Proven Therapeutic Effects of Light Therapy

Photo: Our grateful thanks to Robin Pierre on Unsplash!

by Marcel Hernandez, N.D.

In our materialistic, evidence-driven culture, we tend to think that the more complex a therapy is, the more positive its effects are likely to be.

In some cases, it’s true.  Yet what’s also true is that for thousands of years, very simple, readily available light therapies have played a significant part in healing.

In its most-accessible form, exposure to sunlight helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, improves our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns, helps us focus, enables us to get more done, and even makes us happier.

Ensuring that we get enough of this vital resource is important to our physical and psychological well-being.  Even so, modern LED light therapy uses specific colors found in the natural light spectrum  to treat physical maladies with dramatic effectiveness.

Marcel Hernandez, ND

LED-light therapy uses three colors of light to treat various conditions: blue, red, and near-infrared.

If you aren’t familiar with light therapy, the short version is: light therapy is effective, natural, non-invasive, and drug-free.

The word “light” implies not just brightness, but also energy. Light consists of tiny energy packets called photons that transport energy.

The different types of light are classified by their wavelength and frequency. We humans can only see certain wavelengths with our eyes: the visible light spectrum.

That said, let’s look at the healing potentials of other wavelengths and frequencies of light.

Near-Infrared Light  (NIR)

In experiments with mice, when multiple sclerosis-like symptoms were treated with NIR light, the clinical condition of the animals improved noticeably. The research indicated that NIR light stimulates cell repair by acting on the mitochondria and a particular enzyme, cytochrome C oxidase.

NIR therapy has also been used to treat blindness in rats caused by poisoning, a condition thought to be permanent. In repeated experiments, researchers have found that certain doses of NIR light allowed lab animals to regain their sight.

Researchers have found that after an injury or illness triggers an immune response, NIR light resets the mitochondria so that they function normally again.

Blue light

Certain wavelengths of blue light have been successfully used to clear stubborn infections – even MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant “superbug” form of Staphylococcus aureus.

An infant is treated with light. See text for description.

Photo extended caption: Baby Victor Santino. Infants with neonatal jaundice are treated with colored light called phototherapy. Physicians randomly assigned 66 infants 35 weeks of gestation to receive phototherapy. After 15±5 the levels of bilirubin, a yellowish bile pigment that in excessive amounts causes jaundice, were decreased down to 0.27±0.25 mg/dl/h in the blue light. This shows that blue light therapy helps reduce high bilirubin levels that cause neonatal jaundice. (Photo credit: Our grateful thanks to ShannonPatrick17 on Flickr. See full photo caption here.)

Blue light therapy has also been shown to destroy acne-causing bacteria. And research indicates that blue light is superior to other colored light for treating depression. Other studies have shown that blue light of a specific wavelength and frequency can be used at a lower intensity than full-spectrum bright light to achieve the same effects.

Together, NIR and blue light repair tissue in dramatically different ways, but they both act on the same enzyme in the cell’s energy supply center, the mitochondria. The studies have revealed key information about managing the effects of aging and disease.

Red Light

In study after study, red light therapy has proven to be a safe, natural way to speed the healing process for burns, wounds, surgery incisions and scars, and for decreasing pain and inflammation.

Entrepreneurs have jumped on the research and are developing panels that deliver red light therapy. For example, the Joovv panel delivers safe, concentrated wavelengths of therapeutic natural red light to the skin and cells, where it reduces oxidative stress and stimulates cellular energy production (adenosine triphosphate, or ATP) that helps the body power itself, regenerate, and heal faster.

Numerous trials have shown that red light therapy can reduce acute and chronic inflammation. Studies on red light therapy and wound healing have also shown how cells exposed to natural light produce new blood vessels, new fibroblasts (which create collagen and connective fibers to heal wounds), and new tissue formation – all leading to faster, stronger healing outcomes, with less pain.

We have only begun to discover the near-magical healing potentials of light therapy. Here at Pacific Naturopathic we’re using a light-based technology which we described in a recent article,   New Research Confirms: Simple Light Therapy Restores and Maintains Brain Function.

The “helmet” described in that article is just one research-driven tool that has shown almost miraculous effects in addressing Alzheimer’s, reducing brain fog, and helping people recover from the devastating effects of strokes.

For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch, or follow the link to: Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!