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. 12 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 LED light therapy. “LED”, here, stands for “Light Emitting Diode”.
Many different LED light therapy applications have taken the world by storm. For instance, red light therapy that uses red and near-infrared LEDs have become extremely popular in the last few years. Lately, there have also been blue LED light therapy treatments for the skin and wakefulness and green light for circulation and countering pain.
This blog post is part of a series on chromotherapy that explores all visible colours of light:
This blog post, on the other hand, concerns LED light therapy in general First, I’ll give you an introduction to that topic:
What Is LED Light Therapy?
LED light therapy uses LEDs, as the name already states, which emit light. LEDs are a new form of lighting that has only exited for a few decades now. What makes LEDs unique is that they can emit very specific types of light around a so-called “wavelength”. All light has a particular wavelength. Blue light can be found between 400 and 500 nanometers (nm) in length, for instance. Red light is found between 600 and 780, give or take. And green light has a wavelength of 500 to 560 nanometers. These light wavelengths can be used for led light therapy treatments.
Well, light doesn’t just illuminate the room you’re in – it has a biological effect. For instance, ultraviolet light from the sun can give you a sunburn. Infrared light from the sun or an infrared sauna heats you.
Moreover, all types of visible light that we can see with the naked eye also have different effects. The human eye cannot see infrared and ultraviolet light, but it can see violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and everything in between.
And depending on the wavelength, the light will enter your body superficially or very deep. Some types of ultraviolet light can penetrate the skin, while Blue and green light mostly stay at the surface instead. And red and especially near infrared, once again penetrate very deeply, up to several centimetres.
LED Light Therapy uses wavelengths of light to influence your health. Many different therapeutic applications exist of LED light therapy, such as for cosmetics, medical applications such a lowering pain or helping you deal with acne, and for psychological benefits (the effects of colours). Chromotherapy is one form of LED light therapy. That chromotherapy is used in all our saunas.
Chromotherapy is very different from the red light therapy you may have heard about. Red light therapy combined red and infrared wavelengths, while chromotherapy only emits wavelengths in the visible light spectrum.
Next up, let’s look at some of the effects these types of lights can have.
LED Light Therapy Treatments: Red, Green, Blue, And Others
I’ve written extensively about different LED light therapy treatments, such as red, green, and blue light. I’ll briefly cover some of the main effects here.
Purple light LED therapy improves skin health and counters several skin conditions. Blood flow, wound healing, and even bone healing may improve with purple light.
Blue light LED therapy, moreover, boosts wakefulness, helps you deal with skin conditions and increases skin health, may improve mood, and more.
Cyan light LED therapy has potential benefits for bone healing, improving skin health such as in the case of acne, can boost motivation and may speed up wound healing.
Green light LED therapy, lastly, can help you build muscle mass and lose fat, counters pain like red light therapy does, and helps your skin look better.
Yellow light therapy, improves skin health such as its texture and has a rejuvenating effect. Hydration and collagen production also improve.
Orange light LED therapy, furthermore, may improve cognitive function and motivation, probably lowers pain, and potentially boosts the immune system while enhancing skin health.
Red LED light therapy, for instance, has 2,500-3,000+ studies backing it. Red has incredible of proven benefits, such as lowering inflammation, increasing your energy levels, boosting mood and anti-depressive and anti-anxiety effects, enhancing workout recovery and performance, countering several types of pain, increasing several domains of cognition, and more.
So, many different LED light therapy treatments exist. And by combining them, you’ll get the best effects. The chromotherapy inside our infrared saunas is the primary method of combining these light types, as you can create many combinations that way.
Here’s how that works.
Recall the wavelengths I talked about earlier. Here, our chromotherapy emits blue light at 405nm, green light at 540nm, and red light at 660nm. These three primary colours can be combined - as you would do with paint in elementary school - into secondary colours. Red and blue, taken together, create purple. Blue and green create orange, and green and red create yellow.
Next up, let’s zoom in on one of the effects of blue LED light therapy - to give you an example of what can be accomplished with chromotherapy:
Blue LED Light Therapy Example: Using Blue Light For Healing
About 100-200 studies have been published on blue LED light therapy. Here are a few effects blue light therapy can have on your health.
First, blue light therapy can counter skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis (1; 2; 3; 4). You don’t even need a very high dose for that effect, you just need to shine blue light on the skin.
Secondly, when blue light enters your eyes, it can increase alertness and wakefulness and boost your mood (5; 6; 7; 9). Evolutionarily, sunlight has played the role of the primary source of blue light exposure for humans. However, due to malillumination (buildings that are too dark), most people aren’t exposed to sufficiently strong light during the daytime anymore. For that reason, adding blue light exposure to your daily routine, during the day, can aid health and performance big time.
