1. Energy: The sun’s abundant energy is capable of up-regulating energy production processes in the mitochondria. Additionally, the sun’s electromagnetic energy is stored in plants via the photosynthesic process. When we eat plants (and animals that also eat plants), the mitochondria unlock that stored energy and convert it into ATP, the fuel for all function.
2. Information: The human body runs on a circadian clock that is continually set by the information provided by natural light and disrupted by exposure to artificial light. The circadian clock controls energy, hormones, cognitive function, stress...basically everything. Proper circadian alignment is foundational to optimal health and only possible through regular exposure to unfiltered sunlight, seasonal food and purposeful meal timing. Put simply, light creates time at the cellular level. When our cellular ability to tell time is disrupted, we lose time—this is called aging.
It’s safe to say that light is fundamental to human health! And while there are many ways to harness the benefits of light in the pursuit of optimal health, one of the most accessible and effective is through Red Light Therapy (RLT) also known as photobiomodulation (PBM).
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red Light therapy is an evidence based treatment strategy that utilizes wavelengths of both visible and invisible light—specifically in the red and infrared spectrum—to enhance cellular function. It’s important to note that light is not just a visual phenomenon—it’s much more! Light is energy. The amount of energy is inversely proportional to wavelength which is measured in nanometers. The longer the wavelength, the lower the energy and vice versa. Light in the red and infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum has a lower frequency, longer wavelength and carries less energy. To be specific, visible red light occurs between 625–760 nm. Infrared light, which is non-visible and perceived as heat, is found roughly after 760nm on the electromagnetic spectrum and divided into three different bands—IR-A (760–1400 nm), IR-B (1400–3000 nm), and IR-C (3000 nm–1 mm). Red light therapy or photobiomodulation requires exposing yourself directly to a device designed to emit light within the red and infrared spectrum—this can either be your entire body or a targeted area.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
As we noted previously, light is energy! And red light is capable of penetrating the skin at a depth of 8-10 cm. This allows it to work at the cellular level, specifically to enhance the function of the mitochondria. The mitochondria are commonly referred to as the “powerhouses of the cell” as they are responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP. But, their role goes far beyond energy production—they are central to cellular signaling and communication, repair and regeneration and they translate environmental messages into biological action. There’s no doubt: optimal health starts with optimal mitochondrial function! The question then becomes, how do we create optimal mitochondrial function on our journey towards better health?
The answer: Light!
Mitochondria are fundamentally driven by light, which as we know, they use as a source of energy and information in order to stimulate biological action. Red and infrared light are particularly important to mitochondrial function and while the exact details are still debated, it’s widely understood that these frequencies are critical to mitochondrial energy production and cellular redox. In nature, red and infrared light are present throughout the entire day, giving our mitochondria a constant energetic download. This allows our mitochondria to function without disruption and maintain optimal function. However, the challenge in the modern world is the subtraction of sunlight from our lives, which has left our mitochondria in a state of energetic deficiency and poor redox—i.e. low energy, high inflammation. Chronic lack of energy, decreased redox and inflammation creates chronic dysfunction, which is another way of saying chronic disease. Red light therapy adds back the light we are not getting enough of in our lives, thus restoring cellular redox potential and enhancing mitochondrial energy production. Greater availability of energy means our bodies can focus on decreasing inflammation, healing, repair and restoration of optimal function.
What are the Benefits?
The health of the whole is a reflection of the health of an individual’s mitochondria. With this in mind, the benefits of red light therapy are endless. But, here are a few to consider:
• Improves cellular function and energy output
• Decreases inflammation
• Enhances recovery and cellular repair
• Improved wound healing
• Boosts collagen production and enhances skin health
• Enhances cognitive and neurological function
• Improves sleep quality
• Combats chronic fatigue
• Decreases pain
Add Back The Red Light To Your Life
At Avena, we are very excited to be offering Red Light Therapy to our community. We feel strongly that this invaluable tool—especially when paired with meaningful lifestyle changes—can benefit individuals on their journey towards better health.
To schedule a session, call our office: 860-963-2250 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Light is a form of energy and starting your day off with the right dose of light can have enormous impact on your overall health. Learn about the importance of starting each day with natural sunlight to help reset your circadian rhythm, promote energy production and encourage cellular heal thing in this article: The Power of The Sunrise.