Scott Nelson and Justin Strahan join Dr. Heather Sandison, ND to discuss the science behind photobiomodulation, and specifically red light therapy. They guide us through the mechanisms of action on a cellular level to understand how red light therapy devices offer a wide-range of benefits, including muscle recovery, nerve regeneration and more.
We live in an era where humans spend less than 10% of their life under sunlight. From an evolutionary standpoint, our body requires sunlight. In this episode we explore the various types of lights on the spectrum and dive deep into the effects light therapy has on the human body. We also look at the vast amount of applications of red light therapy in medicine and how these tools optimize cellular energy.
In This Episode We Discussed:
- Red light therapy
- Light therapy - photobiomodulation
- Sunlight and artificial lights
- Mitochondrial function
- ATP and cellular energy
- Optimizing cellular function
- Light therapy grey areas
- Treating cancer
- Curing skin conditions
- Light therapy and pregnancy
- Muscle recovery and nerve regeneration
- The skepticism around photobiomodulation
- Psychological and neurological benefits of light therapy
- Regulating testosterone levels
04:06 What is light therapy?
09:40 Red light therapy for cellular function.
17:35 The full-spectrum of lights and their different effects on the human body.
24:02 Lasers and lights – the science of photobiomodulaton throughout the years.
27:33 Irradiance - the power output of light. The core parameter of light therapy.
37:30 Suggested dosage.
40:22 The grey areas of light therapy - taking safety measures.
44:48 Using photobiomodulation to treat skin conditions and cancer.
55:48 Red light therapy and muscle recovery. Should biohacking be legal in official sports?
58:56 Light therapy skepticism.
01:00:36 The benefits of light therapy for nerve regeneration and mental health.
01:05:22 Regulating testosterone levels using red light therapy.
01:11:29 Restoring cognitive function and treating neurodegenerative diseases with light therapy.
01:13:59 The significance of sunlight in our daily lives.
01:17:10 Where to purchase Joovv Light and to learn more about the product.
Books, Tech, and Products Mentioned in This Episode:
Related and Recommended Links:
Photobiomodulation NCBI article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5215795/
Complete Episode Transcript:
Heather Sandison:00:00:37Welcome to Collective Insights. I am a naturopathic doctor and your host, Dr. Heather Sandison. I'm the medical director of North County Natural Medicine and on the Medical Advisory Board for Neurohacker Collective. I'm excited to welcome both Justin and Scott from Joovv today to explain more about their red light therapy device. I have one in my office and patients are giving rave reviews ranging from decreasing pain to improved mood.
Selfishly, I'm so glad you guys are here today because I get to ask you some of the questions that have come up in my office. I'm sure we'll be able to get the answers. The research and published literature on red light therapy is extensive. Just to name a few of the benefits, there's lowered inflammation generally in the body, help with osteoarthritis and joint swelling, improvement of hypothyroidism, increased cellular energy, increased performance, improved recovery times, certainly response to training, increases in testosterone and fertility improvement, skin benefits across the board, a firmer skin, improved oral health, reversal and hair loss and then nerve regeneration.
Scott, why don't we start with you? You have a background in traditional med tech and then biomechanical background. Can you tell us where you learned about that?
Scott Nelson:00:02:00Yes. Heather, thanks for having us on looking forward to the conversation especially considering your experience with our product and light therapy over the past several months here, but, yeah. My background, I spent really my entire professional career in the traditional medtech space or the traditional medical device space. With companies like Boston Scientific, Bard, Covidien, Medtronic, the big device companies that are all generally located are based in Minneapolis, but my wheelhouse up until starting Joovv is really the cardiovascular space.
A lot of the products that I help commercialize were cardiovascular stents, [inaudible 00:02:39], catheters, et cetera, but yeah. That's where I spent really close to 15 years in the traditional med tech space before starting Joovv.
Heather Sandison:00:02:50Welcome. We're so excited to have you. Justin, your background is more in the engineering side so on really this side of this that I need the most education. I feel like my background aligns much more with Scott [inaudible 00:03:02]. You have more this engineering the physics, the science behind the actual light versus how it interacts with the body. Can you tell us more about that?
Justin Strahan:00:03:11Definitely. Thanks again for having us on the show. We're excited for the opportunity. The science of light is really a very exciting field and it's amazing the role that plays in overall health. I have a background, as you mentioned, in engineering originally from Iowa State University a few years back. Anyways, I've been in that field ever since managing project teams in helping to develop products that really work to most that science can basically pushing the frontier of what we can do.
What's been really exciting about what we've been able to do with Joovv is really take something that the science is there and then develop a product that really helps meet the needs of what people are looking for for a full body like therapy device.
Heather Sandison:00:04:06Awesome. Yeah. Thank you again for joining us. Let's talk a little bit more about this device. I've been seeing red light therapy, but there are a ton of words that can be used to describe essentially the same thing. Would you go into like the nomenclature around Joovv, what it is if I'm saying it right. Is it red light therapy?
Justin Strahan:00:04:25Yeah. That's a great question. As you mentioned, there are many names for it. Red light therapy is one. Photo therapy, low-level laser therapy which has been around for decades or really what the new terminology that's being widely accepted is the term photobiomodulation or PBM for short, but all of those terms really speak to one thing. That is photons of light at specific wavelengths that have a pretty incredible impact on biological functions.
Heather Sandison:00:04:58What are those specific wavelengths?
Justin Strahan:00:05:01Good question. There's actually been studies done on a wide range of wavelengths, everything from 400 nanometers on up to well into the near infrared spectrum, 11, 12, 100 nanometers, but there are a handful of ranges that have been proven to be the most effective for most overall cellular health functions. The first of which is in the mid- 600 range, so roughly between 630 and 670 nanometers. Then, again in the near-infrared spectrum in the 800 to 880 nanometer wavelength range. Both of those wave length ranges have been proven to be very effective to help restore healthy cellular function.
Heather Sandison:00:05:53With the Joovv light specifically, what ranges are you using?
Justin Strahan:00:05:57We use 660 nanometers in the red spectrum and then 850 nanometers in the near-infrared spectrum.
Heather Sandison:00:06:06I have to admit that I got mine and turned it on. I was like, "What? Half of it isn't working. What's going on here?" Are these light bulbs like faulty? Did they burn out? What's happening? I also looked straight into in it. Can I hurt my eyes doing that because that was a little painful?
Justin Strahan:00:06:23Great question. There actually is a robust amount of clinical data showing eye health benefits for both the mid-600 range and mid-800 range.
Heather Sandison:00:06:34What a relief.
Justin Strahan:00:06:38Yeah. Everything from various types of degenerative eye disorders to even just overall vision quality. It's been pretty interesting to see that happen even just from our own experience, but to answer your question, if it's uncomfortable, it's a good idea to just start off the treatment with your eyes closed. You certainly don't need to look directly in the LEDs and then just what feels comfortable to the eye.
Heather Sandison:00:07:07Then, the other piece about how some of the lights don't look like they're on.
Justin Strahan:00:07:12Yeah. Great question. We get that quite often as you can imagine, but the near-infrared wavelengths in that 800 range are invisible to the human eye. Even though those LEDs are on and you could put a meter on them and show you the energy that's being delivered, it's beyond what your eye can recognize as light.
Heather Sandison:00:07:31Got it.
Scott Nelson:00:07:33Heather, just to circle back around to your second question with respect to the safety and eye health, as Justin mentioned, there's a lot of clinical data to support its use for vision and reducing or restoring conditions like macular degeneration, but it is important. Most legitimate device companies will have their products or devices in our case tested, run through a myriad of different photo biological tests to make sure that the LEDs are in fact delivering safe light therapy for the eyes. That's just an important consideration for anyone that's listening and has the same type of question or is evaluating different products.
