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Interview: Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more

Published in Fit Tech 2021 issue 2

How does red light therapy work?
BG/JS: Red light therapy (RLT) is an extremely easy to use, zero-touch, non-invasive form of light therapy that all people can use, that harnesses the powerful healing qualities of red and infrared light. This kind of light, which actually also comes from the sun, is able to penetrate the human body and in doing so, stimulates an increase in cellular energy production and also causes a release of natural anti-inflammatories into the bloodstream.

WP: Light therapy uses LEDs to deliver red and near infrared (NIR) light to a person’s skin and cells. Light intake is crucial for our health. It’s essential for our cellular function and energy production, just like water, sleep, and the nutrients from food.

Wavelengths of healthy light stimulate the mitochondria and help us create vital ATP energy more efficiently, with less inflammation and oxidative stress gunking up the process. That can have a wide range of positive health effects.

What are the benefits?
BG/JS: The benefits are huge! For athletes we see an increase in strength gains, an increase in hypertrophy gains, better endurance, faster recovery after workouts, longer time to failure, more reps, decrease in the onset of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), reduction in joint pain, better recovery from head injury, reduction in the likelihood of injury, and the list goes on.

For general health we see mood improvements, energy increases, more optimal hormonal balancing, skin healing and rejuvenation, cognitive function improvements, reduction in pain and swelling, deeper and better quality sleep and there are also benefits to eye health.

WP: In terms of fitness and recovery, light therapy treatments have several mechanisms of action on the muscle cells, such as improvements in cellular ATP energy synthesis, glycogen synthesis, oxidative stress reduction, protection against exercise-induced muscle damage and the addition of new myonuclei supporting muscle hypertrophy. All of these beneficial effects of light therapy promote improved physical performance and enhanced post-exercise recovery.

Professional sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers use Joovv light therapy to help their athletes respond to stress and damage more efficiently and effectively. Light therapy treatments improve blood flow to problem areas and help address the inflammation that comes with injuries and strain.

Tell us about red and near infrared light therapy – what’s the difference? Should people use one or both?
BG/JS: Yes! People should definitely use both. They are different kinds of light but the main difference we should know about is the depth of penetration. Red light is only able to penetrate the body to a depth of about 1cm, so the red light is what benefits the skin, hair and nails.
The infrared light is able to penetrate the body to a depth of about 5cm in certain areas and this is the light that will benefit the bones, the blood, the muscles and joints, the brain and everything else deep inside the body.

WP: Red and near infrared (NIR) light have been widely studied and found to be the most beneficial wavelengths when it comes to Photobiomodulation. Generally, all light consists of different wavelengths, which are measured in nanometers (nm).

Red light therapy devices provide red light in the mid-600nm range and near-infrared light in the mid-800nm range. Red light is visible and ideal for skin health and other surface concerns, while near infrared light is invisible to the naked eye and can penetrate deeper into the skin and cells, for greater rejuvenation and healing benefits.

How often should people use red light therapy and for how long?
BG/JS: For the best benefits people should use RLT at least five days a week – sunrise and/or sunset is best and depending on which type of device they have, anywhere from five minutes to 25 minutes will deliver them a sufficient dose of this light energy.

WP: The most important factor is consistency. Each session is typically only 10 minutes per treatment area – increasing to a maximum of 15-20 minutes for any symptomatic areas – however, beyond that, the evidence points to diminishing returns since cells can only absorb so much light at once.

How much reliable evidence is there to support the use of RLT?
BG/JS: There are now thousands of studies showing positive outcomes for RLT from all over the world. The evidence is reliable but science doesn’t stop.

I would like to see more understanding about how to treat the brain and cognitive decline with RLT. So many studies show that RLT has fantastic benefits for all types of brain health but some studies shine the light on the forehead, some on the top of the head, some at the temples and some at the base of the neck. I’d like to see a discovery for the best place to treat the brain with RLT.

WP: Light therapy has been studied and tested in over 1,000 peer-reviewed clinical trials over the last few decades. These studies have demonstrated a wide range of health benefits in various settings, with few associated side effects or risks.

