- The Difference Between Light Therapy and Near Infrared Therapy
- What is light therapy?
- What is infrared light therapy?
- What is chromotherapy?
- Key Differences Between Phototherapy and Chromotherapy
- 1) Effects through eyesight vs directly on target tissues
- 2) Engineered for tissue penetration
- How to Experience Benefits from Phototherapy and Chromotherapy Simultaneously
- The amazing benefits of infrared light therapy
- What is infrared light therapy?
- Anti-Aging Near Infrared Light Therapy (NIR)
- Anti-Inflammatory Mid Infrared Light Therapy (MIR)
- Detoxifying Far Infrared Light Therapy (FIR)
- Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy and How to Get It
- How does red light therapy work?
- What are the benefits of red light therapy?
- What are the best sources of red light therapy?
The Difference Between Light Therapy and Near Infrared Therapy
Living organisms have evolved to harness energy from the sun and each other. Therefore, Living cells are energetic beings that can both be affected by and emit electromagnetic spectrum. For example, plants can harness light energy to produce glucose, and human bodies are warm because we emit the infrared spectrum 1.
Many ancient cultures, such as Greece, Egyptians, Romans, and Incans, have discovered the health benefits of sunlight and use various forms of sun exposure to treat diseases.
In the 19th century, Niels Finsen observed that the sun helped with his symptoms of Niemann-Pick disease and that animals sought sun exposure, so he started studying the healing effects of lights scientifically.
In 1903, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of phototherapy 2,3.
What is light therapy?
Light therapy (phototherapy) refers to the use of light at specific frequencies and intensities in order to affect our physiology. In most cases, the effects of light therapy are not mediated through eyesight, but rather by the lights directly affecting the target cells.
Phototherapy has been clinically studied for over 100 years. Currently, many light spectrums are now prescribed as medical treatments. Example of light therapies include:
- UV light exposure to increase vitamin D levels and manage autoimmune or allergic skin conditions, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema4
- White, blue or blue-green light exposure to manage jaundice in newborns5
- Bright blue or white light therapy to manage seasonal affective disorders, circadian rhythm disorders, and jet lag6
- Red light and near-infrared wavelengths to energize the mitochondria through photobiomodulation, which can have anti-aging, wound healing, and anti-inflammatory effects7
On the other hand, the sight of colors has been related to symptoms and health benefits, especially in traditional medicine such as chakra and Ayurveda8. More recently, several scientists scientifically examined how colors affected us and the possible uses of color therapy (chromotherapy).
It is important to understand that phototherapy is different from chromotherapy. In this article, we will cover the definitions, the scientific evidence, and the different uses of each.
What is infrared light therapy?
Infrared light therapy is a form of light therapy, which involves getting exposed to sufficient intensity of infrared light to experience health benefits.
The infrared spectrum is the invisible light with frequencies below that of the red light. It is why we feel gentle radiant heat when we are exposed to the sun because infrared creates heat in our tissues.
However, the infrared spectrum also affects our physiology in other ways.
The infrared spectrum is between 700 nm to 0.1 mm in wavelength, which can be divided into near, mid, and far-infrared spectrum. The longer the wavelength, the lower the frequency and the further the light can penetrate tissues.
Different ranges of infrared frequency have different health benefits.
- Near-infrared light, with wavelengths between 700 – 1400 nm, generates the most heat but does not penetrate deep into human tissues. In addition, the 760 – 895 nm range of infrared light can stimulate the mitochondria function, which can increase metabolism, improve tissue repair, and reduce inflammation9, 10.
- Mid-infrared light, with wavelengths between 1400 – 3000 nm. It penetrates deeper than near-infrared light and generates more heat than far-infrared light. Mid-infrared light can help expand blood vessels and increase circulation so that blood can reach injured or inflamed areas of the body.
- Far-infrared light, with wavelengths between 3000 nm – 0.1 mm. Far infrared penetrates deepest into the tissues. Its health benefits come from both generating heat and other properties. Far-infrared light can potently reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. It increases circulation, improves blood vessel and heart functions, reduces pain and fatigue, and normalizes blood pressure11
Heat exposure has several health benefits that are similar to exercise. For example, both exercise and heat work out the cardiovascular system, which improves the health of your heart and blood vessels, and also increase the euphoric hormone endorphin. The heat also improves your immune function, sleep quality, and detoxification through sweating12.
Although many clinical studies have shown that both mid- and far-infrared have many health benefits in ways that do not involve heat, scientists are still working to understand exactly how these infrared spectrums exert their benefits. For example, both mid- and far-infrared spectrums are well-absorbed by water13. Therefore, these spectrums could help organize the water molecules inside the cells, which helps improve cellular function.
Red Light vs. Near Infrared Therapy
Red light therapy and near infrared light therapy fall into different light spectrum’s. The two are often confused as the same thing but they are really quite different.
Red light falls into the visible part of the light spectrum between 630-700 nm on the electromagnetic scale and is used to treat the surface of the skin. Near infrared wavelengths fall into the invisible part of the light spectrum between 700 and 1200 nm.
