For years, sleep cycles were divided into two categories. People who enjoy mornings were known as “early birds.” And those of us who prefer staying up late were labeled “night owls.”
Well, step-aside birds. Mammals are the new name of the game. That’s right; scientists now believe there are four ways to classify sleep/wake cycles. In the science world, these classifications are known as chronotypes.
Chronotypes describe the periods when your body wants to sleep and when it wants to be awake. And to make it easier, the chronotype categories are named after animals. Our natural sleep tendencies are now categorized as bear, wolf, lion, and dolphin.
It is crucial to understand your animal chronotype. Once you do, you can start to schedule your life around your body’s natural cycles. Kaiyan Medical suggests that this may help you sleep better and feel more productive at work.
“The human circadian system actively synchronizes to the 24-h day via environmental signals of light and darkness.”
Circadian? A 24-hour cycle. It’s your body clock. Sleep psychologists reckon they can determine our natural sleeping patterns. By understanding our own, we can have a happier, more productive life.
Now, Chronotype is a term that describes a person’s natural rhythm. And it doesn’t only relate to sleep. Chronotypes influence all primal instincts.
Author Michael Breus, Ph.D., recently suggested that there are 4 natural chronotypes. And he named these after 4 animals that follow similar sleep/wake patterns. So, say goodbye to night owls and early birds. Wolves, lions, bears, and dolphins are the new circadian rhythm mascots.
Check out the chronotypes below and let us know in the comment section which one sounds like you!
Alright, night owls, this is your group. Just like these nocturnal creatures, you are most alert at night. Wolves tend to stay up later and struggle with waking up early.
Only about 15% of the population falls into this group. Wolves are more productive in the later afternoon and evening.
Sleep experts recommend that wolves set their alarm for 7 a.m.(snooze for 30 minutes) and go to sleep by midnight.
Lions are the new early birds. Like these wild cats, you are most alert in the morning. You have no trouble waking up and getting to work. But, lions tend to feel the afternoon slump. And by the evening, they feel drained.
About 15% of the population identifies as a lion. Sleep experts recommend that lions wake up around 5:30 a.m. and go to sleep by 10:30 p.m.
No, you don’t need to hibernate. But, like these diurnal (awake during the day, asleep at night) creatures, you follow the solar cycle. Bears generally feel awake during the day and need 8-hours of solid sleep at night.
About 50% of the population falls into this category. This group is productive in the morning and struggles with the mid-afternoon slump. Sleep experts recommend that bears wake up around 7 a.m. and go to sleep by 11 p.m.
Dolphins “only sleep with half of their brain at a time?”Sound familiar? Well, this is the insomniac (often self-diagnosed) group. You might be anxious and have trouble turning your brain off at night. Dolphins usually don’t get a complete night’s sleep.
About 10% of the population falls in this category. And even though they wake-up tired, dolphins are most productive by mid-morning.
Sleep experts recommend that dolphins get up around 6 a.m. and try to sleep around midnight.
Sleep Like an Animal
Who doesn’t want a better night’s sleep and a more productive day? Start scheduling your days based on your chronotypes! Once you know more about your chronotype, you can form sleep patterns that work with (not against!) your body’s natural rhythms.
So what are you waiting for? Here in Kaiyan, we are embracing our inner animals and start following our optimal sleep schedule.
Bellis, Rich. "How To Design Your Ideal Workday Based On Your Sleep Habits." Fast Company, 26 Nov. 2017,
Levi, Anthea. "This Is the Best Time of Day to Do Everything, According to Your Chronotype." Health.com, 31 Oct. 2016
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Lack of sleep is a villain in America and Europe. Light intake is a big part of the problem. Over 65% of adults say they don’t get enough good sleep every week. Most people also don’t get nearly enough natural light for optimal health: the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors.
In addition to not getting enough natural light, people today are surrounded by artificial blue light from screens and overhead lighting. An overload of artificial blue light can cause headaches and make it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep. When we take in all that bright blue light from laptops, TVs, and phones, especially before we go to bed, our bodies get the signal that it's time to be awake, even if we're tired.
