The written article is based on a summary of existing literature on the topic of infrared saunas. The article is for educational purposes and the information provided below cannot be taken as a promise to help with acute health problems or diseases. 11 references back the claims in the article. All references are numbered. You can access the text of the reference by clicking on the number.
In this blog post, I’ll talk about green light LED therapy. As it turns out, green light therapy has many different effects on the human body, in the same way blue and red light have effects. Nevertheless, in light therapy, green lights aren’t talked about as elaborately as red and blue light are, even though there are quite a few studies on this topic.
This blog post is part of a series on chromotherapy that explores all visible colours of light:
You may want to explore these topics if you’re interested. Today I’ll consider what green light therapy is and its benefits. Here we go:
What Is Green Light Therapy?
To understand green light therapy, you first need to understand light therapy. Light therapy - as the name implies - uses light. Different types of light exist, such as ultraviolet light that potentially gives you sunburns and infrared light that makes sunlight (and saunas) feel hot.
And then there’s visible light. Visible light can be divided into all colours of the rainbow. So there’s purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and everything in between. In physics, all these types of light are measured in wavelength. Each wavelength has a specific effect.
Blue light at 480 nanometres (nm) may improve skin health and wakefulness, for instance. Red light at 630nm enhances energy production and lowers inflammation, among others. And then there’s green light, which starts at 500nm and goes up to around 570nm.
Green Light Therapy As Part Of LED Light Therapy
For most of history, humans were exposed to green light through the sun. Nowadays, however, it’s possible to use artificial light to expose your body to different types of light. That LED light therapy can work in several ways.
First, you can get green LEDs that emit lights at, say, 530nm or at 550nm light. Alternatively, you can achieve light that is perceived to be green by mixing colours. As you may know from elementary school, you can create secondary colours by mixing the primary colours of blue, red and green. The chromotherapy in our infrared saunas works that way and emits: Red light at 660 nm, green at 540 nm, and blue at 405 nm. You can subsequently create yellow light by combining red and green light, violet through red and blue, and orange through green and blue.
And it turns out that green light, using LED light therapy, has very specific health effects. In the section below, I’ll explore some of these health effects:
Benefits Of Light Therapy Green Lights
So let’s consider the LED green light therapy benefits. About 100 studies exist on the benefits of green light therapy, and I’ll cover the most important ones here.
What Does Green LED Light Do For Skin?
First up, skin green LED light for the skin. Several studies have investigated the effects of green light on the skin (1; 2; 3; 4). Green light can stimulate fibroblast levels. These fibroblasts play a significant role in the structural integrity of the skin and wound healing.
Secondly, green light affects skin cells directly. Green light allows new skin cells to be created and helps them migrate to areas where these skin cells are needed. The effect here is even stronger than with red light therapy on some mechanisms related to skin health.
Next up, green light therapy improves blood flow in the skin and even helps create new blood vessels. These blood vessels subsequently enhance blood circulation, aiding skin health in turn.
The ageing process generally decreases blood vessel health and blood circulation, leading to poorer skin health and appearance. Green light for skin is thus a welcome benefit.
Does Green LED Lights Help Headaches? And What About Other Pain Types?
According to recent studies, green LED lights help headaches get less intense (5; 6; 7; 8). Even in people with chronic headaches and migraines, a simple green LED reduces the number of days you’re affected by these headaches. The result in studies is a big increase in the quality of life. No side effects are found also.
Next up, green light increases the GABA levels in the brain. “GABA”, or “Gamma-AminoButyric Acid”, is the primary relaxant neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters are brain signalling compounds. In plain English, green light calms the nervous system, which then results in a decrease in pain.
Also, in some studies green light helps release natural opioids, which are the body’s endogenously created painkillers. And green light has an anti-inflammatory effect. As a result, green light affects not only headaches but other types of pain, such as nerve pain.
A lot more research is needed here, but preliminary results that have been published so far are extremely promising.
Is Green Light Good For Sleep?
If you ask, “Is green light therapy good for sleep? then my answer will be “It depends”. When green light enters your eyes during the daytime, it tells the day and night rhythm in your brain and body that it’s time to wake up (9; 10; 11). That day and night rhythm is called your “circadian rhythm” and the primary input of that rhythm is green and especially blue light.
