Everything You Need To Know About Light

Everything You Need To Know About Light

A Lay Person’s Guide To Understanding Light

  • What Spectrum Of Light Can Harm The Skin?
  • Where Does Visible Color Light Fall On The Spectrum?
  • What Is Infrared Light And How Is It Subdivided: Near, Mid, And Far?
  • Where does Microwave  And  X-Rays Fall In The Light Spectrum?
  • What Light Is Therapeutic And Beneficial For Humans?

Light is a basic element of every person’s experience, it becomes complicated because the majority of it is invisible to the human eye. Some portions of the light spectrum can be dangerous to humans, while others are deeply beneficial and therapeutic.

So, how can the average person know the difference and learn to use light in the most beneficial way?

Take a look at the light spectrum as illustrated below, we will use this as a map to understanding light: 

(1)

As you can see in the above visual guide, color light, meaning what humans can actually see with the naked eye, is a very small percentage of the entire field. This means that knowing that the rest of the spectrum is present requires, quite literally, blind faith!

Light and Its Origins: You’ve Got The Good Vibration!

The sun itself is the original source of all light, and emits the entire spectrum of light. This allows planet earth,and its relationship to the sun, to be ideal for plant, animal, and human life. Earth, the goldilocks planet of our galaxy, is such because of the life-giving properties of the sun. 

The purpose of this article is not to go far into the realm of academic research on light, but rather just to give the average person a sense of what light is and how each individual can benefit from its use in therapeutic quantities. 

While much of the light spectrum is invisible to the eye, many times it can be sensed with other perceptual apparatus, such as the skin when heat is experienced, or sometimes a headache after too much exposure, for example the x-ray range. It is possible to use how we feel and react as clues to what kind of light we have been exposed to.

Light is measured in nanometers, similar to any other form of measurement, for instance, miles to measure distance, gallons and liters for volume, pounds and grams to measure weight and mass. So, nanometers is the measurement used for light. 

Understanding nanometers does not require an overtly scientific perspective, but rather is used just as a means to categorize and discuss light frequency. All light travels in waves and expresses a unique frequency just as each individual has their own fingerprint. 

The specific light frequency or vibratory patterns of each spectrum determines its relationship to plants, water, animals, humans, and all portions of life on our planet.

Some frequency serves the health and wellness of people, while others may be detrimental, particularly with over exposure.

What Spectrum Of Light Can Harm The Skin?

With the shelves of pharmacies overflowing with various brands of ‘Sunscreen’ and with all the information about the dangers of skin cancer as a result of overexposure to the sun, few are stranger to the threat that light may have on the skin and eyes.

So, what portion of the light spectrum burns or conversely tans the skin? Looking at the map of the light spectrum, turn your gaze just to the left of color light and you will find the Ultra Violet (UV) spectrum of light. Some UV rays are necessary for the proper absorption of Vitamin D, so it is important not to demonize this entire band-width.  However with overexposure the skin may burn, and over time a variety of skin related illnesses may ensue.

It is the UV spectrum that you will find in tanning beds, and it is very important to protect the eyes from this potentially harmful bandwidth of light. It is best to take in UV rays in very small amounts. 

UV rays have a shorter wave frequency than visible light and are measured between 10-400 nanometers. 400 nanometers is where the human eye can begin to detect the color light spectrum, specifically the color violet. (2)

In short, protecting the eyes and skin is important to limit the amount of UV rays exposed to the body; however, some exposure is important for Vitamin D absorption. (UVB is the frequency that is responsible for Vitamin D Absorption) (3)

The morning hours of the day is when infrared light is at its most potent and is a very safe time of day to spend in the sun. 

What Is Visible Light And Where Is It Expressed On The Light Spectrum?

As UV rays begin to dwindle out, the visible spectrum fades in at 400 nanometers and here begins the story of the color palette. In many ways color light really steals the show from the rest of the light spectrum because humans can see it. It is however a very small portion of light.

Most folks can visualize the color wheel or a rainbow in an instant. In addition to being very beautiful, color light also boasts many benefits to human health. When color light is used for therapeutic purposes it is called Chromotherapy. Each color fosters a unique benefit to human physiology and psychology, including, but not limited to:

Color LIght Benefits

  • Radiant Skin
  • Bacteria Free Skin (as a therapy for acne)
  • Scar Reduction
  • Reduction Of Biological Skin Age
  • Improved Serotonin Uptake
  • Balance Circadian Rhythm
  • Deeper More Restful Sleep

For more details on color light therapy and chromotherapy, please click here.

Color light over all is not only safe, but moreover potentially beneficial for health and wellness.

From Color Red To Near Infrared: The Plot Thickens

  • Enhanced Mitochondrial Health
  • Improved Collagen Production
  • More Efficient Circulation
  • Neurogenesis

As the eye moves across the light spectrum map from left to right, eventually the visible color red becomes apparent. This frequency of light offers a unique set of benefits for human biology and is also the bridge into what is called the infrared red spectrum.

As the color red fades out in the 600-700 nanometer range it becomes invisible to the human eye, but can be experienced tactfully as heat. This is the near infrared range.