Thirdly there’s likely an effect on serotonin (10; 11; 12). Serotonin makes you feel that all is well and is one of the most essential brain signalling compounds. Many other effects of blue light therapy exist as well that I won’t go into, but these three benefits have solid scientific backing.
Now, like blue light therapy, there’s similar evidence for benefits in green light, and far more evidence for red light therapy. Other colours have effects as well, such as violet, yellow, and orange, although they don’t have that many studies investigating their effects.
Lastly, let’s conclude:
Conclusion: Welcome To The LED Light Therapy Revolution
I hope you see that LED light therapy is truly promising. Many different colours of light, such as blue, red, green, orange, and yellow, all have specific health benefits. Some colours have been heavily researched here, such as red. Blue and green also have decent evidence, and the remaining colours mainly have demonstrated benefits in animal studies.
GET OUR FREE EBOOK
8 tips to get the most out of your Infrared Sauna
Discover proven ways to supercharge your infrared sauna experience.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
LED Light Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
Below I’ll consider a few frequently asked questions about LED light therapy:
What Does LED Light Therapy Do For You?
LED light therapy doesn’t have a single effect but influences almost any health variable directly or indirectly. Just like changing your diet or exercise regimen will have almost all-encompassing effects for health, the same thing happens when you correctly apply LED light therapy into your life. The chromotherapy inside the sauna is one way to apply LED light therapy.
Is LED Light Therapy Any Good?
Absolutely, as I’ve stated before, there are thousands of studies investigating the effects of red light therapy. And for blue and green light, there are about 100-200 studies each, with many positive effects in many different health domains.
What Are The Side Effects Of LED Lights?
Sure, there are potential side effects of LED lights, although they are sporadic with normal use. For instance, blue and green light can make you sleepless at night. And blue light can cause anxiety when overused.
The reasons for these mechanisms is that first, blue and green light suppress melatonin levels (13; 14; 15; 16; 17). Blue light also increases stress hormone levels such as cortisol. Both types of light are like drinking a cup of coffee - the health benefits are good and you’ll feel more awake but that’s not the best thing late at night. Blue and green light are thus nothing to worry about, but for most people, you can best use them during the day.
Red light, moreover, can cause fatigue when overused (which is rare) (18; 19). Also, cancer is a contraindication for red light therapy because it increases blood flow. So if you’ve got cancer, consult your physician first. The underlying mechanism is that some studies claim that red light may help spread cancer throughout the body (20; 21; 22).
The bottom line is that anything in life has side effects when overused. Exercise can cause overtraining when overused. Water can cause poisoning when you drink too much of it (23; 24). And LED lights can cause side effects when the dose is too high.
How Often Should You Have LED Light Therapy?
Generally, people have the best results with four to five LED light therapy sessions per week. But you can already get solid effects from one or two weekly sessions. So doing something is always better than doing nothing.
However, once you cross the six-days-a-week mark, there’s anecdotal evidence that giving your body a day of rest generally works well.
How Often Should You Use LED Face Light?
It’s best to use a device at least three times weekly for facial skin rejuvenation. Using chromotherapy inside an infrared sauna for 20-30 minutes is perfect here, as the light shines directly onto your face.
And you’ll receive additional skin benefits from the infrared inside the sauna.
Are LED Lights Better For Your Skin?
LED lights are great for your skin because exclusively wavelengths can be used that are very therapeutic. So, LED lights can be made so that they emit light only at healing wavelengths, such as 420nm blue light, 630nm red light, 660nm red light, and so forth.
How Long Does LED Therapy Take To Work?
How long LED therapy takes to work depends on the benefit. For skin health, people usually take several weeks to notice the effects. People can have awe-inspiring results in as little as a single session for other benefits, such as athletic performance and recovery or impeding pain.
Generally, though, I recommend using LED therapy for at least five to six weeks to consider whether you’ve gotten good results.
What Does Red LED Light Do For Your Face?
For red LED light on the face, there are several proven benefits. First, fine lines and wrinkles decrease in quantity because red light stimulates collagen and elastin production. Collagen makes your skin tight, and elastin makes it flexible - both tend to go down as you age.
Secondly, red LED light helps increase the brightness of your face, aids in the removal of dark circles, and may reduce redness of the face. So the results of red LED light can be almost all-encompassing for the face, although it often takes weeks to see good effects.
Do You Put Anything On Your Face Before LED Light Therapy?
No, generally, it’s wise not to put anything on your face before LED light therapy. The reason here is that some types of light don’t penetrate very deeply, such as blue and green light. And, for types of light that penetrate deeply, like red, the penetration depth is reduced significantly by putting anything on the skin.
So, naked is generally best here for skin rejuvenation and other goals…