Beyond light therapy’s better-established health benefits, there are a number of emerging clinical areas where light treatments are showing promise. Some of these emerging areas include hormone and thyroid health and further studies are warranted.

What do you most want people to know about RLT?
BG/JS: RLT is such a powerful therapy and our goal is to make it accessible for everyone, from the stay-at-home parent to the pro athlete to the person suffering with some kind of illness. We are all human, and regardless of how we spend our days, RLT can make almost everything much better.

WP: Most people don’t get nearly enough light. We’re inside all the time, especially in the winter – and during the pandemic – and that lack of daily light intake can wreak havoc on our sleep, skin, and general fitness and energy. Adding light therapy is a really simple, convenient way to ensure your body and cells are getting the light they need to thrive.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
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We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
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Jessica Ennis-Hill is on a mission to close the gender data gap in health research. Her app, Jennis CycleMapping, is designed to help women understand their cycles and how to train during each different phase. Steph Eaves speaks to Ennis-Hill to find out exactly how it works

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Your fit tech product might be a game changer, solving problems or creating new possibilities for clients, but none of this will matter if it’s not easy and enjoyable to use. Industrial designer Nick Chubb explains why usability is key, and the factors to consider when designing your new product

Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more
interview

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features

Interview: Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more

Published in Fit Tech 2021 issue 2

How does red light therapy work?
BG/JS: Red light therapy (RLT) is an extremely easy to use, zero-touch, non-invasive form of light therapy that all people can use, that harnesses the powerful healing qualities of red and infrared light. This kind of light, which actually also comes from the sun, is able to penetrate the human body and in doing so, stimulates an increase in cellular energy production and also causes a release of natural anti-inflammatories into the bloodstream.

WP: Light therapy uses LEDs to deliver red and near infrared (NIR) light to a person’s skin and cells. Light intake is crucial for our health. It’s essential for our cellular function and energy production, just like water, sleep, and the nutrients from food.

Wavelengths of healthy light stimulate the mitochondria and help us create vital ATP energy more efficiently, with less inflammation and oxidative stress gunking up the process. That can have a wide range of positive health effects.

What are the benefits?
BG/JS: The benefits are huge! For athletes we see an increase in strength gains, an increase in hypertrophy gains, better endurance, faster recovery after workouts, longer time to failure, more reps, decrease in the onset of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), reduction in joint pain, better recovery from head injury, reduction in the likelihood of injury, and the list goes on.

For general health we see mood improvements, energy increases, more optimal hormonal balancing, skin healing and rejuvenation, cognitive function improvements, reduction in pain and swelling, deeper and better quality sleep and there are also benefits to eye health.

WP: In terms of fitness and recovery, light therapy treatments have several mechanisms of action on the muscle cells, such as improvements in cellular ATP energy synthesis, glycogen synthesis, oxidative stress reduction, protection against exercise-induced muscle damage and the addition of new myonuclei supporting muscle hypertrophy. All of these beneficial effects of light therapy promote improved physical performance and enhanced post-exercise recovery.

Professional sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers use Joovv light therapy to help their athletes respond to stress and damage more efficiently and effectively. Light therapy treatments improve blood flow to problem areas and help address the inflammation that comes with injuries and strain.

Tell us about red and near infrared light therapy – what’s the difference? Should people use one or both?
BG/JS: Yes! People should definitely use both. They are different kinds of light but the main difference we should know about is the depth of penetration. Red light is only able to penetrate the body to a depth of about 1cm, so the red light is what benefits the skin, hair and nails.
The infrared light is able to penetrate the body to a depth of about 5cm in certain areas and this is the light that will benefit the bones, the blood, the muscles and joints, the brain and everything else deep inside the body.

WP: Red and near infrared (NIR) light have been widely studied and found to be the most beneficial wavelengths when it comes to Photobiomodulation. Generally, all light consists of different wavelengths, which are measured in nanometers (nm).