Near infrared light is perhaps the most valuable light frequency for human health because of its relationship to mitochondrial metabolism, collagen production, circulation, and even neurogenesis. (4)

The mitochondria is essentially the energy plant of each individual cell. Surrounding the mitochondria is the cytoplasm C, within this membrane are photoreceptors. These photoreceptors are particularly sensitive to near infrared light and absorb this light efficiently. (4)

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has published a plethora of journals surrounding the relationship between near infrared light and cellular energy production, believed to be the root cause for a variety of illnesses ranging from Parkinson’s to cancer. Many medical professionals have argued that by improving mitochondrial metabolism a plethora of illnesses could be healed. (4)

From a journal published in April of 2020 by NIH, the authors elaborate on the specific details of how near infrared light improves energy conversion within each cell of the body:

“The transfer of electrons from cytochrome C to O2 is coupled with the expulsion of 4 protons from the mitochondrial matrix across the IMM, contributing to the transmembrane electrochemical gradient that drives ATP synthesis. Nitric oxide (NO), a molecule known for its vasodilatory properties in vivo, competes with O2 for its binding site on the CuB center of COX” (4)

Stemming from the profoundly positive effects that near infrared light has on mitochondrial health and improved ATP synthesis, vasodilation (widening of blood cells) occurs to promote improved circulation which positively affects heart health, as well as injury recovery. Positive circulation is necessary to decrease inflammation and therefore pain. (5)

Collagen is a protein that is necessary to maintain skin’s elasticity, healthy bone marrow regeneration, and to maintain the integrity of the connective tissues of the body. Near infrared light’s relationship to the mitochondrial also influences collagen production. 

Consider that collagen is the glue that keeps it all together. This protein is critical to the physical well being of almost every system in the body. 

When near infrared light is combined with red color light and used for therapeutic purposes it is called Photobiomodulation. For more on the science behind photobiomodulation please click here.

For being a light frequency that is invisible to the human eye, near infrared light is mighty and powerful in its positive effects on health and wellness.

From Near To Far: Explore The Mid And Far Infrared Spectrum

a man enjoying an infrared sauna

“Infrared is usually divided into 3 spectral regions: near, mid and far-infrared. The boundaries between the near, mid and far-infrared regions are not agreed upon and can vary.” -NASA & ipac 

Moving along the light spectrum from right to left, near infrared light blends into mid and far infrared light. Light is fluid, and unlike other realms of the material world it cannot be these electrons move in waves unlike their particle counterparts.

In terms of nanometers, mid and far infrared light occupies anywhere from 800-1350 nanometers. This frequency of light moves and vibrates in a profoundly different way from near infrared light and was made popular by its impact on life in the oceans. (6)

Far infrared light is unique because of its ability to penetrate deeply through matter, including your body. This action becomes beneficial to health because of its ability to increase the core temperature of the body. This serves to create an artificial fever, and begins the profound detoxification protocol through perspiration.

All forms of sauna bathing induce a detoxification protocol through intense sweating, but none so profound as the experience of far infrared within the chamber of the sauna. 

Organ health is dramatically improved with far infrared light sauna bathing, as is the body able to rid itself of lingering bacterial infection. Immunity is improved as the body is cleansed of harsh toxins and bacterial infection. 

So what happens as the infrared spectrum fades out? What is next of the light spectrum?

After Infrared Light: Microwave to Broadcast

The healing rays of far infrared light blend into the microwave frequencing and then the broadcasting band where radio and television signals abide. 

The exodus out of the 1350 nanometer range and beyond can be dangerous for humans, as seen in results from over exposure to the microwave frequency. As much as possible this frequency ought to be avoided. Of course, there is use in the broadcast band, without it radio and television would be impossible. (8)

Although this technology has served the human kind as a means of communication and sharing information in large doses, it is not at all healthful for human physiology.

Enlightened Understanding Of Light Frequency

An understanding of the basic mechanism of light allows each individual to make informed choices for themselves about how much, if any, forms of light frequency they invite into their daily activities.

Some exposure to UV rays are necessary for vitamin D absorption, but should be limited in doses. Color light and all portions of the infrared light band are deeply beneficial to humans and can be used in therapeutic doses in infrared sauna therapy, as well as in photobiomodulation devices. 

Before beginning any protocol therapy using light, be sure that you understand the basics of how light works so that you can incorporate specific spectrums into your practices. 

Sources:

  1. https://news.californialightworks.com/light-spectrum-and-plant-growth/
  2. https://scied.ucar.edu/ultraviolet-uv-radiation
  3. https://www.skincancer.org/blog/sun-protection-and-vitamin-d/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145956/
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/exercise_and_your_arteries
  6. http://www.icc.dur.ac.uk/~tt/Lectures/Galaxies/Images/Infrared/Regions/irregions.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4246346/
  8. https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/resources-you-radiation-emitting-products/microwave-oven-radiation
Benefits of Having Salt in a Sauna

Benefits of Having Salt in a Sauna

Halotherapy To Relieve Chronic Pulmonary Tract Conditions

  • Asthma
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
  • Pneumonia
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Hay Fever
  • Sleep & Snoring

As a species we are no strangers to turning to salt as a therapeutic modality to improve respiratory function and to relieve chronic conditions affecting the pulmonary tract. From the salt caves of ancient Greece to the salt mines of Eastern Europe and Russia, humans have turned to salt for its benefits to pulmonary health for centuries. 

So why incorporate salt into your sauna experience?

The addition of salt walls into your sauna experience will add a dimension of healing that caters specifically to respiratory health by capitalizing on the negative ions released from the salt as atmospheric heat is increased.

This article will elaborate on the history of salt therapy, its relationship to pulmonary health, and the efficacy of its use in tandem with sauna therapy.

History of Salt Therapy: Introducing Halotherapy

The use of salt for therapeutic purposes is generally referred to as halotherapy (HP), derived from speleotherapy in salt mines. While many cultures throughout history have turned to the inhalation of the negative ions emitted from salt to foster the health of the pulmonary tract, this particular therapy was rendered popular by the health of the salt miners in eastern Europe.

Generally, mining is considered to be a potentially hazardous and dangerous occupation; however, it was remarkable that workers of the salt mines were demonstrating superior respiratory health. With some investigation, it was found that the particles that these miners were inhaling were actually beneficial to their health. Interestingly it was the salt miners in Poland during the 19th century that brought into focus the health benefits of salt exposure in confined spaces, such as salt mines and caves. (1)

Since then, several therapeutic models have attempted to mimic the conditions of salt caves and mines to treat respiratory disorders. More recently salt, specifically Himalayan salt, has been used in saunas to add an additional dimension of healing. 

