Our cells need natural light to function, just like they need water and nutrients from food. Unfortunately, most people don’t get as much natural light as they need for optimal health (the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors).  Red light therapy allows you to supplement the light you get from your environment with concentrated wavelengths of red and near infrared light at home.
Red light therapy works by enhancing your energy production at a cellular level. Healthy, natural light stimulates the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, and enhances the cellular respiration process that makes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy. Humans make ATP every day, and it fuels everything we do. The more energy our cells can make, the better our bodies look, heal, feel, and perform.
Natural Pain Relief Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is a proven natural pain relief treatment, and Joovv is registered with the FDA for pain management. Studies have shown that red light therapy treatments can ease chronic pain like back pain, muscle pain, and knee and joint pain, and improve healing outcomes after injuries and surgeries, without pain medication or other OTC remedies.
Unlike painkillers and over-the-counter pain medications, natural light treatments don’t include major risks, side effects, or dependency issues. And unlike natural pain relievers and popular herbal remedies like turmeric, curcumin, capsaicin, and boswellia, red light therapy treatments are backed by a large base of peer-reviewed clinical research.
Less pain and inflammation after surgery: Red light therapy treatments have been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation after surgeries, and enhance the post-op healing process. Patients have also been shown to heal faster from plastic surgery, with less pain and inflammation.
How Does Red Light Therapy Ease Pain and Inflammation?
Red light therapy reduces inflammation by increasing blood flow and circulation to damaged tissues. Red light therapy also reduces oxidative stress and helps boost your ATP (adenosine triphosphate) cellular energy production. Producing more core cellular energy helps tissues regenerate and heal faster. Numerous clinical studies have shown how red light therapy eases pain and reduces inflammation.
One of the main reasons red light therapy is so effective for healing joint, bone, and soft tissue may be the collagen boost many people experience with red light therapy.
Red Light Therapy for Muscle Growth and Peak Physical Performance
Red light therapy, especially Joovv, is popular in professional sports and the training & fitness worlds because it’s been proven again and again to enhance physical performance, build muscle, and speed up recovery.
This has been shown scientifically across hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical trials, and it’s shown anecdotally on fields and gyms, where NBA teams, UFC champions, gold medalists, and NFL all-pros like Patrick Peterson, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Keenan Allen are using Joovv every day for peak performance and faster muscle recovery. The same is true of world-class trainers and fitness experts like Ben Greenfield, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (aka Paleo Mom), and many others.
This article breaks down the research and results on red light therapy and enhanced physical performance. You can see a bigger list of pro athletes and top fitness trainers using Joovv here.
Huge Base of Clinical Research Shows Red Light Therapy Improves Physical Performance
Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have been published on red light therapy’s positive effects on exercise, training, and specific areas of physical performance like strength, speed, and endurance.
In 2015, researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of many of these randomized, placebo-controlled trials. The results were overwhelmingly positive:
- The vast majority of clinical trials reviewed showed “significant improvement for the main measures related to performance” like max repetitions, speed, and endurance.
- Time before exhaustion during various exercises “increased significantly compared to placebo.”
- Researchers concluded that “phototherapy (with lasers and LEDs) improves muscular performance and accelerates recovery when applied before exercise.”
Now, we’ll take a closer look at specific research showing how red light therapy boosts strength, speed, endurance, and muscle growth.
Better Endurance with Red Light Therapy
Numerous recent studies show red light therapy helps people workout longer, with less of an oxygen deficit, whether it’s on the treadmill, bike, or training field. These are recent clinical results in published, peer-reviewed trials from around the world:
Treadmill Training: A triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in 2018 evaluated red light therapy’s effects on healthy men and women who were also going through endurance training on treadmills. Researchers found that pre-exercise light therapy can “increase the time-to-exhaustion and oxygen uptake and also decrease the body fat in healthy volunteers when compared to placebo.”