Heather Sandison:00:08:15For Joovv, you've done that.
Scott Nelson:00:08:16We have. Correct. I can imagine.
Heather Sandison:00:08:23I'm curious. With the different wavelengths, is there a different penetration into the skin? Should we be looking for different results from different wavelengths? If somebody is looking at getting a different device and they have a certain condition would be more focused on one thing for oral health, one thing for a nerve regeneration, one thing for hair growth. How would we go about getting the best clinical effects?
Justin Strahan:00:08:47Yeah. That's a great question. On a cellular function level, both of the wavelength ranges I mentioned have a very similar response in terms of restoring cellular function, boosting ATP production so forth. As you point out, actually, there is a significant difference in the depth of penetration. In the red wavelengths, they are very effective for things like related to the skin health issues, so boosting collagen and other issues I guess near the surface of the skin.
The near-infrared wavelengths actually do a much better job of penetrating to deeper tissues so things like reducing muscle soreness, joint pain, inflammation. Together, we strongly feel that both wavelengths are important. That's why we use both wavelengths in our devices.
Heather Sandison:00:09:40Got it. Then, mitochondria, you mentioned. I'm curious about the mechanism here. What's going on exactly at the cellular level in the mitochondria that helps to increase the performance of the cell?
Scott Nelson:00:09:54Sure. I can take that one. The laundry list of benefits that you've listed in the intro to this podcast, it almost sounds too good to be true, everything from skin health to muscle recovery, reduced joint pain and mental clarity, et cetera. It seems like this could be a magic pill, but the reason for that is that because of the mechanism of action that at a cellular level more specifically at a mitochondrial level, it's because of that mechanism of action that you get this myriad.
It's wide-ranging list of benefits because you're, in essence, helping your cells at that level, at the deepest level, produce more cellular energy or ATP adenosine triphosphate. That's why something that sounds too good to be true is actually it makes sense once you begin to understand the mechanism of action. Heather, if you don't mind, we'll probably get into the weeds a little bit here. I'm sure Justin can speak to some of the physics of this here in a bit, but in terms of the mechanism of action, it's first helpful to probably understand or go back to what most of us remember in high school biology class with respect to the four different phases of cellular respiration.
The first phase being glycolysis, the second phase being pyruvate oxidation, the third phase being the citric acid cycle sometimes referred to as the Krebs cycle. In the fourth phase which is really where the magic happens with respect to light therapy and photobiomodulation is the fourth phase, oxidative phosphorylation. Within those four phases, if we really focus on that fourth phase, when our cells are functioning properly, there's this electron transport chain which is really important in terms of creating this gradient on opposite sides of the mitochondria.
You got your inter-membrane space and then your mitochondrial matrix. Then, you want that pressure gradient is a different charge gradients. As electrons move down this electron transport chain, the energy that's released from these electrons is used to pump protons out of a matrix. That's what forms that charge gradient. That ideal.
Through that process, you have this enzyme, cytochrome C oxidase, which I think you hinted that. That's really important because the chromosphere with that protein actually accept and receive specific wavelengths of light, specific to photons of light. When our cells are functioning properly cytochrome c oxidase that actually helps to helps bind NADH to form the necessary hydronium ions to produce ATP synthase.
An ATP synthase is a precursor to ATP. The importance of cytochrome C oxidase can't under-appreciated in terms of producing the byproduct, I'm sorry, the precursor to ATP, an ATP synthase. That's what happens how our cells are supposed to function when they're healthy, but as everyone listening to this podcast, our cells are constantly under stress whether it's intentional through exercise, whether it's unintentional through too much blue light exposure during the wrong times a day.
There's a myriad of different reasons why our cells could be under stress. When they're stressed, they produce excess nitric oxide. Nitric oxide actually competes with oxygen and then binds to cytochrome C oxidase and because it binds to that protein, our cells can't produce the same amounts of ATP synthase. Sort of you begin to halt or limit the amount of energy your cells can produce.
That's what happens when our cells are under stress and really that's really where red and near-infrared light in those specific ranges that Justin mentioned, that's where this really comes into play because those specific wavelengths actually help excite the electrons that bind nitric oxide to cytochrome C oxidase and by exciting those electrons, those bonds are broken which then frees up cytochrome C oxidase to tell out oxygen to bind to NADH and then ATP synthase is formed. Then, eventually more ATP is produced.
That's what's sort of happening at a cellular level, but if I had to sum it up, it's really these specific wavelengths of light help break the bonds, the negative bonds between excess nitric oxide and cytochrome C oxidase by breaking those bonds and freeing up cytochrome C oxidase to do what it's supposed to do. Our cells then produce more energy which leads to that laundry list of benefits that you mentioned earlier, everything from mental clarity to reduced joint pain, to enhanced skin health, et cetera.
Heather Sandison:00:14:36That's great. Thank you for explaining that. I think just to put it in context, for me, I'm a naturopathic doctor. When I see patients, I think we do a really good job focusing on the nutrients and the biochemical side of things where is this is by photobiomodulation, so it's like the chemistry and the physics that is the other half of the coin when we're looking at cell function. Daniel and I who's also here at Neurohack Collective, you guys know him. When we talked about medicine at a larger level, where does Joovv fit into that? When we can enhance the ability of every cell in the body to function, then everything gets better.
It goes back to those foundations like sleep and a good diet and having regular daily bowel movements, my favorite, in terms of like reminding people how to get the toxins out, how to keep our cells like able to restore themselves able to get the new cells built and the old ones out. All of that requires just taking care of the foundations. There are a handful of products like yours on the market where you just elevate the whole conversation so to speak in the body around that function.
I think the other piece here is it's not only are you elevating regular cell function, but you're restoring function when there is some sort of perturbation like a toxin, like you were saying like stress of over exercise or a divorce, whatever it is on the spectrum of things that happen to humans. Whenever there's this perturbation, we lose some cell function even aging. We can lose some cell function. I feel like in my practice, we do a good job covering the basis in terms of nutrients, but not always a great job optimizing the function of the cell at this level.
I'm so excited to have the Joovv light because you guys are doing that hard work for me. Then, also, thank you for explaining how that fits in how is this working that it would be just as important as getting good sleep and having a good diet. Go ahead.
Justin Strahan:00:16:43I was going to say exactly. I think that's one thing that's easy for many of us to forget is just the importance of light for overall health. We tend to think of, as you mentioned, the nutrients that we ingest in our body, but we forget about the nutrients in the form of light that we basically have our ancestors that were receiving for thousands of years being in natural sunlight all the time.
The most recent numbers that I've seen is in the US, for example, we spend approximately 93% of our time indoors and away from sunlight. We're basically starving our bodies from those nutrients. That's why I think photobiomodulation has such an incredible promise for people that are really in need of those benefits that they can get from light.
Heather Sandison:00:17:35The sunlight, thank you for bringing that up. I'm curious about Joovv and red light therapy versus sunlight versus blue light that we might get from electronic devices. Can you go into the differences between those?
Justin Strahan:00:17:48Yeah. It's a great question. Obviously, sunlight has a wide range of wavelengths everything from UV spectrum to 3, 400 nanometer wavelengths on up into near mid and even far infrared wavelengths. You have wavelengths in the, say, roughly 3000 nanometers where you have a significant amount of heat delivered, for example.
One example of that or how it described that as if you're outside on a sunny hot day, you can feel those that heat radiating from the sun and, interestingly, water absorbs those wavelengths very quickly. If you have a cloud passed by, you'll notice that that it feels just like that heat got shot off that's because those mid and far infrared wavelengths that are delivering the heat have just basically been blocked or absorbed by the water in that cloud in a large portion whereas the visible light and even the shorter near-infrared wavelengths are still penetrating down to your body. Those are the wavelengths that as we talked have a big role.