How it works

A woman on the beach, benefiting from natural halotherapy

Once inhaled, salt particles cause the mucus within the lungs to thin and liquify, thereby dislodging potentially harmful pathogens and bacteria within the pulmonary tract. This process allows for easier expulsion of allergens and other airborne disturbances to the lungs. (2)

Salt is negatively charged which gives it the unique capacity to bind positively charged particles to it. This effect that salt has on positively charged emissions from electrical devices neutralizes some of the harmful effects from electromagnetic radiation. (5)

Further, it is believed that as Himalayan salt is heated, negative ions are released into the air of a confined space. As the negative ions are inhaled, they serve to balance the positive ions emitted by an array of electrical devices. (2)

More recently, the National Institute of Health has begun researching the practical application for individuals living with chronic pulmonary tract disorders such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), Emphysema, Hay Fever, and respiratory sleep disturbances. (3)

The result of case studies has proven to be significant and now has put halotherapy as a viable integrative, or supplemental treatment for individuals living with chronic pulmonary conditions.

Case Study:

This particular study performed by the National Institute Of Health, recreated a salt cave, using Himalayan salt walls in a confined space. Fifteen subjects, all of whom had been diagnosed with serious and chronic respiratory illness from asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema participated. 

After the initial five to ten days of exposure, ten of the subjects experienced a dramatic improvement in dry cough as well as other related symptoms. By day twelve of the experiment all of the subjects had experienced a reduction in symptom expression. (4)

An excerpt from the conclusive report on the study reveals the following:

“The assessment of results achieved in the investigated patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy, after a specific halotherapy treatment, indicates the triggering of an anti-inflammatory (including anti-allergic mechanisms) mechanism and a decreasing trend of the inflammatory process.” (4)

Further research performed by the same group of scientists found that the inhalation of dry salt particles dramatically repressed symptoms and assisted individuals diagnosed with COPD through the liquefaction of mucus in the airways, which helped the explosion of harmful bacteria and allergens from the lungs. (3

Here is the conclusion of the study, performed by NIH:

“The assessment of results achieved in the investigated patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy, after a specific halotherapy treatment, indicates the triggering of an anti-inflammatory (including anti-allergic mechanisms) mechanism and a decreasing trend of the inflammatory process.”

The use of halotherapy is not a substitute for allopathic treatments, such as cortisol ventilators or any other drug treatment; however may be a supplementary tool for individuals living with chronic respiratory conditions. 

Does Halotherapy Work When Used In Conjunction With Sauna Therapy?

Recreating the conditions of the salt caves in Eastern Europe requires ample salt that is being crushed and turned into airborne particles as well as a confined space. Mimicking nature may never quite bring the same majestic opportunity, however modern technology is able to render a sufficient substitute. 

Saunas are an effective means of recreating salt caves for two primary reasons: 

  • A confined Space
  • Elevated temperature

In order for halotherapy to be effective it is important that the space is confined to contain salt particles, and the negative ions that are released. This is simply not the case in household rooms, however the cabin-like structure of the sauna is ideal.

Secondly, as the atmospheric temperature of saunas is elevated it causes the salt crystals to release negative ions into the space. As this occurs, potentially harmful positively charged pathogens bind to the salt particles. (4)

In many ways using halotherapy in conjunction with sauna therapy can be an effective means of recreating the salt caves that made this form of respiratory therapy popular in the first place.

The Merger Of Sauna Therapy And Halotherapy: A Supplement To Your Respiratory Protocol

A Neosauna sauna, with salt walls for halotherapy

The unique structure of most saunas makes for an ideal landscape in which to create the healing power of salt caves. The confined space allows for the health benefits of halotherapy to be truly effective. 

A sauna chamber that incorporates Himalayan salt walls may not be as powerful as an underground salt cave, it does however come very close to its replication. 

Research has demonstrated that incorporating halotherapy into an integrative protocol to treat a variety of pulmonary disorders is effective, although not a substitute for traditional treatments. 

In addition to the clinical research, the time spent in a sauna equipped with salt therapy is deeply relaxing and inviting. Whether respiratory conditions are active or not, the experience of joining salt and sauna together is a powerful healing modality.

Sources

  1. https://www.vtsaltcaves.com/history-of-salt-therapy
  2. https://www.salttherapyassociation.org/how-and-why-it-works
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3937102/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391365/
  5. https://www.massageacademyllc.com/wp-content/uploads/Halotherapy-FAQs.pdf.pdf
7 Reasons Why You Should Use Red Light Therapy

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Red Light Therapy

  • Pain Reduction
  • Skin Health (wound healing, scar repair, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles)
  • Muscle Recovery
  • Improved Sleep
  • Stabilized Mood
  • Neurological Well Being
  • Positive Cellular Replication: Anti-Aging

From neurological specialists to the pages of beauty magazines the use of red light therapy has become a beacon of hope for a plentitude of conditions and a source of renewed vitality.

So, what is the big deal? 

How is it possible that a color light can boast so many positive health benefits for such a vast array of ailments?  Understanding the answer to this question involves taking a closer look at the biological response that occurs as the body is exposed to red and near infrared light wavelengths. 

Specific cellular photoreceptor mechanisms absorb the light energy from red and near infrared spectrums to create a cascade of positive biological responses.  Among them are, but not limited to, pain reduction, skin health, muscle recovery, improved sleep, stabilized mood, neurological health, and positive cellular replication for anti-aging purposes.

This article will outline in detail the specific cellular response to red and near infrared light.  This stokes the powerful transfiguration of the body into greater degrees of health and vitality when exposed regularly to therapeutic doses of the red and near infrared light spectrum.