Red light therapy devices provide red light in the mid-600nm range and near-infrared light in the mid-800nm range. Red light is visible and ideal for skin health and other surface concerns, while near infrared light is invisible to the naked eye and can penetrate deeper into the skin and cells, for greater rejuvenation and healing benefits.

How often should people use red light therapy and for how long?
BG/JS: For the best benefits people should use RLT at least five days a week – sunrise and/or sunset is best and depending on which type of device they have, anywhere from five minutes to 25 minutes will deliver them a sufficient dose of this light energy.

WP: The most important factor is consistency. Each session is typically only 10 minutes per treatment area – increasing to a maximum of 15-20 minutes for any symptomatic areas – however, beyond that, the evidence points to diminishing returns since cells can only absorb so much light at once.

How much reliable evidence is there to support the use of RLT?
BG/JS: There are now thousands of studies showing positive outcomes for RLT from all over the world. The evidence is reliable but science doesn’t stop.

I would like to see more understanding about how to treat the brain and cognitive decline with RLT. So many studies show that RLT has fantastic benefits for all types of brain health but some studies shine the light on the forehead, some on the top of the head, some at the temples and some at the base of the neck. I’d like to see a discovery for the best place to treat the brain with RLT.

WP: Light therapy has been studied and tested in over 1,000 peer-reviewed clinical trials over the last few decades. These studies have demonstrated a wide range of health benefits in various settings, with few associated side effects or risks.

Beyond light therapy’s better-established health benefits, there are a number of emerging clinical areas where light treatments are showing promise. Some of these emerging areas include hormone and thyroid health and further studies are warranted.

What do you most want people to know about RLT?
BG/JS: RLT is such a powerful therapy and our goal is to make it accessible for everyone, from the stay-at-home parent to the pro athlete to the person suffering with some kind of illness. We are all human, and regardless of how we spend our days, RLT can make almost everything much better.

WP: Most people don’t get nearly enough light. We’re inside all the time, especially in the winter – and during the pandemic – and that lack of daily light intake can wreak havoc on our sleep, skin, and general fitness and energy. Adding light therapy is a really simple, convenient way to ensure your body and cells are getting the light they need to thrive.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
people

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
people

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
people

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
people

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
interview

Mathieu Letombe

We’ve found 90 per cent of Withings users continue to regularly use their scales after one year and 50 per cent regularly continue using them after 10 years

Refining augmented reality

London boutique The Refinery has created an avatar-led digital fitness offering called ALFI, which utilises augmented reality (AR) to demonstrate movements. Zoe Bertali, one of the co-founders of the gym, tells us more

Jessica Ennis-Hill: founder of Jennis

Jessica Ennis-Hill is on a mission to close the gender data gap in health research. Her app, Jennis CycleMapping, is designed to help women understand their cycles and how to train during each different phase. Steph Eaves speaks to Ennis-Hill to find out exactly how it works

How usable is your product?

Your fit tech product might be a game changer, solving problems or creating new possibilities for clients, but none of this will matter if it’s not easy and enjoyable to use. Industrial designer Nick Chubb explains why usability is key, and the factors to consider when designing your new product

Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more
interview

Kilian Saekel

With ROX Home, we’re now targeting families who want to work out at home but who are bored with traditional ways of home training

Adrian Hon

Zombies, Run! is one of the most enduring fitness apps, with half a million users getting active while engaging in ‘missions’ against the zombie apocalypse. Its co-creator spoke to Steph Eaves about the power of story

Digital community

Matt Stebbings of SLT Group talks about the creation of their Community Portal, a new platform that aims to help anyone to get active, whether that’s inside or outside of SLT’s facilities

Funxtion: A vital connection

NonStop Gym, Switzerland’s no frills gym chain, has appointed FunXtion to create its member training app

Monitoring mental health

New technology uses advanced machine learning to monitor patients’ mental health between visits to their medical providers
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
people

Andy Etches

Founder and sports director, Rezzil
Rezzil was able to have an injured player learning his new manager's philosophy, positioning and playing style – all from a seated position
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games. If only you could be the hero in a game that levelled up your life
More features
Technogym
Technogym