Heather Sandison:00:18:58I'm getting excited because now I have the question of like okay, so you jump out of the shower and you're wet and you stand in front of the Joovv light, are you going to get less benefit?
Justin Strahan:00:19:08Well, you dry out fairly quickly. There is just a very slight warmth from the wavelengths in the Joovv light, but, yes, theoretically if you were basically covered with like really any type of, say, lotion or anything that would theoretically block some of the wavelengths, you're best off to do the treatment on bare skin. Sometimes, people ask, " Are you supposed to be naked when you do the treatment?" The answer is, well, at least the area that you want to receive the benefits, yes, you want that area there.
Heather Sandison:00:19:40As close to naked as is appropriate for the situation?
Justin Strahan:00:19:43Yup. Exactly.
Heather Sandison:00:19:47Continue with telling me the differences like would we also call that full spectrum?
Justin Strahan:00:19:53Yeah. Certainly. There certainly is a wide spectrum or full spectrum. Light is included in sunlight. Photobiomodulation basically takes a specific role that is included in the wavelengths of sun of the sunlight that have these particular benefits that we're talking about. Photobiomodulation, we're able to take those wavelengths and deliver them in a high intensity treatment to basically help make up for what your body is not receiving in sunlight.
We're big proponents of getting as much natural sunlight as you can, but, as I mentioned, statistically most of us in just with our modern lifestyles aren't able to get the amount of sun that we really should. Even if we do get a decent amount, there's still benefits that you can get from photobiomodulation obviously.
Heather Sandison:00:20:44It wouldn't be a replacement for getting outside and getting good sun, but it could be a supplement augmentation.
Justin Strahan:00:20:50Yeah. That's a great way to look at it. Obviously, we don't have UV wavelengths in our devices or in most devices that are considered photobiomodulation. There's benefits in UV wavelengths obviously for vitamin D production for example, but certainly for the stimulation and restoration of healthy cellular function. Photobiomodulation can be a great way to help supplement your body's life intake.
Heather Sandison:00:21:18It seems like with UV, there's also risk-associated cancer and oxidative stress. You skip that, I'm assuming, with Joovv, right?
Justin Strahan:00:21:27Correct. Yeah. There's no UV wavelengths. There's no danger of getting a sunburn or suntan or, as you mentioned, some of the harmful effects that can come with specific wavelengths of light.
Heather Sandison:00:21:39Then, what about blue light therapy? How is that different from the red light therapy?
Justin Strahan:00:21:45Great question. There actually has. There is obviously studies that have been done using blue wavelengths. Their primary role in photobiomodulation is around acne because their ability to basically kill microbial organisms in the skin. There also has some dangers with that as well because of the detrimental effects that they can play on different other cellular functions, but, yeah. To answer that question, there definitely there are some interesting benefits in using blue wavelengths.
The other aspect that I would mention of that is specific wavelengths that we take in through our eye, for example, being on computers and devices all the time, those play a different role. Now, we're talking about your circadian rhythm and how that can throw off your hormone production and things like that.
Heather Sandison:00:22:46Generally, we want to be avoiding blue light blue. It's not therapy. It actually going to be detrimental. Then, we want more of the red light spectrum and specifically those ... Go ahead.
Justin Strahan:00:22:58Yeah. Exactly. Like I said, there's a role for photobiomodulation using blue light, but it's something that you want to be very well educated using a device that's I guess under close supervision. That's something that you want to just go experimenting on.
Heather Sandison:00:23:15It sounds relatively limited versus the red light therapy which is pretty expensive. It's hard to name something that doesn't seem like it helps.
Scott Nelson:00:23:25Heather, just to add to that, it's pretty well understood in like the dermatology community that that blue light is really just used for bacterial-induced acne, but most, I guess most practitioners that are going to treat skin with that fashion understood that you really want to follow up or use red light in conjunction with blue light for its restorative benefits too. Blue light alone usually is not the greatest sort of therapy, but if it's used for acne or for bacterial-induced acne, it's probably best used before red light or used in conjunction with red light.
Heather Sandison:00:24:02Got it. Thanks for clarifying there. Then, when I was in school, I had the opportunity to see some lasers, some cold laser, low-level laser, I think it's what we called. It didn't get hot, but there was a patient, one of the first nations I ever saw as a student, it was so cool because he came in. He had a laceration. He had a cut on his finger. He also had trigger finger. We were using it on both. Just like to experiment because here, I was in school. I was like, "What is this? This isn't going to work."
The guy kept coming back week after week. He was like, "Look, it's healing so much faster and my finger's better." The trigger finger took a little bit longer, but the scar. He had no scar. I think I saw him over the course of 10 or 12 weeks, but he had no scar. It healed really, really quick. When I saw what you guys are up to and I thought about laser, and laser used it on its finger because the laser is so small.
You can't really cover much surface area with it. Then, with what you guys have, mine is, how tall is it, like four-feet tall. It's taller than me when you put it on the stand and everything. It covers my entire front half of the body, the back of the body. You can really cover a lot of surface area with it versus a laser. Can you tell me is that the only difference or is there more to it than that?
Justin Strahan:00:25:21In a nutshell, you hit on one of the big benefits for a full-body light therapy device. We'd owe a lot to the original science and studies that have been done over the past few decades using low-level laser therapy because there was really the proving grounds before LEDs really to a point where they were optimal for the therapy, but basically, what used to be used for photobiomodulation was almost exclusively lasers or as you point out sometimes described this cold laser or low-level laser therapy.
Using that, they found it's very effective for a wide range of different health conditions, but basically, what really came about in the mid to late 90s was the discovery that LEDs could be just as effective as lasers. Only now, you can have a much larger treatment area. I think the way that when it clicked in my head a few years back is essentially your body doesn't care and your cells don't care. The technology that was used to create the photons that they're absorbing, really, the only things that matter are the wavelength and the intensity of the light.
That's what the benefit is of using LEDs is you can have a very high-intensity which is one of the things that it's extremely critical. There are a lot of devices on the market that they may use the correct wavelengths, but if the intensity isn't there, they're not going to be very effective. Anytime you're looking at studies of photobiomodulation, you'll notice they'll either give you a total dosage in terms of joules per square centimeter or they'll talk about the irradiance and milliwatts per square centimeter.
If you're in effective dose, basically, our aim is to provide 100 milliwatts per square centimeter for about 10 minutes. At that rate, you're going to get about 60 joules per square centimeter which is a very effective dose especially for reaching deeper tissue.
Heather Sandison:00:27:33Great. I have two directions I want to go in this. One, as you said, your body doesn't care who's emitting the wavelength just that it's that right wavelength. Then, there's a couple other parameters. I think what I notice because that low-level laser that we use when I was in school was I think it was 10 or $15,000 for this little device.
Your pocketbook gives a shit, right? It is going to be a whole lot less expensive to get a Joovv light that's made out of LED just as effective or actually more effective because you can cover more surface area than it was to that lasers that were available in the 90s and early 2000s. I just wanted to sort of make that point. Maybe you guys can speak to that too just like how much more cost-effective it is these days to be creating these devices.
Then, the other thing I want you to go through because this gets super confusing for me is just what are the parameters that anybody who's looking into this should be looking at. You've mentioned wavelength. You've mentioned irradiance. You've mentioned dosage. You've mentioned intensity. Power is something else that seemed to come up when I was doing my research before purchasing a Joovv light for the clinic. I don't even know if I got it right, but I think so based on what you guys are telling me today. But what are all of the things that someone would want to take into account when they're looking for a red light therapy device?