Waves, Frequency, And Light: A Brief Exploration Into The Light Spectrum

The sun that our planet revolves around is the primordial source of both light and life on our planet. Radiating off of the sun is the entire spectrum of light both visible and invisible. Light travels in patterns that look somewhat like the waves of the ocean which are referred to as wavelengths. Each color of the light spectrum has a unique wave pattern similar to fingerprints. Both visible and invisible light has an effect on its recipients based on the patterned wave frequency that is emitted. 

Light frequency is measured in nanometers. Light that is vibrating within the bracket of 600-900 nm has demonstrated to be particularly heathful to cellular health. This measurement encompasses both the visible light frequency of red as well as near infrared light. The latter of which is invisible to the human eye, but can be experienced as a subtle heat. 

It is the very unique relationship between human cellular composition and the red and near infrared light spectrum that creates a cascade of biochemical changes to produce an internal climate ripe with vitality and health.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work: Photobiomodulation To Ignite The Health Of Every Cell Of The Body

  • Mitochondrial Activity Is Increased To Improve Energy Conversion
  • Augmented ATP Production
  • Reduction Of Cellular Waste
  • Nitric Oxide Increase
  • Improved Overall Blood Circulation

Red light therapy as it is known colloquially, or photobiomodulation (PBM), as it is known in scientific terms, has become a very popular therapy both for deep seated medical conditions as well as a cosmetic treatment.

PBM is not a thermal therapy, but rather depends upon how the red and near infrared light travel as wave frequency both around and into the body. (1)

As the body is saturated by a red light bath, the unique imprint of wave frequency from the red and near infrared spectrum is absorbed by the photoreceptors of each cell of the body.

Specifically, it is the Cytochrome C Oxidase, the membrane wall that surrounds the mitochondria of cells that absorbs light photons. The mitochondria is the power plant of each individual cell and is responsible for energy conversion. (1)

The unique capacity of the red and infrared light to be absorbed by the inner walls of the cell sparks a tremendous cascade of biological changes. The National Institute Of Health recently published the following description of PBM:

“Photobiomodulation (PBM) involves the utilization of light from the visible and near infrared portions of the spectrum at a relatively low power density that is insufficient to heat or burn tissue… Rather, the photons themselves stimulate chemical changes within the cells, provoking biological reactions that benefit the body in a variety of ways – including the triggering of neuroprotective responses, improvements in metabolism, blood flow, and neurogenesis, and decreases in inflammation and oxidative stress.” (2)

Neosauna Tip: A Basic RunDown Of Cellular Response To Red And Near Infrared Light

By exposing the body to red and near infrared light in controlled doses allows for the absorption of these wave frequencies into the inner chamber of each and every cell to trigger a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. By enhancing nitric oxide production, oxygenation of the intracellular communities is augmented. 

In short, humans absorb light not only through the eyes but also through the epidermis. Certain wavelengths are able to penetrate the body with greater ease to effect a change within each cell, namely red and infrared light. Photoreceptors are activated by contact with this light frequency and a domino effect, originating within the energy centers of each cell, ultimately affects all portions of human physiology.

Consider also that the human body is composed of roughly fifty trillion cells, as the body is immersed in red and infrared light, quite literally each cell is illuminated by these wavelengths. It is for this reason that PBM has a resounding positive effect on a vast array of conditions.

Pain Reduction: Improve Circulation To Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation is created within the body in very localized ways as a reaction to blunt trauma causing injury. Inflammation can show up chronically as a result of autoimmune related conditions. Either way, where there is inflammation in the body, there is also pain.

While an inflammatory response is often important and healthy in injury recovery, prolonged inflammation can be debilitating and cause significant chronic pain. 

When individuals are exposed to therapeutic doses of red light,  ATP production is augmented. Nitric oxide is produced at higher rates as it causes blood flow to speed up bringing necessary nutrients to damaged tissues of the body. (3)

Where there is healthful circulation, inflammation retracts and pain is reduced. Some individuals notice a remarkable decrease in inflammation after just fifteen minutes under the influence of red and near infrared light. 

Skin Health: Augment Fibroblasts, Collagen, And Elastin

The skin is the largest organ of the human body; it mediates between the internal external environment. The epidermis is composed of two primary proteins that weave together to produce the texture and quality of skin, collagen and elastin.

Red light therapy is particularly effective as a tool to increase the quality of skin tone because it fosters the health of fibroblast cells that are the precursor to collagen. Fibroblasts are believed to largely be responsible for the healing mechanism of the skin. When there is injury to the skin fibroblasts migrate to the area to deposit collagen. (4)

A body that is high in fibroblasts will experience faster wound healing, decrease in fine lines, and an overall healthier look and feel to the skin. A study performed by the National Institute of Health demonstrates substantial benefits for the skin after using red and near infrared light on individuals suffering from severe burns, psoriasis, and acne. (5)

Ground zero of the process of creating not only more fibroblasts, but also improving migratory speed, begins with heightened mitochondrial activity of each cell resulting from increased energy conversion that occurs due to absorption of the red and near infrared light. From the National Institute of Health’s journal on red light therapy and skin wound healing:


“Red light stimulates the copper/heme-iron centers on cytochrome C oxidase (CCO), an intramitochondrial component of the electron transport chain. CCO is a protein complex containing two copper and heme-iron groups that play a key role in the electron transport within the mitochondrial. LED-RL photostimulation of CCO directly influences reactive oxygen species (ROS) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and results in increased ROS and ATP levels.” (5)

Whether you are looking to heal scars, purify the skin, or just looking to improve the overall tone and look of your skin, exposure to red light in therapeutic doses demonstrates positive results for skin. Further, this treatment is non-invasive, easily accessible and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Muscle recovery: Photobiomodulation and Tissue Repair

Over forty-six studies have been performed on both trained and untrained individuals engaged in exercise to determine if red light therapy is a significant factor in muscle recovery. Overwhelming evidence suggests that the application of red and near infrared light after exercise dramatically increased the rate of muscle recovery in both groups of individuals. (6)

