Compared to our paleolithic ancestors we don’t get barely any sun exposure. Human beings evolved under the sun and spent the bulk of our ancient and recent history outside, mostly naked. Sunlight was a constant in people’s lives, warming and guiding them through the days and seasons. In our modern, busy world, it’s easy to forget the profound influence that natural light or sunlight has on our well-being. Often we are working indoors and don’t get outside enough to receive the optimal benefits from the sun’s frequencies.
This is where light therapy can be of great support. Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, or photobiomodulation, comes in many different forms. I personally used light therapy to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and reverse my osteoarthritis and thyroid issues. This raises the question, does a deficiency of sunlight and/or beneficial light frequencies contribute to modern chronic diseases? This article delves into the benefits of specific light frequency devices, and their potential to improve our health and quality of life.
Blue Light: A Mood and Rhythm Regulator
The blue hues of natural daylight play a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm—the body’s internal clock that dictates our sleep-wake cycle. However, during the darker months or for individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this natural rhythm can go awry. Enter SAD lamps, which mimic the energizing effects of natural daylight.
SAD lamps emit blue light, helping to reset our circadian rhythm, enhance mood, and alleviate symptoms of depression during the winter months. Furthermore, blue light has proven effective in addressing skin conditions like acne, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. Harnessing the power of blue light therapy can bring balance to both our internal clocks and our skin.
UVB for Vitamin D
When UVB rays interact with our skin, they trigger the production of vitamin D—a vital nutrient that plays a role in many aspects of health. Vitamin D has been called a “super nutrient” because of its vast range of benefits. It is well known for it’s role in bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. And also has the following benefits:
- Reduces the risk of premature death (from all causes)
- Alleviates depression as much or more than prescription drugs
- Reduces chronic inflammation
- Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Unfortunately, 92 percent of Americans don’t get enough of this crucial vitamin. While vitamin D supplements are available, nothing quite compares to the natural synthesis of this essential nutrient in the skin. Sperti lamps emit UVB light, which allow individuals to bath in the sun’s healing UVB rays without the need for outdoor exposure. This natural approach to vitamin D production also promotes the synthesis of cholesterol sulfate, a critical compound for hormone production and cell membrane health. The Sperti vitamin D lamp provides a safe and effective way for clients to supplement their vitamin D levels, especially during seasons or circumstances with limited sun exposure.
Red and Near-Infrared Light: Illuminating the Path to Wellness
The healing potential of red and near-infrared light therapy (NIR) has captured the attention of researchers and wellness enthusiasts alike. There are many different devices available that employ red and near-infrared wavelengths to target various health concerns. These frequencies can penetrate the skin, going deep into the cells, tissues, blood, nerves, bones and even into the brain! They have many therapeutic benefits and potent anti-inflammatory effects. There is an abundant body of research on red and NIR light therapy and its potential to enhance our overall well-being. These are just a few of the benefits:
- Pain and inflammation: Red and NIR therapy has shown promise in reducing pain and inflammation, relieving muscle and joint pain and swelling, making it a valuable tool for individuals dealing with conditions like osteoarthritis and arthritis.
- Wound healing: Promotes cellular repair and regeneration, supporting the cleaning up dead and damaged cells in skin (phagocytosis), increasing ATP in skin cells, giving cells more energy to heal themselves, increasing blood flow, supplying the wound more oxygen and nutrients needed for repair, stimulating the production of collagen and the health of the extracellular matrix, stimulating lymph activity and the formation of new connective tissue and blood capillaries on the surface of the wound
- Bone health: aids in healing breaks, fractures, and bone defects. Stimulate energy production in the bone cells which promotes healing, increase bone growth factors, enhance blood vessel formation and blood flow to the affected area, enhances the attachment and production of collagen and procollagen and stimulates growth of bone cells – all of which accelerate the bone repair process.
- Energy production: Red and NIR light have been shown to enhance cellular energy production by promoting the production of ATP in our mitochondria, which are the powerhouses within our cells. Improving ATP production, the primary energy currency of the body, supports optimal cellular function and contribute to increased energy levels.
- Muscle gain, strength, endurance, and recovery: Red/NIR light speeds up exercise recovery and increases muscle gain, fat loss, performance, strength, and endurance. Muscle tissue has more mitochondria than almost any other tissue or organ in the human body, so muscle tissue is particularly responsive to photobiomodulation.
- Cognitive health: Studies show that transcranial NIR and red-light therapy benefit the brain and cognitive performance, finding that it improved executive function, sustained attention and short-term memory retrieval in young healthy adults, and improved memory in older adults with significant memory impairment at risk for cognitive decline. In future, it may prove to be a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as prevention. Research is currently on-going using the Vielight device.
- Thyroid health: Red light therapy has demonstrated the ability to support thyroid health. A study in hypothyroid patients demonstrated that in people who got NIR light therapy, thyroid function dramatically improved, and thyroid antibody (TPOAb) levels were massively reduced. Almost 50% of patients were able to stop medication completely! This is my experience, and I came off my thyroid medications after using red/NIR light therapy daily on my thyroid.
- Inflammation (and inflammation-related diseases): is highly effective in treating chronic inflammation and inflammaging. Chronic inflammation is now being recognized as a major contributor to most chronic diseases including heart disease, depression, and cancer, to Alzheimer’s and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is now thought that inflammation is a key driver of aging and disease, so this effect of red-light therapy on inflammation is a very significant.
- Anxiety and depression: A 2009 study took 10 patients with a history of major depression and anxiety (including PTSD and drug abuse) and gave them four weeks of treatments to the forehead with red/NIR light. Remarkably, by the end of the four-week study, 6 out of 10 patients experienced a remission of their depression, and 7 out of 10 patients experienced a remission of their anxiety.
