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Hi, pod fam! 

I’ve been talking about infrared/red light therapy for YEARS. Back in 2016, I wrote this blog about my obsession with red light therapy—and, let me tell you: that obsession has only grown stronger. Only thing that’s changed is that I’ve gone from a DIY setup to a futuristic looking device developed by this week’s podcast guest.

So excited for you all to meet Dr. Mike Belkowski: physical therapist and founder/CEO of BioLight. If you saw my IG story talking about my new red light therapy device (and how I finally got Nick hooked on it) a few months ago, we’ve got Dr. Belkowski to thank for that! 

Dr. Belkowski is here to enlighten us about how our bodies use UV light and how red light therapy can be beneficial. We’ll go over how red light and infrared light therapy works, some of the things it can be used for, and why we all probably need to get outside more. Let’s get juicy!

What is red light therapy (aka photobiomodulation)?

In short, it’s a therapeutic method of using red and near infrared light for health and wellness benefits. It’s pain-free, quick, non-invasive, and it can be done from the comfort of your own home for relatively cheap. And there’s been a ton of research on it.

You’ll use a device (can be handheld, something you wear, or something you stand/sit/lie in front of) for anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. Your goal will determine the treatment time and which light(s) to use (you might only need red and not near infrared, for example).

Here’s the difference between red and near infrared light therapy:

  • Red light therapy – the light you can actually see and recognize as the color red; helps treat skin concerns
  • Near infrared light therapy – slightly longer wavelength that’s invisible to the eyes; treats deeper than the skin

Both forms of light work on the mitochondria (no other light spectrum does). Why is this important? You have mitochondria in every cell in your body (aside from red blood cells), so the potential for benefits is everywhere

So, how and why does red light therapy work?

For starters, we’re all probably” mal-illuminated.” If you’ve never heard of that term, don’t worry—it’s a relatively new one, but I think it’ll become more widely used! Basically, most of us don’t get enough broad-spectrum UV light exposure on a daily basis, so our cells are lacking. We’re also bombarding our cells with fake light (from lightbulbs, LED, screens, WiFi, etc.), which sends a whole bunch of mixed messages and creates an imbalance of energy within your cells and a deficiency of red/near infrared light.

So, to fix this, red light therapy corrects an imbalance of energy with your cells. The light provides energy for your body through ATP production and helps you take in electrons. We, naturally, should have a negative charge, so we want more electrons than protons to help reduce inflammation and keep our bodies healthy.

Other ways to address these imbalances include:

  • Drinking hydrogen-rich water
  • Cryotherapy
  • Grounding
  • Getting exposed to sunlight (without a ton of clothes or toxic sunscreen or chemicals; we want the full spectrum of UV light to be hitting our skin and eyes for at least a few minutes each day); Dr. Belkowski recommends watching the sunrise if you can!

What you might use red light therapy for…

Red light therapy has a ton of known benefits—and more research is coming out all the time about more. Dr. Belkowski has an eBook containing 20+ protocols for various concerns, and he’s constantly updating it as new research comes out. These are some of the potential benefits and some examples (not medical advice) of how you might use red light or near infrared light therapy to address them:

  • Sleep – use red + near infrared light for 8–10 minutes, 6–12 inches away, first thing in the morning + an hour before bed to stimulate pineal tissues, promoting the release of melatonin 
  • Skin health – use only red light, 15–18 inches away, for just a couple of minutes per day
  • Stress/anxiety – use near infrared light in a handheld device directly on your forehead for 8–10 minutes 
  • Muscle recovery – use red light before working out
  • Eye health – use red light for 3 minutes per day to help improve visual acuity/color acuity
  • Chronic pain – try near infrared light for 10–15 minute and see how you respond (this may be different for everyone and is more difficult to address through both holistic and modern lenses)

Note: These are just examples and not specific advice. Dr. Belkowski also notes to test how your body/mind responds to red light therapy. It can be super relaxing/sleep-inducing (definitely is for me!), or it can have the complete opposite effect and energize you. If the latter is the case, you definitely wouldn’t want to use it right before bed.

As always, tune into the episode for allll the juicy goodness in this ep! Be sure to share your thoughts with me on IG: @shoporganicolivia.



Connect with Dr. Mike Belkowski:

Follow @dr.mikebelkowski on IG

Follow on IG

Visit the BioLight website

Recommended Reading:The Ultimate Guide To Red Light Therapy by Ari Whitten

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