The National Institute of Health published the following journal,  ‘Photobiomodulation In Human Muscle Tissue: An Advantage In Sports Recovery’. The clinical results found on muscle recovery in the studies highlighted by this journal were remarkable. Here is what it says on the biological process behind the increase muscle repair:

“The rationale for using PBM on muscles relies on the well-known stimulation of mitochondrial activity that occurs after red or near-infrared photons delivered to the tissue have been absorbed by cytochrome c oxidase. Muscles rely heavily on adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the biological source of energy needed for muscle work, and therefore robust increased ATP levels are the most popular hypothesis to explain the extraordinary effects that PBM appears to exert on muscle tissue.” (6)

Whether for elite level athletes or individuals engaged in moderate exercise, the combination of red and near infrared light exposure will aid in both quality and speed of muscle repair. This is particularly significant for individuals looking to increase the frequency of workouts, with less recovery time between sessions. Athletes competing at an elite level would do well to incorporate photobiomodulation into their post workout routine to augment performance.

Improve Sleep And Balance Circadian Rhythm

Adequate sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy and vitality filled body; unfortunately, a sound night’s sleep eludes many individuals. While there are a plethora of causes that impact quality of sleep, it is believed that over exposure to blue light as found in computers, televisions, cell phones and other devices disturbs circadian rhythm. 

While limiting screen time is certainly helpful in achieving a restful night’s sleep, for many it is simply impossible to avoid hours spent in front of a screen. If individuals are able to modulate exposure to blue light by increasing red light exposure, research suggests that circadian rhythm can be balanced and improve sleep experience.

From the International Journal of Endocrinology:

“Results showed that, as expected, only the blue light reduced nocturnal melatonin” (7)

Melatonin is a necessary component to induce a healthy and restful night’s sleep. As blue light has been shown to decrease melatonin production, red light does the very opposite. Neurotransmitters pick up signals from the red and near infrared light spectrum to produce ameliorated serotonin uptake. Serotonin is converted into melatonin in the pineal gland, a small pinecone shaped gland in the center of the brain as the sun goes down. (6)

Morning sunlight is stronger in red and infrared light.  As many individuals are inside office buildings during this time, they are missing out on exposure to this spectrum of light. To balance circadian rhythm it is imperative to ‘catch up’ on lost red light exposure. With a simple red and near infrared light instrument this can be done in a matter of minutes. 

While it may not be practical to eliminate over exposure to blue light from screens, it is possible to balance this with red light therapy, in doing so sleep mechanisms are improved. 

Stabilized Mood With Red Light Therapy

For many of the same reasons that red and near infrared light positively impacts sleep, this spectrum of light has also demonstrated positive effects on mood stability.

Quality of sleep is closely related to mood stability. Many individuals living with depression and anxiety also experience sleep disturbances. As circadian rhythm is balanced, very often there is a natural stabilization of mood.

Further exposure to red light positively impacts neurotransmitters to induce serotonin uptake. As serotonin levels are balanced within the brain, so too is mood. From a journal published by Psychiatric Times:

“The response [to red light therapy] is quite rapid, often within a week or two, which is more rapid than the response to antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy,” (9)

While there is still more to learn and discover about how red and near infrared light impact the emotional centers of the brain, there is enough clinical evidence to demonstrate that mood is positively impacted by exposure to this light spectrum. (9)

Neurological Health And Red Light Therapy

Exposure to the red and near infrared spectrum of light appears to be wildly impactful on neurological health, and very specifically on the creation of new brain cells: Neurogenesis.

The National Institute Of Health has been studying the effects of light on brain health for several decades. From a recent journal publication on the topic:

“Animal research has shown that PBM stimulates neurogenesis and protects against cell death. Data suggest that red light, close to the NIR spectrum (670 nm), protects the viability of cell culture after oxidative stress, as indicated by mitochondria membrane potentials.” (10)

The implications of this research is promising for brain degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, not only is red and near infrared light correlated to increased neurogenesis, it  may also reduce inflammation in the brain. (10)

Many brain related disorders demonstrate mild to severe inflammation. Inflammation of the brain can be reduced by sparking mitochondrial activity, improving ATP production, and blood flow to the brain.

Additionally, in more recent years PBM has been used to treat stroke patients, or ‘cerebral Ischemia’. From the peer reviewed journal ‘Frontier Neurology’:

“The main benefits attributed to brain PBM therapy are related to different biological processes such as increasing cerebral metabolic function, stimulating neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, and neuroprotection via anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant biological signaling.”

From treating post stroke patients, brain injury, and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the red and near infrared light demonstrates a promising safe means toward neurological health.

Positive Cellular Replication: Extending The Life Span Of Cells

All organisms have a life span, including cells. Disease is often manifested when the life span of cells is decreased, and new cells are not able to replicate fast enough to replace the rate of dying cells. Apoptosis, is the name for programmed cell death, this is the completion of the natural life cycle of a cell. 

Health issues arise when external factors from the environment such as pollution, pathogens, and toxic heavy metals, deplete the body of vital life force and cells begin to die before their programmed death. Ultimately if cells are dying at a faster rate than they are able to be healthfully replicated,  illness may ensue. 

There are many factors in our environment that are beyond the immediate control of the individual; however, it is possible to reverse the premature death of human cells by exposing the body to red and near infralight in therapeutic doses.

Although it remains unclear exactly how and why photobiomodulation affects the life span of cells, this therapy has proven to extend the life cycle of cells so that renewal and replication occurs in alignment with apoptosis, programmed cell death. 

The Marriage Of Red And Near Infrared Light: Why The Coupling Of These Two Spectrums?

Most photobiomodulation devices come equipped with the color red spectrum as well as near infrared light. What is it about this combination that has such a powerful positive effect on human physiology?

According to the journal ‘Frontiers in Neurology’, the unique blend of these two light spectrums play off of each other to create a powerhouse of tandem light unity. 

