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Red And Near-Infrared Light – A Must Have Therapy

Written by

Deborah Freudenmann BHSc

Do you suffer from hair loss? Accelerated ageing? Weight loss issues? Neurological diseases? Depression and/or anxiety? Autoimmune diseases? Delayed healing? Reduced joint function or pain? Lack of energy? Thyroid issues? Poor sleep? Among others?

Chances are you have one or more of the conditions listed in this article. In fact, I can almost guarantee it.

This article is about a powerful therapy that beneficially impacts all of the above, known as red and near infrared light therapy.

As most of you might know, we’ve spent the past 15 years testing and researching therapies effectively used in clinics, by doctors and practitioners. It is our utmost goal to remain integer with our community and only share, educate and provide you with devices and therapies which actually deliver therapeutic results.

In this article, you will learn about red and near-infrared light and discover the incredible healing power of this therapy! If you already use this therapy, you’ll know just how amazing it is and if you haven’t tried it out yet, well you’re in for a treat.

Before we dive into light therapy let’s cover some general understanding.

Colours of daylight

A small part of the light spectrum from roughly 400nm to 700nm is visible to the human eye. These different wavelengths influence our systems in very distinct ways, and both are essential to the balance of our body and mind. Our sunlight contains all different colours of the spectrum. Each of these colours have a different wavelength and therefore different energies associated.

Artificial light does not cover all spectrums as natural light does. While daylight varies all over the day – going from red to blue during midday and then back to red. Artificial lighting stays the same spectrum all day long and all night long. 

Blue light is also being found in large quantities in artificial light of digital devices such as your smart phone, laptop and tablet as well as in office and house lighting. Blue light is a natural part of the sunlight spectrum, however when the dosage is too much it disrupts us, altering our circadian rhythm and everything that depends on it. See blog here to learn about blue light.

At the highest end of the visible spectrum is red light, also known as photobiomodulation and low level light therapy. Red light goes from a little over 600nm to around 700nm. Red light has positive effects on regeneration processes in retinal pathologies, stroke, neurotrauma and neurodegeneration, memory, mood disorders, pain and wound healing by counteracting mitochondrial issues.

Past 700nm, no longer visible to the human eye is near infrared light which starts from 700nm to a little over 1,100nm.

The amazing health effects on our bodies are specifically from the red and near infrared wavelengths.

What are the different types of light therapies?

UV light

The sunrays produce different wavelengths of UV (ultraviolet) rays including UV-A and UV-B. UV-B rays interact with a protein in the skin converting it to Vitamin D3 which is the active form of Vitamin D.
Phototherapy using UV-A and UV-B light can also be effective for the management of psoriasis. Ultraviolet light therapy is beneficial for relieving the signs of a number of skin conditions including a form of skin cancer called T cell lymphoma.

Blue light

Blue light actually sets the circadian rhythm in our brain, which in turn regulates numerous different neurotransmitters and hormones.
Unfortunately instead of rising and sleeping with the sun, we created artificial daytime by turning on our house lights, watching TV, playing on our phones… All of these and more contain high energy vibrational blue light. So if you work in front of a computer all day, or are exposed to artificial light several hours in one go, blue light blocking glasses can do wonders! I wear mine everyday in front of my computer and it makes a really big difference.
A large body of research demonstrates the excessive exposure to blue light can impact our sleep and sleep-wake bio rhythms:

  • Not only does blue light inhibit melatonin it also stimulates the production of cortisol, a major stress hormone which interferes with sleep
  • Exposure to blue light shortens sleep time and leads to more awakenings throughout the night
  • In some studies, it has shown that blue light aggressively inhibits the production of melatonin thus impacting sleep and our natural circadian rhythm
  • Blue light suppresses melatonin for more than twice as long as other visible light wavelengths
  • Room light that’s rich in blue wavelength light from high-efficiency light sources also suppresses melatonin
Far-infrared light

Far-infrared light has a wavelength of about 3000 nm to 0.1 mm. Far infrared can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin and reach soft tissues.
The health benefits of far-infrared light could be attributed to its ability to generate heat and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. It may also increase blood circulation, improve heart functions, reduce pain, boost energy levels, and control blood pressure.

Red light

Red light therapy acts on the mitochondria (energy powerhouses) in our cells to increase cellular energy.
Red light therapy can help to reduce damage, inflammation and control inflammation in the affected tissues. It can also encourage the production of collagen in the skin and thus, reduce the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. It involves exposure of the affected tissues to low levels of red light to stimulate natural healing and repair processes.

Near-infrared light

Near-infrared light works similarly to red light by stimulating the mitochondrial functions, increasing metabolism, promoting tissue repair, and reducing inflammation.

