Updated 10/8/23; Originally posted 1/21/21
As you journey along your personalized path to feeling better not older, Red Light Therapy offers powerful healing and anti-aging benefits.
Table of Contents
Southern Maryland Area Residents
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red Light Therapy works by exposing your body to scientifically selected wavelengths of light – one that our eyes can see and we call red, and one that is out of our vision range but that we identify as heat and call infrared. The Red light shallowly penetrates the skin while the Infrared light goes deeper into the body. Both wavelengths provide healing to the cells of your body, but in different ways. Red light stimulates your skin and eyes; Infrared light goes to your muscles, joints, and organs.
Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Yes! It works for me. It works for my daughter. It works for all of my clients that have had a Joovv Light Therapy Session. It works according to many scientific studies. You might be able to identify the benefits you feel after a single session or you might need to have a few before you notice the impact on your energy level, sleep, and life. You might point to one thing that improved (e.g. sleep or mood) or you might notice that you are just happier and better in general and you are not sure exactly what changed.
Red Light Therapy versus Infrared Sauna
What is the difference between Red Light Therapy and an Infrared Sauna? They are both fabulous wellness tools but they have very different purposes and effects on the body.
An Infrared Sauna (like the one available here) produces Far Infrared light which will travel deep into your body to be absorbed by your cells so you are heated gently from the inside out. A Far Infrared Sauna is great for bringing your core temperature up, stimulating blood flow, challenging your heart, and detoxifying the body. The Far Infrared Sauna is intentionally stressing your body to encourage its’ self healing abilities.
Red Light Therapy incorporates red and Near Infrared light which is gentle and more restorative in nature. An Infrared Sauna session is like an intense workout; A Red Light Therapy session is like the recovery snack, electrolyte drink, and warm epsom salts bath after that workout. They are both valuable tools which you may choose how to best utilize for yourself on any given day.
Red Light Therapy vs Sunlight
Is Red Light Therapy better than sunlight? Sunshine is wonderful. It keeps the Earth and us alive. However, our body can be damaged when we are overexposed to intense sunlight. A little bit of direct sunshine during the strongest sun hours (10 am-2 pm) provides important health benefits. Direct exposure of our skin to the ultraviolet light in sunshine converts cholesterol floating in the bloodstream into Vitamin D – an important vitamin and prohormone required for your bones, teeth, muscles, immune system, and more.
We need to get out in the sun but our indoor lifestyles make it difficult. When we have the chance, many of us go overboard with our sunshine time. Too much UV light exposure makes us tan, burns the deep layers of skin, increases the likelihood of developing skin cancer and speeds the aging process of skin. Too much time in the sun leaves us feeling drained of energy and increases the chance of overheating the body which can reduce healing.
Our bodies need light without the increased risk of skin cancer and accelerated aging effects. Red Light Therapy provides what your body craves when you can’t get in the actual sunshine enough.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red Light Therapy for Energy
Over 30 trillion cells combine and work together to create and operate a human body. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells. Lying inside each and every human body cell is between 1 and thousands of mitochondria that need to “eat” and have a “healthy environment” in order to work. When your mitochondria work well, you are energetic, heal quickly, think clearly, digest effectively, move with ease, and feel great. The cycle of energy (ATP) production in a cell repeats over and over throughout the day and your life. The energy cycle can be broken or slowed by missing ingredients, incorrect ingredients, and poorly functioning mitochondria. A broken energy cycle leaves the cell with insufficient energy to operate and can lead to cellular death. Red Light Therapy keeps the cellular energy production cycle working smoothly, reduces roadblocks to the energy production cycle, and encourages the production of mitochondria. More energy for your cells! More energy for you!
Red Light Therapy to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is both important and detrimental to a healthy body. Inflammation is how your body responds to danger. Inflammation is your body’s response to environmental toxins, lack of sleep, poor quality food, dehydration, alcohol, chemical irritants, stress, germ exposure, and injuries. Acute inflammation is what heals wounds, activates healing, and stimulates your immune system to protect you from harm. Inflammation should fade when the danger has passed and you are healed. Chronic inflammation occurs when your body thinks you are in constant danger. This constant inflammatory state is harmful and is often called the root cause of disease. Chronic inflammation is present in many medical conditions including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, poor gut health, poor COVID-19 outcomes, and Red Light Therapy addresses chronic inflammation by stimulating healing on the cellular level.
Skin Anti-Aging with Red Light Therapy
A Red Light Therapy session involves exposing your skin directly to the light panel – all of your skin! Skin cells absorb the red and and some of the infrared light. Your skin is a protective organ and reflects directly what is going on inside your body. It is also the most visible part of you since it is your outside! Red Light Therapy is a common beauty treatment at a spa, but those treatments are often just for the face or a small part of your body. The Joovv Red Light Therapy system available here is large enough that you do your entire body in a single 10 minute session. Eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions often just disappear as you reap the other physical and mental benefits of your Red Light Therapy sessions. If you are dealing with Acne, you may also consider using the blue LED light which kills bacteria inside your pores; the Targeted Light Therapy Wand available for rent is the perfect tool for acne.