So what does this mean? The longer the wavelength, the deeper the penetration to deliver energy to the cells, stimulating healing and relieving pain. Various cell and tissue types each have their own unique light absorption methods at varying wavelengths.
This means certain tissues absorb certain kinds of light. For example, light vibrating at the blue wavelength is great for skin while other colors may penetrate the skin more deeply – see LEDs in Dermatology study.
The optimal NIR technology is done by LED as you are able to control the surface temperature. Also, LED disperses over a larger surface area than a RED light halogen or laser. Another major difference between LED and halogen and Laser is the way light energy is delivered (optical power output – OPD).
The OPD of LED Near is measured in milliwatts and laser and halogen are measured in watts. This allows LED to have a gentler delivery as it will not damage tissue and will not have the same risk of accidental eye injury. Also with LED NIR disperses over a greater surface area give a faster treatment time.
NASA research has found that the NIR electromagnetic frequency band of energy penetrates deeply into the body and can have a healing effect on our individual cells.
For example, inside the mitochondria of every cell are receptors which respond to near infrared wavelengths. The light triggers an increase in cell metabolism, protein synthesis (including collagen), and anti-oxidant activity (meaning the cells detoxify).
Additionally, it reduces inflammation and pain while simultaneously triggering growth and regeneration in the cells.
What is chromotherapy?
Chromotherapy, also known as color therapy, refers to the use of color perception through eyesight to affect the state of mind and physiology.
Many principles behind chromotherapy are ancient healing philosophies, such as the chakra and ayurvedic systems, although many scientific studies have examined the health effects of colors.
In addition, other fields, such as interior design, architecture, and marketing have long used colors to affect mood and behaviors14.
Several studies have measured the physiological effects of color. A Spanish study published in PLoS One demonstrated that blue lighting improved relaxation responses after a brief period of stress15. Measures of arousal, such as skin conductance response and heart rate, are higher when viewing red compared to blue or green. In addition, saturated and bright colors increased arousal16.
A Turkish study demonstrated and black plates may cause you to eat more than white plates, which may explain why many restaurant brands use red17. A detention facility in California found that bubble-gum pink rooms calmed down the aggressive children, so now many hospitals and correctional institutions in the US start to use the shade18.
Key Differences Between Phototherapy and Chromotherapy
It is easy to confuse phototherapy with chromotherapy because phototherapy often involves lights of specific colors and sometimes chromotherapy uses colored light. Here are the key differences between them.
1) Effects through eyesight vs directly on target tissues
Phototherapy seeks to influence physiology directly with the light. Whereas, chromotherapy relies on your eyesight to influence your emotions and physiology.
For example, UVB light not only stimulates vitamin D production but also increase a type of immune cells called regulatory T cells19.
Regulatory T cells help moderate the functions of immune cells that lead to autoimmune and allergic diseases. However, UVB only penetrates the skin, which is why UVB exposure helps manage psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo.
In addition, the increase in vitamin D also supports healthy immune responses and may reduce autoimmunity and allergy20.
2) Engineered for tissue penetration
Image source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5653719/
In order for light therapy to be beneficial, the light needs to penetrate the tissues in order to reach the target cells, keeping in mind that our cells also absorb and emit lights. Light therapy, therefore, must be designed to reach the tissues that the light can penetrate.
How to Experience Benefits from Phototherapy and Chromotherapy Simultaneously
Sunlighten saunas provide powerful infrared light therapy benefits. The mPulse model allows you to benefit from all spectrums of infrared light simultaneously, or customize your infrared therapy program to suit your health goals.
At the same time, you can add a chromotherapy lighting option to improve the relaxation benefits of the sauna.
The Sunlighten chromotherapy module makes available 16 different color options with four color-changing modes and brightness-intensity settings.
In addition to the infrared spectrum, you can also use Sunlighten lumiNIR light therapy devices. The lumiNIR wands provide light therapy options with powerful LED lights targeted for specific health benefits, including:
- lumiNIR wands with near infrared LEDs for cell repair
- lumiGLOW Red Light LED for anti-aging
- lumiSPORT Near Infrared & Red Light LED combo for pain relief
- lumiCLEAR Blue Light LED for clear, acne-free skin
You can use these wands inside the infrared sauna to receive the benefits of both infrared and light therapy simultaneously.
To learn more about the benefits of Sunlighten therapy, call 877.292.0020 or chat live now. For Sunlighten sauna pricing, click here.
The amazing benefits of infrared light therapy
When it comes to total body wellness, Thrive Massage & Wellness offers a cutting edge technology previously unavailable at any spa in Columbus.
Full spectrum Infrared Light Therapy, has been tested AND proven to detoxify the body, provide pain relief, aid in weight loss, improve heart health, purify the skin, and provide relaxation and stress relief.
No wonder it’s touted by doctors, health experts and wellness celebrities a.
What is infrared light therapy?
Un hot rock or steam saunas, Infrared Light spas gently heat the body from within, instead of heating the air around you. This raises your core body temperature, providing a catalyst for detoxification and healing. And good news – infrared light contains only natural and safe electromagnetic heat waves those from the sun: damaging ultraviolet rays are nowhere in sight.