A human deficiency in light

Light is an often underappreciated and undervalued promotor and predictor of health. Two common light related health issues that many people face:

1) Vitamin D deficiency – so a lack of UV light exposure

2)Circadian rhythm disruption – meaning not enough sunshine during the morning and day and too much artificial blue light at night

Just these two issues alone are major underlying causes for a whole host of chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, metabolic disease, neurodegenerative disease, heart disease and so forth.

How does red and near-infrared light therapy work?

  • Biochemical effect on cells to increase mitochondrial function
  • Increased and improved ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production
  • Increased mitochondrial function results in cells to function more efficiently, repair damage and rejuvenate themselves by restoring health at the cellular level
  • Stimulation of DNA and RNA synthesis
  • Promote an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant defence of a cell resulting in stress resistance (concept of hormesis)
  • Activate the lymphatic system
  • Increase blood flow, circulation and thereby better oxygenation and delivery of nutrients to your cells and tissues
  • Formation of new capillaries
  • Improving and boosting natural production of collagen and fibroblasts which are important for our skin health and reduction of wrinkles and cellulite
  • Restoring and repairing damaged soft connective tissue
  • Increase the quality of life, decrease pain, muscle spasms and stiffness
  • Supports hashimotos by destroying autoantibodies, supporting regeneration of damaged tissues and improving thyroid functions
  • Stimulating or decreasing inflammation
  • Supports weight loss by disintegrating fat cells and facilitating the removal from the body
  • Reducing oxidative stress levels and free radical damage – associated with ageing
  • Increase melatonin production, thus improving sleep quality
  • Improvement in cognitive performance by improved cellular repair of damaged neurons, protection of neurons and decreased brain inflammation

What are the benefits of near-infrared and red-light therapies?

Near infrared and red light therapy are fantastic for everything skin related! Such as reversing skin ageing, promoting collagen production, reducing cellulite, increasing fat loss, speeding up healing and wound repair.

Sounds too good to be true right?

Red light and near-infrared light therapy penetrate through the skin and stimulate an increase in circulation (new capillaries!) which increases collagen production and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts in our skin actually synthesise collagen and maintain connective tissue integrity.
Red and near infrared light therapy helps to clean up dead and damaged cells in the skin and increase ATP production in skin cells thus promoting skin and faster repair time.
Therefore not only improving skin tone but also reducing wrinkles and fine lines formed due to the loss of collagen as a result of aging.

Red light therapy can penetrate deeper tissues of the skin and target the stubborn fat cells that are difficult to eliminate by exercising and dietary efforts. YES this therapy can also support weight loss! It can help disintegrate fat cells thus facilitating their removal from the body. This would help to accelerate fat loss and reduce the symptoms of cellulite and improved skin tone.
Red light and near-infrared light therapies are believed to speed up wound healing by increasing circulation and supplying a wound with more oxygen and therefore nutrients which are needed for repair.

Inflammatory damage to healthy organs and tissues can be avoided or minimized by red light therapy. Red and near infrared light therapy addresses the inflammatory pathway by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines. It has been found to be beneficial for patients who suffer from diseases linked to inflammation such as diabetes and cancer.
Red light therapy can increase energy levels by encouraging the production of ATPs in the cells. It works by promoting the functions of mitochondria. This effect of red light therapy is particularly effective in the management of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It was found that red and near infrared light can increase the quality of life, decrease pain, muscle spasms and stiffness.

The symptoms of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism can be relieved more effectively by undergoing red light and near-infrared light therapies. This treatment would work by destroying autoantibodies, supporting regeneration of the damaged tissues, and improving thyroid functions.

A Russian study conducted in 2014 conduded red and near infrared light therapy for 10 sessions with 347 women who suffered from subclinical hypothyroidism. Their baseline TSH averaged at 9.1 mlIU/L, but after 10 sessions the TSH was normalised in 227 (97%) of women. Their TSH averaged 2.2 mlU/L after the red and infrared light therapies.

Red light therapy may improve mental health and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety by regulating brain functions. A study was conducted on a total of 10 patients with major depression, anxiety, some with drug abuse, and some with PTSD. These 10 patients were treated with one month of NIR and red light therapy and the results were astounding. Just two weeks post treatment 6 out of 10 patients had remission of depression and 7 out of 10 had remission of their anxiety.

Red light therapy stimulates collagen production in the joints and supports the healing of bones and joint tissues. This would provide relief from the symptoms of arthritis including joint pain, swelling, and restriction of movements.

Pain and stiffness in the muscles and ligaments could be reduced to a great extent by undergoing red light therapy. It stimulates healing of strained, injured, or sprained muscles, tendons, and ligaments and provides relief from pain.

Red light therapy is recommended for men and women who are unable to sleep well due to mental stress, depression, or joint pains. In addition, studies have shown that red and near infrared light therapy actually influences a hormone called melatonin. Not only can this hormone promote sleep but it can improve sleep quality.