During hundreds of thousands and even millions of years in the past, sunlight was the main tell to your ancestors’ biology that it’s daytime or nighttime. During the daytime, sunlight tells the brains of your ancestors to stay awake through blue and green light exposure in the eye. At night, the absence of sunlight (and thus blue and green light) increases melatonin in the brain, leading to better sleep quality.
So what does this abstract story mean to you?
Simple: when using chromotherapy inside your sauna, it’s best to use the green light during the day and potentially in the early evening. If you use the 540nm light included in our chromotherapy late at night, it will suppress the creation of melatonin in your brain and likely lower sleep quality. Only the red light is safe late at night in that regard.
Other Green Light Effects
Yes, other green light effects may exist as well. For instance, there’s reasonable evidence right now that green light affects both fat loss and the muscle mass gains that you’ll get. Also, because so many of the 100 studies published on green light therapy are positive, many other green light effects are likely found once more publications on this topic emerge.
Finally, let’s conclude:
Green LED Light Therapy Is Extremely Promising
It’s very nice to see that green LED light therapy has solid effects for skin health, countering pain, boosting energy levels during the day, building muscle mass and losing fat. And we’ve been aware of the effects of different types of light for some time and therefore included chromotherapy inside our saunas. For the best results, switch your green light therapy on during the morning, afternoon, or early evening, and receive the benefits I’ve laid out in this blog post.
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Green Light LED Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
Below I’ll consider a few frequently asked green light therapy questions that may not have been considered in the blog post above:
What Is The Difference Between Green And Yellow Light Therapy?
Green light is located around the 500 - 570nm range. Although definitions vary, Yellow is located around the 570-600nm range. And once you move over the 600nm level, you arrive at red light.
There’s no rigid definition though, exactly where yellow starts and green ends. Very often, the entire range up to 600nm is called “green light”. But, what can be said is that the light in the low 500s and high 500s probably has slightly different health effects.
Is Green LED Light Good For Sleep?
Perhaps indirectly, green LED light is suitable for sleep. But in that case, you’ll have to use the green light during the daytime when it enters your eyes. When green light below 550nm enters your eyes during the day, it tells your body it’s time to wake up and to increase wakefulness, in the same way coffee would.
Avoid using green light - even from chromotherapy - late at night, before bedtime.
What Effect Does Green Light Have On Humans?
Like stated earlier in this blog post, green light has demonstrable effects on skin health, wound healing, countering pain such as nerve pain and migraines, helping you build muscle and lose fat, and aiding your circadian rhythm.
Other benefits exist as well that I’ve not considered in this blog post, but evidence for these benefits is minimal.
Are Green LEDs Brighter Than Red LEDs?
Green LEDs aren’t necessarily brighter than red LEDs. However, green LEDs may appear brighter at the same intensity because the human perceptive apparatus is geared towards seeing green colours the best. Perception away from the green colours becomes worse. The reason for this perceptive evolutionary specialisation is probably that humans evolved around a lot of greens, and perceptive accuracy mattered a lot for survival.
Is Green Light Or Red Light Therapy Better?
Both green light therapy and red light therapy have great benefits. Ideally, you don’t want to choose between options here and use both. Far more studies exist on red light therapy (7,000+) than green light therapy (100+) right now, so the case can also be made that most of green light’s effects aren’t scientifically found yet.
Is Red Light Better Than Green Light For Face?
Yes, red light has far more evidence backing its validity than green light. From an evidence-based perspective, red light for the face is a better option.
Why Is Green Light Better At Night?
Green light is not better at night, although it’s less harmful than blue light. If you want to sleep well, get some red LEDs in your house, as the red light (like a campfire) doesn’t suppress melatonin levels in the brain.
Is Green Light Good For The Brain?
Right now, green light is only good for the brain insofar it impedes pain and headaches. However, there aren’t many studies investigating green light and cognitive function, especially not in humans.
So, the accurate answer right now is that we don’t know whether green light is good for the brain.
What Colour LED Lights Help With Headaches?
Green light has an excellent track record for headaches and even migraines. In studies with humans, the number of days with headaches goes down dramatically with green light, and their intensity also drops off.
Many people with migraines have a green LED light next to their desks when working, which ultimately prevents migraines from developing in the first place. You can use chromotherapy in your infrared sauna for the same purpose as well.