What is Light Therapy and why should you care? - Whole Body Design

What is Light Therapy and why should you care?

Beautiful Benefits of Light 

Advanced technology is helping to level the playing field and create access for so many people who want to feel and look better - all without a prescription or referral. Light Therapy has so many applications and has been used for years by doctors, celebrities, and athletes...because it works! In fact, it was originally developed by NASA to speed the rate of healing for astronauts,

Since then, and with thousands of clinical studies to validate efficacy, Light Therapy has become an affordable at-home solution for us all, not just the few.

Light Therapy works at the cellular level by stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal and myriad benefits include restored elasticity to skin, relief for joints and chronic pain, improved circulation, mental clarity and cognition and reduction in symptoms of depression - just to name a few!

Like energy from the sun, Light Therapy is natural, but unlike the sun...not damaging. 



As depicted on the above image, light is measured by the spectrum, or size of wave length. Depending on the application and desired result, Light Therapy can harness several spectrums from the visible and very close to the surface, to the invisible, and deeply penetrating. 

The higher energy and shorter wavelength stays closer to the surface of skin to address wrinkles, sagging skin, pigmentation, rosacea, and acne vulgaris. Lower level energy and a longer wavelength travels down the spectrum, and penetrates deeper to reduce pain and inflammation within muscle and tissue

Are Red and Infrared Light the same?
Both red and near infrared light are part of the light spectrum and have been clinically proven to enhance cellular function. The main difference is that red light at 660nm penetrates the body to a depth of 5-10mm so the benefits are remain closer to the surface, with improved skin health and collagen production.

A 2017 study found that visible red wavelengths in the range of 630-660 nm was of the highest benefit and absorption, up to 4 and 5 mm into the skin. Red wavelengths penetrate the skin and sebaceous glands to rejuvenate the skin’s tone and texture. 

Following are just a few examples of powerful Red Light benefits:

  • Reduced fine lines and wrinkles:

    with findings supported by numerous clinical trials, such as a 2014 study by researchers from Germany. 

  • Improvement in chronic skin disorders like psoriasis. One study showed that the use of the red light wavelength in conjunction with hematoporphyrin derivative (HPD) helped to eliminate the symptoms associated with psoriasis within 17 days.

  • Hair Regrowth: a 2013 study, showed red light therapy to be a safe and effective method of stimulating hair growth in both men and women. 

  • Treatment of acne: A 2017 review published in Dermatology Times states that red light therapy could be a viable treatment for acne. Many popular LED light treatments for acne combine blue and red light.

  • Reduced training fatigue: Athletes take note! A 2011 study revealed that red light combined with NIR light can delay the development of fatigue in the muscles, and enhance skeletal muscle performance. This is one of many studies that suggest using more than one wavelength together could have profound benefits.
  • Reduced inflammation: In a study investigating the effects of red light therapy on pleurisy in rats, the wavelength was found to induce an anti-inflammatory effect
  • Improved bone healing: A 2015 study found that red light was even more effective than the NIR wavelength in increasing ATP production in vitro and an initial acceleration of callus formation in the bone fracture healing process.
  • Reduced neuropathic pain: A 2014 study investigating sciatic nerve pain in rats found that the red wavelength significantly helped to reduce pain.
  • Accelerated wound healing: In 2013, researchers conducting this study to find that the red wavelength increased the formation of new blood vessels and enhanced collagen deposition to help in the healing of wounds.

Near infrared light at 850nm is next on the spectrum and invisible to the human eye. The energy penetrates deeper into the body, between 50mm and 75mm, providing greater energetic and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Near Infrared is considered a middle ground between Red and Infrared, with a longer range and ability to travel further. Near Infrared Light activates skin renewal for results at the surface and as a vasodilator, impacts circulation, muscle soreness, and recovery from injuries.

Following are just a few examples of Near Infrared Light Therapy benefits:

  • Improved recovery from stroke: One study conducted with stroke patients showed that NIR light wavelengths provided neuroprotective benefits and improved recovery among sufferers of moderate to severe strokes. Five days after the stroke, there was significant improvement among those who had been treated with 810 nm light therapy, compared to those who hadn’t. Ninety days post-stroke, 70 percent of the treated patients had a successful outcome, compared with only 51 percent of the control group.
  • Improved recovery from traumatic brain injury: As confirmed by this pilot study in 2007, NIR light therapy has been shown in animal models to be particularly effective in promoting recovery from traumatic brain injuries and reducing long-term neurological damage.
  • Interest in the ability of near-infrared light to support improvement in psychiatric disorders goes as far back as this 2009 pilot study co-authored by world-renowned red light therapy expert Michael Hamblin, showing that NIR light applied to the forehead was effective for patients suffering from major depression and anxiety, with no adverse side effects.
  • In this study, 810 nm A 2018 review of several studies confirmed the neuroprotective effect of near-infrared light on the brain.
  • Improved healing and recovery: A 2017 study of soccer players showed that the NIR applied before activity enhanced muscular performance and post-exercise recovery.
  • Accelerated wound healing: This 2014 study found that NIR wavelengths helped expedite wound healing in diabetic rats, which enabled the tissue to granulate more rapidly. A study from 2013 suggests that the NIR wavelength accelerates healing in wounds and helps to ward off infection. In this small study, which involved five patients with various types of wounds, all five experienced wound healing, controlled infection, and lessened discomfort during treatment periods ranging from one to eight weeks (depending on the severity of the wound).
  • Improved outcomes following plastic surgery: During a 2015 study, South Korean researchers found that swift exposure to NIR wavelengths after aesthetic surgery helped to speed  recovery, reduce downtime, and enhance the results of surgery by reducing swelling, infection, bruising, and pain.
  • Improved bone repair and growth: A 2008 study by researchers from Brazil demonstrated that NIR light therapy improved bone repair by stimulating new bone growth. 
  • Faster return-to-play after injury: This 2016 study confirmed that NIR light therapy significantly and safely reduced the wait time before injured athletes could return to play. Over a 15-month period, light therapy was used to treat 395 injuries including sprains, strains, ligament damage, tendonitis, and contusions.
    Enhanced muscle recovery after a hard workout: A 2016 study co-authored by Hamblin observed the use of NIR wavelengths on athletes and found that the therapy increased muscle mass after training and decreased inflammation and oxidative stress in muscle biopsies.
  • Orthodontics and tooth alignment: A clinical trial published in 2016 confirms that using the NIR wavelength supported faster realignment of teeth for patients undergoing orthodontics. 

Far Infrared Rays are the longest on the spectrum and able to reach deep into the muscle fascia and tissue. The Far Infrared ray is invisible to the human eye and perceived as pure radiant heat. Along with blood circulation and the ability to enhance our immune system, the non invasive and convenient treatment has effects:

 Do any of the above benefits resonate with you? How can they not? From aesthetic anti-aging, for skin persistent acne, or to improve circulation and reduce pain from arthritis, light therapy has tremendous applications  - across the spectrums. 

Lean in to light therapy, and and live your healthiest life!

Lisa Bauer, Owner, Whole Body Design