Justin Strahan:00:28:58Yeah. You hit on the core factors there. Probably, one that obviously everyone cares about is the financial impact. As you point out, it's got to be something that's cost-effective for people to add to as a reasonable investment for their health. I think that's one of our goals from the very beginning of Joovv is to create a device that everybody can use in their own home. Ideally, light therapy, a photobiomodulation is something you do on a daily basis or at least four or five times a week.
If it's something that you have to pay to do a service at a clinic, well, that's better than not doing it. Ideally, it's something you could do in your own home. The price obviously matters. Then, as you pointed out, the size of the treatment area is incredibly important. If you can get the benefits that help you increase the collagen production in your face, well, that's good. There's a lot of products in the market especially like handheld type devices where after multiple treatments, you can do your whole face.
But how much better that you can do your whole body and now, it's not limited to just your face getting these benefits. That area is huge. Then, finally, it really comes down to the irradiance which is just the light output and sometimes called photon flux, but it's literally just a measure of the amount of energy that's passing through a given area.
When I mentioned by milliwatts per square centimeter, it's literally the power output of the photons of light that are hitting your body. That basically is the rate of energy. The 100 milliwatts per square centimeter squared for example equates to about 6 joules per square centimeter per minute. That's basically just the rate of energy transfer and with an effective intensity, then you're not having to spend hours in front of a device because no one has time for that. At that intensity, it takes just 10 minutes is the recommended treatment time to get an effective dosage.
Heather Sandison:00:31:25Great. Yeah. I know it probably depends on what you're treating like if it's joint pain versus acne versus psoriasis sort of hair growth, but tell me, how do you typically recommend using the device? What's the optimal dosing? When should they do it during the day? How long? What does all that look like? What are the practical steps that we'd want to take?
Justin Strahan:00:31:49No. Excellent questions. There's a lot about light therapy that really depends on the individual. Whereas one person's body might respond one way, another person might say, "Hey, I'd like to do it 12 minutes or 15 minutes," but a general guideline is about 10 minutes roughly 6 inches away from the device. That works out to about 60 joules per square centimeter.
In terms of time of day, probably ideal just because it would replicate the wavelengths in natural sunlight, ideally, you would be doing a treatment fairly early in the morning, say, early to mid-morning or in the evening. When you also have a lot of red and near-infrared light and sunlight would be in the evening, but that being said, there's really no harm in doing the treatment during the middle of the day either as there certainly those wavelengths in natural sunlight during those times frames exist as well.
Heather Sandison:00:32:49There's no risk that it'll interfere with sleep. Excuse me.
Scott Nelson:00:32:53Go ahead.
Justin Strahan:00:32:55That's a great question on the sleep that most people find it extremely relaxing and do enjoy doing a treatment near right before bed.
Heather Sandison:00:33:05Scott, sorry.
Scott Nelson:00:33:07No. Just to add it to sleep thing, I was going to come back to a comment about irradiance, but with respect to sleep, that's probably I'm not an overly personal. I'm not an overly sensitive person so like my wife, for example, may pick up on something that energy from something a lot better than I could, but that is one of the benefits that like I find most compelling or most obvious when using light therapy is in the evenings is if I pop that baby on for five minutes even if it's just to illuminate our room at night, it definitely sort of lowers my ... or sort of readies me for sleep for sure. That's a similar comment that we hear quite a bit.
In fact, there's a clinical study that's been published. There's several actually, but one in particular is on a group of female basketball players that used red light therapy before sleep. It actually led to significantly better sleep quality when using it. There's definitely clinical data to support that as well, but coming back to the irradiant, the topic of irradiance, that's really, really crucial. It's a concept that's somewhat hard to understand at first blush, but it's really important.
I always like to use the comparison that if you're trying to monitor your macronutrient intake per day, if you know that you need to get a certain amount of protein for a certain amount of grams of protein per day or certain amount of carbohydrates, when you're consuming something, you're looking for those macronutrient parts. You're looking on the side of the product for example.
There's a similar analog when it comes to light therapy. If you're looking for just skin health, most studies, most clinical published research suggest that you really only need about 5 to 10 joules for a clinically relevant dose of energy, but when it comes to muscle recovery and joint pain, a really deep tissue treatment, in general, you really need more along the lines of 50 to 100 joules of energy for it to be clinically relevant.
By knowing sort of those core principles, it allows you to go back to the device you're using and calculate how long you need to use it. That's why understanding the irradiance, the power whether it's photon flux or irradiance that's being emitted from the device is really crucial because that allows you to calculate the dosage and really to be pragmatic how long you really need to use it. Those outlines that Justin provided are specific to our devices, but if you're using something that's lower power, you're going to need to use it probably a lot longer sometimes 10 times longer to receive a dose of energy that's clinically relevant.
Heather Sandison:00:35:49Just to clarify because I'm not sure I got this, you said 60 joules per centimeter, right, Justin? Is that over a certain amount of time? Is that over the 10 minutes or is that at every moment that you're standing there you're getting 60 joules per centimeter?
Justin Strahan:00:36:03Great question. Irradiance is the rate of energy transfer. It's 100 milliwatts. You think of a watt of energy, you're getting a 10th of a watt over every square centimeter. Then, that would translate to a dosage of about 6 joules per minute. If you take that times 10 minutes, that's how you arrive at 30 joules.
Heather Sandison:00:36:34I see. Scott, you said that you want to aim between 50 and 100 hundred to get a clinically relevant benefit. That's how we get there. I'm with you. If you were there for 12 minutes or 15 minutes. you would get even closer to that 100.
Scott Nelson:00:36:49Yeah. Exactly. If you're just interested in benefits for skin health, you really don't need to use it for that long. Most of our customers do use it for that 8, 10, 12-minute time frame just because they're looking for benefits beyond just their skin, but theoretically, if you just want to reduce wrinkles or something along those lines, you really only need to use a device like ours for about one to two minutes to receive clinically relevant dose.
It depends on what you're aiming to treat, but generally speaking, that's why we recommend anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes with our device just because that's going to be pretty universal or pretty applicable to almost everything you want to see benefit from.
Heather Sandison:00:37:30Got it. Then, how long should I be using it? Should I be using it every day? Should we take days off during the week? Is three days a week going to do it? How frequently should we be dosing this?
Scott Nelson:00:37:41Ideally, it's a daily treatment. Like as Justin mentioned earlier, we're big proponents of getting beginning light on a daily basis in general. Most people, myself included, don't spend enough time outside. I'm outside right now just for this podcast, but even for someone that's deep into this space, I have to be intentional about getting enough light. That's why, generally speaking, we recommend a daily treatment, but ideally, four to five times per week is great. This is not a type of therapy that you can be inconsistent with. Doing treatments once a week is really not ... you're not going to really probably see a whole lot of benefits from that. It's really something that you need to be consistent with.
Heather Sandison:00:38:21Then, when will people start to notice benefits? I'm sure again it depends on what are we trying to treat, but is it a week, a month, six months?
Justin Strahan:00:38:32That's a common question that we get. The answer really depends on the individual and the types of benefits that you're looking for. We do have a lot of people that after very first treatment, they notice that they sleep better or that the joint pain that they've had for a long time is significantly improved, but other things that have more of a cumulative effect, things for example like collagen production in the skin, your wrinkles aren't going to disappear overnight unfortunately.
Some of the things like that where it takes consistent treatment, but I will say that most people within a week or two find themselves gravitating towards the light in wanting to continue using it even if they can't maybe put their finger on exactly why. I think most people find that it just feels good. Your body was made to be fed by light, if you will. I think most people can sense that and feel benefits.