Red light therapy can prevent degenerative changes in the brain and slow down the progress of traumatic brain injury, ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease as well as age related cognitive decline.

Red light and near infrared light benefits on brain health:

  • Improves cognitive performance and memory
  • Boosted and improved mitochondrial function of cells
  • Improved cellular repair of damaged neurons
  • Protective effect on neurons
  • Decrease brain inflammation


The brain, among the muscles and heart have the greatest mitochondrial density. Mitochondria dysfunction, poor circulation and brain inflammation are very common in conditions such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease which explains the positive response to red and near infrared light therapy.

Neuroinflammation is a crucial pathophysiological finding in brain disorders which is why red/near infrared light can exude another benefit as it addresses the inflammatory pathways. It does this by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Our recommendation

Red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy offer numerous benefits that can help you stay healthy. It is possible to eliminate skin issues and derive relief from the symptoms of ailments like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and hypothyroidism by undergoing these advanced, research-based treatments.

As I mentioned above, it is of utmost importance to us that each company or product we recommend is top quality, priced fairly and can deliver therapeutic results. Many red light companies mark up their products due to celebrity endorsements, offering apps and extra gimmicks that you likely don’t need. We’ve tested out some products and we are happy to say that we’ve found a company that we are happy to share with you, Mito Red Light! 

Mito Red Light
MITOMIN

Super charged, high powered targeted treatment with the MitoMIN 300w 60 LED red light therapy device. Best value targeted red light therapy panel available on the market. Compare to lower-powered similar sized models priced at $399. Whisper quiet fan keeps LEDs cool ensuring 50,000+ hour lifespan. Dual switches, one each for 660nm (Red) and 850nm (NIR), allow for full customization of the session. Use Red, NIR or both at the same time! Highest irradiance on the market. Full 2 Year Warranty.

Mito Red Light
MITOMID

Super charged, high powered targeted treatment with the MitoMID 500w 100 LED red light therapy device. Compare to a competitor’s lower-powered and smaller (15″) panel priced at $695.
Two whisper quiet fans keep LEDs cool ensuring 50,000 hour lifespan. Dual switches, one each for 660nm (Red) and 850nm (NIR), allow for full customization of the session. Use Red, NIR or both at the same time! Highest irradiance on the market. 2 Year Warranty.

Mito Red Light
MITOMAX

Super charged, high powered full body treatment with the MitoMAX 1000w 200 LED red light therapy device. Best full body red light therapy panel available on the market. Compare to lower-powered 36 inch panels that can run $1195 or more! Four whisper quiet fans keep LEDs cool ensuring 50,000 hour lifespan. Dual switches, one each for 660nm (Red) and 850nm (NIR), allow for full customization of the session. Use Red, NIR or both at the same time! Highest irradiance on the market. 2 Year Warranty.

Mito Red Light
MITOMEGA

There is absolutely nothing else on the red light therapy market like the new MitoMEGA! The MEGA has an unprecedented 300 5w bulbs for a total 1500w of Red Light Therapy Power! Five extra large yet quiet fans keep LEDs cool ensuring 50,000+ hour lifespan. Dual switches, one each for 660nm and 850nm, allow for full customization of the session. Highest irradiance on the market. Full 2 Year Warranty. The MitoMEGA contains NO unnecessary / ancillary components so it still weighs in at only 25 pounds!

Final thoughts 

Light is an often under-appreciated and undervalued promotor and predictor of health. With a human deficiency in light it is our job to improve not only our exposure but re-balance our light deficiency. It’s one thing to read about the benefits of a therapy compared to experiencing them. I can speak on behalf of myself and my family we all use the red light on a daily (sometimes weekly) basis and the effects are truly astounding. 

It is the light spectrum that activates, promotes (red and near-infrared light), interrupts and or stops (blue light/artificial light) our normal biological functioning. With that being said, get yourself a red/near infrared light  to experience these amazing effects (not to mention it’s a thoughtful Christmas present!)! 

 

References

 https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0190962219306371 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12410709 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181813 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935255/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16989189/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6462613/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2008.00394.x https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1196/annals.1352.040 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790317/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248601/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21116053/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687728/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5642174/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18177400/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6247385/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20662037/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5505738/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17463313/ http://valtsus.blogspot.com/2015/09/hypothyroidism-could-it-be-treated-with.html https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796659/ https://indiana.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/melatonin-as-a-principal-component-of-red-light-therapy https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030698770700028X https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/neu.2013.3244
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  • 2 Responses

    1. Hi Deborah,
      I am being treated by my optometrist with green light (bulb and green glasses) for my
      diplopia (double vision) due to divergence insufficiency. Know about this stuff?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

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