Eye Health and Red Light Therapy
Your eyes (retina) are directly connected to your brain (hypothalamus). Vision requires a lot of energy to be used by both the eyes and the brain. Eyes get tired. They are small but important. Aging eyes start loose their mitochondria numbers faster than other body parts. This decline begins in earnest around age 40, when many start to need reading glasses. Red Light Therapy stimulates both mitochondria production and effectiveness within your eyes, specifically the retina, giving your eyes greater energy. This increased energy within the retina means better eyesight in general including greater color contrast and increased vision at low light levels. Our eyes need bright red light of a suitable intensity! Not all light therapy systems have an intensity suitable for direct eye exposure. The 2nd generation Joovv system offered here at Zen and Vitality is just such a system. If you are currently quite sensitive to light, be sure to look near but not at the light panels.
Red Light Therapy for Stress Relief
Stress pulls you out of balance both mentally and physically. Chronic stress can be hard to get rid of completely. Red Light Therapy is a great stress relief tool for your wellness toolkit. Inside your brain, the hypothalamus controls your hormone production and your autonomic nervous system. This small part of your brain has the main job of keeping you balanced, also called homeostatis. If you get agitated, the hypothalamus calms you down. If you get hungry, it tells you to eat. If your heart rate or blood pressure rises, the hypothalamus sends instructions for bring it down. Your hypothalamus regulates sleep, energy, appetite, body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, reproductive hormones, and more! The hypothalamus controls the 4 basic functions referred to as the “4 F’s” that any living organism needs to live: Fight, Flight, Feed, and Fornicate. When your hypothalamus is busy putting out fires, it gets tired and nothing in your body or brain work well. Feed your hypothalamus red light and you will move into homeostasis more often and stay there. De-stressing is as easy as a 10 minute Red Light Therapy session!
Red Light Therapy Improves Sleep Quality
In nature, red and blue light always come together. Our body and brain expect both colors to be present; More red than blue light in the morning (Hello sunrise – I am waking up!), more blue than red light during the daytime (Wow I’m awake!), and then more red than blue as the day ends (Goodbye sun, hello sleep!). Our technological devices and indoor lighting often do not model the natural light patterns that your brain needs and our hormone production and sleep are negatively affected. Red Light Therapy offsets our technological world and brings our mind and body back to nature. Red light at night helps prepare you for great sleep.
Red Light Therapy for Depression
People experiencing depression, whether from seasonal affective disorder or other causes, are also typically poor sleepers. Red Light Therapy helps regulate the circadian rhythm encouraging healthy sleep patterns. Red Light Therapy also has been shown to provide enough bright light at the optimal wavelength to help the hypothalamus in the brain balance your mood more effectively. In fact, some studies show that daily use of Red Light Therapy is the quickest treatment for depression, particularly when coupled with diet, psychotherapy, meditation, and other mental health tools.
Raise Your Testosterone with Red Light Therapy
Reproductive hormones in the body decrease with age, but they don’t have to. Red Light Therapy stimulates the hypothalamus in the brain which regulates hormone production and increases blood flow. For men, this can positively improve the levels of testosterone available in the body. Testosterone is important for sexual function, muscle growth, and hair growth. These things keep a man feeling young and fabulous!
Red Light Therapy for Muscle Recovery
Weight training, cycling, swimming, running, and more are stressful physical endeavors that we do because we want to. Sometimes we do a lot of physical work because we need to. Either way, recovery is the name of the game for feeling good enough to do it again! Muscles need to recover after an intense workout. Red Light Therapy speeds that recovery by activating healing on the cellular level so you can return to “normal” with less wait time. Yes, you still need to eat well, gently stretch, maintain healthy fascia, and encourage blood flow to your muscles. With Red Light Therapy, you just don’t have to work as hard to recover!
How to do Red Light Therapy
How often is it safe to go outside and look at the world through natural light? Every day! The same is true for the 2nd generation Joovv Red Light Therapy system offered here. In fact, daily sessions would be a fabulous addition to your wellness practices, but understandably not always possible! For skin, immune function, performance, seasonal depression, and general health you might find that twice a week suits your needs admirably. When you are dealing with a more intense health and wellness situation, 3-4 times a week might work better. When my daughter was recovering from the brain fog, depression, and whole body inflammation from her broken ankle and 3 surgeries, she committed to daily Red Light Therapy sessions until she felt back to normal.
Morning or Evening Session?
Red Light Therapy in the morning helps you wake and energize for the day, like watching a beautiful sunrise. An evening session calms you down, resets you, and prepares you for a night of rejuvenating sleep. There is little to no point in doing 2 sessions closer together than 6 hours because your body can only absorb so much light energy at a time. The body requires time to make full use of your first session before you feed it more light.