After enough time period, maybe it's one month, maybe it's a little bit longer, most people also can see some differences whether it's overall skin. I think for guys, especially, you don't tend to think about it too much, but I remember when I first really started using it, my parents lived out of state. I hadn't seen them for I think was a month and a half or something like that. They could not believe how good I look basically just overall skin health, not a lot of wrinkles. Just look young, vibrant.
That's something that I think just about everyone notices after doing it for several weeks anyways, but that's certainly a common benefit.
Heather Sandison:00:40:22Just having a generally healthier appearance probably because like we were talking about, you're just elevating the function of every cell in the body. One thing that comes up with a lot of medical devices, your experience, there's always like some contraindications. Some people that either would be at risk or wouldn't benefit, so pregnancy, implanted devices, cancer are really common ones. Can you speak to that?
I think it's because we are elevating the function cells, maybe that doesn't apply in this case. Then, again, maybe it does. Can you just speak to who would want to be really careful about applying red light therapy?
Justin Strahan:00:40:58No. There's a there's a lot of different ways to go with that, but as you point out that every indication from the studies and the science is that there would be benefits for even people that were pregnant. That being said there are some places where we just don't have the scientific data to say it's absolutely safe for this. In those cases, we just have to reference it be something that we recommend consulting with your physician, but specific I'll just address the pregnancy one.
For example, in our discussions with Dr. Michael Hamlin who is widely renowned as the world's expert when it comes to photobiomodulation at Harvard. He's participated in, I used to say over 300 studies. I recently saw now it's up to over 400 clinical studies, but he is actually under, believes that it would be quite beneficial for the baby because of the sensitivity that those cells have to photobiomodulation, the stem cells. Yeah. Just a lot of interesting things there but some of that is just yet to be determined by the science.
Scott Nelson:00:42:10Heather, just to add to that. That's probably an area like when it comes to pregnancy, you're probably never going to have definitive published literature just because it's going to be so difficult to enroll patients in that, which I'm not sure if you have kids or not, but name a pregnant mom that's really …
Heather Sandison:00:42:25Well, I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant right now.
Scott Nelson:00:42:26Oh, you are.
Heather Sandison:00:42:27I'm like I don’t want stretch marks. Can I go stand in front of this thing?
Scott Nelson:00:42:31Yeah. Well, maybe I shouldn’t have posed that question to you. You'd probably try it for sure, but most moms aren't going to enroll themselves [crosstalk 00:42:38] …
Heather Sandison:00:42:38Well, to be honest, I haven’t. I've stayed out of the room because I'm conservative like as a practitioner, but also and there are two other girls at that office who are pregnant too and all of us are … We're [inaudible 00:42:51] to the bits to get in front of it to get rid of our wrinkles or not get stretch marks, but I do have some concerns and I think it is one of those places where it just depends on your personality how risk-averse you are and certainly with a baby, it's so hard. You don't want to do anything that might put them at risk so I stayed out of there, but I can't wait to get in there.
Scott Nelson:00:43:14But as Justin mentioned though because that's why Dr. Hamlin fundamentally believes, although it's a theory that light therapy during pregnancy wouldn’t be so beneficial because of the overabundance of stem cells and stem cells are loaded with mitochondria. In theory, [inaudible 00:43:28] work better for mom and baby but, yeah. It's one of those things that if you're a practitioner and looking for clinical data, you're going to be hard-pressed to find any study ever that's published with respect to pregnancy and photobiomodulation just because in the enrollment piece.
Yeah. It's weird. Just to go circle back around, your question to high level. Photobiomodulation light therapy, it's one of those interesting arenas that it's really hard to find any contraindications unlike other medications, drugs, et cetera. You usually find a laundry list of things, but light therapy you're really just harnessing certain wavelengths that are found in natural sunlight and using those to your benefit.
There really isn't really a whole lot of contraindications other than the obvious. Pregnancy wouldn’t be a contraindication but you're just not going to find hard clinical data to support it either way. If you're taking photosensitizing drugs, that would be another one, right? Something, a drug or medication that causes photosensitivity. It would be extremely rare, but that would obviously, that might lead to some type of rash.
In that case, if you're consuming some type of medication like that, but by and large there's really not a whole lot of downsides if any to point to when it comes to light therapy.
Heather Sandison:00:44:48Somebody with a pacemaker and IUD or implanted device, artificial joint they don't have to worry about that heating up like you would with other devices or even certain machines, and then, with cancer, can we talk a little bit about that because I feel like that's a gray area just like pregnancy? If somebody has cancer can they use this?
Scott Nelson:00:45:13That's a tough question. We're not doctors and we certainly don't play them on Skype either. We would say if you go to North County [crosstalk 00:45:24] …
Heather Sandison:00:45:23North County Natural Medicine.
Scott Nelson:00:45:25… that we would say consult with your practitioner there, but there is some really sort of … I think it's Dr. Hamlin recently called it in a publication that we co-authored with him, some pretty tantalizing evidence with respect to light therapy and photobiomodulation because as it stands right now, you can find studies that support its use in oncology patients and studies that maybe show enhanced tumor growth at a very localized level.
Right now the clinical data goes both ways, but there is some, even some recent research that suggests full-body light therapy is actually extremely beneficial because you're in essence enhancing your immune system, helping it transition from an M1 type to an M2, which helps your body actually metabolize cancerous cells naturally. There is some really interesting questions, but I don't think … I'm going to speak for Justin here. It's hard for us to provide definitive guidance; one, because we're not practitioners; and two, we don't want to get into legal trouble.
Heather Sandison:00:46:31Sure. Of course.
Scott Nelson:00:46:31The default question of that scenario is obviously consult with your practitioner, but I would throw a caveat on there. Consult with a practitioner that sort of understands light therapy or has some sort of understanding of it just because most don't, as you probably know, whether they're traditional MDs or DOs or naturopath like yourself. This is a new space so consult with your practitioner, but try to consult with practitioners that are somewhat knowledgeable about photobiomodulation.
Heather Sandison:00:47:01Yeah. I think this is such an interesting conversation because the literature isn't clear, right? We really don't know and it would be up to the individual to decide and, yes, discuss with their provider and yet, I can see so much potential benefit and especially if you're someone with cancer who's really looking for alternative therapies that can help enhance the function of every cell in the body, whether it's an immune cell that's going to go out and target that cancer or nutrients that how you absorb nutrients relies on fed cells, right?
Making sure that you have enough nutrients and the right amount of iron. All of these things, not having too much sugar. All of these things really depend not only on what you choose to eat but on how well your cells function and if something like the Joovv light can help with that, then I can see it being really beneficial potentially, but, yeah. It does sound like there is just this big question mark around it.
Then, to your point … Oh, yeah.
Scott Nelson:00:47:58Just to add to that real quick and just be pragmatic. I had an aunt that recently experienced this as well but undergoing chemo treatment, but there is a robust amount of clinical data and almost across the board, you're going to be hard pressed to find something that goes against this opinion that when it comes to oral mucositis, which is a negative downside to people that are undergoing chemo or radiation. It's actually that the incidence is actually extremely high especially in patients that are undergoing or that have had a neck cancer, but across the board photobiomodulation has been shown again and again and again to have significant results when it comes to both treating or mucositis as well as preventing it without leading to other issues regarding the cancer cells in and of themselves like growing and whatnot.
There's really, really solid data to support its use but there's, you're going to find the handful of clinical studies that don't showcase that and cancer is just one of those topics that it's very sensitive, to say the least, and so, but there is … I don't want to under appreciate the amount of clinical evidence that suggests that it does work, but just it's one of those things that you're always going to have sort of a division in sort of the clinical community as to using photobiomodulation for patients, oncology patients.
Heather Sandison:00:49:26Got it. Let's move on to some of the other places where there's really robust literature in terms of what we might be treating. We've talked a little bit about optimization, but also we've mentioned skin a handful of time. I'm curious. Eczema, psoriasis, acne, wrinkles, you've talked about, what about hyperpigmentation? I really have a big question around that one.
