JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 31566
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 10:10

Therapeutic Power of Lights

Written by  

Light: It’s a part of our day-to-day survival. We depend on light, in both its natural and man-made forms, to help us navigate through life as we know it. Everything we see is a variance of light, as it is light that carries information from our eyes to our brain, creating and translating images of the world in which we live. Throughout history, a number of findings prove that color and light have been used for centuries to facilitate healing and well-being. In skin care, phototherapy has been used to treat such skin disorders as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

It is also traditionally used in neo-natal wards to treat infantile jaundice. It is the recent surge of light-based procedures like Laser, LED, and IPL that has made this technology a principal player in the fight against aging skin.

Light therapy, or phototherapy, is defined as the application of exposing skin to light for therapeutic purposes. Every cell in our body radiates light and has a mechanism of color with which it is associated. Sunlight, for example, is a key component to maintaining the health and function of the body. Most of us don’t think about basic exposure to sunlight having a specific effect on how our body operates. The suns rays specifically trigger the action of the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system. The relationship between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland greatly affects the endocrine system. When we are exposed to light, the hypothalamus sends electrical impulses or messages to the pituitary gland, which in turn sends instructions to the endocrine system to produce the hormones we need for our basic bodily functions such as body temperature, appetite, growth, metabolism, emotions, reproductive functions, and energy fuels like adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). This “molecular currency” is the basis of intracellular energy transfer and all biological processes.

The Science of Light
To understand light therapy, we first have to have a basic understanding of the science behind light. Light is defined as the electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength. We can compare a light wave to an ocean wave in the way that it moves, seamlessly from one region to another. We view the water itself as moving, but the truth is the water is not moving, it is the wave that moves. The water stays in place and the energy moving through the water is making the wave. This type of wave is called a transverse wave and all transverse waves need a medium for movement. Light waves work differently in the fact that they do not need a medium like water. Light energy travels through a vacuum via electric and magnetic fields. It is the vibration of these fields that direct the movement of the light in specific directions. Light is also referred to as electromagnetic radiation because it possesses these electric and magnetic fields. As such, the full spectrum of light is known as the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum
Light wavelengths are detected by the eye, transferred to the brain and then detected as color. This is what we see as visible light. This rainbow of color ranges all the way from red, which has a wavelength of 700 nm, to violet, which radiates at 400 nm. The wavelengths at the end of the violet spectrum are the UV rays which are responsible for the UV damage that is associated with the sun. The light that we see is made up of photons, or little packets of color, and as our eyes absorb these photons, we see the world around us. The visible spectrum, or the light that we see, is only one small component of the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum can be divided into an electric part and a magnetic part, hence the name electromagnetic. Electromagnetic fields are present everywhere but are invisible to the human eye. Besides natural sources, the electromagnetic spectrum also includes fields generated by human-made sources, such as, microwaves, radio waves, and X-rays.

Light and Frequency
We understand that light is composed of an elementary particle called a photon. The energy that a photon carries is related to their frequency or number of electrical impulses per second. Light can be viewed as single sachets of energy that create an electromagnetic vibration (frequency); a single photon of one color differs from another photon of color only by the energy it carries. Light waves come in many different frequencies. The frequency can be related to the number of waves that pass a specific point during any time. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz), the frequency of visible light is measured in its color. The amount of energy that a light wave carries is related to its frequency. High frequency lights radiate high amounts of energy, contrary to low frequency lights, which radiate low amounts of energy. Gamma rays have the most energy and radio waves carry the least. Of the electromagnetic spectrum, violet rays are the most energized and red are the least.

Light and the Cell
As previously mentioned, light energy has the ability to nourish the body on a cellular level because all cells and tissue absorb light and convert it into energy for the body. As such, every cell, tissue, and organ of the body “vibrates” or emits frequency that can be measured scientifically. Different tissue types and different cells have unique absorption characteristics so different wavelengths will have different effects on individualized cells and tissues. Each color of the electromagnetic spectrum has a specific weight, temperature, wavelength, density, and energy level to stimulate or minimize various metabolic functions. Since the vibration, wavelength, and frequency is specific to each cell, if the cell, tissue, or organ is unhealthy in any way, their vibrational frequency changes. Once a cell’s vibrational frequency is modified, one of two things can happen: The host will experience a mild shift in energy, or there will be a dramatic shift that will lead to disease. The aim with light activated photo-rejuvenation is to re-establish the proper condition by providing the correct energy through the use of color.

