Red and infrared light therapy have been gaining a lot of attention in the wellness space. And for good reason. Light is an essential component of human physiology. It's deeply intertwined with our evolution and it’s a foundational element to our overall well-being. In fact, the body actually requires light to perform vital functions. We evolved with the sun, and therefore, the entire spectrum of light is needed for human physiology to function correctly. When light is not taken into the body in the right spectrum, we can begin to see a dysregulation of physiology that contributes to illness, low mood and poor sleep. A phenomenon seen in recent times is a widespread deficiency in red and infrared light in the general population.
In order to maintain optimal health, humans need regular exposure to red and infrared light. In today's modern world, many of us find ourselves spending the majority of our time indoors, exposed to artificial lighting and screens. Artificial light does not contain red or infrared light. For this reason, we see that although the average person is being exposed to an excess of light on a daily basis, there is still a widespread epidemic of light deficiency due to the deprivation of light in the red and infrared light spectrum. In this guide, we’re exploring the world of red light and infrared therapy and how they can help us bridge the gap between our ancestral relationship with light (the sun) and our contemporary lifestyles.
What is red and infrared light therapy
Red and infrared light therapies utilize light in a specific spectrum (620-1000 nm) to promote various health benefits. Generally termed, low level laser therapy (LLLT)- the idea that light has therapeutic benefits is based on the fact that light is absorbed by proteins called chromophores in the body, specifically in the mitochondria. This has a positive impact on cells, tissues and organ systems.
Low level laser therapy is non-invasive and has been researched for decades. Red and infrared are the subject of the most intensive study when it comes to LLLT and are often utilized with great success in skincare, regenerative medicine, muscle recovery, circadian rhythm regulation and pain management. Beyond these, these wavelengths have implications in neurological, cardiovascular, endocrine and digestive health.
The Basics: Light as a Nutrient
Light is more than just illumination; it's a nutrient for our bodies. Light, be it natural or artificial influences various physiological processes and can have a profound impact on our health- for better or worse. Here's a glimpse of what red light therapy and infrared light therapy can do:
- Red Light Therapy:
- Accelerates rate of wound healing by acting on fibroblasts
- Upregulates both collagen and elastin production
- Reduces inflammation and inflammatory markers
- Supports acne and skin conditions
- Improves circulation
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Stimulates hair growth
- Improves circulation and blood vessel health
- Improves immunity
- Upregualtes endogenous melatonin production
Enhances ATP production
- Infrared Light Therapy:
- Penetrates deeper than red light, benefiting muscles, bones, and tissues at a cellular level
- Utilized in post exercise muscle recovery
- Pain management
- Promotes healing and regeneration of internal tissues
- Implications in joint, tendon, ligament and bone health
- May increase stem cells
- Increases ATP production
- Modulates the gut microbiome
Why Use Both Red and Infrared Light?
Red and infrared light share similar properties, and leveraging them in conjunction with each other is recommended due to their distinct impacts on different tissues. Using them simultaneously will target a wide range of tissues both superficial and internal, offering comprehensive and systemic benefits while enhancing and potentiating each other's effects.
Light penetrates the skin at different depths, depending on its wavelength. The longer the wavelength, the deeper the penetration. Red light penetrates to a depth of approximately 1-2 mm beneath the skin surface. Much of it gets held in the skin, making it the go-to choice for addressing skin-related issues such as wrinkles, firming loose and sagging skin, reducing and preventing sun damage, wound healing, and hair growth.
On the other hand, infrared light penetrates much deeper, reaching anywhere from 2-7 cm. It's more beneficial for tissues involving deeper organs and can be used to target the bones, ligaments, internal organs such as the brain and liver, muscles and the immune system.
Understanding Light Therapy: It's All About Photoreceptors
When we go out into the sun, we know we feel better, more energized and clearer, but what does science say about this? Light interfaces with our physiology in a very specific way, and the body is designed to absorb light. Humans have specific cellular structures called photoreceptors that absorb light from the sun. Light acts as a stimulus, signaling cellular activity that impacts chemical behavior, metabolism, and gene expression. This cascade of events ripples across the entire cell, ultimately benefiting your health.
Mitochondria, often referred to as the powerhouses of your cells, are the primary structures that absorb light. In the mitochondria exists the electron transport chain (ETC). Different parts of the ETC absorb different wavelengths of light. Complex 4, the last step in the ETC, absorbs both red and infrared light. This absorption increases ATP production, providing more energy for your body and is largely responsible for the benefits seen from regular exposure to red and infrared light.
How can we enhance our exposure to red and infrared light?
Incorporating red and infrared light devices into our daily routine bridges the gap created by the absence of these beneficial wavelengths in our modern lifestyles. Regular use of these devices brings cellular coherence, positively influences the sleep cycle, and normalizes crucial metabolic pathways, contributing to overall health. Devices like light pads, specifically designed to emit light within the red and infrared spectrums, effectively address light deficiency and counteract the adverse effects of artificial illumination, promoting a return to bodily harmony. The intersection of natural intelligence and cutting-edge technology propels us toward wellness, offering a myriad of benefits, including accelerated wound healing, collagen production, and immune support. Explore our range of red and infrared pads, available in both small and large sizes, to embark on a journey towards holistic well-being.
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The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. All information found on this website is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or symptom. Always consult your physician before adding a new wellness device or supplement into your daily routine. Please note: we are not able to provide individual recommendations.