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue patients: can enhanced quality as red/NIR light aids with decreased pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness, and total tender point numbers, and helps to restore energy and vitality.
- Diabetes symptoms: studies show that photobiomodulation restores diabetic patients’ normal healing ability by enhancing foot skin microcirculation and the healing of foot ulcers. It also improves diabetic neuropathy and nerve function and helps to relieve pain.
- Immune system function: In numerous studies, red/NIR light therapy has proven to benefit the immune system and seems to be an “immune nutrient” that supports optimal immune function in a wide variety of health conditions, regardless of whether someone has low immune function during an infection or has an overly active and imbalanced immune system due to autoimmune disease.
- Central nervous system: Patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury report improved cognition, better sleep, and enhanced recovery from the traumatic experience using NIR and red-light therapy. Numerous studies indicate that is a promising treatment for spinal cord injury where it has been found to accelerate regeneration of the injured peripheral nerves. In animal research, it has impressive outcomes in recovery of animals after stroke.
- Sleep: Red/NIR light exposure can benefit to sleep issues in people with insomnia, by increasing melatonin levels and improving brainwave activity.
- Skin health: Red light wavelengths penetrate the skin deeply, stimulating collagen production and improving skin elasticity. This can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars, as well as surface varicose veins, acne, and cellulite.
Infrared Sauna: A Detoxifying Oasis
Heat and sauna therapy can be found across cultures throughout history and have been considered healing for a long time. The Romans were famous for their baths, Native Americans still use sweat lodges, the Fins use traditional wooden saunas, and the Japanese use hot soaking tubs.
Our modern lifestyles expose us daily with to an influx of environmental toxins that can overwhelm our bodies detox systems. This is where saunas come into play as an essential tool for detoxification in our polluted world. Our skin is one of our largest organs and one of our most important detoxification organs, where toxins are eliminated in the sweat. Research has substantiated the presence of various toxins in sweat, ranging from heavy metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury to environmental chemicals, affirming that sweating is a legitimate and valuable route for toxin elimination.
Infrared (IR) sauna can enhance detox even further than traditional dry heat saunas and have many other amazing benefits. These saunas emit infrared light wavelengths that heats you directly, and also penetrates deep into the body and stimulates detoxification, reduces inflammation, increases blood circulation, encourages cellular activity, and soothes sore muscles. IR sauna not only stimulates detox due to sweating, but also triggers the release fat-soluble toxins and enhances internal detox pathways, both of which increase detoxification and lower the toxic burden even further.
Beyond the physiological aspects, saunas also have psychological benefits. By reducing inflammation, they can have a significant effect on improving mood and reducing anxiety. Also, by creating a serene tranquil environment in your sauna, they can facilitate stress reduction and promotes a sense of calm, relaxation and balance. Reduced inflammation and stress levels, in turn, impact your hormonal balance and immune system, contributing to overall health.
Proven Health Benefits of Sauna Use:
- Supercharges your cells’ mitochondria, the ‘batteries’ powering your cells, helping your body to produce more energy
- Slows down the aging process by removing toxins and reducing inflammation or ‘inflammaging’
- Detoxifies heavy metals and chemicals
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, supported by many research studies
- Reduces blood pressure by causing blood vessels to vasodilate which improves circulation
- Optimizes athletic performance as more blood flow and oxygen is delivered throughout the body
- Improves muscle function and recovery by increasing the production of the human growth hormone
- Aids in weight loss – shown to regulate appetite, increase metabolism, and improve oxygen utilization, helping to reduce body fat
- Boosts brain function by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor that activates the growth of new brain cells, and improves neuroplasticity (the forming new neural connections)
- Immune system modulation by triggering heat shock proteins that stimulate the body’s natural immune defences.
- Improves emotional health and mood by reducing toxins and boosting endorphins
For those seeking relaxation, detoxification, relief from inflammation, more energy and improved cognitive function, far infrared sauna therapy is a compelling option.
Green and Yellow Light: Gentle Remedies
Green light therapy has emerged as a potential solution for migraines and chronic fatigue syndrome. This non-invasive approach utilizes green light to alleviate symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for those affected by these conditions.
Yellow light therapy is best known for skin cell rejuvenation and its soothing anti-inflammatory benefits. It also boosts blood and lymphatic flow, which removes toxins and waste from the skin, and promotes anti-aging.
The Light Nutrient Revolution
In the quest for holistic well-being, it’s essential not to overlook the healing potential of light therapy. From resetting circadian rhythms with blue light to harnessing the sun’s power for vitamin D production, from soothing pain and inflammation with red and near-infrared light to detoxifying in a far infrared sauna, light therapy offers a diverse spectrum of wellness benefits. I know that light therapy has played a huge role in reversing my many chronic illnesses, and I still use these therapies today for maintenance of my health.
Light Therapy Devices: Your Path to Wellness
In our modern world, where indoor living and sun avoidance are prevalent, we often lack the crucial nutrient of sunlight. Light frequency is a remarkable ally in our quest for optimal health and is a nutrient we cannot afford to ignore. These therapies have the potential to transform your wellness journey. I encourage you to embrace the power of light therapy and experience the remarkable benefits it can bring to your life.
As with any therapeutic approach, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or qualified practitioner to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs. As a holistic nutritionist and lifestyle wellness coach, I educate clients on the benefits of safe sun exposure and the use and purchase of high-quality light therapy devices that align with their health goals. With my guidance, clients have experienced a decrease in pain and arthritis symptoms, and have had increased energy, elevated mood, and improvements in overall health.
If you are interested in learning more, and about how to implement this into your life, consider working with me. Please visit my services page for more information.
In addition, I provide monthly rentals and training on the use of of red/NIR light therapy devices. Please visit my services page for more information.
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