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What is LED Light Therapy?

LED light therapy is the BEST health and beauty tool you never knew you needed! It has been clinically proven to be effective for a variety of uses such as anti-aging, hair restoration, skin conditions, acne, wound care, and pain relief. Specific wavelengths penetrate the skin helping to naturally jump- start tissue recovery, skin rejuvenation, and relaxation. This technology is also referred to as “photobiomodulation” or LED (light emitting diode) therapy.

So what does this mean for you? Light is a form of energy and our bodies are made up of energy systems. The unique benefit of red light therapy is that it has the ability to penetrate deep down into the skin and subcutaneous tissues up to a depth of 3 cm! This means it can reach down to the soft tissues, muscles, joints, and bones. Red and blue light do not include as broad of a spectrum as natural light and it contains no UVA or UVB rays. This means there is no risk of sunburn or harm.

How does it work?

Based on the mechanism of action for light therapy, wavelengths in the mid-400 nm, mid-600 nm range and mid-800 nm range have been shown to have the greatest impact at the cellular level. Within this narrow red light band, there are certain wavelengths that activate an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase (CCO) found in your mitochondria. The highest rates of cellular absorption relative to CCO are in the ranges of 660-670 nm and 830-850 nm, which is why these specific wavelengths of light have been studied—and proven beneficial—in so many clinical studies. The blue light range stimulates production of compounds that killacne-causing bacteria deep in your pores.

By penetrating deep into the skin and delivering specific wavelengths of light to your cells, a photochemical effect is produced, which boosts intracellular mitochondrial function. This increases nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow to the tissues. It also stimulates our body to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), or cellular energy, within our mitochondria. Mitochondria are the “engines” of your cells and produce about 90% of your body’s energy. You want your mitochondria to be functioning optimally for a long and healthy life!

Photobiomodulation also has the effect of lowering inflammation by decreasing the release of inflammatory messengers from your
cells. Inflammation is a hot topic these days, which can lead to pain in many parts of the body. By focusing red light on areas of inflammation, it stimulates the body to heal itself and can lessen chronic pain.

What is the history of red light therapy?

In 1903 Dr. Niels Ryberg Finsen won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his study of the therapeutic benefits of red light for smallpox and lupus. He used light therapy to treat and disinfect wounds of German soldiers for several years.

Beginning in the late 1990’s, NASA started developing infrared light technologies that could be used for plant growth during shuttle missions. They found that humans experienced similar benefits. As more research is published, light therapy is becoming more widely accepted.

So what are the benefits?

There are a myriad of benefits to light therapy! It is FDA approved to treat chronic joint pain, wounds that are slow to heal, hair loss, wrinkles, and acne. It is also used successfully for many other purposes, like mitochondrial rejuvenation and detoxification.

1. Improved Circulation & Detoxification

Red light causes an increase in circulation by helping to form
new capillaries. This increased blood flow delivers oxygen throughout your body. This includes increased blood flow to the liver, which in turn boost your body’s ability to detoxify!

2. Boosts Metabolism

You may notice a boost in energy and better immune function when using light therapy. It has been shown to help athletes perform with better endurance. The release of nitric oxide brings

more blood flow to the muscles and helps with tissue regeneration. Studies show that muscle fatigue was reduced by up to 42% when exposed to whole-body red light therapy.

3. Improves Skin Tone and Complexion

This infrared spectrum is known for boosting collagen, which reduces wrinkles and smooths skin. It can also stimulate hair growth. Many people have used it for conditions such as sun damage, scars, stretch marks, acne, and psoriasis. Blue light is also beneficial for acne. It works by destroying the bacteria living on the skin that cause breakouts.

4. Wound Healing

Red light therapy can also speed wound healing by delivering energy to stimulate the body to heal itself. In this way, the innate healing response in the body is supported.

5. Deep Relaxation and a Sense of Calm

Is your sympathetic nervous system in overdrive? Red and infrared light therapy can assist the body in restoring the ability to relax by calming the “fight or flight” response.

What to Expect

The red light is comfortable. The blue light is warmer, but not hot. You will not get a sunburn and there is no need to wear sunscreen. You will need to wear protective eye glasses during your treatment simply because it is so bright! Everyone may feel slightly different results, but many people report a tingling sensation in the facial skin which is probably due to the increased circulation. Most people see a difference after one or two sessions, but the best results are achieved after an 8-12 week period of using the red and blue light.

Joy Hancock, Wellness Patient Care Coordinator at OptimalSelf MD