Melatonin is the naturally-occurring hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Emerging research is showing that red light therapy treatments can help people produce more of their own, natural melatonin than exposure to other light sources like blue light. Red light therapy is natural light. It’s much less bright than blue light, with a lower color temperature than daytime sun, as the image above shows. Research has shown that red light doesn’t upset your sleep cycle like bright blue light. Red light therapy is showing great clinical results for people with insomnia and sleep disorders.
The light therapy is a simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers concentrated natural light to your skin and cells. Clinical research is showing that red light therapy can improve sleep quality and duration, and help people produce more of their own melatonin.
Light plays a major role in your sleep cycle. The body’s circadian clock interprets light as a sign of when to sleep and when to be awake. Artificial blue light from phones, computers, and other screens is extremely bright and can knock your circadian rhythm out of whack. Red light has the opposite effect: it’s ideal for evenings because it has a low color temperature—far lower than blue light and much closer to the natural sunset.
Red light therapy treatments are quick and simple: you just sit or stand in natural light for 5 to 15 minutes, ideally every day. This stimulates your mitochondria and gives your cells the natural light they need to make energy.
How Does Red Light Therapy Help You Sleep?
Natural light is a key ingredient for a healthy circadian rhythm and restful sleep. If you struggle to sleep, your light intake could be a big factor. Red light therapy delivers natural light like you’d get from the sun, but without UV rays, excess heat, or the need for sunny weather.
Red light therapy treatments supercharge your cells with the natural light they need to make more core ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy. This helps your body run more efficiently, heal faster, and has shown great results for producing more natural melatonin and improving sleep disorders like insomnia.
Red light therapy treatments have shown great sleep results in a range of peer-reviewed clinical studies. One study on the sleep of pro basketball players showed that a 2-week course of red light therapy in the evening improved players’ sleep quality in the short term. Based on the results, the researchers suggested red light therapy would be a good non-invasive, drug-free solution to sleep struggles.
Overcoming Sleep Disorders with Red Light Therapy
Kaiyan's light therapy products are registered with the FDA as class II medical devices for the treatment of pain, strain, and inflammation. While the existing clinical research has been very positive for red light therapy and sleep, keep in mind that Kaiyan's devices are not cleared with the FDA for the treatment of various sleep disorders or melatonin.
Recent research on sleep disorders among people with migraine headaches has shown that red light therapy both decreased headache frequency, and was the only treatment that improved patients’ sleep disorders.
A 2014 study on cognitive function and traumatic brain injury (TBI) recorded that participants had significantly decreased episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and improved sleep.
Analyzing patients’ electrical brain activity, a 2013 sleep study concluded that red light therapy was especially effective at helping people with sleep disorders fall asleep.
When I’m indoors training under the buzz of artificial lights, my body doesn’t get the natural light it needs. Add computers, cell phones, televisions, etc. and it’s easy to overload yourself with blue light. I used to have trouble sleeping after long training days, but since adding more natural light to my routine with red light therapy, I’ve been falling asleep as soon as I lie down, and I’ve been staying asleep all night.*
Gold-Medal Winning Dutch Gymnast
Red Light Therapy, Sleep, Depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Research is showing how closely mood and sleep disorders are interconnected. Parts of the brain that regulate sleep have also been found to closely affect mood. A 2013 review concluded that “nearly all people suffering from mood disorders have significant disruptions in circadian rhythms and the sleep/wake cycle.”
This Greatist post on natural light and serotonin gives good background on the connections between natural light intake, mental health, and sleep. It also mentions using Kaiyan's red light therapy devices to get more natural light, even when you can’t get more sunlight.
Trouble sleeping is one of the most common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression most common in the darker winter months. Some physicians treating patients with mental health disorders have said red light therapy both improves mood, and helps people with depression get better sleep.
