Light is an essential component to a healthy human lifestyle. It not only powers the plants we rely on to produce oxygen, it supports the entire food chain that ensures we enjoy a healthy life as human beings. As we’ve evolved in a technological sense, human beings are spending more time indoors, exposed nearly constantly to digital device screens, powered by illumination that doesn’t benefit our needs. In fact, ongoing exposure to more computer time than sun or a beneficial light source has a detrimental effect on our bodies, leading to anything from a vitamin D deficiency to a disruption in our natural circadian sleep cycle. While we don’t need to sunbathe every day to retain those light-centric benefits, we do need to make sure we’re exposing ourselves to the correct kind of light, which is the basis for Light Therapy. After decades of safe, ethical experimentation on humans and our animal counterparts alike, a variety of Light Therapy options have emerged to help us improve our relationship with one of life’s most important building blocks.
What Is Light Therapy?
Light Therapy is the purposeful and therapeutic exposure to specific colors of light to help stimulate everything from immune system response to skin and wound healing. There are a wide variety of devices used and sold as “Light Therapy” on the market today. For therapeutic purposes we focus on two types: LED based wrap systems used to apply light to areas or muscle groups and LED or Laser “torches” that allow for more focused targeting.
If your Certified Light Therapist believes that Light Therapy would be beneficial, either as a preemptive measure or to treat a health problem, he or she will walk you through device suggestions as well as exposure timing. For some individuals, single infrequent sessions can help them feel better, but for others, longer sessions or more frequent exposure to therapeutic light may be more helpful, particularly when they are recovering from an injury or illness.
What Type of Light Has Health Benefits?
It’s important to note that not all light is therapeutic. For example, there’s a pervasive myth that traditional tanning beds can deliver the same benefits as these Light Therapy-designated devices, but because of the unfiltered spectrum of wavelengths used, in reality, these beds may cause UV damage to the skin. If you’re planning to try using Light Therapy for health and wellness, always get the advice of a Certified Light Therapist on the best way to support your body’s ability to heal. At this time, most therapeutic light will typically come a variety of specific colors, including red, infrared and blue, with specific applications for each.
Seven Benefits of Therapeutic Light (there are more!):
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Helps increase and encourage blood flow at the skin’s surface.
- Stimulates cellular repair for less pain and faster healing from injuries.
- Supports better sleeping habits by “resetting” your internal clock.
- Kills some harmful bacteria, such antibiotic-resistant “MRSA” or staphylococcus
- Reduces the buildup of fibrous (scar) tissue for better skin healing.
- Helps your body regulate both your immune system and temperature.
When Should I Use Light Therapy?
Unlike other therapeutic methods, Light Therapy requires no injections or physical contact, is very easy to do, and won’t interact negatively with medications. No special testing is typically required before starting a Light Therapy regimen, so you should feel free to experiment and explore with which lights – and which wavelengths – enact the biggest positive change for you. When in doubt, ask! Light Therapy providers understand that this new therapy may need explanation beforehand, and they’re happy to help walk you through the steps of your first office visit. You can even supplement or replace your in-office visits with Light Therapy at home – with the right tools you can simply plug in and enjoy the health benefits!
Light Therapy has thousands of scientific studies sourced from across the globe, touting the benefits of visiting a Light Therapy provider to fight back against a variety of health problems, including depression.
A better mood, a better outlook, and a growing industry: Light Therapy is making it happen for patients and Certified Light Therapists alike, throughout the world.