Types of Light Therapy and What Is Right For You
Although light therapy may feel like a new term, it is not a new form of treatment. Have you ever noticed how good you feel when the sun is shining? A healthy body requires regular exposure to light which is the simplest form of light therapy, for the production of Vitamin D. The earliest history of scientific light therapy to date is from Dr. Niels Ryberg Finsen who suffered from a rare disease that became responsible for his investigations on the role of light on the human body. He realized that the sun made his disease better and his studies led him to discover light therapy and its effect on inflammation. In 1896 he developed the first red light therapy as a treatment for lupus, tuberculosis, and smallpox. In 1903 he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for his work on phototherapy, changing the way we think about light and its bodily affects.
Today as the price of modern medicine and medications continues to rise, there has been a turn towards alternative treatments. There are three common forms of science based light therapy to date: our field of 40Hz Passive Light Therapy, SAD Lights, andRed Light Therapy. We will share what they are used for and who can benefit from these treatments.
40Hz Passive Light Therapy
40Hz is a frequency measured over time, and can be used to describe the frequency of anything that oscillates. Although wavelength is usually used to describe visible light because its frequency is so high, in this case 40Hz refers to the frequency that the light is flashed, 40Hz a second, which is why we chose the name BEACON40®.
40Hz light therapy has been tied to aiding in Alzheimer’s disease through new research in Alzheimer’s disease mouse models and new human trials brain studies. These studies show that exposure to light flickering at the rate of 40 flashes per second (or 40Hz), increased gamma brainwaves and led to the clearing of beta amyloid plaque build ups in the brain, a key abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80% of those who are suffering from memory loss and cognitive decline not due to aging. Though there is still a lot to learn about the disease, we know that it involves changes in the brain, including shrinking, blood vessel damage, and most crucially, the development of protein deposits known as plaques and tangles. Plaques, which are made up of beta-amyloids, clog the area between nerve cells, while tangles, which are twisted fibers of the tau protein, accumulate inside the cells. They both interfere with the ability of neurons to talk to each other, and they unfortunately eventually cause brain cells to die.
Beacon40 lights are comprised of white LED light which delivers pulses of light at 40Hz which are safe and silent. That means 40 flashes per second pulsed through the eyes. It’s a noninvasive method of stimulating the brain’s activity inducing healthy brain rhythms and rejuvenating healthy brain function, which has been shown to both reduce the amount of amyloid plaque buildup and excite gamma oscillations in the brain.
The use of Beacon40 light system has had a positive effect on people who’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Red Light Therapy & Infrared Light Therapy
A lot of people confuse red light therapy and infrared light therapy and it’s understandable since they are so close together on the light spectrum. The main difference is that red light therapy is visible to the eye and used with a device that produces red light waves to treat the surface of the skin. Red Light LED therapy is non thermal, meaning it does not produce heat, and can be used in a variety of dermatological processes like stimulating collagen production and wound healing. It also has the ability to stimulate the production of melatonin, which improves sleep quality.
Red Light Therapy Is Great For:
- wound healing
- cancerous skin lesions
- skin rejuvenation
Infrared Light Therapy, on the other hand, is not visibly red, it is invisible to the eye and produces heat that penetrates the skin. Since it has a longer wavelength, it is able to penetrate deeper into the skin (about 3 inches deeper) and heals by producing heat absorbed by our skin tissues causing a host of physiological effects.
Infrared Light Therapy Is Great For:
- Pain relief
- Cell repair
NASA tested red light therapy on astronauts in the 1990s and found that it had the ability to improve cellular function, cardiovascular conditioning and help heal the effects of living in zero gravity environments. They also did a two year clinical trial on cancer patients who had undergone chemo and radiation using far and near infrared light therapy and saw a 96% improvement in pain relief.
Because red light and infrared light are next to each other in the light spectrum, they are often used together in therapy, which lead to powerful effects.
SAD Light Therapy
If you have ever lived on the East Coast during the winter months, especially New York City, you have experienced a chilly grey day where the sun has set at 4:30pm. For some, the lack of sunlight may feel more extreme than just the common groggy or down feeling. Winter season may cause extreme mood disorders, even depression. Insufficient exposure to sunlight and an unregulated sleep/wake cycle can affect regions in your brain that affect your mood. This is what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
If you experience this, you may be a candidate for SAD light therapy. ‘Happy Lights’, sun lamps or SAD lights are all the same in that they positively impact your body’s regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycle, as well as serotonin, which relays signals in your brain that help regulate your mood.
This is a question we receive a lot since Beacon40 lights may resemble a SAD light, but the effects are different. Beacon40 is different from a SAD light in that 10,000 lux (or lumens) is the intensity of the light often used, each of our lights is about 1,000 lumens.
It will come to a surprise to see the numerous conditions light therapy is able to treat with just a quick look up of ‘Light Therapy’ on Wikipedia.
Light therapy may not be a cure, but it will ease symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help you feel better about yourself and your life. Light therapy can start to improve symptoms within as little as a few days.
Please discover more scientific references and research articles on Alzheimer’s and light therapy studies at https://getmebright.com/news.