Sources and References:
Morita T., Tokura H. “ Effects of lights of different color temperature on the nocturnal changes in core temperature and melatonin in humans” Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 1996, September
Klepeis N., Nelson W., et al. “The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants”. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2001.
Sheppard A and Wolffsohn J. “Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration.” BMJ Open Ophthalmology. 2018 April.
Gooley, J., Chamberlain, K., Smith, K., Khalsa, S., et al. “Exposure to Room Light before Bedtime Suppresses Melatonin Onset and Shortens Melatonin Duration in Humans” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Mar.
Hamblin M. “Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation”. AIMS Biophys. 2017.
Zhao J., Tian Y., Nie J., Xu J., Liu D. “Red light and the sleep quality and endurance performance of Chinese female basketball players” Journal of Athletic Training. 2012, November-December.
Loeb LM, Amorim RP, et al. “Botulinum toxin A (BT-A) versus low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in chronic migraine treatment: a comparison.” Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria. 2018 Oct;76(10):663-667.
Naeser MA, Zafonte R, et al. “Significant improvements in cognitive performance post-transcranial, red/near-infrared light-emitting diode treatments in chronic, mild traumatic brain injury: open-protocol study.” Journal of Neurotrauma. 2014 Jun 1;31(11):1008-17.
Wu JH, Chang YC. Effect of low-level laser stimulation on EEG power in normal subjects with closed eyes. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013; 2013:476565.
Vadnie C, and McClung C. Circadian Rhythm Disturbances in Mood Disorders: Insights into the Role of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. Neural Plasticity. 2017 November.
McClung C. How might circadian rhythms control mood? Let me count the ways. Biological Psychiatry. 2013 April.
Nutt D, Wilson S, et al. Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2008 September.
Avci P, Gupta A, et al. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. Mar 2013.
We are not just made of biochemical matter. We are charged energy beings, constantly interacting with the environment. Light plays a crucial role in this natural process. Comprehensive new research has unearthed a full new understanding of how our cells function optimally. Food is not the only way we obtain energy; the light also charges us.
Science now shows your body operates like a battery. Certain wavelengths of sunlight power it, and your general health is determined by your ability to receive and maintain a charge. This is what light therapy is about.
What is Red Light Therapy
Light at certain wavelengths is scientifically proven to interact with the body in beneficial ways.
Red light, comprising both red and near-infrared wavelengths, is a unique healing part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and it is one of the most natural ways to charge the body. It is now used as a new form of therapy under the umbrella term Photobiomodulation(PBM)
Red light wavelengths ranging from 600–680nm. Red light boosts the formation of collagen and elastin and assists in cell communication. It penetrates superficially and can be used for skin conditions.
Near-Infrared wavelengths ranging from 750–850nm. NIR stimulates healing, increases mitochondrial function, and improves blood flow and tissue oxygenation. It penetrates deeper into the body.
A high-quality home device like those produced by Kaiyan uses medical-grade LEDs to shine natural red and near-infrared light on your body. Like the wavelengths of light your body needs from natural sunlight, without the heat or UV rays that cause sun damage and without the need for sunny weather. Check the list of best light therapy masks.
How to Recharge your Body
Electric charge is a fundamental property of the body. The surfaces in our bodies — such as membranes, proteins, and DNA — are all charged, negatively or positively, depending on whether they lose or gain electrons.
At the core of your body’s power to heal itself are sub-cellar organelles called mitochondria. The number of mitochondria in a cell varies widely by organism, tissue, and cell type and are concentrated in organs with high energy demands such as the brain, heart, liver, skin, and muscles.
This is because mitochondria generate most of the body's chemical energy supply via the ATP (adenosine triphosphate). They also regulate various other tasks, such as signaling, cellular differentiation, and maintaining control of the cell cycle and cell growth. This is why they are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell.
LED light at a wavelength from 600–680nm(red) and between 810–850nm(infrared) is delivered to the tissue via the red light therapy device.
The light enters the cell’s mitochondria and is absorbed by the chromophores, including the protein cytochrome c oxidase(CCO) and EZ water, increasing its activity.
