Reflections...The healing power of light...
Welcome to GreenNote Fitness Reflections.
Each month I share with you what I’m doing for longevity - to live my life fully with joy while serving others.
We will deep-dive into optimizing brain function and mitochondrial health while
maintaining strength and balance of body, mind, and spirit.
…and then there was light…fundamental to our existence…providing us with energy. Early humans awoke with the sun, acquiring helpful early morning sunlight that set the body's natural circadian rhythm...our hormones and neurotransmitters naturally rise and fall with this rhythm. As the body releases cortisol in response to light, alertness and daily activities can be done. Then when darkness comes, the body releases melatonin that supports sleep, rest, and recovery.
…and then there wasn’t much darkness…modern living brings with it lots and lots of blue light with artificial lights, smart phones, tablets, screens as big as houses that cast their junk light disrupting hormone levels and sleep patterns. Not meant for continuous consumption too much blue light can be harmful, especially when we should be winding our day down, and preparing for rest so the body can repair itself.
…and then there was a healing light…red light…So while it is important to reduce junk blue light, there is another type of light that has many healing benefits - red light. Red/infrared light therapy uses wavelengths of light to restore, repair, and protect tissue that is injured and helps improve mitochondrial function. Red light therapy - do you think I may be experimenting with it?
Last time we looked at another fundamental element - water - which you can read about here. Light is another fundamental element to our existence. Each color in sunlight has its own effect on our bodies. I was blown away by how much information and how important light is to the human body.
Where to begin? As mentioned above, artificial blue light or junk light as it is often called by longevity experts, needs to be used cautiously. This is a whole discussion in itself. I thought though I would start with red light as it’s something I’m currently experimenting with and am enjoying now that we are in the winter season.
We will take a look at some of the basics of red light therapy, how it works, and how I’m incorporating it into my current routine. This type of therapy has been around for almost a half century. It’s becoming more recognized as a healing tool. Looking at some of the benefits, I knew I needed to give it a try. Here we go! First some fancy words.
Photobiomodulation a.k.a. Red Light Therapy
Photobiomodulation. That is a mouthful. What is it? Photobiomodulation, also known as Red Light Therapy is a non-invasive, non-thermal therapy which stimulate cells to generate more energy and undergo self-repair through the use of near infrared light. It uses certain wavelengths of light to restore, repair, and protect tissue that is injured, degenerating, or at risk of dying. There are many benefits to red light therapy including:
Reduced joint inflammation
Red Light Used As a Therapy
How, you may ask can light be used as a therapy? Let’s take a look. As health expert Ben Greenfield explains:
The wavelengths of visible light are actually quite tiny, ranging from 400 to 700 billionths of a meter, or 400-700 nanometers (nm). The wavelength of light defines the color as we see it. And each color has its own unique properties and penetrates your body in different ways...for example, visible red light is capable of penetrating the skin to a depth of approximately 8-10 mm.
So how does red light therapy work?
Once absorbed into your body, red light energy is converted into cellular energy, which kicks off a series of metabolic events – such as the formation of new capillaries, elevated production of collagen, and the release of ATP.
Red light therapy has been approved by the FDA and its effectiveness has been studied throughout the world. The most common wavelengths used in research are 630 nm and 660 nm (which is why the Joovv Light is designed to emit red light in a tight spectrum of 660 nm).
Now, it's important to understand that not all red light is created equal, and something called “LED red light therapy” is quite different than regular red light therapy.
LEDs allow for more usable light because of their tight wavelength span. They generate very little heat and are incredibly durable. And because they're so efficient, LEDs are considered more eco-friendly than incandescent or fluorescent sources. Without a doubt, LEDs are the preferred delivery mechanism for light therapy.
My Red Light Therapy Sessions
I have been doing one to two, 20-minute red light therapy sessions per week. As mentioned, not all red light therapy is created equal. LED red light therapy is different from regular light therapy and so I was very excited to find a local facility (West Cryotherapy) that had the very medical-grade device I had read research on which is made by the company Joovv .
The Joovv light panels are full-length. There are panels that are directly in front of and behind you. You just simply stand there for 20 minutes. You do feel some heat but not too warm. That’s it. I’m using it during the winter months, though one can benefit from it year-round. When it becomes warmer outside and with more light, I will get the right amount ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light which are necessary for survival.
This article just really scratched the surface on red light as a therapy. More studies are emerging on the benefits. Light has much power and can provide us with energy. The right kind at the right time is essential for our bodies to function. Modern living brings with it copious amounts of blue light. This can really mess with our hormones and the natural rhythms of the human body. Think of our ancestors, rising with with first light and sleeping when darkness came...
To our reflection,
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See my last newsletter A fundamental element to anti-aging…?