Wondering what red light therapy is and how it can impact your overall health and wellness? At Hunter & Gather, we want you to provide you with the tools to thrive, in pursuit of your own optimal health. This guest blog from the awesome team at Red Light Rising may get you questioning how much sunlight you are actually getting and if red light therapy could be the perfect solution for you or even your pets optimal health.
Guest Blog Post:
In the early 21st century it's becoming abundantly clear that the light in your environment has massive effects upon your health.
One example: when sunlight hits your skin, the ensuing chemical reactions result in the creation of vitamin D - at least when the sun is high up in the sky.
Knowing and doing are two very different things. And just popping a vitamin D supplement cannot fully simulate sunshine and ensure you get all of its benefits.
You don’t just need sunlight for vitamin D creation. Sunlight also contains what is called “red” and “infrared” light. Both red and infrared light have their own unique health benefits and I’m going to talk about these today:
Red Light Therapy Introduction: Health Game Changer?
This is a guest blog by Bart Wolbers. Bart Wolbers holds Master’s degrees in Clinical Health Science, Philosophy of Science and Technology (with distinction), and Philosophy. He's also extensively written about the science of red light therapy before, as well as many other health-related topics, and writes for Red Light Rising.
I get it:
You’re probably living in the United Kingdom. And as a result, you only get good sunlight exposure from May to August.
But even during summer, you may not be lucky. Maybe you’re working inside and are grateful if you get a “whopping” 10-minute break in the sun. And perhaps you’re out of luck if it’s cloudy outside during your summer vacation time?
In that case, better luck next year, right?
Wait another 9 months until you get your next shot for those healthy feel-good sunrays!
Well, not so quick…
What if I told you that a revolutionary new technology giving you access to some of the most healing parts of the sun’s light spectrum at your fingertips? That technology, in fact, is called “red light therapy”.
Hard to imagine? Consider the picture below:
(That’s Bryan pictured right there, one of the founders and owners of Red Light Rising. Red Light Rising is the premier red light therapy company not only in the United Kingdom but also in Europe.)
Once again, red light therapy gives you access to some of the benefits of sunlight. Now here’s what’s interesting:
There’s no singular thing called “sunlight”. Sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface is built up of many different wavelengths.
Wavelengths up to 400 nanometers long are “ultraviolet light” - which potentially gives you sunburns. From 400 to about 780 nanometres there’s visible light with all the colours of the rainbow. And from about 780 up to a million infrared light is located.
(Your eyes cannot see infrared and ultraviolet light--only visible.)
You need the ultraviolet light for vitamin D, and red and infrared for many other benefits.
The crazy thing?
Not all wavelengths are created equal! The LED bulbs I’ve talked about before allow you to select only the wavelengths your body is most biologically responsive to. As a result, the 660-nanometer red and the 880-nanometer infrared wavelengths are very commonly used in such panels because of their effect on human biology.
If you’d take 680 and 900 nanometers, for instance, the biological effects would be completely different and far inferior. Precision thus gives you some amazing health benefits!
Let’s find out:
How Red Light Therapy Works
So here’s a quick crash course on how red light therapy affects your body’s biology:
Your body does not just need light for illumination purposes only - in other words, to be able to see your environment. Instead, light has many biological effects whenever it comes in contact with your body.
The crazy thing?
Both red and infrared light enter into your bloodstream and cells. At that level, the light can affect the oxygen-carrying capacity of your red blood cells, for example, and the energy-generation process in your cells (11; 12). Blood flow and viscosity of your blood are also improved.
Every cell of your body contains several hundred to several thousand mitochondria. Mitochondria are the “energy-producing factories” of your cells. When red light reaches your cells, one step in the energy-generation process in your cells is made more efficient.
The mind-boggling implication?
It’s not just the food you eat that affects how much energy you have all day -- the light hitting your body affects that dynamic as well.
Every single process in your body depends on energy (13). So if you don’t eat you’ll eventually die -- despite what some internet “gurus” will tell you. Guess what? If you’re not exposed to sufficient light, or the wrong types of light, every single process in your body runs less efficiently as well.
Fortunately, red light therapy has shown about 75-80% positive outcomes across more than 4,000 studies (14). That many positive outcomes are almost unprecedented in medicine and cannot be explained by coincidence or placebo effects.
You may think: “let’s visit the mall and buy a red light light”
Or: “Let’s buy a red bulb from Ebay”.
Not so quick. Buying any random panel off the internet will thus not do -- you need a high-quality panel with the right wavelengths, right intensity, and right beam angle (so the light hits your skin).
The outcome in that case?
Red light therapy health benefits range from lowering inflammation, enhancing sleep quality, boosting both recovery and gains you get at the gym, reducing your risk for modern illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, keeping your joints supple, and much more.
Let’s look at how to use this revolutionary new technology:
How To Use Red Light Therapy
The simplest technologies are usually the most groundbreaking. If you need 20 different steps to get a desired outcome then most people won’t use it.
But, flip a switch such as with the television or music on your smartphone and it becomes a worldwide hit.
The bright part?
Applying red light therapy is as easy as listening to music on your smartphone. You flip the switch to activate the panel, stand close to the panel for 20 minutes, rotate once in a while, and you’re done.
A red light rising high-intensity panel - “The Full Stack”
Heck, you could even teach your cat to push the button so that (s)he can use it as well - using red light therapy is that simple!
(All kidding aside, pets love red light therapy and there’s overwhelming evidence the therapy works for them too.)
Now, the bigger panels do require more of an investment because there’s hundreds of LEDs placed on them. If you’ve got a problem in a specific area of your body, however, such as osteoarthritis in your knee, or an injured shoulder from athletics, or chronic back pain, you can also opt for the inexpensive “Target Light”:
That small light allows you to treat specific areas of your body.
(And, yes ladies, that target light can even make the skin of your face more beautiful!
Many people claim their skin looks years younger when applying red light therapy.)
Most people use red light therapy 4-6 times a week for up to 20 minutes. After that time you’re set and can go on with your day.
Effective? You bet! Red light therapy is basically a plug and play to improve your health - as close to a magic “pill” you can imagine.
Finishing Thoughts: Light Is The Future
If you’ve been reading Hunter & Gather blogs for a while you will know that they are all about helping you achieve Optimal Health, with as much ease and convenience as possible, to help you in this crazy modern world.
For example, most people are very busy and not everyone is able to eat liver and heart every single week. The solution? Compromise! Get an organ supplement and you’ll get most of the benefits without having to visit the organic butcher and cook every week.
And let’s get real:
When it comes to light - many people who have an office job have real problems visiting the park during their lunch break to get some much-needed sunshine exposure. So instead you grab a red light therapy LED panel and use it during your morning or after work to get some of the most amazing benefits of sunlight. Optimal benefits with the ease of fitting into your modern world.
Now, I’m not going to lie: sunlight exposure has additional benefits over and above red light therapy because of the ultraviolet light exposure. However, for 90%+ of people out there just doing something instead of nothing will move your health lightyears ahead…
So I ask you: “are you enjoying that January sun in the UK right now”?
Then read up about the benefits of red light therapy. Your life might totally change for the better!
In fact, in a couple of years’ time, it’s projected that most homes will have a red light therapy device. Unbelievable? Sure! But many health breakthroughs were initially unbelievable. Get going today and you can be a trendsetter among your friends!