Red light therapy involves exposing the body to wavelengths of red and near-infrared light, forming one of the therapies offered in Oval.Bio’s life extension pod. While red light therapy includes irradiation with both red light (in the range of 600-800 nm) and near-infrared light (which can extend upwards of 1000 nm), it is colloquially referred to as simply ‘red light therapy’ instead of ‘red and near-infrared light therapy.” Consider all references on this page about “red light therapy” to follow such convention.
Red light is considered superior for shining on the body because it has the ability to increase ATP production and, thereby, enhance Mitochondrial Membrane Potential (MMP) compared to other colors, such as green or blue, which exhibit more muted therapeutic effects (1). In fact, increases in ATP production and MMP from red light therapy have several scientifically demonstrated benefits, including promoting increased cognitive function, wound healing, collagen growth, skin condition, and muscle recovery, among many others.
Our pod strategically combines wavelengths to optimize the therapeutic benefits of red and near-infrared light therapy, relying on published scientific research. These chosen wavelengths (625-635 nm, 670-680 nm, and 810-830 nm) have been identified in peer-reviewed studies for yielding maximum therapeutic benefits. These studies, focused on outcomes like cell adhesion, increased lymphocyte receptor sites, cell attachment, and DNA synthesis, underline positive cellular responses to red light. It’s evident from various studies that cells possess photoreceptors responding more favorably to specific ranges of red and near-infrared wavelengths. Figure 1 visually illustrates a cell’s response to a particular wavelength, emphasizing steep cliffs between ideal wavelengths and less effective ones.
Optimal Wavelengths for Cell Adhesion in Red Light Therapy
The study, which generated Figure 1, focused on cell adhesion (measured as the percentage of attached cells), serving as an indicator of cell growth and the cellular response to red light. Cell adhesion plays a fundamental role in tissue maintenance and development (7), influencing overall body systems. Optimal red light wavelengths could achieve nearly 100% cell adhesion (around ~830 nm), while suboptimal wavelengths, such as ~580 nm and ~720 nm, resulted in lower levels (30-40%) compared to the non-irradiated control group. Remarkably, a slight deviation (just 20 nm) to ~850 nm led to a significant drop to 60% cell adhesion. This illustrates that even a small deviation from the optimal wavelengths can substantially impact the effectiveness of red light therapy. Hence, the choice of wavelength in red light therapy stands out as one of the most crucial factors determining success.
Exploring Red and Near-Infrared Wavelength Variance in Scientific Research
While scientific research has extensively explored the concept of irradiating different colors on the body, studies focusing on different red and near-infrared wavelengths as an independent variable are generally few and far between. Instead, most red light therapy studies look into whether or not a single wavelength in the range of 600 – 1000 nm affects a dependant variable of interest, rather than determining the most efficacious wavelength for the desired dependant variable. One of the pioneering researchers in the field of red light wavelength variance is Dr. Tiina Karu, one of the first to explore optimizing wavelengths in the red and near-infrared spectrum. Her studies, along with others, corroborate the importance of wavelength in red light therapy, and the fact that there is a stark difference in the therapeutic value between a change of wavelength as small as even 10 nm in certain ranges.
Optimizing Red Light Therapy Wavelengths for Maximum Efficacy
Rather than relying on historical precedent or cost considerations to determine red light therapy wavelengths, we, at old.oval.bio, aim to identify the most effective wavelengths to maximize therapeutic benefits. Our unique combination includes 625 nm ± 5 nm, 675 nm ± 5 nm, 810 nm ± 5 nm, and 830 nm ± 5 nm in a 1:1:1:1 ratio. This differs from other companies using wavelengths around 660-670 nm and 850 nm. Figure 1 clearly illustrates the subpar effectiveness of these wavelengths. While the difference between 665 nm and 675 nm may be subtle, the noticeable distinction lies in the inferiority of 850 nm compared to 830 nm (with cell adhesion rates of nearly 100% and 70%, respectively) as shown in Figure 2.
While wavelength may be the primary driver of the effectiveness of red light therapy, we at old.oval.bio believe there are additional ways to ensure achieving maximum therapeutic value. In addition to varying wavelengths of each color, the amount of each wavelength relative to the others is an important variable of consideration. While single wavelengths of red and near-infrared light used individually can have their own benefits, using multiple (effective) wavelengths in tandem can increase the overall effectiveness of red light (8). This is why our panels utilize a 1:1:1:1 ratio of each wavelength: doing so maximizes the relative strength of each wavelength with other wavelengths. In other words, maintaining an even ratio ensures that no wavelength is overshadowed by any other wavelength to maximize therapeutic benefit.
There are also ways that you as a user can optimize your red light experience.