Why do our bodies need light?

Why do our bodies need light?

You likely already know that light affects the body, but do you know why? 

Light has a tremendous ability to impact most every aspect of the body (inside and out) and it’s important to understand. After all, it’s your body.

Without going into every science-oriented detail, light equals energy and the energy is delivered in various wavelengths and frequencies. Each wavelength of light (think rainbow) has a distinct level of intensity and range. The intensity of energy and range determines the subsequent impact and consequence. 


There are visible and invisible light wavelengths. Visible wavelengths (like red, green, orange, and blue) have a shorter frequency, and limited ability to penetrate below the surface of the skin. Invisible wavelengths (near infrared and far infrared) are lower in intensity and longer in range. The longer the wavelengths, the further the penetration within the body. Interesting right?

The shorter and visible wavelengths are seen but not felt, the longer and invisible are experienced as warm, radiant heat. Like the type of heat, you feel in a sauna. 


This sounds a bit obvious, but your body is alive. And just as plants require light for photosynthesis, your body thrives on light to perform myriad functions. Indeed, without sufficient exposure, you will struggle to absorb nutrients, struggle with your immune system, with bone health, and to simply maintain adequate health. 

The benefits of light are fascinating and with each study we learn more. 

As an example, The brilliant Dr. Andrew Huberman of the Stanford Lab writes that “getting sunlight in your eyes first thing in the morning is absolutely vital to mental and physical health. It is perhaps the most important thing that any and all of us can and should do in order to promote metabolic well-being, promote the positive function of your hormone system, get your mental health steering in the right direction.”

Vitamins D is a nutrient and a hormone, and it’s critical for maintaining healthy bones. It also regulates cellular functions, is an anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant. It’s clearly a big deal and while vitamin D can be found in some food it’s made naturally when your body is exposed to light. 

When absorbed through your eyes, light stimulates a host of biochemical functions to include the release of melatonin which regulates our (circadian rhythm) internal clock. Even more significant is recent research specific to the value of absorbing near infrared light by Zimmerman, S. and Reiter R. Their study suggest that with the ability to penetrate further, the longer wavelength can stimulate melatonin production in the mitochondria, powerhouse of cells. This deeper target will actually protect the skin cells from UV damage, increase collagen production, improve energy metabolism, tissue function, and help with wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects. 



Unfortunately, the quality of sunlight and the availability of sunlight aren’t guaranteed. The effect of the ozone layer, air pollution, the changing climate and our lifestyle all contribute to limitations of our exposure to sunlight. Not to mention that sun isn’t a panacea because certain light energy is extremely harmful to the body.  

Fortunately, since discovery in the 1970’s by a Hungarian scientist, and later developed by NASA, the beneficial components of light have been very successfully duplicated. Furthermore, scientists have since learned that the life-giving gifts of light extend far beyond initial research, which was wound healing and limited cellular regeneration, originally considered quite significant. 

In fact, leading research and science suggests that when delivered at controlled levels like that from an LED, the impact is actually more efficient. This study from the National Institutes of Health compare traditional sunlight with LED Light to conclude that with an ability to eliminate harmful effects of the sun, controlled LED light effectively activates serotonin and beta-endorphins to improve mood, relieve stress and reduce symptoms of depression. Delivered at specific frequencies the various light more accurately targets cellular renewal.

  • Red Light: travels further into your skin. may reduce inflammation and stimulate the production of collagen and improved levels of Vitamin D, melatonin, and magnesium in the blood.
  • Blue Light: used for antibacterial properties continues to be a choice for Dermatologists to treat acne vulgaris and other stubborn skin related problems.
  • Infrared Light: used for anti-inflammatory and tissue healing properties; infrared light as an antioxidant because it stimulates the production of melatonin inside the power-house mitochondria of cells.


Until recently, the technology required for treatment was quite exclusive and costly, reserved for the A-List celebrities and elite athletes. Today, physical therapists, athletic trainers, dermatologists, and estheticians commonly use LED light therapy as an adjunct to treat a range of skin, pain, and muscular issues. The benefits have also proven effective at various levels for allergies, hypothyroidism, depression, diabetes related symptoms, exercise performance and recovery, pain, and cardiovascular diseases. 

You can find LED and Infrared Light Therapy at clinics and med-spas which utilize a variety of devices and saunas. Visits typically require a number of treatment sessions which while more accessible, can still cost between $55-250 per session depending on where you live and the issue you hope to treat. 

As an alternative, you may find that with a wide array of quality at-home devices, a one-time purchase is far more economical. It makes more sense, after all to enjoy unlimited treatment sessions in the comfort of your home, verses a purchased package on somebody else’s schedule. Devices range from Masks, Wands, Hats, Wraps, and Panels and are designed to meet your physical and aesthetic needs. You will want to take into consideration the versatility, the quality, and how you plan to use the device. 

If you want to absorb all the benefits of red light and infrared light therapy, we recommend to start with LED Panels, such as Joov or RTL Series LED, Red Light Therapy

by Whole Body Design. Panels are a solid choice for longevity and overall ease of use. All you have to do is turn it on and be within 20 inches to reep the benefits. They can be used pre-workout, post-workout, in the morning, before bedtime and anytime in between to recharge your cells. Have your coffee, listen to your favorite podcast, practice a little meditation and heal your skin and body in tandem — it can’t be any easier! 


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