As a result of this highlighted activity, three molecules are affected. Adenosine Triphosphate(ATP), Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), and Nitric Oxide (NO).
Approximately 70% of our body weight and 99% of our bodies ’ molecules are made of water, and this water is in a charged state.
Recent research by Prof Gerald Pollock of the University of Washington has shown that water adjacent to a cell or mitochondrial membrane is so-called structured water. This is also called EZ (exclusion zone) water because it creates a separation of charge. Positive proton is excluded and pushed to the bulk water, and a lattice-like negatively charged water for near the membrane. This increases the voltage across the membrane—this charge separation of water in the body functions as the positive and negative poles of a battery.
What Does “Red Light Therapy” Mean?
As a term, “red light therapy” refers to treatments from LEDs or cold lasers that deliver wavelengths of natural red and near-infrared light.
The term does not include white light, blue light, or blue LED masks, and it is not the same as full-spectrum light. Some people may include infrared or far-infrared wavelengths along with red light therapy, but those are typically used in dry saunas because of their ability to produce heat. Red light therapy does not rely on heat, a major difference between natural light treatments and heat-based modalities like an infrared sauna, traditional sauna, or other heat therapy type.
Generally, “red light therapy” describes natural light treatments that deliver the same therapeutic red and near-infrared wavelengths as natural sunlight. This differs from artificial light treatments like tanning — or bright light therapy from light therapy lamps, lightboxes, or happy-light if you’re interested in natural light treatments for seasonal affective disorder.
The following terms may also call red light therapy: RLT, photobiomodulation (PBM), phototherapy, LED therapy, LED light therapy, infrared therapy, low-level laser therapy, or low-level light therapy (LLLT).
A Multilevel Treatment
Red light therapy works on multiple levels in the body.
Chromophores, cytochrome c oxidase, water, opsins
Retrograde mitochondrial signaling
Light-sensitive ion channels
Adenosine triphosphate ATP
Reactive Oxygen Species ROS
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Gene transcription factors
Inflammation, Cytoprotection, Proliferation
Stem cell production and migration
Immune cell viability
Retrograde mitochondrial signaling
Transforming growth factor
Pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines
Mitochondrial membrane potential
Muscles: Increase endurance, tone density
Brain: Improves cognition and immune
Nerves: Repair and pain relief
Healing: Bones, tendons, and wounds
Hair: Increases growth
Skin: Improvements of the collagen network, anti-aging, skin disorders
Fat: Fat re-absorption improved by enhanced micro-circulation
Lymph: Improved immunity
Red light therapy affects multiple bodily systems:
The fascia is a complex web of sensitive and highly interconnected connective tissue beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
Fascia is primarily made from hydrated collagen-Protein chains in a triple helix formation surrounded by water, with a capacity to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress (piezoelectric).
The bio-electrical nature of the collagen-rich matrix is the key to understanding how pathological changes in one part of the body may cause a cascade of “remote effects” in seemingly unrelated areas and organ systems. The fascia is the long-overlooked but absolutely crucial interconnecting organ of the human body. The therapeutic effect of red light energy can be carried through the fascia network to other parts of the body where it is needed. This is turn, elevates the body’s capacity to communicate via this charged matrix in a positive feedback loop.
The well-known energy meridians of traditional Chinese medicine may actually be low resistance pathways operating through the fascia, conveying energy to the rest of the body.
The gut-brain axis links the emotional and cognitive center of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Red light energy applied to the abdomen area can therefore influence mood and neuropsychological issues via several mechanisms:
Reduction in bowel inflammation and gut spasms.
Stimulation of neurotransmitters and hormones in the gut, including serotonin, leptin, and ghrelin.
Modulation of the micro-biome. The gut microbes are sensitive to light energy and respond to light energy with differences in growth, migration, and proliferation of the different species.
The increasing availability of neurotransmitters activates the brain’s immune system, increases blood flow, and removes toxins.
