What is Light Therapy?

What is Light Therapy?

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What is light therapy? This term is used for a number of different health treatments that shine light on the body. In this article, we’ll explain the major forms of light therapy and how they work. We’ll also explain what light therapy is used for, and which light therapy products and lamps are the best to use in your home. 

What is Light Therapy?

Light therapy refers to health modalities that use light wavelengths to produce positive physiological effects on the human body. There are two major types of light therapy: light therapy lamps that are mainly used for seasonal depression, and LED devices that deliver wavelengths of red and near infrared (NIR) light to enhance cellular health.

Light therapy lamps, or “SAD lamps,” are primarily used to mimic sunlight with artificial light that brightens a room. People with seasonal depression may sit or work next to a lamp or light therapy box for several hours. This differs significantly from LED-based light therapy, which shines specific wavelengths of red and NIR light on the body and cells to produce a biological effect.

Light Therapy with an LED Device at Home

LED-based light therapy is often called “red light therapy” because devices mainly use wavelengths of red and near infrared light. It’s a quick, simple, and non-invasive treatment that delivers light wavelengths to your skin and cells. Joovv suggests 10-minute sessions per treatment area. The session does not require anything other than exposing your skin and sitting or standing in front of the Joovv—letting your body absorb the light. You can do these treatments in the comfort of your home any time of day.

How Does Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy devices deliver concentrated wavelengths of therapeutic light to your skin and cells, which can help reduce oxidative stress and stimulate cellular energy production (adenosine triphosphate or ATP). This helps your body power itself, leading to many benefits including improved blood circulation and reduced joint pain and inflammation. In short, red and NIR light helps your cells produce energy and rejuvenate more efficiently, which can have systemic benefits like increased blood flow and enhanced inflammation management

Red light therapy is backed by a large amount of peer-reviewed clinical research. NASA studied light therapy in the late 1980s and 1990s for use in space, and over the last two decades, researchers have conducted over a thousand peer-reviewed trials and studies on various kinds of red light therapy. Check out this video to learn more about the science behind red light therapy and how a red light therapy treatment affects your body at a cellular level.

What is Light Therapy Used For?

Light therapy lamps are mostly used to brighten rooms and improve the symptoms of seasonal depression. Supporters say light therapy lamps benefit a person by affecting brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, which may ease seasonal affective disorder (SAD) symptoms. [1]

LED light therapy is used for a much wider range of health benefits, from relieving pain and inflammation to improving sleep. Red light therapy with an LED device can have a much larger impact on a person’s health than a light therapy lamp. This is because LED treatments are designed to improve cellular efficiency, which can have systemic effects on a person’s health, energy, and performance. These are some of the most well-established benefits of red light therapy with an LED device:

Light Therapy for Pain and Inflammation Relief

One of the most common benefits of red light therapy is inflammation and pain relief. Light therapy devices can help improve the efficiency of your body’s natural inflammation and pain processes as you recover from illness or injury. [2] Read more about inflammation, strain, and light therapy here.

Improved Blood Flow and Healing with Light Therapy

 One of the potential benefits of light therapy is a significant increase in blood circulation following treatment sessions. This indicates tissues are receiving more oxygen and other nutrients that are important for healing. At the same time, concentrated light wavelengths can help the body and circulatory system rid itself of toxic byproducts. [3] Learn more about circulation and therapy lights here.

Optimal Performance and Recovery with Light Therapy

LED light therapy is widely used by trainers and pro athletes to improve fitness, boost physical performance, and support the recovery process. Muscle cells require a great deal of energy, and grow & strengthen through a process of tears & repairs. Light therapy helps your body produce and use energy more efficiently. Supporting circulation and inflammation reduction with light therapy can also help you heal and recover after injuries and workouts. [4] Joovv’s unique Recovery+ mode is designed to optimize the body’s natural recovery process. Learn more about recovery, performance, and light therapy here.

Better Sleep with Light Therapy

Healthy light intake is crucial for sleep and maintaining natural circadian rhythms. Our brains interpret light as a sign of when to be awake and asleep, and when to make crucial sleep hormones like melatonin. Bright blue light at night can knock your sleep cycle out of whack, but red light is a lower-intensity alternative that can help support longer, more restful sleep. [5,6] Joovv designed Ambient mode especially to support sleep and circadian rhythms. Learn about circadian rhythms and light therapy here.

