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Updated December 28, 2020
Have you seen the photos of athletes and bodybuilders putting red lights up their noses? If you haven’t, you will soon. These athletes are undergoing red light therapy, which is quickly becoming a top health trend around the country.
Red light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is a type of health treatment that uses just that: red light. Red lights have slower wavelengths than colors on the rest of the spectrum. Isolating red light gives people all the effects of being exposed to sunlight without the harm of being exposed to blue light and UV rays.
Red light therapy is one of the leading “biohack” techniques on blogs and in spas. Dave Asprey, founder of the Bulletproof movement, is one of the figures behind the red light therapy movement. Bodybuilders, personal trainers and other influencers have quickly followed suit. While many of these figures are promoting red light therapy products, other advocates suggest using red light therapy at home. Anyone can access red lights and feel the wide variety of benefits from the color’s slow wavelength.
How red light therapy works
Red light therapy falls under the biohacking umbrella, which has caught the attention of many people looking to maximize their body’s performance and health. “Biohacking” doesn’t have to involve strange experiments or technology; the term simply refers to changing our body chemistry. We do this when we try a different diet or start to exercise more often. As scientists look for other ways to give people results faster and more efficiently, they have introduced techniques like red light therapy or medications that influence how we process food and exercise.
Red light therapy is a process that involves infrared lights to repair tissues in the body and improve overall health. When our bodies are exposed to lights with specific wavelengths, the light penetrates through our skin, blood vessels and even nerves. Common forms of red light therapy include using the light in treatments similar to a tanning bed. Athletes have also been photographed putting red light machines up their noses.
Key health benefits
Exposing our bodies to infrared lights has a variety of different health benefits, affecting the brain, muscles and overall body function.
The treatment has gained quick popularity from athletes for repairing muscle tissues. When red light enters the body, it encourages the release of nitric acid and the production of antioxidants, which increase the amount of heat proteins throughout the body. Heat proteins help to repair muscles after a workout or an energy. When red light reaches the blood vessels, it encourages blood flow and can stimulate detoxification. Using red light therapy for these benefits can also help to reduce pain after a workout.
Red light therapy is also commonly used for skincare treatments; the biohack is known for reducing inflammation, scars, wrinkles and acne. It is quickly becoming the most popular way to reduce the effects of aging on the skin. Salons often encourage using the therapy before or after entering a tanning bed.
People with mood disorders, including depression or seasonal affective disorder, can also benefit from red light therapy.
How to get red light therapy
Red light therapy has been rising in popularity due to approval from influencers like Tony Robbins and bodybuilders. If you want to try out the therapy for yourself, you can visit a sauna or get exposed from home.
Do some research to find infrared saunas and spa treatments in your city or town. If you want to bring red light therapy to your house, you can order infrared lights online. The Joovv brand is a leader in in-house red light therapy, and are promoted by Dave Asprey and many television personalities. Joovv offers a red light device that you hang up in your house. Other products include LED masks that you can put over your face to reduce acne and inflammation.
Red lights are even more accessible than you might think; all you have to do is turn on your iPhone. Color tint wasn’t the hottest feature introduced with iOS 10, but it certainly has benefits for people who enjoy red light therapy or just want to get a better night’s sleep. Blue tints are notorious for ruining our ability to get to sleep at night. By turning on the color tint feature, iPhone users can put a red light filter over their entire screen. Since red light is easier for our eyes to see, they have to do less work if we’re checking our phones at night.
Red light therapy is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in “biohacking,” boosting your mood and improving athletic performance. With this trend picking up steam, red light therapy is more accessible than ever for those of us who want to try it—whether at a sauna, spa or right at home.