Therapy using light has accumulated some convincing science. This has led us to think that it could be a very healthy kind of drug, which is why it’s getting more popular in the wellness sphere. It sounds a bit crazy. However, we’ve got reasons to believe that light therapy might help prevent the aging process. As you know, marketing and anti-aging gimmicks are not uncommon. Especially when there’s more money to be made.
We’ve got to be careful about the kind of therapy we choose. There are many new companies promising the amazing effects of sitting under a small panel of red lights. But are these claims true and does light therapy work? Supposedly light therapy can help improve sleep and athletic performance, and speed up muscle recovery and joint repair. If this is true, then light therapy is a good way to go. It’s said to increase melatonin production and promote a ‘healthy circadian rhythm.’ Better yet, it may even be able to improve skin quality because it can reduce inflammation and increase collagen production. Wow!
Interestingly, this kind of therapy is becoming quite mainstream too. In fact, these kinds of treatments are not just found in spas, gyms or dermatologists offices. These gadgets are affordable for the average consumer, like you and I. The question remains, what does it do and does it work? There’s research about these new treatments coming out of our ears. Studies today show how light therapy can heal the brain and body of just about anything and everything. Perhaps it’s just the light we need in general? Either way, we are very intrigued.
Light Therapy Is The New Wellness Hype
This treatment is usually conducted using a line of red lights. You are meant to expose yourself to them for a certain amount of time to get the benefits. There are some may home-versions available nowadays too. Experts call this treatment light therapy, photo medicine, or photobiomodulation. It’s based on the idea that light can change us on a cellular level.
New studies have even made jokes about the treatment since it seems kind of obvious. Just get more sunshine guys! Just like plants, we too need more light to thrive. However, there might be more to it than that. Let’s take a closer look. It seems logical that light could help improve one’s skin. Think about babies with yellow jaundice and how they need to sit under a light to heal their skin. Or when you sit in the sun, you tan or get burnt if done without sunblock. Then there’s those who experience seasonal depression. Apparently light technology can help lift their mood and reduce the effects of depression. So, there’s definitely some truth in the theory.
The part that gets us is how does light help somebody with diabetes? It also doesn’t explain how certain studies related light therapy to improve neurological problems. These include Alzheimer’s and even traumatic brain injuries. Light and neurology? How do they connect? There’s no doubt that vitamin D from the sun is good for our skin, but how would light therapy alter or improve the skin? We’re talking epic results like reducing wrinkles and acne. Perhaps we’re more like plants than we thought.
What Is Light Therapy All About?
The treatment uses different kinds of light, from invisible, near-infrared light through the visible-light spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue). However, the light stops before you get exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. Studies seem to have only covered the effects of red and near-infrared light. Apparently red light is often used to treat skin conditions. Then near-infrared allows you to penetrate much deeper, so it can work its way through skin and bone and even into the brain. How amazing is that?
Then you get a blue light. Researchers believe this light therapy is brilliant at treating infections and can help treat acne. The effects of green and yellow light are less understood. However, green light might improve hyper pigmentation, and yellow light might reduce photoaging. When it comes to sunlight, people have used it as a means of healing for centuries. People believe that it can help cure diseases and destroy bacteria. So light therapy is nothing new to us. Even astronauts who experienced wounds and exposed themselves to LED lights were able to heal quicker than those without light. So there’s a lot we don’t understand yet about tissue repair.
Scientists are fascinated by the healing potential of light therapy. In fact, other studies discovered that people who exposed themselves to blue light improved their depression. They also experienced a reduction in other concussion symptoms including sleep disturbance, fatigue, concentration, restlessness, and irritability.
You Can Treat Yourself At Home
The technology today is incredible. We are able to complete treatments like light therapy in the comfort of our own homes. Some of these gadgets are small enough to keep on your bedside table. You can complete targeted treatments for your face, joints, and muscles, or one at a time.
Apparently they’re not hot to touch either. They are room temperature. Yet after a few minutes of sitting in front of them, you feel warm. The theory says that this is your cells, heating you from the inside out. I suppose it’s very similar to a day out in the sun, just without the skin damage. Apparently light therapy is also effective for reducing the appearance of scars.
Light therapy scientists say that they aren’t exactly certain of how the mechanism works. However, they know that light sparks a cellular response because our cells respond to light. In addition, scientists think that red and near-infrared light interacts with something called cytochrome c oxidase, or CCO. This is a photosensitive enzyme found within the mitochondria. This enzyme is light that basically gives the mitochondria a little kick in the pants. Scientists don’t know if the mitochondria favors this zap of light. However, it does tell the cell to start making the proteins that will protect it and make it healthier.
Essentially when CCO finds the light, it converts it to energy. It then uses that energy to do whatever that cell is supposed to do, only more efficiently. SO instead of applying expensive creams every day, this light is meant to help you protect your skin naturally.
Experts state that mitochondria and chloroplasts in plants are ‘basically evolutionary kissing cousins.’ Chloroplasts absorb light and make energy for plants during photosynthesis, and our mitochondria convert light to energy in a similar way. So you’re not a plant, but your cells behave very similarly to a plant.
What Does Light Therapy Mean For Health?
As confusing and complicated as the treatment is.
We all need to pause for a moment because it’s the most obvious concept around. We need light to survive and thrive.
Take time to ensure you’re getting the basics to healthy living before thinking of everything else. Don’t overlook the basics of being human. Water is good, sleep is good, socializing with friends is good, alcohol is not always so good. Light is good.
Whilst there’s no doubt that getting lots of light is beneficial for our health. Try not to fall victim to marketing tactics that claim the yellow or green light will do magical things. The science just isn’t there yet. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of scepticism. A lot of these concepts are just based on theories. The problem with wellness fads is that they often blur the lines between the science of photo medicine and light therapy gimmicks.
You know how it goes, ‘ancient natural practices are always better than modern ones.’ It makes sense as to why light therapy would be so much more popular now. These theories do have some truth and even celebrities like Shailene Woodley are claiming the benefits of exposing yourself to more light. There is some evidence that blue light can destroy fungi like Candida albicans, which can cause yeast infections. This is particularly important for those who live in cold or winter climates.
We’re Thinking Differently
There is also a massive shift in mindset patterns. A lot of youngsters are feeling distressed about climate change. We’re seeing an increase in environmental anxiety and not knowing what to do to prevent the end of the planet. Some are fearing that we might not even be able to live in a world where it is safe to go outside. No wonder light therapy is getting so popular. Smoke and dust storms from wildfires have caused heart disease, lung disease, and even premature death.
So the thought of a future indoors terrifies many of us. It’s no surprise there that we’re revelling at the opportunity for new technologies to use artificial light therapy to help us heal. More science is required to decide whether light therapy truly works.
Nobody stops to think twice about the fact that they can eat berries in January or avocado on toast every day of the year. In reality, this isn’t how it’s supposed to work, and we’re not really meant to be eating fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season. This is why.
Light Is My New Drug’ The Actually Convincing Science Of Light Therapy. The Cut. https://www.thecut.com/2020/03/does-light-therapy-work.html
Best Beauty Tools And Gadgets In 2020: Nuface, Foreo And More. CNET. https://www.cnet.com/news/best-beauty-tools-gadgets-2020-nuface-foreo/
Can Light Therapy Help Improve Mood In People With Concussion? Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200302162250.htm