By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
These days, we’re starting to realize just how important light is for our health. Humans need water and sunlight… we are basically plants with more complicated emotions.
I’ve previously written about light: How blue light wrecks your sleep, and why sunlight is crucial for your health. Today we’re going to focus in on the red and near-infrared (NIR) light spectrum, and learn the answer to the question: What are the benefits of these healing wavelengths of light?
What is Red Light Therapy?
Light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is the therapeutic use of a medical grade LED light device to deliver specific frequencies of red and near-infrared light. This light can penetrate through your skin, providing benefits at a cellular level.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Light therapy works on a cellular level, stimulating the mitochondria and the increasing the release of ATP (the “energy currency of life”). Beneficial frequencies of red light can be found in the mid 600 nanometer range and makes its way 8-10 mm into the skin, while healing infrared frequencies are concentrated in the mid 800 nm range and penetrates even deeper!
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
- Cellular Protection & Anti-Inflammation: By promoting antioxidant production, red light therapy can help protect your cells against oxidative stress. This can help reduce joint pain and lowers inflammation.
- Boosts Collagen Production: Collagen is the protein that makes our skin elastic, and its production tends to decline with age. Red light therapy improves cellular function, which regulates collagen production. Many people like to use photobiomodulation on their face, neck, and chest to strengthen the skin, and to prevent and reverse wrinkles.
- Weight Loss: Photobiomodulation has been shown to affect the cells that store fat, called “adipocytes,” causing the lipids to disperse, basically melting away fat! Other studies show that light may help control appetite by affecting leptin and ghrelin, the hunger and fullness hormones.
- Better Sleep: Melatonin is the sleep hormone produced by our bodies. If you read my article on blue light, you know that exposure to blue light at night can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Utilizing red light therapy during the day increases your melatonin output. The best light hacks for sleep would be combining red light therapy & natural sun exposure during the day, with blue light avoidance at night.
- Faster Recovery: Red light therapy stimulates the lymph system and increases circulation. More energy, circulated more efficiently, leads to better physical performance and faster muscle recovery.
- Expedited Wound Healing: While most dermatologists use lasers that intentionally damage the skin to trigger rejuvenation, red light therapy directly targets the layers within to promote wound healing, tissue repair, and cell regeneration at the source (without causing any damage).
There is also promising research that red light therapy can boost male fertility, increase circulation, and improve thyroid health.
Choosing the Best Red Light Therapy Device
There are many aspects to consider when looking to purchase a red light device for therapeutic and healing purposes, like size and light wavelengths.
I recommend the Joovv red light for many reasons. With the Joovv, you have the ability to treat an area as large as small as you want: they offer large light panels, and their red light panels also have the ability to connect together. If you decide down the line that you’d like a larger light panel, you have the ability to create it with your Joovv. It is also much quicker and more effective to treat a large portion of your body at once! On the other hand, the Joovv Go is small enough to travel with, without sacrificing quality.
Not all red light devices are equal: the red light wavelengths matter. If one company creates a red light that looks red, but it’s not within the healing range, it is essentially pointless! Joovv lights target red and near infrared wavelengths in the mid-600 & mid-800 nm range, which are not only healing, they’ve been proven to be the most powerful and efficient wavelengths for the benefits of red light therapy.
Joovv red light devices are both powerful and customizable, good for an at-home full body red light station, or portable on-the-go therapy for frequent travelers. I like to take my portable Joovv Go when I travel to help with circadian rhythm, for preventing jet lag, and boosting my immune system.
How to Get Started
Red and NIR light therapy sessions are quick and easy, all you need is a red light device. You can concentrate the light on specific problem areas (like on a painful joint, or on your face for skin appearance), or use photobiomodulation to benefit your whole body. It only takes 10-20 minutes for a session to provide healing benefits!