Sunlight, Low Level Laser Therapy and Photobiomodulation
I first became interested in the healing qualities of light about 5 years ago after reading From PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context by Ray Peat. The obvious connotations to improved health during summer compared to a so- called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD was well known. The mechanics were intriguing but not limited to the obvious features of Ultra Violet light and the production of Vitamin D.
UV has been known to be problematic and excess, increases ageing of the skin but the mechanisms and links to cancer are misunderstood. An incomplete overview of other potential mechanisms that might promote mutogenic or cancerous processes are often left out of the explanation. The business of sunblock marketing, like many other fear mongering industries, continue to warn us of too much sunlight, yet often we often lack the right amount. An old blog highlights some points relating to this. The qualities of the healing properties of light are often glossed over instead of promoting the optimal rays of the sun..
“ The light which penetrates deeply into our tissues (mainly orange and red light) is able to improve the efficiency of energy production, and to suppress the toxic free-radicals that are always being formed in cells. “
Consideration of the healing properties of certain wavelengths of light is a must for health, metabolic and rehabilitation promotion. The use of light therapy for improving pain, healing and many other issues has been used for decades. In 1903 a Nobel science prize was awarded to Niels Finsen for ultraviolet-phototherapy.
Low Level Laser Therapy and Photobiomodulation
The use of light therapy for improving pain, healing and many other issues has been used for decades.
Here are just some of the issues that have seen great improvement using LLLT and Photobiomodulation.
- Pain reduction
- Improved hormone function
- Swelling reduction
- Increased healing
- Neurological issues
- Improved cellular function
- Promote recovery from exercise
- Rehabilitation of injuries
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved hair follicle stimulation
The use of infra red heat lamps have been used for decades and often been recommended in rehabilitation or in the beauty world as an anti-aging protocol. I have used heat lamps with myself and clients for several years but it is clear that many gains can be had without the use of heat and just focusing on the use of light alone.
There are many factors that can make the use of light more effective and these illumination parameters include:
- Power density
- Pulse structure
For many, even finding these variables may prove a difficult task. In fact even using the word Photobiomodulation becomes problematic! I think the exposure of bright light during the day through incandescent or LED lights is important to offset the lack of natural daylight and healing properties of various waveforms, (unless of course you do work or spend much of your day outside) with the use of red light after sunset to decrease impact to circadian rhythm.
One of the most prevalent mechanisms that appears to offer an explanation as to LLLT’s effectiveness is by increasing cytochrome c oxidase which improves mitochondrial function, increasing cell efficiency and function and improving energy production.
The wavelength of 600-950nm or optical window is a general guideline and appears to be where most of the research and the effects of LLLT has been conducted on. The toxinless website listed below has some great recommendations for the use of light and ideal set ups, which are very cheap to set up at home.
The use of LLLT for improving hormones and in particular thyroid function has gained a greater following of late. It’s worth noting, that in some studies which can be found on Valtsu’s website (a great resource for thyroid) , the use of LLLT improved thyroid function without the need for thyroid medication. Additional studies corroborate the effectiveness in reducing the need for thyroid medication and addressing autoimmune thyroiditis. Therefore I think the use of LLLT for improving energy, digestion, mood and sleep is validated.
Peat, R. From PMS to Menopause : Female Hormones in Context. 1997.