Increased blood circulation and reduced blood pressure leading to a reduction of anxiety and brain fog.
Modulation of the vagus nerve, one of the biggest nerves connecting the gut and brain. This plays an important role in stress and social communication, communicating motor and sensory impulses to every organ in the body.
Beaming red light and near-infrared light onto cells creates a short, low-dose metabolic stress that builds up the cells' anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and natural defense systems, making the body stronger and more resilient to infections.
This is the concept of hormesis; safe, low-level exposure to stressor results in increased resistance to illness. Red light has been shown to influence the immune response in several ways:
Activation of the mast cells leading to the movement of leukocytes and reduced inflammation.
Mast cell DE-granulation and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Increased infiltration of the tissues by leukocytes.
Enhanced proliferation, maturation, and motility of fibroblasts
Increased production of fibroblast growth factor.
Lymphocyte activation and proliferation.
Macro-phages activated to act as phagocytes.
Red light therapy has been shown to aid the circulatory system's functioning and increase the micro-circulation of blood, one of the most recognized and well-documented effects of this therapy.
Red light stimulates the formation of new capillaries carrying more oxygen to the body.
A good oxygen supply is intricately involved in numerous biological processes, including cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and protein synthesis, required to restore tissue function and integrity.
Increased circulation allows for waste products to be carried away more effectively. It triggers and heightens the body’s own scavenging process for and ingesting degenerated cells for clean-up.
In fact, increased micro-circulation of blood is thought to be the most vital function for healing the body for almost every illness. For general well-being, Nutrient-rich blood and efficient waste removal is strongly linked to good health.
The nervous system is a complex electrical system, including the brain and spinal cord. It collects, processes, and responds to the input of energy-be it light, sound, heat, or pressure — and it relays these messages to the brain and around the body.
Red light energy affects the nervous system in several crucial ways:
Myelination of fibers and a better lamellar organization of the myelin sheath.
Improvement of electrophysiological function.
Facilitation of neural regeneration.
Release of growth factors.
Increase of vascular network and collagen.
Faster regeneration of nerve lesions and functional improvement of damaged nerves.
The peripheral nerves can be damaged by infection or high sugar levels in the case of diabetic neuropathy.
Red light therapy is being explored as a promising drug-free therapy for all kinds of nerve damage.
At the frontier of science, red light therapy shows huge promise in current research to stimulate the growth of stem cells in the body and maximize the effect of stem cell implantation for a wide variety of medical purposes.
Therefore, red light may be useful after surgery to stimulate stem cells to aid the repair of tissues and possibly organs.
Light at certain wavelengths has also been shown to coax stem cells to repair teeth, so red light therapy could soon revolutionize dental treatments. Indeed, some progressive dental clinics now offer red light therapy as an alternative to conventional drug and drill treatments.
Red light therapy has been shown to stimulate mesenchymal stem cells in the bone marrow to enhance their capacity to infiltrate the brain.
This has implications for healing degenerative conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease , currently lacking any orthodox treatment solution.
Where Did Red Light Therapy Come From?
Red light therapy has become a popular natural health intervention, both in professional settings and with home devices.
Light therapy technology has been used in medicine for decades, and NASA experimented with red light therapy use in space in the 1980s and 1990s. In the last 10–20 years, red light therapy has become more widely used thanks to breakthroughs in LED lighting technology that have made affordable home devices possible.
Major advances in clinical light therapy research, and increased public interest in natural health technologies, have also contributed to the growing use and popularity of red light therapy.
In 2016, Kaiyan Medical was the first red light therapy manufacturer to offer affordable, medical-grade devices to consumers for convenient, at-home use.
Relieve Pain And Discomfort
In humans, photobiomodulation is reportedly effective against various pain conditions, including mucositis, carpal tunnel syndrome, orthodontic pain, temporomandibular joint pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain from amputation, and menstrual cramps.
Red light therapy significantly reduces the severity of pain hypersensitivity while improving sensorimotor function.