Full Spectrum Infrared Light Therapy, the only kind offered at Thrive, delivers a myriad of physical, mental and emotional benefits, depending on the wave length used.
Anti-Aging Near Infrared Light Therapy (NIR)
NIR penetrates the skin’s surface using the shortest infrared wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum. Scientific research shows that NIR promotes skin renewal, cell health and wound healing. In other words — your skin will glow with the look of youth and vitality! How cool is that?
Anti-Inflammatory Mid Infrared Light Therapy (MIR)
MIR wavelengths penetrate the soft tissue where inflammation occurs. As a result, blood vessels are expanded and circulation is increased. When more oxygen reaches the injured areas of your body, pain is reduced and healing is faster.
Burn up to 600 calories in 30 minutes! When used in combination with far infrared waves, MIR effectively stimulates the cardiovascular system and raises body temperature. As the body works to cool itself, heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate increase during exercise Bam! You’re burning calories while sitting in a spa!
Detoxifying Far Infrared Light Therapy (FIR)
The most effective infrared spas use large carbon panels to evenly distribute FIR heat at a relatively low, constant temperature.
The heat reaches deep into your body, pulling up the toxins stored there and releasing them through your sweat. What results is optimal conditions for detoxification, blood pressure reduction, and relief from chronic illness.
Because this process has been clinically shown to raise core body temperature nearly 3 degrees, you benefit from:
- A truly detoxifying sweat
- Lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure
- Potential weight loss through waistline reduction
Can’t wait? Neither can we! Bring a friend (it only costs $10 to add an extra person) and get an edge up on your wellness goals today.
Thrive Massage & Wellness4955 N Hamilton RdColumbus, OH 43230(614) 473-1000
Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy and How to Get It
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or light box therapy, has been around for 40 years – since the invention of lasers.
What is it, specifically? Red light therapy uses certain wavelengths of light to restore, repair, and protect tissue that is either injured, degenerating, or at risk of dying.
While varying wavelengths affect the body differently, as far as healing with red light is concerned, the most effective wavelengths range from 630-670 and 810-880.
How does red light therapy work?
Red light wavelengths affect bodily cells on a biochemical level by increasing mitochondrial function – the ability to produce cellular energy. The more cellular energy production, the better the body functions as a whole.
When red light wavelengths are used on the skin’s surface, they penetrate 8-10 millimeters into the skin.
So depending upon where the red light is deployed (head or knee, for instance), all of the surrounding skin layers, blood vessels, lymph pathways, nerves, and even hair follicles are affected.
What are the benefits of red light therapy?
Red light therapy works from the inside-out to enhance mitochondrial function in cells. This, in turn, leads to several skin benefits.
Red light decreases skin inflammation, smooths skin tone, repairs sun damage, fades scars and stretch marks, and even builds collagen in the skin, which reduces wrinkles. It also heals wounds and can prevent recurring cold sores or herpes simplex.
Red light works on the lymphatic system to improve your body’s detoxification abilities by increasing blood flow. It may even stimulate hair growth in your hair follicles.
Studies reveal that red light heals age-related macular degeneration of the eyes. It’s also used to treat knee osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, cognitive dysfunction following brain injury, and fibromyalgia.
In an episode of Bulletproof Radio (iTunes), Scott Nelson, founder of Joov shared the results of a study involving Joov devices, showing the wide spectrum of hormone benefits.
“With the use of daily, full-body red and near-infrared light therapy with our devices, not only did [women] see really healthy progesterone increases, but they also saw balanced progesterone to estrogen ratios, which is really important, because estrogen dominance is really common as females age,” says Nelson.
Check out the rest of the podcast episode to find out how Joov lights increased testosterone, too.
What are the best sources of red light therapy?
- You can undergo red light therapy with a qualified professional a trained rheumatologist or dermatologist. Ask your doctor for a referral.
- Some medical spas offer red light therapy for about $50-100 per session. Infrared saunas are unique from regular saunas in that they heat the body from the inside-out.
Both red light therapy and infrared saunas enhance mitochondrial function, though in different ways. Un red light therapy, infrared sauna light is visible – though it penetrates much deeper into the body. You’ll have to experiment to see which works best for you. Learn more about the benefits of infrared sauna use here.
- Reap the benefits of red light at home with a light therapy device Joovv. Or, install red lights around your home – there are red lights on Amazon that sell for as little as $6. Use them in the early morning and later at night, as well as therapeutically to increase mitochondrial function and collagen production.
Hold the light over an injury for a few minutes a day. You can also find LED colored lights with a brightness and color remote controller. (This lets you switch from blue to red, depending on what time of day it is.)
- The newest addition to the red light family is actually getting it from your computer or phone screen.
Color Tint is a new feature on the Apple iOS 10 that turns your entire screen red, which Apple notes has its own benefits. While they are not necessarily all health-related a red light therapy box, it is possible that you’ll squint less looking at your screen in the middle of the night due to the red light.
Related:Light Hacking for Better Energy, Mood, and Performance
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