Red light therapy is a form of photobiomodulation. Gosh, big word, but one that you definitely need to know in order to take your health to the next level. Here’s why:
Inside our cells live our mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells that synthesise ATP (a.k.a. energy). These mitochondria respond to light and a chemical reaction is produced. In the case of red light specifically, the benefits are incredibly positive and range from: more energy, decreased inflammation, a boost in collagen synthesis (i.e. anti-ageing), faster muscle recovery and reduced joint pain.
What is red light?
Light is split up into a spectrum of different wavelengths. You may have heard of blue light - the subject of a huge wellness buzz right now as everyone puts on their blue-blocking glasses, dims the brightness on their phone screen and avoids overhead lights in a big to improve their sleep quality.
Well, in the same way that blue light wakes us up and affects our circadian sleep cycle, red light (such as we get from sunrise and sunset) also acts upon the mitochondria in our cells, but its sphere of influence also stretches to inflammation and pain relief in the body.
How does red light therapy work?
Red Light Therapy, or photobiomodulation, has been scientifically shown to have a biological impact on our bodies. The red spectrums of light penetrate the skin deeper than other light spectrums. Our skin is made up of the epidermis (the top layer), the dermis and the hypodermis (the very bottom layer). Red light can penetrate right down into the hypodermis and it is this deeper penetration that allows the benefits to be so far reaching.
When we consume food it is converted to ATP for energy. ATP can also be stimulated by red and near-infrared exposure in your mitochondria, and mitochondrial function is the energy source behind everything that takes place in your cells and therefore your body as a whole, including cell repair and regeneration. Therefore, more ATP is a very good thing because it also leads to whole body healing.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to anything that’s got the potential to harm it: toxins, parasites, surface injury and stress, for example. These days our lifestyles are extremely conducive to low levels of chronic inflammation which is manifesting in many of us as IBS and gut related issues, skin complaints like eczema and psoriasis, joint pain, food allergies and so much more. Lowering inflammation, therefore, is the first step in any healing protocol and exposing yourself to red light is a great way to do that.
Decreased appearance of ageing
Wahoo! Definitely a benefit we can get on board with...but how does it work? Red light stimulates collagen production in the skin, which as we know is responsible for that plump, youthful appearance and, sadly, decreases as we age leading to wrinkles and fine lines. Generally speaking, anything that decreases the toxin load of the body will help towards keeping you looking youthful for longer, so yes, you guessed it, that also includes fasting and juice cleansing!
How can you experience the benefits or red light therapy?
- For a cheap (but perhaps less practical option) get outdoors and watch a sunrise or sunset every now and again. You can synthesise a lot of red light via the eyes not just the skin.
- For an at-home option check out Red Light Rising. They make Red light LED towers or spot lights that you can plug in at home at your leisure.
- Lastly, there are also infrared saunas popping up all over London - try Glow Bar in central London to get your sweat on!
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