These improvements are preceded by an anti-inflammatory microglia/macrophage cell population in the injury zone, thereby providing a lasting pain relief effect.
Red light therapy has been shown to yield effective pain relief via the modulation of multiple mechanisms:
Inhibitory cyclooxygenase and prostaglandins
Modulating nerve transmission
Increasing endorphins serotonin release
Activating peripheral opioid receptors
Red light therapy is used for the rapid and safe healing of wounds from burns, surgery incisions, scars, diabetic neuropathy, ulcers, and bedsores.
Faster and better wound healing was one of NASA’s original findings and one of the key recognized uses for this technology. Red and near-infrared light promote beneficial effects during all four phases of the wound-healing process:
These processes are regulated by many growth factors connected with nitric oxide (NO) signaling release, which is modulated by light energy.
A major typical inhibiting factor for the body’s ability to recover from a wound is low oxygen flow. Therefore, the unique ability of red light to increase oxygen flow to the affected area has a massive effect on the healing process.
By reducing inflammation, oxygenation of the area, and formation of new blood vessels, a rapid healing process unfolds with less pain and scarring.
Red light energy may also reduce or prevent the need for pharmaceutical painkiller medication during the healing process.
If your body is energized on a cellular level and communication between the organ systems is efficient, your body will naturally develop disease resistance.
Your immune defense works to fend off bacteria and viruses all the time. Red light therapy boosts this system in several ways.
It releases nitric oxide and melatonin, which are involved in DNA repair and have a powerful antimicrobial effect.
It also works through a process known as hormesis. When red and near-infrared light is beamed into cells, it causes mild metabolic stress, which results in cells engaging their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant response.
In this way, the body is primed and ready to respond better to infections. Boosted immunity is also a natural consequence of other systemic effects of red light therapy.
Studies have shown a variety of benefits to the immune system:
Improved melatonin production
Improved antioxidant production
Increased micro-circulation enabling the transportation of immune cells.
Promotes activity in the lymph nodes
Increased NO levels
Better flow of neurotransmitters
Boosted collagen and elastin production
The more efficient function of cells and organelles
Boosts T cells pre-operatively
Improved thyroid function
Inflammation can be acute and topical ( short-lived, caused by accidents, sprains, and infections ), chronic and general ( long-term, caused by persistent conditions ).
While acute inflammation is a healthy physical healing response, chronic and general inflammation can be detrimental to health and often goes undetected.
Currently, the main treatment for inflammation in the body is NSAID or steroid drugs, both of which have side effects and disrupt the body's healing process. Red light therapy stimulates the body to activate its own healing mechanism, dramatically reducing the health risks associated with long term drug use.
Red light therapy works by decreasing the number of inflammatory cells, increasing fibroblast proliferation ( the cell that synthesizes the extra-cellular matrix and collagen ), stimulating angiogenesis ( the formation of new blood vessels ), and activating the body’s innate anti-inflammatory, antioxidant defenses.
The following conditions, associated with chronic and acute inflammation, are currently being investigated as highly promising targets for red light therapy.
Neuron inflammatory disorders such as Alzheimer’s
Irritable bowel syndrome and colitis
Red light therapy has become a hot topic in sports and performance. Not only is it safe and non-toxic-it yields rapid and lasting results in many areas of application.
Besides the overwhelmingly beneficial effects on health overall, red light therapy supports muscle growth and repair by increasing the amount of ATP available, which allows for better performance and faster recovery.
Red light therapy used before training is known to prepare and strengthen the body and physical exertion to help with recovery.
Documented effects from red light therapy include:
Reducing DOMS ( Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness )
Greater endurance and performance
Improving sleep quality
Increasing sexual function and libido ( Including Testosterone )
Aiding weight loss
Boosting cognitive function
Reversing skin aging
Red Light Therapy for Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that impacts at least 5% of Americans, especially in the winter months, when natural light exposure is lowest. SAD is also called seasonal depression, winter depression, or the winter blues.