Light Therapy with an LED Device is Safe and Effective

One of the benefits of both light therapy lamps and red light therapy devices is that they don’t come with a lot of risks or side effects. LED devices are quick and easy to use at home. They’ve also proven to be safe, with almost no side effects*, in hundreds and hundreds of clinical trials and studies. Doctors and health practitioners use LED treatments because they’re non-invasive and well-tolerated by patients young and old.

How to do Light Therapy Treatments

LED-based Light therapy treatments are quick and simple. All you have to do is sit or stand in the light for 10-15 minutes a day. Today, you can use red light therapy in your home with a quality system like a Joovv. You can also find red light therapy at a wide range of clinics and businesses. These include spas and salons, medical doctors, gyms and trainers, chiropractors, and others.

The downside to the commercial route is cost. It is much more expensive to do red light therapy at clinics than at home. It’s also harder to maintain consistency, which is crucial for effective red light therapy. Many people choose to purchase an in-home red light therapy system they can use every day, without extra costs or a commute. You pay a one-time cost of buying the device and then have unlimited access to private, convenient light therapy sessions. 

3 Unique Features of Joovv In-Home Light Therapy

Which light therapy lamp or device is best? When choosing a light therapy product, make sure to pick a brand that’s science-based and backed by research and independent testing. You may also want to look for devices that are specifically designed for at-home health use, like Joovv, which are certified from independent regulatory bodies and rigorously tested. Joovv also offers innovative light therapy features to improve your health and your experience. Only Joovv offers these unique properties:

Joovv’s Patented Modular Design

Joovv is the only light therapy brand with a patented modular design that lets you build out a larger, more powerful light therapy system in your home over time. “Modular” means that Joovv devices can be combined to form larger light therapy systems with greater coverage, which equates to more energy transfer in less time. The main components (or modules) of this patented design are the Joovv Mini and the Joovv Solo.

Every Joovv Generation 3.0 kit includes a specific combination of Minis and/or Solos. These kits are expandable into larger pre-set kits, which offer a wide range of coverage areas and setups, up to an Elite 3.0. Every Joovv Generation 3.0 kit delivers the same powerful red and NIR light. The main differences come down to size, coverage, and setup. You won’t find the same customization and flexibility from one-size-fits-all brands. Check out this helpful buyer’s guide if you’d like to learn more.

Recovery+ Mode for Optimal Healing

Every Joovv device includes a few features you won’t find on any other device. Recovery+ mode is a setting on Joovv devices that optimizes the natural recovery, healing, and regeneration processes of the body. When a Joovv device is set to Recovery+ mode, it will deliver both continuous waves of red light and pulsed waves of NIR light. Pulsed NIR light has been shown to work even better for recovery and cellular regeneration versus continuous NIR and red light. [7,8] Recovery+ mode is the ideal light therapy setting to enhance the body’s recovery process after a workout or injury. Learn more about how Recovery+ mode works here.

Ambient Mode for Improved Sleep

Joovv designed Ambient mode to specifically support sleep and circadian rhythms. You won’t find this cutting-edge sleep tech feature on any other light therapy products. Ambient mode delivers lower intensity red light than a normal Joovv treatment session. It’s designed for use at night and in the morning, as an alternative to bright artificial blue light.

Better Health and Wellness with LED Light Therapy at Home

Light therapy is most effective with LED-based devices you can use in the convenience of your home. With consistent use, light therapy can improve energy, inflammation, sleep, recovery, blood flow, and sleep. But not all light therapy products will deliver the same benefits. Look for a device like Joovv that’s designed for in-home light therapy use and has passed rigorous safety testing and certification.


Sources and References:

[1]  Light Therapy. Mayo Clinic. 

[2] Hamblin M. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics. 2017 May.

[3] Mak MC, Cheing GL. Immediate effects of monochromatic infrared energy on microcirculation in healthy subjects. Photomed Laser Surg. 2012.

[4] Stelian J, Gil I, Habot B, Rosenthal M, Abramovici I, Kutok N, Khahil A. Improvement of pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee treated with narrow-band light therapy. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Jan;40(1):23-6.

[5] Jung C, Khalsa S, et al. Acute Effects of Bright Light Exposure on Cortisol Levels. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2010 Jun.

[6] Harvard Health. Blue light has a dark side.

[7] Hashmi J, Huang Y. Effect of Pulsing in Low-Level Light Therapy. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 2010 Aug.

[8] Gavish L, Houreld N. Therapeutic Efficacy of Home-Use Photobiomodulation Devices: A Systematic Literature Review. 2019 Jan.

*To see a list of known precautionary warnings and contraindications click here.