What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy - the layman’s term for photobiomodulation (PBM) - is the use of light at wavelengths specific to cellular absorption in order to elicit a multitude of benefits for living creatures. Photo (from photon, or light) bio (life) modulation.
Red light is visible light in the wavelengths from a little over 600nm to about 700nm, while near-infrared light wavelengths (invisible to the human eye) run from 700nm to just over 1100nm.
The shorter wavelengths of light penetrate the outer layers of the skin (for superficial benefits) while the longer wavelengths have greater penetration (up to 15cm) for deep tissue stimulus.
It is very easy to get caught up in the scientific literature with all the proven benefits of PBM (there are literally thousands of peer-reviewed articles), but it would be unjust if we jumped into the benefits before describing some basic biological mechanisms.
When we speak about ‘cellular absorption’, we are referring to PBM’s ability to stimulate your mitochondria. For those who bunked biology class at school, the mitochondria are the powerhouses of almost every cell in your body. Mitochondria generate ATP, the energy currency used by your cells. Cells with high performing mitochondria are able to carry out their function optimally. This is the mechanism by which PBM has its seemingly endless list of benefits.
It is also worthwhile noting that not just any wavelengths of light stimulate your mitochondria. The evidence has pointed towards specific wavelength ranges. For superficial benefits, the range is from 600-700nm whereas deeper tissues require wavelengths from 800-900nm. Thus, if you are looking to reap the full benefits of PBM, you should be using a device which emits multiple wavelengths (for both superficial and deep benefits) which fall within the proven ranges.
How to use a PBM device
Each PBM device should come with its own recommendations regarding the duration, distance, and frequency of use. This is because there are many specifications, such as light intensity and power, which make each device unique.
The MyLight© Panel features a 1:1:1 combination of 630nm:660nm:850nm LEDs and sessions should be as follows:
Distance: 0-60 cm from body
Duration: 15-20 minutes
Frequency: 1-2 times per day
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