Some people treat SAD symptoms with treatment options like bright white light therapies that mimic the sun’s light intensity at a bright time of day.
More researchers and physicians have used natural light treatments like red light therapy to help with natural light deficiency and the winter blues in recent years in conjunction with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
Who Uses Red Light Therapy?
In addition to the growing number of people using red light therapy devices in their home, red light therapy systems can be found in many professional and clinical settings:
Skincare Professionals: Red light therapy is a popular skin treatment among Hollywood celebrities for anti-aging, and it’s used by leading skincare professionals like estheticians and dermatologists to treat skin conditions and promote collagen production.
Health Practitioners: Red light therapy is an emerging subspecialty of medicine in a wide range of fields. From oncologists treating cancer side effects, to dentists reducing oral inflammation, to physicians treating mental health conditions, red light therapy is becoming more widespread in clinical practice.
Natural Health Experts: Leading voices in natural health and wellness like Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Dave Asprey, and Ben Greenfield use red light therapy. So do Paleo and Keto health experts like Mark Sisson, Dr. Anthony Gustin, Luke Storey, and Robb Wolf.
Sports Medicine Pros: Light therapy companies work side by side with the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), and red light therapy is used to heal sports injuries by sports medicine professionals across the globe. Including the top trainers and doctors on the PGA Tour, like Dr. Troy Van Biezen and Dr. Ara Suppiah.
Elite Pro Athletes: Red light therapy is a popular training tool across pro sports, from NFL stars like Patrick Peterson, to UFC champs like Anthony Pettis, to gold medal gymnast Sanne Wevers.
Fitness & Training: World-class personal trainers like Lacey Stone and Jorge Cruise use red light therapy to both enhance performance and improve the muscle recovery process.
Supportive Cancer Care: The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) recommends red light therapy for the treatment of oral mucositis (OM), a common and debilitating symptom of cancer treatment.
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American Psychiatric Association
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Brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain, measuring just a few millionths of a volt. At the root of all our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.
Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions but are the best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness, from slow, loud, and functional — to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes — the low-frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.
Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant, we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired or hyper-alert.
The descriptions that follow are only broad descriptions — in practice, things are far more complex, and brainwaves reflect different aspects of different locations in the brain.
Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second), and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves.
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials) are thought to be the basic cortical rhythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature makes them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to play a major role in brain timing and network function.
Delta (δ) Waves (0.5 TO 4HZ) — Sleep
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drumbeat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. Twilight states that we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta, we dream; vivid imagery, intuition, and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff,’ our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
Alpha (α) Waves(8 TO 12 HZ) — Very relaxed, Passive Attention
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now,’ being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state of the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration, and learning.
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when alert, attentive, engaged in problem-solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity.
Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12–15Hz) can be thought of as a ‘fast idle’ or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15–22Hz) is the high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22–38Hz) is a highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high-frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
Gamma (γ) Waves(35 TO 42 HZ) — Concentration
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest brain waves (high frequency, like a flute) and relate to the simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. The most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma.
Gamma was dismissed as ‘spare brain noise’ until researchers discovered it was highly active in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues.’ Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.
New Trial to Test Brain Wave Stimulation as Alzheimer’s Preventative
With a new $1.8 million grant from the Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program of the Alzheimer’s Association, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital are launching a new clinical trial to test whether stimulating a key frequency of brain waves with light and sound can prevent the advance of Alzheimer’s disease pathology even before volunteers experience symptoms such as memory impairment.
“Because Alzheimer’s disease leads to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline, the best time for intervention may be before those symptoms even begin,” said Dr. Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. “We are hopeful that our safe, non-invasive approach of sensory stimulation of 40Hz gamma brain rhythms can have a preventative benefit for patients. We are very grateful to Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program for their support in funding rigorous research to test this exciting possibility.”