Scott Nelson:00:49:52Yeah. That's a tough one because, and it's one of those things … It's actually a nice segue. It's one of those topics that where the clinical data showcases both sides of the equation so to speak. There's plenty of evidence that suggests red and near-infrared light, more so red light helps with hyperpigmentation issues like melasma for example, but there's also other clinical studies that showcase that it actually leads to more hyperpigmentation.
It seems to be very individualized, very personal to the individual patient when it comes to those types of issues. At a high level, we generally would probably, if someone's dealing with hyperpigmentation and my sister is an esthetician. She runs her own her own Med Spa and this is the way she, this is her algorithm as well is that generally speaking she'll use red wavelengths alone, not near-infrared because near-infrared lights can stimulate melanocytes to produce more pigment.
She'll generally use red light alone especially if someone's dealing with hyperpigmentation but, again, the evidence goes both ways, but the safer play would probably be to use red light alone in those types of situations.
Heather Sandison:00:51:04Then, with the rest of the gamut of skin conditions, what are you guys seeing?
Scott Nelson:00:51:11Yeah. The evidence across the board is you just named it; psoriasis, rosacea, eczema. The issues go on and on and on but just do a simple PubMed search for PBM or LLT using those common acronyms and insert your skin condition, you'll find loads and loads of either clinical, individual clinical studies or meta-analysis that where the researchers curated a collection of 50-plus studies that looked at various skin conditions, but you name it.
You name the traditional academic institution whether it's Harvard, MIT, et cetera. You'll find clinical studies that support all of those issues when it comes to light therapy.
Heather Sandison:00:51:53Cool, and so, with this, I think you guys mentioned that this was the, more the red light side versus the near-infrared side, so that's when we're talking about that 620 nanometers, right? Or closer to that, 660? Is that where we are?
Justin Strahan:00:52:07Yeah. We're at 660.
Heather Sandison:00:52:10Those are the ones that are going to penetrate the more the surface tissues so the skin, and then, are we getting collagen production there? You also mentioned, Scott, I think that you would want to, you could get away with doing it for a little bit less time if what you're doing is just targeting the surface tissue.
Scott Nelson:00:52:28Yeah. Correct. The mechanisms of action with both wavelengths, whether it's red in that range that Justin mentioned earlier, whether it's that 630 to 670 range, or the near-infrared which in the low to mid-800-nanometer range. Anywhere from like 810 to 860 or so. The mechanism of action holds true so that enzyme I mentioned earlier, cytochrome c oxidase will absorb very readily those two wavelengths and those two ranges, but the difference comes down to penetration.
Near-infrared light in that range will penetrate a little bit deeper than red wavelengths. That's why when you look at the clinical literature, most of the time, researchers that are studying light therapy for skin health will use red wavelengths in that range that we just mentioned, whereas clinicians or research that are studying things like joint health or muscle recovery or athletic performance or cognitive function they'll use generally speaking near-infrared wavelengths just because their ability to penetrate a little bit deeper, but when it comes to skin health, yeah. Most of the clinical studies you don't really need a very high energy dose to see benefits.
Usually, you need a little bit longer time so most of those studies are over the course of anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks. Generally speaking, you need a little bit more time, but the power is … Most of the time the energy dosage that's used on the subjects in the studies isn't as high as those that are in those trials or those studies that are being, where light therapy is being used for muscle recovery or joint pain or inflammation and stuff like that.
Heather Sandison:00:54:07On the subject of skin, in my office, if somebody comes in with a skin complaint I start to look inside. I'm thinking about detox because the skin is one of our largest detox organs. I'm always going to be looking at liver function, bowel function, kidney function, and then, lung health as well because we do expel a lot of toxins through our breath, so with skin issues, I often am suggesting that someone get in a sauna to help to get toxins eliminated more efficiently and effectively through their skin. How might you, and I have to admit, we have the Joovv light in our biohacking room with the sauna and we combine them all the time. Am I doing this wrong?
Justin Strahan:00:54:49That's a good one. I have yet to see a study that actually shows both photobiomodulation and sauna treatments conducted at the same time. It would be extremely interesting to see because the function at a biological level is different between the two therapies and they're fundamentally different because of the wavelengths that are used. We are of the opinion that the best-recommended protocol there would be to do a sauna treatment, and then, let the body cool for a few minutes, and then, do the photobiomodulation.
It's like you could run a marathon and eat lunch at the same time, but you may not want to. You might be better off to actually do, give your body nutrition to undergo the stress before, and then, give your body some more nutrition afterwards to help it recover. That's the logic behind that, but as I said, it's something that's really yet to be substantially studied.
Heather Sandison:00:55:48Well, thank you for that clarification. That's helpful. Then, recovery. You just mentioned a marathon, so somebody has run a marathon or they're training for a triathlon or they're lifting a lot, what do we see when it comes to recovery? One of the articles that I had a chance to look at really interested me because the question at the end of it was not whether or not it was beneficial for recovery but actually like whether or not it should be legal when it comes to competitions, whether or not anybody competing should be allowed to use the red light therapy because it gives them such an edge over everybody else.
It's like taking testosterone or doing something like that where they're doing so much biohacking I guess that it's just not fair. Can you speak to that a little bit more again like the mechanisms? What's going on? How it would be used practically? How often? Dosing, all of that in the context of recovery, muscle recovery.
Scott Nelson:00:56:47Yeah. I think you're referring to a recent meta-analysis where Dr. Hamlin. We mentioned him several times now. I think was one of the authors on that publication if I memory serves me right, but the research is, nonetheless the researchers I think analyzed hundreds. I think if my memory serves me right as well, over 200, and then, sort of narrowed it down and ranked certain studies based on how structured they were and came up with this curated list.
I believe like 80 some odd studies that looked at muscle recovery and/or athletic performance. It's a really well-done meta-analysis but it's interesting because most people probably listening to this still are under the presumption that light therapy is sort of out there. It's this a little bit woo-woo, not well understood but yet the researchers with this particular meta-analysis came to that conclusion that like we're well beyond the point of trying to prove whether or not this works. Should it be outlawed for the purposes of certain sanctioning committees?
It's an interesting question, but to sort of go a little bit deeper. There's plenty of evidence that suggests light therapy is beneficial both before training to help induce better peak performance as well as after training for sort of recovery mechanisms. I would say the one caveat, it does seem like most of the research when used, when light therapy is used before training, you need a certain amount of time actually before you actually see benefit.
If you are, let's take an Olympic power lifter, for example. He or she is probably best served to use light therapy a couple hours actually before the training. That's where it seems like most of the clinical evidence suggests, you see the significant amount of benefits. There's a little bit of a window before using it, but across the board, in terms of using it as a recovery tool after, there's so many studies that showcase its benefits as a recovery tool. It's almost too hard to … It'd be boring going through all of those during this, in this conversation.
The evidence is overwhelming. We've got a couple of articles on our site on joovv.com but if you use PubMed as sort of your foundation, you're going to find an endless number of studies that support its use for those two things.
Heather Sandison:00:58:56Yeah. It used to make me a little angry when people had come in either patients or I'd be talking to medical doctor, colleagues, or something they would have this like, "Oh, well, there's not enough literature. There's not enough research behind it." Now, I just, it makes me a little sad, not angry anymore, but I'm just like, "Oh, my gosh. You are so misinformed because there is this insane amount of literature about how effective it is."
