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Wellness Wisdom: Red Light Therapy
Season 2, Episode 42
Red light therapy has been gaining popularity in the past few years, with good reason. In this week’s Be HEALTHistic Video Extra, Dr. Drew Sinatra shares all the information you need to know about the health benefits of red light therapy. He explains how it works on various mechanisms in the body, reveals the wide range of benefits it provides (from reducing inflammation and pain to promoting anti-aging in skin), and demonstrates how he uses his own, in-home near infrared light panel. Watch Dr. Drew give advice on how to incorporate red light therapy into your lifestyle routine in this special Wellness Wisdom video segment.
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Visit the Healthy Directions website for more health and wellness content and information!
- Check out the Healthy Directions Articles Archive, where you can search for specific, health-related content from all of our Healthy Directions doctors and experts.
- During the segment, Dr. Drew Sinatra talked about many of the health benefits of red light therapy; for more information, check out this article on red light therapy: what it is and how it works.
- When you’re in pain, relief can’t come soon enough but there are important things you need to know when seeking treatment; read this article from Healthy Directions’ expert Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi on how to avoid 10 common pain treatment mistakes.
- Dr. Drew mentioned a few brands of red light LEDs that are affordable and designed for home use, including Platinum LED, Joovv, and Red Therapy Co.
- Red light therapy has been discussed on our podcast before; for more information and advice from Drs. Stephen and Drew Sinatra on the benefits of red light therapy, check out Episode 14: Pulse Check: Innovations in Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Hey folks, Dr. Drew Sinatra here. Today, I wanted to demo and show for you these red lights. And what this is, is you expose yourself to these red and near infrared lights for around 10 minutes. That’s essentially all the time you need, you can do that five days out of the week, you can do it even seven days out of the week. And that exposure to the red light, the near infrared light, it's doing a couple of things to your body, two major mechanisms are this.
One, there's a concept of hormesis, which is when you stress your body a little bit, your body actually begins to produce its own antioxidants — and that's really a good thing. So for instance, when you exercise or when you're exposed to cold, like thermogenesis, when you're exposed to heat, when you are fasting or doing an intermittent fasting-type program — those are all examples of hormesis, including the red light therapy. And you've heard that expression, “what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.” This, in a sense, is that, because you're giving your body a little bit of a stress, and as a result your body is ramping up its antioxidant pathways, which will help you reduce any free radical stress you may be under. That's one pathway.
The other mechanism is red light therapy charges up your mitochondria. Now, if you remember from high school biology, those mitochondria are organelles in your cells that produce ATP. And ATP is the fuel source that your cells use to burn energy. So imagine this, it's like putting really high-quality octane into your car, okay, really high-quality fuel, so your car will function better. The red lights do the same thing, they charge up your mitochondria, they charge up your batteries, so you'll have more ATP, more energy to do the things that you want to do. Whether it's playing with your kids, or your grandkids, or having greater clarity in your mind, or your body functioning on a much optimal, higher level.
So those are the two main mechanisms, and I find that red lights are really good for reducing inflammation, they can help with pain. They're really fantastic with anti-aging skin benefits, because they can actually increase collagen and elastin formation. People use them to allow their body to feel less achy and more mobile. So you'll notice if you do it, your joints feel a little bit more mobile. And now that I've been using this therapy for around six months myself, I'm really impressed with the results, and also with my patients, as well.
All right, now I’ll demo for you these red light therapy units. Now I've got a Platinum LED, there's many different types of other brands out there — there's Joovv, there's Red Light Therapy Co., and there's even other companies out there that are making these photo biomodulation red light therapy units. Now what I do is I stand in front of this very bright red light, which you'll see in a moment. It kind of reminds me of the Star Wars films, with Luke Skywalker. After a time you get used to it, and it has a nice heating element to it — so it's not too hot but it is a nice warm glow that you feel along your body. And what I typically do is I stand around six to 12 inches away from it, because you want to reduce your EMF exposure by doing that. And all you need is around 10 minutes per side.
So for example, I'll do 10 minutes facing this way along my back, and then I'll turn around, and I'll do 10 minutes facing the lights and get my front side of my body. Now you don't want to have any clothing on between you and the lights, so if you're treating an upper torso, you want to remove your shirt, if you're treating your legs, you obviously want to remove your pants. And over time you'll find that, at least for me, what I see in my patients is that you might notice more joint mobility, you might notice decreased pain, you might notice that you sleep better that night. And over time, you feel like your energy is built. And as I said previously, I do feel like my vitality has improved and increased significantly since using these red lights. And that's why I'm talking about them today, because I'm so passionate about them and I feel like you should be able to use them yourself to reap these benefits.
So here we go. And as you can see, they're pretty bright. Now what I do, as I said previously, I'll stand about six to 12 inches apart, and I will meditate. I'll do some deep breathing exercises, I may even read a book, I may do some core work, as well, and then I'm not bored standing here for 10 minutes looking at the wall. And when I'm done on this side, then I'll switch over to this side and treat my front side.
There you have it, those are the red lights. I would definitely look into these, do your research of them online. You might want to pick up a panel at some point, especially if you're experiencing lots of pain in your body, or you want to work on charging up your batteries and supporting your mitochondria and ATP production. There you have it — red light therapy.
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Meet Dr. Drew Sinatra
Dr. Drew Sinatra is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness, and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His vibrant practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.