Light Therapy
Published on December 2, 2017 by L. A. Hilden | Views: 155

Light Therapy also called heliotherapy is described as a “therapeutic exposure to full-spectrum artificial light that simulates sunlight and can be used to treat various skin conditions and seasonal issues like depression.” Plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into plant tissue, while high emitting LED’s using specific wavelengths of light can trigger a natural biostimulation that effects human tissue. The cells absorb particles of light or photons and transforms their energy into adenosine triphosphate or ATP, this is the form of energy that cells utilize. Elevated ATP powers the metabolic processes; synthesize, DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, and other products needed to repair or regenerate cell components.

Many ancient civilizations in Greece, Egypt, and Rome practiced forms of heliotherapy. The Inca, Assyrian, early German settlers, and other ancient civilizations worshiped the health bringing sun deity. Light therapy is used to treat seasonal affective disorder, circadian rhythm disorders, skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, pain management, hair growth, and accelerate wound healing. Light therapy can help regulate melatonin and other hormones impacted by circadian rhythms to treat the winter blues.

There are many types of light therapy available.

Dawn Simulators mimic the sun rising.

Light Boxes are flat screens that produce a full-spectrum of fluorescent light, which the person will sit near for thirty to sixty minutes.  Some health clubs offer light box rooms, as it is the most common tool used in light therapy. Ideally you’d like your light box to produce 10,000 lux of light.

Bluewave Technology is a considered to be better than the types above as this light blue light shifts circadian rhythms, suppresses melatonin levels, and regulates circadian responses. Harvard University researches have compared the effects between blue and green light and found that the blue light was twice as affective as the green light. However using the blue light at night was found to keep people awake, like the blue light given off of phones and computer tablets, this nighttime exposure has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and various cancers. Bluewave LED technology has been used by NASA as the preferred method to regulate astronaut’s sleep and awake patterns. NASA began experimenting with LED’s for plant growth and to speed the healing of wounds, as wounds don’t heal well in anti-gravity conditions, the results were positive, which led to further research in skin cancer treatments.

Timer Lights are used to slowly transition dark to light.

Bright Light Sun Visors are worn as a hat, but they’re not recommended due to the nearness of the light to your eyes.

Although there are many methods to receive light therapy, phototherapy is often used in dermatology. Phototherapy uses ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation of the skin and is especially helpful in treating psoriasis. The therapy is said to have no side effects and is considered far safer than taking immunosuppressant drugs or using topical steroids. There’s also a Laser therapy that is used for cosmetic reason. This laser light can eliminate red spots, age spots, and veins. Dr. Virginia Litle, a thoracic surgeon at Boston Medical Center uses laser therapy, called photodynamic therapy to treat cancer. Although Dr. Litle claims this therapy works well at ridding tumors, it is very expensive and carries high side effects.

Light therapy also differs in the color of lighting. Red light treatments are believed to naturally jump-start tissue recovery by increasing blood flow, collagen stimulation, and more. They are often used on the face and emitted directly through the skin; it’s not painful. The skin absorbs the light having a positive effect on cellular energy, the nervous system, and metabolic processes. It is also used for joint pain caused by age or cancer treatments symptoms. NASA tested red light therapy on cancer patients who suffered from oral mucositis and found that 96% of patients improved with this therapy, which was given with a handheld wand device called the WARP 75. Red light is said to benefit hair loss, wounds, incisions, acne, wrinkles, skin discolorations, muscle pain, as well as neurological and tissue damage. The red light encourages melatonin production, which promotes sleep.

Both blue and red light therapies have similar benefits, although they work in different ways and it’s not completely understood why. Blue light is commonly used at home and is said to do wonders with eliminating acne and killing certain bacteria. Red light is used to reduce inflammation and is believed to penetrate the skin deeper than blue light, but both can be used in light therapy devices. Home devices are usually less potent than a doctor’s office and require longer times sitting near them, but light therapy is considered far less invasive than laser treatments.

As I studied this subject it became clear that light therapy needs more research. There seems to be confusion in the mechanisms of action of light therapy, especially at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels. As I read through reviews on some of the products available, it seems most consumers are happy with light therapy results.

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