“It is important to highlight the scientific rationale for the use of red and NIR wavelengths at the same time. Our research group already reported previously that irradiations with red and NIR wavelengths at the same time possibly offer advantages based on the absorption bands of the chromophores in the cells that absorb light, in special cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, resulting in even more synthesis of ATP than either red or NIR used alone.”

As was discussed earlier, each light spectrum has a unique wave pattern, similar to the human fingerprint. The specific quality of frequency emanating from the red and infrared light spectrum join forces to meet the photoreceptors within each human cell to produce a cascade of health benefits.

Understanding the human form as a community of trillions of cells working together to create balance, equilibrium, and health; it makes  sense that optimizing the energy centers of each cell will positively affect overall health.

With red and near infrared light working in tandem in therapeutic doses it is possible to optimize cellular function and therefore overall radiant health.

Sources:

  1. https://www.litecure.com/about-photobiomodulation/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5448311/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325884#bone-recovery
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325884#bone-recovery
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848333/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5167494/
  7. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2010/829351/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181775/
  9. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/bipolar-disorder/light-treatment-nonseasonal-depression
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777909/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587748/
  12. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.00911/full
  13. http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/PH/Aging/mobile_pages/Aging2.html
PTSD & Sauna Bathing

PTSD & Sauna Bathing

How Heat Can Stabilize The Autonomic Nervous System

Traumatic life events happen for nearly every human alive, however, some devastate beyond a healthy range of recovery for a variety of reasons. Many of life’s challenges, brutalities, and losses are not preventable, and even how recovery occurs surrounding these incidents may be beyond the realm of immediate control. 

Many individuals are left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and live with the symptoms of this condition every day… And night! There are many therapeutic approaches to help heal PTSD, most of which are beyond the scope of this article. However, clinical research can demonstrate the positive healing effect that regular sauna bathing may have on symptoms of PTSD. 

A significant factor contributing to the expression of PTSD is an autonomic nervous system that is apparently permanently out of balance. This results in significant symptoms that can make everyday life difficult. 

This article will examine how regular sauna bathing may help reduce symptoms of PTSD by enhancing homeostasis of the autonomic nervous system.

PTSD And The Autonomic Nervous System: Why A Balanced Nervous System Is Critical

  • Improve quantity and quality of sleep
  • Minimize anxiety & panic attacks
  • Increase In Positive Thinking (less hypervigilance)
  • Healthier internal organ function
  • Positive cellular replication

A pillar of PTSD is an imbalance to the autonomic nervous system, a portion of recovery needs to include the redemption of homeostasis to this system.

Remember that when there is an immediate threat to life, the adaptive quality of the human body to summon all resources toward survival is critical and necessary. This is where the autonomic nervous system serves to assure survival of the human race.

The concern is that once the immediate threat has been resolved many individuals remain in hypervigilance, unable to return to a healthy equilibrium. In the long run, this deteriorates both physical as well as emotional health.

Understanding how sauna therapy can summon physiology out of hypervigilance back into balance may be wildly valuable in any PTSD treatment protocol.

Neosauna Tip: The autonomic nervous system is composed of two primary branches, each of which determines the state of being of not only physiology, but also emotions and thought patterns. (1)

Parasympathetic dominance, also known as rest and digest, or states of relaxation occurs when the body and mind feel safe. In addition, sleep occurs easily, as does healing of the body in this state of being as energy is directed inward for healthy cellular replication and general rejuvenation. (1)

Sympathetic dominance, also known as fight or flight, is the other branch of the autonomic nervous system. The body is transferred into this state of being when a threat is perceived. It is difficult to sleep or relax when the body is in states of sympathetic dominance. When individuals remain in states of hypervigilance for prolonged periods of time, eventually the health of the body is eroded. (1)

It is not uncommon for individuals who have experienced severe trauma to remain in hypervigilance. An important element of treatment of PTSD is the fostering of a balanced autonomic nervous system. 

The National Institute Of Health describes the relationship between PTSD and the autonomic nervous system in the following statement: 

“A hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is autonomic nervous system imbalance, characterized by a hypoactive parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and hyperactive sympathetic nervous system (SNS) . Indeed, PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity have been associated with higher baseline heart rate (HR)  and reduced heart-rate variability (HRV) , a non-invasive index of autonomic control of cardiac rhythm . This is concerning because elevated HR and attenuated HRV are not only indicators of poor cardiovascular health, they are also precursors, conveying heightened risk for arrhythmia (5) and artherosclerosis.” (2)

Unfortunately, remaining in states of stress response for prolonged periods of time can have catastrophic effects on the body. For individuals living with PTSD it is imperative to find a variety of tools to help relax the mind and body to harmonize the autonomic nervous system once again. 

While sauna bathing is not the only means to finding homeostasis of the autonomic nervous system, it is powerful and effective. 

How Does Sauna Bathing Impact The Autonomic Nervous System?

Sauna therapy can help relieve PTSD

For most people when they think of sauna bathing they associate the experience with relaxation, and this is valid. A study published by Science Direct, in August of 2019 revealed that after just one sauna session participants experience: “The study showed that a single sauna exposure leads to significant changes in cardiac autonomic nervous balance as indicated by modulation of heart rate variability.” (2)

Several significant reasons to use saunas to stabilize the autonomic nervous system include, but not limited to :

  • Pharmaceutical Free: All Natural
  • No Special Activity On The Part Of The Participant Is Necessary (such as breathing exercises, meditation etc…)

Often, but not always, individuals living with PTSD will be prescribed a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, mood stabilizers, and the list goes on. While sometimes this form of intervention is necessary, finding a natural means to stabilize the autonomic nervous system can be crucial for health and ultimate healing. 

