Ever wondered why your body’s circadian rhythm varies with exposure to light and darkness? Studies have revealed that time, intensity, & wavelength of light affects the human biological clock. Like we need all the essential nutrients from food, similarly, light is also required for the proper functioning of our cells.
Unfortunately, in the present day, human bodies are severely deprived of light. We spend most of our time indoors, exposing ourselves to the visible lights (and sometimes invisible) lights emitted from our computer, television, phone or other digital devices, but not enough time in the natural light spectrum of sunlight. Hence, most of us suffer from the health consequences of under-illumination, which includes metabolic disorders, depression, heart diseases, insomnia, many types of cancers as well as obesity to name a few.
Luckily, there is a way to synchronize your circadian rhythm and drastically change your life by exposing yourself to good wavelengths of light. An astounding amount of scientific studies (nearly 3000) have revealed the incredible health benefits of red and near-infrared light therapy.
Let’s learn how you can introduce the red and near-infrared light therapy in your lifestyle to supercharge your health.
What Is Red Light Therapy
The human body needs optimal doses of certain varieties of light to be healthy. Red and near-infrared lights form that part of the electromagnetic spectrum which is “bio-active” in humans. In simple terms, lights from these wavelengths are essential for the proper functioning of our cells and hence, they are capable of healing the body on a cellular level.
Red and near-infrared lights are capable of penetrating the superficial layers of skin as well as deeper tissues like muscles, tendons, bones, and nerves to provide a range of biological benefits.
Red light encourages mitochondria– the powerhouses of the cells– to generate more ATP. ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the energy molecule and its increased production gives the cells more energy to heal and repair themselves. Red light also improves the blood circulation which in turn increases the nutrient and oxygen absorption by the cells.Additionally, therapy with these wavelengths of light creates small doses of stress in the cells known as ‘hormesis’. This short-term stress is good for the body and just like exercise, this boosts protein synthesis and also activates enzymes.
Both the above mechanisms act to strengthen the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant defenses in the body to improve the overall health and power of cells.
What Are The Health-Benefits of Red & Near-Infrared Light (NIR) Therapy
With their ability to promote healing and repair at the cellular level, red and near-infrared light have shown a multitude of health benefits.
Let’s see how red & near-infrared light therapy can help you:
Skin health and anti-ageing : This is one of the most exemplary benefits of red and NIR light therapy. Red light and NIR improves circulation to provide essential nutrients and oxygen to the cells. It shows its anti-aging effect by encouraging cell rejuvenation. It also increases collagen production, which is the most abundant connective tissue in the body. This collagen is responsible for holding the cells together and thus, its increased production improves strength and elasticity of the skin. Research has confirmed that red light and NIR can be beneficial for the following skin-related issues:
● Skin discoloration
● Sun damage
● Sebum issues
● Skin inflammation
Pain and inflammation : Its ability to penetrate the deeper tissues like muscles, tendons, and bones makes it capable of delivering its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to these regions. Red and NIR therapy can help in a variety of chronic inflammatory and painful conditions like arthritis and tendon or ligament injury. Additionally, it also decreases joint stiffness and helps to improve the range of motion to help patients with frozen shoulder, rheumatoid arthritis, and other such join-related conditions.
Headaches : Its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and circulation-boosting effect makes it a perfect and natural remedy for reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines.
Bone health : Its deeper penetration into the bone helps to repair the bone at the cellular level by increasing blood vessel formation, ATP production, and collagen production.Thus, it improves bone healing in patients suffering from osteoporosis.
Hair health : It encourages hair growth in both men and women by improving blood circulation and stimulating the hair follicles. It is also useful in treating scalp disorders like dandruff, dry scalp, psoriasis of scalp and eczema.
Mental health : Penetration by red and NIR rays boost and regenerates the bone tissues by improving circulation, energy production, and oxygenation. It not only enhances mood, memory, and learning, but also a great and natural way to treat neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. These lights are also effective at managing stress and to optimize brain functions.
Insomnia: Red and NIR therapy helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm to cure insomnia and encourage deep and restful sleep. This therapy improves the level of melatonin and hence acts as an exciting and new treatment approach for patients suffering from insomnia.
Fatigue: By improving mental health, sleep, and ATP production at the cellular level, this therapy can significantly boost your stamina and energy. People dealing with daily fatigue as well as those battling with serious conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fibromyalgia, can benefit from red and NIR therapy.
How To use The Red & NIR Therapy?
Nowadays, many red and NIR light therapy devices are available at affordable prices across the world. So, you don’t have to go to a doctor’s office or an expensive salon to avail of its benefits.
Many easy-to-use handheld devices are available which allow you to experience the magic of this therapy in the comfort of your home. You just have to direct the device over the area which requires treatment and let the red and NIR lights to penetrate and work for you.
However, proper dosage, density, and duration is the utmost importance to ensure the efficacy of this treatment. Hence, for maximum benefits, look for devices with the following specification.
● Efficient LED lights
● Look for clinically proven red lights with wavelengths between 630-680nm
● For NIR, look for clinically proven lights with wavelengths between 800-880nm
● Look for an output with low EMF (electromagnetic frequency).
Devices with wavelengths of lights outside 600 or 700nm will not affect your cells.
Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology
Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation
The Ultimate Guide To Red Light Therapy And Near-Infrared Light Therapy
Efficacy and safety of a low-level laser device in the treatment of male and female pattern hair-loss: a multi-center, randomized, sham device-controlled, double-blind study.
Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on muscle tissue: performance, fatigue and repair benefited by the power of light.