When I was a little girl and got sick, my mother would bundle me up in a blanket and place my face in the sun. To this day, if I’m I not feeling well, she’ll say, “go out and get some sun.” Enhancing my health and mood with sunlight is so ingrained, I built a little beach in my backyard so I can sit with my feet in the sand and face in the sun whenever I can. I just love the way it makes me feel.
With light therapy as a global wellness trend, I thought I’d explore how it is used in this realm. While we have featured several articles by practitioners on its medicinal use, it wasn’t until my introduction to red light therapy at Restore Hyper Wellness that I learned of the benefits for overall wellbeing. So I did some research.
It was interesting to learn that light and color were some of the earliest healing modalities. Ancient Greeks were the first to document the practice and built healing temples like those in the “city of the sun,” Heliopolis, which used light and a variety of colors to treat specific medical conditions.1 Fast forward to 1903 when physician Niels Finson received a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his use of red light therapy to heal smallpox and lupus vulgaris, a form of skin tuberculosis.2 Since then, light therapy has been widely used medically for skin conditions, cancer therapy, wound healing, sports injuries and more.3
In wellness, the use of red light therapy, which encompasses beneficial light rays versus harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, is said to boost energy and mood, rejuvenate skin, increase circulation and reduce inflammation. It is thought to work by producing a biochemical effect in cells that strengthens the mitochondria, our cell powerhouses. By increasing the function of the mitochondria, a cell can make more energy (adenosine triphosphate or APT), allowing it to function more efficiently, boost cell rejuvenation and growth, and to repair damage.4
Energized cells stimulate collagen production (providing skin structure, strength and elasticity), increase blood circulation to tissues, reduce inflammation at the cellular level and just make us feel better. The recommended 10-12 minutes are all you need to start feeling the benefits.
Looking into this certainly helped me better understand why I enjoy this therapy – and why my mother’s prescription always seemed to work. If you are interested in trying red light therapy, remember it is always best to speak with a qualified health care professional first.
Lauren Del Sarto is founder and publisher of Desert Health and can be reached at [email protected]
References: 1) https://healthcaredesignmagazine.com/architecture/healing-use-light-and-color; 2) https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1903/finsen/biographical/; 3) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22114-red-light-therapy; 4) https://www.healthline.com/health/red-light-therapy#how-does-it-work