3-Times Faster Endurance Improvements: Researchers concluded that light therapy treatments “applied before and after endurance-training exercise sessions lead to improvement of endurance three times faster than exercise only.”
Powering Professional Soccer Players: Futsal is an indoor variation of international soccer that’s played on a smaller field, with a rapid back-and-forth pace similar to basketball or hockey. The professional level requires incredible endurance. In 2018, Brazilian researchers conducted a randomized, triple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to analyze the effects of red light therapy treatments on pro futsal players. Players were treated with red light therapy or placebo light before matches.
Researchers found that the red light therapy group was clearly able to stay on the field longer. They concluded that light therapy “significantly increased the time of staying in the pitch and had a significant improvement in all the biochemical markers evaluated…pre-exercise therapy can enhance performance and accelerate recovery of high-level futsal players.”
Light Therapy for Cycling Performance: The recent results of the Brazilian futsal trial align with two other recent trials conducted on light therapy and peak cycling performance. Researchers found that red light therapy “increased time to exhaustion in competitive cyclists, suggesting this intervention as a possible non-pharmacological ergogenic agent in cycling.”
The same research team performed a follow up trial to test the VO2 kinetics of athletes during cycling tests, and found similar positive results: red light therapy “decreases O2 deficit during time-to-exhaustion tests in competitive cyclists, and these changes in VO2 kinetics response can be one of the possible mechanisms to explain the ergogenic effect induced by light therapy.”
Enhanced Speed with Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy significantly improves running performance as well.
Faster, More Efficient Running: In 2018, researchers in Brazil published a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that tested male running performance in 3 groups: men receiving red light therapy treatments, plus a placebo and a control group that did not receive red light therapy.
The highest performing group was easily the light therapy group, which saw “significantly improved running economy, rate of perceived exertion, velocity, peak of velocity, and total time to exhaustion, compared with placebo.”
Faster Sprints: A 2016 study of professional rugby players assessed numerous markers of physical performance, and found light therapy treatments led to faster running, in addition to major muscle recovery benefits. Light therapy “significantly improved the average time of sprints.”
How Does Red Light Therapy Help You Sleep?
Natural light is a key ingredient for a healthy circadian rhythm and restful sleep. If you struggle to sleep, your light intake could be a big factor. Red light therapy delivers natural light like you’d get from the sun, but without UV rays, excess heat, or the need for sunny weather. This makes a device like a Joovv ideal for supplementing low natural light intake.
Red light therapy treatments supercharge your cells with the natural light they need to make more core ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy. This helps your body run more efficiently, heal faster, and has shown great results for producing more natural melatonin and improving sleep disorders like insomnia.
Red light therapy also produces a natural anti-inflammatory effect, and has been shown to increase blood circulation.
Restful Sleep with Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy treatments have shown great sleep results in a range of peer-reviewed clinical studies. One study on the sleep of pro basketball players showed that a 2-week course of red light therapy in the evening improved players’ sleep quality in the short term. Based on the results, the researchers suggested red light therapy would be a good non-invasive, drug-free solution to sleep struggles.
Overcoming Sleep Disorders with Red Light Therapy
Joovv’s light therapy products are registered with the FDA as class II medical devices for the treatment of pain, strain, and inflammation. While the existing clinical research has been very positive for red light therapy and sleep, keep in mind that Joovv’s devices are not cleared with the FDA for the treatment of various sleep disorders or melatonin.
Recent research on sleep disorders among people with migraine headaches has shown that red light therapy both decreased headache frequency, and was the only treatment that improved patients’ sleep disorders.
A 2014 study on cognitive function and traumatic brain injury (TBI) recorded that participants had significantly decreased episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and improved sleep.
Analyzing patients’ electrical brain activity, a 2013 sleep study concluded that red light therapy was especially effective at helping people with sleep disorders fall asleep.
Melatonin Increases with Red Light Therapy
Melatonin is the naturally-occurring hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Emerging research is showing that red light therapy treatments can help people produce more of their own, natural melatonin than exposure to other light sources like blue light.
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