In extensive testing in Tsai’s lab with multiple mouse models of Alzheimer’s, the light and sound stimulation technique, called Gamma ENtrainment Using Sensory Stimuli (GENUS), improved cognition and memory, prevented neurodegeneration, and reduced amyloid and tau protein buildups. The research showed that increasing 40Hz brain rhythm power and synchrony stimulated the brain’s immune cells and blood vessels to clear out the toxic proteins. Early results from human testing at MIT show that GENUS is well tolerated and increases 40Hz power and synchrony, just like in the mice.
The new study, conducted in collaboration with neurologist Dr. Keith Johnson at MGH, will enroll 50 volunteers aged 55 or older who show signs of amyloid protein plaque buildup in PET scans but remain cognitively normal. Experimental volunteers will receive an hour of GENUS light and sound stimulation in their homes daily for a year. At regular checkups, the team will monitor GENUS's effect on amyloid buildup via PET scans as well as other biomarkers such as tau and for changes in cognition, sleep, structural and functional MRI, and other indicators of brain function and health.
The trial will be double-blinded, randomized, and controlled, meaning that some volunteers will be exposed to non-GENUS light and sound during the trial to provide a non-treatment comparison group. To ensure that bias does not influence the results, neither the volunteers nor the experimenters will know which group's volunteers are.
Dr. Claudia Aguirre which has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from USC and travels the world lecturing on a broad range of topics from neuroscience to skin care has been researching the power of the skin and its connection with the brain.
The skin is highly innervated and intricately connected to the brain and central nervous system, just as other sensory organs are. Dr. Claudia Aguirre is discovering that the skin has a lot of neuro potential, or neuroplasticity, that has gone unrecognized. For example, just as our eyes have receptors that transduce light photons into signals to the brain that we process as vision, we’re discovering that our skin also has light receptors. Although we don’t yet know how they work, we speculate that they might be signaling the brain to make systemic changes that affect the full nervous system. Similarly, olfactory receptors in the hair follicles, just as we do in the nose.
Another example is touch, for which our skin is the primary sense organ. Skin is also our largest organ, which gives us a clue as to how important touch is. Different receptors in the skin can tell us not only whether what we touch is hot or cold, rough or smooth. Skin can even sense the intention behind the touch. A gentle touch feels much different than an aggressive one. We can tell whether the person giving us a massage is paying attention or whether they’re distracted. Moreover, different kinds of touch elicit different biochemical and hormonal responses, which have systemic results. A hug or kiss stimulates the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, through the bloodstream, while a punch or shove will release adrenaline and cortisol. All of these capabilities are what we say by the hidden brain in the skin.
The skin is connected to the nervous system; it’s connected to the endocrine system. The skin is impacted by our emotional states and, conversely, our skin can impact how we feel about ourselves. Cultural stress and anxiety can trigger or aggravate many skin conditions—from acne to eczema to herpes, psoriasis, and rosacea. Conversely, a disfiguring skin condition can trigger stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Chronic, generalized anxiety can create chronic inflammation and exacerbate inflammatory skin conditions, such as the ones mentioned previously. Chronic stress can result in chronic anxiety, hypervigilance, poor sleep, and a whole cascade of effects resulting in a constant breakdown of tissues and organs, including the skin. There’s a whole new field of medicine being developed called psychodermatology, which is the study and treatment of the psychological component of skin conditions. Better understanding of the neuropotential of skin also opens the possibility of whole new avenues of treatment with light therapy for many of our chronic conditions.
In Kaiyan Medical we have understood that neuroscience should absolutely be part of the conversation about skincare and beauty because the brain and the skin are intimately connected. Skincare is important not only for the skin, but also the brain. That's why we keep developing light therapy devices for skin and brain. In Kaiyan we always recommend to listen for all the little signs that your skin tells you that you tend to ignore. You get a rash, and you brush it off: “Maybe it’s just dry out. Maybe I need to switch creams.” But if it occurs repeatedly, you need to look more closely and ask, “What could my skin be trying to tell me?” Are you repressing emotions? Is there a relationship issue you’re avoiding? Is there some other life circumstance that’s “gotten under your skin”? The body has a wisdom we should listen to.