Red Light Therapy can Heal and Enhance Brain Functions
What is intranasal light therapy and trans-cranial light therapy?
Photo-bio-modulation (PBM) is a treatment is where an infrared light device is placed on your head and in the nasal pathway and an electromagnetic radiation 800 nanometers is emitted.
The device has four light emitting diodes that rest on top of your head. These diodes are meant to be pointed at certain regions of your brain and are kept in place with a wire frame. The intranasal portion is designed to target your hippocampus – the horseshoe-shaped portion of your brain responsible for your memory, emotions, and autonomic nervous system.
This is a completely painless process that takes anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes. It’s recommended that you do this once in the morning and once at night. While this may sound like something out of science fiction, it really isn’t. Biological reactions to light have long been studied. Consider the significance of sunlight on our skin. Sunlight has the distinct impact on your body’s ability to take cholesterol and turn it into vitamin D using liver enzymes. Your body is more than just physical matter; it’s also energy. Light is part of your environment and it directly impacts our health. And the study of infrared light technology has proven to improve health in many different ways.
How does it work?
The near-infrared light stimulates your mitochondria (your energy factories of your cells) in your neurons. The mitochondria in your neurons then increase enzymes, oxygen, and ultimately energy activity. This activity then encourages a boost in ATP, your body’s main energy carrier, which is needed in most bodily functions. This initial release of ATP then works in other beneficial ways.
We can break down the way PBM works into three major ways:
First, your mitochondria absorb infrared light energy. The mitochondria then take that light energy and convert it into ATP (the energy carrier).
PBM also causes mild oxidants to be created, which captures free radicals and encourages cellular repair and healing.
Finally, the light treatment’s impact on your mitochondria releases nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is an important chemical used by your cells to communicate with one another, a key signaling molecule. Nitric oxide also dilates your blood vessels and improves circulation while playing an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and keeping your arteries relaxed.
These three mechanisms are the key to the healing power of intranasal light therapy. Light therapy is extra fascinating because unlike chemical treatments, like pharmaceuticals, it encourages your body to heal itself. PBM literally gives your brain a boost.
Give yourself a boost in brainpower
These three mechanisms all increase your brainenergy. Intranasal photo-bio-modulation devices stimulate the brain’s highest frequency – the gamma frequency. When your brain is operating at the gamma frequency, your brain waves are extremely fast and this is often associated with conscious perception, thinking, and problem solving.
It’s through the energizing ability of the intranasal device that patients often experience benefits, such as:
An immune system boost
Fighting free radicals
Improving cognitive performance
Lowering blood pressure
Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides
Speeding up stroke recovery (and probably other recoveries as well)
PBM has promising benefits in a variety of areas of health, making it worth a closer look – one of the most promising areas happens to be in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s.
PBM and Parkinson’s
A 2017 study examined the effects of photo-bio-modulation (PBM), a light therapy that uses red or near-infrared light to heal and protect tissues, in five older adults with dementia, one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. After 12 weeks of treatment subjects showed significant improvements on the Cognitive Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale. With only five subjects, the effect sizes had to be huge for significance to be shown.
Caregivers who kept daily journals tracking experiences of the research subjects reported participants had:
Fewer angry outbursts
Alzheimer’sis the sixth leading cause of death and currently impacts over five million Americans. So, it’s no wonder we are interested in finding a cure to this devastating and far-reaching disease. Unfortunately, there are no effective drug treatments for Alzheimer’s, but PBM is proving to be promising. Alzheimer’s is a disease of dysfunctional mitochondria, which is why PBM therapy seems to work – by recharging the mitochondria. Studies are showing that the low-level light therapy from PBM may slow progression or even improve cognitive function in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, a 2017 study found there is a significant improvement in mild to moderately severe dementia in cases treated with intranasal PBM. And remember those beneficial gamma rays? A study on mice revealed gamma frequency targeted in the brain significantly reduced plaque formation in the brain – a sign of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. What a promising treatment for such a terrible disease. The great thing about this treatment is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home with your own device. This makes it not only easier to regularly treat yourself with PBM therapy but it keeps the cost of treatment down.
Add Light Therapy to Your Life
Near-infrared therapy has inspiring promises for the future of healthcare. For too long we’ve mostly come at healthcare from a predominantly chemical approach. As we continue to explore different impacts of health, such as light therapy, we’ll have a better chance of reversing conditions like Parkinson’s.