If you have followed my blogs and podcasts for a while, you will know how much I love my infrared sauna! It is an integral part of my mental self-care routine, especially with my hectic work and travel schedule, and something I recommend to everyone who asks me what I do to stay healthy.
In this week’s blog and podcast, we will be discussing red light therapy, which, as numerous studies have shown, is one way we can help heal and improve our mental, cognitive and physical health. Of course, as I have said many times before, there is no “magic bullet” when it comes to the mind and brain. Living a life of mental self-care means paying attention to all aspects of our mental and physical health, including what we think, what we eat, our sleeping patterns, how much we exercise and so on. And, as part of this balanced, mind-centred approach to living well, red light therapy can be a real plus!
Wes, who works at Joovv, a company that sells red-light therapy products, describes red light as the “body’s forgotten nutrient”: it can positively impact the surface of the body, as well our internal health. The company actually began when Wes’ sister Melissa, who suffered from eczema, started using red light therapy to help heal her skin. In just 4 sessions, she noticed dramatic changes, and never looked back. Joovv now sells high quality, affordable, red light therapy products that have helped many people around the world.
So, how does red light therapy work? The spectrum of light associated with red light therapy has the unique ability to stimulate our cells, and, in particular, our mitochondria (the power houses of our cells), which creates more energy in the body through increased adenosine triphosphate production, allowing it to function on a higher level. This enhanced mitochondrial function and increased blood flow can potentially lead to reduced inflammation, better sleeping patterns, healthier-looking skin, improved muscle recovery, less joint pain, better moods, enhanced memory and much more!
The great thing about red light therapy is that it enhances the way our body functions, rather than adding foreign substances into the body. This is so important in today’s world, which, as Wes notes, is overloaded and overstimulated with unhealthy bright light sources from our many devices and indoor environments, which can upset our circadian rhythm. This, in turn, can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health. Healthy doses of red light, on the other hand, can potentially stimulate our serotonin levels, which can improve our mood and transition us into a para-sympathetic, non-stress state that relaxes the mind and body and can help us recover and regenerate, both mentally and physically, by improving our sleeping patterns, memory, energy levels and so on.
Red light therapy can also help heal the brain and body, especially in cases associated with Traumatic brain injuries and memory loss. It does this by stimulating the body’s natural restorative powers, healing tissue damage in a shorter period of time. In fact, a growing body of research (including studies being done by Wes and his team at Joovv) suggests that red light therapy can even improve cognitive function and memory-recovery in people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and the dementias (for more on age-related memory loss and how to prevent it, see my recent blog and podcast on the topic).
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of red light therapy, I highly recommend listening to my full interview with Wes on this week’s podcast.
It is important to remember, however, that red light therapy can be an incredible tool when it comes to our mental and physical wellbeing, but it should be used as part of a “toolbox” of lifestyle changes if we really want to improve the way our brain and body functions. This is why, alongside my own research and work, I have teamed up with several great companies that focus on what we put into our bodies, like Four Sigmatic, which creates superfood lattes that can help boost brain function (you can get a 15% discount off your order at foursigmatic.com/DRLEAF, or use coupon code DRLEAF at checkout), and how you use your brain, such as Blinkist, which teaches you key ideas from thousands of bestselling non-fiction books in a short period of time (for free week go to Blinkist see: https://blinkist.com/drleaf).
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your mental and physical health, join me at my Mental Health Solutions Summit this December in Dallas, TX December 6-7, 2019! This conference is for everyone: teachers, CEOs, students, parents, doctors, life coaches...everyone! For more information and to register click here.