Through heat, and in the case of infrared sauna bathing light, the nervous system is gently coaxed back into states of relaxation without the use of pharmaceuticals. Not only is this objective satisfied, also sauna bathing acts as a powerful means of detoxification from any pharmaceuticals that have been taken to calm the nervous system, as well as other toxins from lactic acid, cortisol, and other substance overloads from spending too much time in stress response. 

Panic attacks are not uncommon for individuals living with PTSD. Often individuals will be encouraged to slow breathing down, and engage in other mindfulness activities. While this is ultimately helpful, often when anxiety and hypervigilance are highly activated it can be difficult to slow breathing down. Sauna bathing does not demand anything of the participant. (3)

The mere act of being inside the cabin structure with the heat will invite the body out of states of fight or flight and back into states of calm and rest. It is only in states of relaxation that the body can begin the natural healing process. 

Sauna bathing is not the only option to treat PTSD, it is a powerful means to aid in the recovery of the autonomic nervous system back into states of balance. 

According to a publication by the Medical Press: 

“Regular sauna bathing stabilizes the autonomic nervous system, reduces blood pressure, inflammation, oxidative stress, circulation of bad cholesterol, arterial stiffness, and vascular resistance.” (4)

For many individuals living with PTSD inflammation can be a significant issue as well, sauna therapy has been found to also assist in the reduction of inflammation. 

PTSD And Sauna Bathing: A Natural And Effective Treatment Therapy To Alleviate Some Symptoms

A couple enjoying life after PTSD and sauna therapy

It may be impossible to entirely avoid traumas from occurring.  It is, however, possible to respond with treatment that is both integrative and holistic to avoid long term damaging symptoms of  PTSD.

There are a plethora of therapies available in treating PTSD, typically a combination of methods will prove most effective. Any treatment plan ought to include a robust balancing of the autonomic nervous system to improve sleep, reduce hypervigilance and anxiety, as well as improve the overall health of the heart. 

Sauna bathing, in all its forms, including infrared sauna bathing, is a powerful and effective means of drawing the autonomic nervous system back into states of balance for individuals living with PTSD. 

The human experience will likely never be devoid of heartbreak, loss, and tragedy.  How we choose to respond to these challenging events, ultimately is what makes the difference. Sauna bathing will not make all problems vanquish, however it is a powerful tool in the balancing of the autonomic nervous system. 

When individuals are able to exit out of states of fight or flight easily, healthy sleep patterns return, and typically anxiety is calmed. Consider incorporating sauna bathing into your PTSD treatment protocol to assist the recovery of the physical and emotional body.

***Remember to always consult your medical practitioner before beginning sauna protocol. 

For more information and immediate assistance please contact the PTSD Foundation Of America

Sources:

  1. https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Concept/Autonomic%20Nervous%20System
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003742/
  3. https://nrd.gov/resource/detail/21077949/PTSD+Foundation+Of+America
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229919301943
  5. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-frequent-sauna-health-benefits-literature.html
Comparing Infrared Saunas

Comparing Infrared Saunas

What Are Some Important Consumer Considerations When Purchasing An Infrared Sauna For Your Home

As a consumer it can be challenging at times to discern the quality of a product from one manufacturer to another. While this may not be a huge issue for small purchases, it does pose significant questions on bigger ticket items and investments. 

If you are considering bringing an infrared sauna into your home, it will be important to understand the componentry that affects the efficacy and safety of each unit. This will allow you to ask the right kind of questions to ensure you bring the highest quality sauna into your home for the lowest price.

Not all saunas are created equal. The intention of this article is to help you, the consumer, understand the elements of an infrared sauna, and what to look for in quality control.

An infrared sauna is a powerful healing modality for a wide variety of conditions, and is also a vehicle to enhance vitality and longevity. This means that it is important that your infrared sauna be a safe oasis of health, not another contributing factor to illness.

What Are The Key Factors That Consumers Should Look For When Purchasing An Infrared Sauna?:

Near, Mid, And Far Infrared Light Spectrum: Does It Matter If Your Sauna Contains All Three?

As you begin investigating buying options for an infrared sauna for your home, you will want to have an understanding of the distinction between near, mid, and far infrared light. This will give you an opportunity to educate yourself as the consumer about the relationship between light and human physiology.

You will notice that big box stores offering lower priced saunas generally only offer the far infrared spectrum. This is significant to note as it is the combination of the infrared light spectrum that renders the most impactful healing benefits for the body.

While there will still be some benefit to using just a far infrared sauna as is offered by big box stores, it is exponentially more valuable to health to engage in broad spectrum infrared sauna therapy. This is because each wavelength interacts with the body in a very specific and unique way.

Ideally, you will want to bring a broad spectrum infrared sauna into your home for maximum healing benefit. Before making a purchase be sure that the infrared sauna offers near, mid, and far infrared light.

All light emanates from the sun and is measured in nanometers, some light is visible to the human eye, such as color light, while others are invisible. Infrared light is invisible to the human and begins just as the color red fades out on the light spectrum. (1)

This means that infrared light is on the far end of the light spectrum from potentially harmful light, such as UV rays. Any light measured at 400 nm or less will fall under the category of ultraviolet light, for which there are several subsections. (1)

Visible color light ranges from 400-600 nm. The invisible infrared spectrum ranges from 650-1200 nm. There is a strong quality of healing from this spectrum of light in relationship to the human body that is remarkable. 

Red and Near Infrared Light: 

The wavelength of red and near infrared light produce profound effects on mitochondrial metabolism. Light frequency emanating between 550-800 nm stimulates photoreceptors within the cytoplasm C to positively affect change within the energy conversion centers of the cell: The mitochondria.(2)

The ostensible effect is to increase ATP production to enrich the quality of blood while simultaneously improving circulation. It will be important for anyone looking to bring an infrared sauna into their home to ensure that near infrared light is included. (2)

Collagen production is also stimulated by the near infrared spectrum which positively affects bone marrow, connective tissues, and skin.