This says not just for red light therapy but so many of the alternative therapies and for whatever reason, the word doesn't get out and I'm grateful to you guys for … You really enlightened me in terms of how much clinical evidence there is to support the use of this, and it's so safe. It's so accessible and really that's my goal in my clinic is that I've purchased one, not only so that I can use it after I'm not pregnant, but also so that other people can at least try it out without having to invest too much.
They can get a sense of like, yeah. This does you feel better. Yes, I do see some benefit, and then, decide to make the investment in something like this that they could have in their own home and be using even more regularly.
Scott Nelson:01:00:06Heather, just real quick to go back to your point. There's over 3000 published pieces on PubMed with respect to photobiomodulation. There's over 200 double-blind randomized controlled trials just on light therapy alone so if anyone questions that the scientific evidence, you're right in saying they just haven't done the legwork because it's relatively easy to find if you're just willing to do a little bit of diligence.
Heather Sandison:01:00:33Right, and these studies are not like a handful of people once. These are really good big long-term studies. Yeah. I've definitely been impressed with the literature that's out there on this. Another application is nerve regeneration. Can you speak to that a little bit how you would want to apply it, what you've seen, what it would be good for?
Scott Nelson:01:00:56Yeah. I don't have the specific studies in mind. We could certainly, if you want to include those in the show notes we could actually point to a few studies on PubMed specific to nerve regeneration, but that's a super interesting space. I would say, I think it's pretty safe to say that they're, in terms of the sheer number there's not as many that showcase the or demonstrates the benefits of light therapy for nerve regeneration to say like muscle recovery or athletic performance or even skin health, but there are definitely there that are pretty compelling that show that these specific wavelengths of light in these same ranges actually do generate, help your body generate new nerves or repair nerves which is really interesting.
It all goes back to that same mechanism of action that we discussed earlier. In essence, allowing your cells to produce more energy. One downstream positive effect would be generating new tissue in the form of nerves, not too dissimilar to generating new muscle tissue or something along those lines. If that makes sense?
Heather Sandison:01:02:03Yeah. Absolutely. In my clinic, we do a lot of neurocognitive work and as much as I want people to like not have wrinkles and look amazing and that's good for your psychology as well. What I'm really, really excited about and it's same at Neurohacker, that's part of why I serve on their medical advisory board and why we've partnered is that really what we're about is how do we help people reach their optimum potential, and a lot of that happens with what is your brain function like?
If you are depressed or anxious or you have cognitive decline or any of the myriad of mental health disorders, then you really can't engage with your communities, with your family, with your work in the same way that you can if that is optimized. Can you speak a little bit to how this can have psychological benefits or certain other brain disorders that you've seen the Joovv light would be beneficially with?
Justin Strahan:01:02:59Yeah. There's been … I'll jump in on that too first. There's a wide range of benefits. We've touched on some of them. Everything from mental clarity to stress reduction, and there's actually a pretty decent amount of evidence to show some benefits for Alzheimer's patients for example. Going to back to another Dr. Hamlin reference, but his actual favorite use for photobiomodulation on himself personally is to treat the brain for those wide range of benefits. It's similar to the previous question on neural regeneration. I don't have a specific study in mind, but there is a robust amount of evidence for a wide range of different cognitive and brain function benefits.
Heather Sandison:01:03:47Scott, do you have any ideas about how you would do that? Would you focus it on like the brain on the back of the head, on either side, on the forehead? Would you get it closer? Would you need to change the treatment or the way that you dose if that was your goal was to enhance cognitive function?
Scott Nelson:01:04:06Yeah. I would probably say any of those ways are probably beneficial. I think receiving these wavelengths of light through your retinas is incredibly important to help balance your, help to balance your hormones. Again, that's one of those areas that we done yet, but light therapy has been shown to help with thyroid function. One of the rays in which it does that is through by receiving these wavelengths of light directly through your retinas, but Justin mentioned Dr. Hamlin, he just simply shines our device. Our near-infrared light device right on his forehead.
I don't think it's probably that big of a deal which location but just the idea of treating your brain consistently would be probably most important, not necessarily the location.
Heather Sandison:01:04:59Particularly, the thyroid you've mentioned. I would imagine that would help with metabolism, weight loss, mood, certainly. Dry skin or brittle nails, even hair loss are all things that come up with both Joovv but also with hypothyroidism. If you can improve the function of a thyroid you're going to get benefits across the spectrum of those conditions.
Then, tell me a little bit more about the testosterone application. Fertility and sex hormone balancing is another thing that we get a ton of questions about in the clinic. Again, how would we use this? I know that there has to be some direct application.
Justin Strahan:01:05:38Yeah. That's an interesting one. There's certainly a lot of interesting science that's been conducted. This seems to be very promising in the field of, in terms of the impact that photobiomodulation can have on testosterone production, but some of the studies have been done where actually the light is shined on the testes, and I tend to think as you mentioned with overall hormone function related to the thyroid gland, the hypothalamus. I think overall treatment of the entire body, if you compare the two, I think would prove to be even more powerful.
Yeah. Basically, as what's been demonstrated is that specific wavelengths of light have been shown to help regulate these body systems and help them return to a healthy normal level.
Heather Sandison:01:06:32At a really high level so at the brain level there's a reregulation it sounds like of all of the sex hormone, thyroid hormones, stress hormones. I would imagine it in that basket as well.
Justin Strahan:01:06:46Exactly. Anything that really disrupts the body's normal function. Stress being one of those we touched on, some of the other things whether it's blue light, toxins in the air we constantly breathe or the food that we eat or the water that we drink, all these things put stresses on our body system and if we can really do some things like photobiomodulation that can help restore those functions, then it really just helps bring everything back into alignment to where you're not, your body's not constantly in this fight-or-flight mode, but it can actually go into the repairing and healing, restoration of things that need to get taken care of.
Heather Sandison:01:07:25Who would want that?
Scott Nelson:01:07:28Just anecdotally, Heather, there's a practitioner that we work with based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Dr. John Toma. He's a functional medicine practitioner. Probably similar to your practice quite honestly. We recently visited him but he was showing us his blood work. This guy is like the, he looks like the epitome of health. He's like 6'2, 220, probably 6% or 7% body fat. Although he doesn't do CrossFit anymore, he was at a time doing, he's an avid crossfitter.
The guy is like jacked. Does all the right things, right? Follows all the right systems, whether it's his nutrition, shutting off all artificial light at night, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera but before using light therapy his, he's always suffered from low-T, low testosterone and I think his levels. I can't remember the … He had LabCorp. He routinely gets his blood work, but I think it was in the mid-200 range his pre-test I believe. I'm sorry. His total test. His pre-test was in like three-to-threes I believe, but after three months of using light therapy on a consistent basis his overall testosterone went up into like the 800s and his pre-test I think went into the 9s or 10s I believe.
Then, after another three months, his overall testosterone was like I think 1100 or 1200 and his pre-testosterone was I think 17 or 18. This guy, well, he wasn't doing anything different. He was already doing like checking all the box, takes his health extremely serious, but the only thing he introduced was light therapy. Anecdotally, granted that's an [inaudible 01:08:59] of one but that's not uncommon from a lot of the individual reviews or feedback that we get with guys that are using light therapy for the purposes of testosterone production.
A lot of them are seeing the same type of results. I think the mechanism of action could be, it is probably very hormonal but also like with respect to testosterone, you are stimulating your [inaudible 01:09:21] cells in your testes to function better as well. Even though the mechanism of action could be, there could be sort of some different mechanisms going on there but that the results seem to be pretty clear.
Heather Sandison:01:09:35Yeah. Testosterone in men is something we have conversations about every day at my office and there are so many issues with the typical treatments even from functional medicine, right? You replace testosterone for a while, it works, and you get those testosterone levels up, but then if you're using creams or injections or pellets or whatever you're using, then you down regulate the production of your own testosterone.
