#29: 🔴 Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Plus: Adaptogens for Anti-Stress
💬 In this note:
🔴 Benefits of Red Light and Near-Infrared Light Therapy
🪴 What Are Adaptogens And Should You Take Them?
📚 Funny You Should Ask
🔴 Benefits of Red Light and Near-Infrared Light Therapy
“Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light”
Actually, she should, if she wants to benefit from the anti-aging and muscle recovery benefits of red light therapy.
Red light therapy (RLT) and near-infrared (NIR) light therapy are both treatments now offered at dermatologist offices, wellness spas and at-home devices. The treatment can consist of red light alone, NIR light, or a combination of both.
How does it work?
Red wavelengths are part of the visible light spectrum. The most beneficial wavelength of red light is between 610 and 660 nanometers.
Infrared light, however, is invisible. The term infrared light therapy refers to near-infrared (NIR) light, which is usually between 810 and 850 nanometers.
The difference between them is the depth of absorption into the tissues. Red light treats only the outermost layers of the skin, whereas NIR light treats the skin and subcutaneous tissue.
For anti-aging treatment, you will get superior results by using both red and near-infrared light together. This way you will treat both the skin’s surface and under the skin.
Why is the combination of RL and NIR therapy better?
Any inflammation found deeper in the body could negatively affect your cells, interfere with cellular metabolism, slow collagen production, and affect blood flow. If these underlying disorders are beyond the reach of red light, you’ll need NIR light.
Human facial skin ranges in thickness from ⅕ to 2 centimeters. Red light absorbs into the skin tissue up to 2 centimeters deep. It absorbs through the dermal layers providing reduced oxidative stress, increased blood flow, and a boosted cellular metabolism.
NIR light absorbs beyond the surface of the skin, up to 5 centimeters into the tissues, where it reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in subcutaneous tissues beyond the reach of red light.
Red light therapy for skin aging
Red light therapy stimulates production of new undamaged collagen; it also treats the underlying causes of poor collagen synthesis, allowing the skin matrix to rebuild. NIR light addresses underlying inflammation that damages fibroblasts
A landmark 2014 study found that both red and near infrared light therapy led to significantly improved skin complexion, smoothness, and increased collagen density.
Another study found that a combination RLT and NIR therapy led to an improvement in reversing sun damage and periorbital wrinkles (crow’s feet) after three months of treatment.
Does Red Light Therapy improve muscle recovery from exercise?
Studies suggest that red or near infrared light stimulates cells to increase the production of antioxidants and decrease the production of inflammatory compounds.
RLT after a workout may help alleviate the severity of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and post-exercise discomfort as inflammation is at the root of muscle soreness, joint stiffness, and discomfort after exercise.
Huge news for those trying to build more muscle, it really works! A review of 46 studies found that RLT can improve recovery from exercise by decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress in muscles while simultaneously increasing muscle mass gained after training.
Using RLT immediately before and after a workout was the most effective treatment schedule to improve performance and facilitate muscle recovery according to this 2018 study.
All you need is a high quality medical grade light therapy device and a regular treatment plan to achieve results comparable to the clinical trials.
Are devices purchased for at-home use a safe and reasonable option?
While you can find RLT products online or at beauty spas, saunas, and gyms, it's important to be cautious about where and from whom you get treatment. Some products may not be as powerful as those used by dermatologists, so you may not see the results you're hoping for.
To get the best outcome, it's recommended that you consult with a medical professional or dermatologist before trying any therapy for skin conditions. Don't hesitate to ask them about treatment options that are appropriate, safe, and effective for your skin.
🪴 What Are Adaptogens And Should I Take Them?
Adaptogens are herbs, roots and other plant substances (like mushrooms) that help our bodies manage stress and restore balance after a stressful situation. People take adaptogens as herbal supplements in capsule form, drink them in teas or in a powder added to food and drinks.
Not all herbs work as adaptogens. To be considered an adaptogen, an herb or plant substance must:
Be nontoxic at normal doses
Support the entire body’s ability to cope with stress
Help the body return to a stable state
Some common adaptogens and their uses include:
Ashwagandha, to help reduce anxiety and depression
Ginseng, either American or Asian ginseng, to combat fatigue
Reishi, a type of mushroom adaptogen, used to boost the immune system and fight cancer, studied for its effectiveness in treating cancerous tumors
Rhodiola, to reduce fatigue, depression and pain
Schisandra, for improved concentration, coordination and endurance
Tulsi (“holy basil”), to increase focus, decrease anxiety and boost the immune system
Before taking adaptogens, it is best to speak with your doctor as adaptogens can interfere with some medications. It is also important to remember that supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so it is important to make sure you are buying from a reputable source. Make sure to research specific brands and products before you buy.
📚 Book of the Week
Funny You Should Ask: A Novel by Elissa Sussman
3 / 5 Stars
An easy, lighthearted and feel good read.
In her twenties, Chani Horowitz is asked to interview her celebrity crush, Gabe Parker, leading to a deeply personal profile piece. Ten years later the two are reunited for a follow-up article.
⚡️ Check This Out
Save the date! North America will see a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
The path of totality starts on Mexico’s Pacific coast around 11am and travels through Texas towards Maine, ending in the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. local time.
Find out exactly when and where you can see it here.