***It may even be worth buying a separate panel of red and near infrared light that can be added to your sauna for increased exposure.

For more information on the benefits of red and near infrared light, please click here.

Mid and Far Infrared Light:

The mid and far spectrum of light when used in tandem with near infrared light is particularly effective in penetrating deeply into the soft tissues of the body. This occurs due to the wave frequency of this light. This means that not only is the surface layer of the epidermis affected, but the internal body temperature increases to induce a cascade of biological changes. These include, but are not limited to, artificially induced fever to reduce lingering bacterial infection, improved production of Heat Shock Proteins (HPS), profound detoxification and therefore significant relief to the internal organs. 

When shopping for an infrared sauna for your home you will want to be sure that your sauna is broad spectrum and features the near, mid, and far infrared light spectrum.

Wood: Eco-Friendly, Untreated, and Durable Wood

The cabin-like structure of an infrared sauna is made of wood. By virtue of being a sauna the temperature within the unit will rise. As this occurs the potential for off-gassing from heavily treated wood increases. Breathing in this toxicity is potentially very harmful. The wood within the saunas sold by big box stores tends to be treated and therefore poses a potential threat to health.

Sauna manufacturing companies should to be able to tell consumers where the wood comes from and whether it has been treated. Consumers should also be mindful of the durability of the wood. Look for manufacturers that use Basswood or Red Cedar, as these wood types have a long life span and will not splinter off with exposure to heat. 

EMF Reading: Measure Emissions Off Of Heating Panels

EMF stands for electromagnetic field, or electromotive force. All electronic devices emit some level of EMFs, some more than others. An infrared sauna is an electrical appliance and there will be some EMF exposure during use. 

Be sure to find a manufacturer that demonstrates the EMF measurement with a device, if they are unwilling to demonstrate measurements then move on to the next provider. 

Typically, cheaply made saunas will have higher EMF readings. This is unacceptable for a health care appliance such as an infrared sauna. 

Heater Type: Ceramic or Carbon?

While shopping for an infrared sauna you will certainly be confronted with the decision to go with one type of heating panel or another: Ceramic or Carbon. The reality is that both types of panels are effective in maximizing the different light frequencies. You will want to find a manufacturer that offers both ceramic and carbon heaters.

Carbon heaters are better at delivering mid and far infrared light, while ceramic heaters are more effective in providing near infrared light. You will want to find a manufacturer that offers both ceramic and carbon heaters that surround the walls of the sauna so that all portions of the body are immersed in light emissions.

Cheaply made infrared saunas will feature less square footage of heating panels, be sure that the infrared sauna that you choose offers significant heating panels that surround the entire interior walls of cabin structure.

Chromotherapy: Medical Grade Light Therapy

chromatherapy lights

Chromotherapy is the use of color lights to heal the body. When shopping for an infrared sauna, be sure that the quality of color lights used is high, and not simply LED light of the Christmas decoration variety.

Additionally, the benefits of color light therapy when used in conjunction with broad spectrum infrared light, including near infrared light, are enhanced because the color light spectrum is able to ride on the back of the giant of the infrared spectrum. This means that color light has by nature a different wave pattern and when used in conjunction with infrared light is more effective as a healing modality.

Find more information on chromotherapy here.

Certifications: Approved Nationally & Internationally

As a consumer, it is important to ensure that all health and wellness related products come with the stamp of approval from both national and international organizations that guarantee safety, health, and quality control.

Be sure to check for the following certifications on the sauna brand you wish to buy:

ETL, ROHS, CE, ISO: 9001

For more information and details on the meaning of each of these certifications please click here.

Health Claims: Reliable And Authoritative

As you educate yourself about the myriad of health benefits available to individuals who engage in regular infrared sauna bathing be sure to check that manufacturers are using reliable sources for their information. 

All claims should be backed by primary authoritative sources, these would include abstract journals from NIH, Harvard Medical, and other reputable academic institutions. 

Mayo Clinic and other health foundations may be sufficient, however these often depend on primary sources. Be sure that your infrared sauna manufacturer has well cited sources for all medical claims. 

Consumer Education Is Vital When Purchasing An Infrared Sauna For Your Home: What Sets The Neosauna Apart From Other Brands?

neosauna full spectrum infrared sauna

Take your time purchasing an infrared sauna for your home, ask lots of questions of manufacturers, and be sure that all health claims are backed up with reliable and authoritative sources.

Neosauna is committed to using state-of-the-art technologies that enhance health, are safe to use, and are made with high quality non-toxic materials, for the lowest consumer cost possible.

Neosauna is the only infrared sauna on the market today that comes fully equipped with Himalayan Salt walls, these are both attractive aesthetically and therapeutic for the pulmonary tract as they serve as a form of halotherapy, or salt therapy.

For more information on halotherapy click here.

Neosauna, unlike many other infrared sauna brands, has the ability to increase temperature to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than the typical 150 degrees of most other infrared sauna brands.

While there are many considerations to keep in mind when purchasing an infrared sauna for your home, there is also ample information available for consumers. Take your time, and ask lots of questions to be sure you are bringing in the ultimate healing vehicle into your home! 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763133/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28748217/
Saunas, Immunity, Vitamin D & More on Enhancing Your Wellness – An Interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the Joe Rogan Experience

Saunas, Immunity, Vitamin D & More on Enhancing Your Wellness – An Interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the Joe Rogan Experience

The entire Neosauna team is a huge fan of Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s work and has been following her and her team at Found My Fitness for years. If you have not yet heard of Dr. Patrick, we highly encourage you to take a close look at her work. She does a great job of breaking down complex scientific concepts and findings into actionable change you can incorporate into your life to improve your health.

Dr. Patrick’s recent interview on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast is worth your time. The amount of health and wellness information that Dr. Patrick shares on this podcast is life-changing.

Enjoy and let us know your feedback!