Usually, over time, it stops working. Now you also get testicular hypertrophy, so shrinking, and then, if anybody is thinking about having a family, you run the risk of infertility so using testosterone as a replacement just has a ton of reasons why you shouldn't, right? Then, HCG is another thing that you can use, but that has to be injected twice a week. As people are traveling, it just becomes a nightmare, right? It's pretty expensive and I've had patients do it and love it. They feel great, but they've got bruises all over their stomach where they're injecting it and it's just, they feel like a drug addict because they're having to do this all the time.
That's a reason, that's another thing that, yeah, it works. It works for a while, but it's just really cumbersome and expensive. Then, the other thing is this Clomid deal that some people get into and that can be really helpful but, again, it's off-label so it's expensive. There's just a bunch of issues that you run into whenever you're trying to treat low testosterone in men and having an option like this that is safe, effective, relatively low cost, it's really just the time that you spend naked in front of that Joovv light that you have to spend, and so, I'm so grateful for this addition to what I can offer men who are struggling because it can be very debilitating.
Mood changes, certainly like changes in musculature, libido, erections like really can be very life-changing and debilitating for men who are struggling with this. Thank you for what you're doing to help. The other thing that I wanted to chat more about was … Another thing that we focus on a lot in my clinic, which is neurodegeneration and cognitive functions.
We see a lot of Alzheimer's patients. Certainly a lot of mood patients, autism. The whole spectrum of mental health disorders and Joovv has some interesting benefits in that realm. Can you speak to that? Scott, would you go ahead? I know that you have … I think Dr. Hamlin has had some experience with this.
Scott Nelson:01:12:04Yeah. Sure. Actually, Dr. Hamlin, who we've mentioned several times now in this podcast, but he's worthy of the attention considering he's published I think over 400 different pieces on PubMed. That's actually his favorite way to use light therapy is actually just using one of our smaller devices that delivers just near-infrared light directly on his forehead for brain health and certainly just like most of the stuff that we've covered here, it's all supported by published clinical research that these wavelengths of light do in fact lead to not only better cognitive function, but actually they help to restore certain issues like Alzheimer's.
There's really even some compelling evidence for CTE actually in limiting some of the downside ramifications of CTE or concussions, right?
Heather Sandison:01:12:56Yeah. This is like what comes up in the NFL is this brain trauma that can lead to cognitive decline and also violence and things like that. You're saying that there's a benefit with red light therapy in that context?
Scott Nelson:01:13:10Yeah. There's an ample amount of published research already. I'm sure there's probably going to be more to come and with our new devices that are there Class-2 cleared by FDA, we hope to participate potentially in some of these but, yeah. There's a growing body of evidence that suggest light therapy does not only help with mental clarity and cognitive function, but also helping to restore brain health from some of those chronic conditions like CTE and Alzheimer's and dementia.
Heather Sandison:01:13:42What about with stroke? Would a post-stroke patient potentially benefit after an ischemic event?
Scott Nelson:01:13:47Yeah. In fact, some of the smaller studies actually the participants were stroke victims or stroke subjects. There definitely can be some benefits for that as well.
Heather Sandison:01:13:59Great. How amazing because with Neurohacker Collective and myself, our goal here is to make sure that people have that ability to engage with their communities, engage with their families, and contribute at work for as long as possible, and so, being able to give people back that function when they've been at that really scary place of like I don't know if my brain is working [inaudible 01:14:23] give that back it's just so beneficial and really can be, can change not only a life, but like the world and how they interact with their communities.
That is one of the most exciting things about what Joovv has to offer. Do you guys have anything else to add about the benefits of Joovv before you tell everybody how they can get theirs?
Justin Strahan:01:14:44Yeah. Basically, I would just say that don't underestimate the power of light and the incredible role it plays in overall health. It's definitely worth spending a little time to do your due diligence. You don't have to take our word for it, you can do, as Scott's called out, some of your own homework so to speak on PubMed or as on our joovv.com on the learn page. There's numerous articles every one of which cites numerous studies that you can refer back to as well.
Heather Sandison:01:15:17Well, just to be clear. It's not only Dr. Hamlin who has published literature on this, right? He has a lot of it. There are a few others out there, right?
Scott Nelson:01:15:26Yeah. There's no doubt. On the topic of muscle recovery and athletic performance the Brazilians actually do a ton of research when it comes to that arena. Yeah. There's definitely a much broader subset of researchers that are doing work in this arena, but I couldn't echo Justin's comment enough, and just speaking from my standpoint too, and really I would just encourage everyone to think about like just their daily lives, their daily practice from the time you get up, to going to work, to coming home in the evening, how much time you're actually spending in natural sunlight and are you getting the right type of light that our bodies have, are used to from up from an evolution standpoint.
If you really sit there and analyze it, that stat that Justin threw out earlier it's probably pretty close. Most of us spend about 90% of our lives indoors, and that scale over the course of a lifetime that's a really, really long time to spend under artificial life, not getting the right types of light that our bodies really need to function properly. I would just encourage everyone to stop and think about that in a little bit more detail and just be more intentional about just like you would if you're into health, just like you would about the macronutrients you consume, be a little bit more intentional about the light that you expose yourself to, whether it's on healthy artificial light, whether it's certain types of wavelengths during certain parts of days.
In our case, could you possibly supplement sort of your diet so to speak to your routine with a healthy version of lights, and so, just I would piggyback off Justin's comment and just don't underappreciate the power of the light can play in terms of a healthy lifestyle.
Heather Sandison:01:17:10If Joovv is what someone's decided on after doing all of the research, what are their options? I know you have some larger versions, some smaller versions, what are the options and where they find them?
Justin Strahan:01:17:19Yeah. You can find us at joovv.com and we have just released our new series of Joovv, the new Joovv modular system and so what's really exciting about that is now you have even more options in terms of the available treatment sizes. Everything from the Joovv mini that is great for spot treating specific areas of your body to the Joovv solo, which is going to treat roughly the upper half of one side of your body.
Then, we have options going up to our set up that's going to do full six-foot tall professional athlete, their whole body. Check out the different options there and we're obviously happy to answer any questions as we have from day one, we offer a 60-day trial, free trial period so if you try it out for 60 days and you're happy, you can send them back for a full refund.
Heather Sandison:01:19:51Justin, Scott, where can we find a Joovv light? Where can we grab one? I think there's a link through Neurohacker and some cool gifts.
Scott Nelson:01:20:07Yeah. You can go to joovv.com. That's J, two O's, two V's, kind of like rejuvenate that short for that. Joovv.com. I would encourage you to check out a couple different parts of the site. One would be the learn page, which houses a lot of our educational content, but if you don't want to go too deep, check out the reviews page. It will house a bunch of different … I think it's close to 400 different reviews.
If you're interested in actually buying the device, go to joovv.com/neurohacker and we'll be giving a special bonus out to anyone who purchases a device through that page. Joovv.com/neurohacker and you can check out our devices right there and get a free gift in the process.
Heather Sandison:01:20:50Fun. Thank you both. Thank you both for taking the time to expand my knowledge around the Joovv light and how I think I'll be able to apply it clinically in practice and just educating all of us about wavelengths and how this works on every cell in the body. I'm so grateful to you both. We'll have to have you back. I'd love to get comments from any of our listeners about what they thought was interesting, any questions that came up as we were discussing the Joovv light and how we can best help everyone and I'll keep learning and growing and being healthier together.
Thank you again for spending your afternoon with me and we'll look forward to seeing you guys again soon.
Justin Strahan:01:21:33Thanks so much for having us.
Scott Nelson:01:21:34Awesome. Thanks, Heather. Appreciate it.
Heather Sandison:01:21:36Take care. Bye, you guys.
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