It’s been a tough year. Feelings of anxiety are high, and worsening still right as we enter typical Seasonal Affective Disorder season in New England. We need easy, gentle, effective support for how we’re feeling.
And that’s exactly what’s got me so excited about this research.
The gist on LED Red & Infrared Light Therapy: shown to boost your mitochondria, upping ATP (aka energy) production, allowing your cells to function better, improving circulation, and decreasing inflammation. It’s been shown to clinically improve skin appearance.
But did you know these wavelengths are also being studied for their ability to improve MOOD, depression, and brain injury?
Researchers think the benefits of light therapy on the brain are similar to why it’s great for our skin: by increasing blood flow (meaning nutrients and oxygen can more easily get where we’d like them to), improving oxygen availability and your brain’s ability to use it, improve ATP (energy) production, and enhance mitochondrial activity.
But how much light therapy does it take?
We’re still working out all the details of how it works to get to THAT exact how, but even a little light therapy shows promising results: animal studies have shown us impacts of a single light session can lasts days to months, and a 2009 human study found that applying light therapy in red wavelengths simply to the forehead resulted in improvements in the Hamilton depression rating scale 2 weeks after a single treatment.
Researchers think it’s because light therapy seems to activate 14+ of our important signaling mediators and transcription factors.
They then cause an upswing in our gene expression, setting in motion an increase in protein synthesis, cell movement and replication, anti-inflammatory signaling, antioxidants, and cell-preservation signaling.
Basically: things work better, repair better, have less inflammation, and flow more efficiently.
Pretty cool stuff, especially for something continually cited as a safe, gentle treatment option.
But what does that mean about OUR light therapy sessions at Soleil?
If you’re curious about our light therapy panel in-office: it contains professional-grade LED lights in various wavelengths of amber, light red, dark red, and infrared lights. That means you’re getting a wide variety of wavelengths which gives us a broad spectrum of potential positive impacts.
Infrared wavelengths are actually invisible to the naked eye, and show promise in recent studies on depression. Early results from a study of subjects with major depression right out of Boston have shown significant success with improvements in mood with a series of 20 minute treatments of infrared light.
Infrared and red light therapy have caught the attention of medical experts. Dr. Marc Schoen of UCLA Medical School, an expert in treating mental health issues for a quarter of a century, has stated that “In tandem with psychotherapy, using red light and infrared light therapy appears to catapult patients out of an acute depressive state faster than any other modality.”
Animal studies have shown that 3 sessions per week helped stressed animals perform better, and human studies are exploring cognitive improvements with use of light therapy, so far with promising results.
Even better: these therapies have been shown to be gentle and noninvasive time and time again.
Here’s another one of my favorite things: acupuncture.
Acupuncture: shown to help increase endorphins, improve mood, anxiety, stress, and sleep, and puts a huge focus on supporting your mental/emotional health.
At the Soleil office, we offer a combination of both of these amazing, gentle modalities. We call it Light Therapy Acupuncture.
Our acupuncture light therapy sessions start with the placement of therapeutic acupuncture points before the light panel is turned on. Nothing touches your face or head, and panels are thoroughly cleaned between each patient. Enjoyed with a background of the sound of crashing ocean waves, most patients comment that light therapy sessions feel like taking a nap on the beach. Something we could all use a little more of this New England winter.
If you have any questions about adding light therapy to your acupuncture treatments, we’re always happy to help answer questions! And if our appointments are out of reach, some great at-home light devices are just a search away, like Joov or LightStim.