By simply standing in front of Joovv for 5 to 10 minutes a day, you can reap the benefits of red light therapy. Sure, it’s an investment, but the benefit of having it in your home means it’s something you can do every single day. So quickly, these therapeutic sessions add up. Plus, what’s more important than your health? Not to mention, it’s a natural alternative to painkillers and steroid skin creams.
I get excited about companies like Joovv because they are putting power back in the hands of people. They’re creating products that are much better alternatives to getting stuck on the runaway train of pharmaceuticals. That is something worth getting fired up about!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.
Are there any similarities between red light therapy and infra-red light therapy?
If we’re comparing near-infrared to far-infrared, one of the big differences has to do with penetration into biological tissue. We have this concept of water absorption. Water absorbs different wavelengths to different degrees. The difference is the wavelength of the light and the energy. Far-infrared in sauna is lower energy and near- infrared is higher energy
Hello, would you recommend an infared sauna or Joovv for someone with multiple chemical sensitivities and mold toxicity? Thank you!
yes to both!
Jill, which one is best for hashimotos?
I recommend Sauna Space or Joov Light
And if going for the hand held Joov, which wavelength? Or is it best to have both and go the next size up? My baby has Hashi’s and I thought hand held would be easiest for her.
Do you think the Red Light Therapy from a Beauty Angel machine is a good source as well? Planet Fitness offers these services and I just wanted to see if it was just as effective as the one you are recommending.
I don’t know about beauty angel
Thank you Dr Jill C for very informative articles. I am learning heaps since my Lyme Co diagnoses last year. Wondering how to source a red light sauna on East Coast Australia. Thinking about phoning fitness centres in Gold Coast Qld. Hoping to be able to afford, when I find one. Have read many good reports in fb groups from users over in the USA and Europe.
Hi AneLi – I recommend calling High Tech Health. I know they ship all over the world and are high quality and low EMF
How about a red heat lamp?
Hi Kath, not sure what you are referring to?
Does the light therapy inside the High Tech Health far infrared saunas not benefit different parts of the body by using different colors? I have been using the lights inside one for directed benefits in the different manifestations of CIRS, along with the sauna heaters themselves.
THat is far infrared and this is near infrared technology 😊
I have had horrible sinus/allergy issues for the past 2-3 months – to the point of getting a sinus infection. I stopped doing my red light therapy treatments (633nm bed) for the past couple weeks and I’ve gotten better. Is it possible for red light therapy to over-stimulate an inflammatory response?
Far or near infrared may stimulate detox and if you cannot eliminate toxins may go too quickly but it is unlikely to cause infection.
Will this help CIRS patients?
detoxification may help, included red light and infrared sauna
I’m a Pharmacist who’s been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danilos syndrome, Mast cell activation disorders and atlas misalignment
I also have a near red infrared sauna, would that help EDS????
yes, it is possible