Cytochromes are color-coded proteins that dwell within the cytoplasm of the cell and help to carry out electron transport. The process of respiration, which energizes ATP, consists of a series of cytochromes associated with proteins. Cytochromes emit light, which energize electrons, thus increasing the electromagnetic frequency of the electrons which orbit nuclei. Similar in function to hemoglobin and myoglobin, the crimson colored proteins, which ensure that our blood is oxygenated, cytochromes transport electrons instead of oxygen. When we expose the tissue to light therapy, these cytochromes absorb the photons and the effect is enhanced cellular function and increased activity.

Light Activated Facial Rejuvenation
Light Activated Facial Rejuvenation is another name for LED technology. LED is the acronym for light emitting diodes. Light activated facial rejuvenation utilizes monochromatic color in the absence of heat for facial rejuvenation. This particular type of light is delivered at a constant and very low intensity, making it an ideal service for any kind of skin type and skin condition. LEDs generate a multiplicity of wavelengths when compared to the single wavelength of a laser. This allows LEDs to be effective over a broader range of tissues and to produce a wider range of biochemical reactions via the light. Recent studies prove that light activated facial rejuvenation can:
1. Increase vascularity of skin tissue
2. Stimulate the production of collagen and elastin
3. Stimulate synthesis and the release of ATP
4. Reduce edema
5. Increase lymphatic system activity
6. Regenerate tissue and support wound healing
7. Reduce pain

Light Colors and Their Therapeutic Purpose
We understand that different colors vibrate at different frequencies and wavelengths. This relates to the fact that different colors will have a different absorption rate by the tissue and have a different effect on the cells. It is best to use a variation of color versus just one color, because we can increase the number of skin conditions we can treat. The four most common colors are:
BLUE: 470nm + / - 10nm (visible blue light)
This wavelength is indicated for acneic skins and helps with dehydration.

GREEN: 525nm + / - 10nm (visible green light)
This wavelength is indicated for pigmented skins.

YELLOW: 590nm + / - 10nm (visible yellow light)
This wavelength is indicated for sensitive skins and to help reduce inflammation and edema.

RED: 640nm + / - 10nm (visible red light)
This wavelength is indicated for aging skins. It is also ideal for dry, sun-damaged skin in need of circulation and dermal thickening as in collagen and elastin synthesis.

Finding the Light
Progressive manufactures will have devices that offer the ease and use of an LED panel versus handheld accessories. The hands free ability of the LED panel offers the client the ability to sit in a chair or lay in the bed while under the light. It also gives the skin therapist the freedom to tend to other parts of the body. Pre-programmed facial settings will also offer you the best possible service because the device is already programmed with the most effective parameters for whatever skin condition you are treating. You will also want to look for a complete product line that supports the symbiosis between the light and active ingredients of your skin care products. Look for high-performance concentrates that accelerate the cellular function of the skin, and monochromatic serums made with precious micronized gems of ruby, emerald, citrine, sapphire, and tourmaline, which parallel the color of the LED light you are using for your photo-rejuvenation services. By increasing the reflection and absorption of the light you can increase the benefits of your light services and maximize your services and time in the treatment rooms.

Jennifer McDaniel is the Education Development Director for Bio-Therapeutic, Inc. Her responsibilities include developing curriculum for the Bio-Therapeutic Institute of Technology, developing technology protocols for Bio-Therapeutic related technology, and training all of the Bio-Therapeutic Corporate Educator’s worldwide.

Want to read more?

Subscribe to one of our monthly plans to continue reading this article.

Related items

  • Successful Upselling Foreward Successful Upselling Foreward

    Upselling and add-ons – a challenging subject to talk about even in the best of times. But here we are in the middle of an economic crisis, so you must be asking yourself how we could possibly consider this a reasonable topic when you are just happy you are able to sustain your clientele. Many of you are probably thinking there is no way you would jeopardize that relationship by asking the client to spend more money. All of which are perfectly reasonable thoughts and questions. However, I will ask you to put them in a box briefly, clear your mind, and be open to consideration for just a moment.

    Let me give you an example of an effective suggestion that happens millions of times, everyday, all around the world. You go to your favorite restaurant; you sit down, and look over the menu. Your server comes to the table and takes your order, you tell him what you would like and he confirms your order then says, “Would you like a salad with that tonight, or can I interest you in a glass of wine?” A perfectly harmless question, that was neither painful nor offensive. At worst you say “No, thank you.” At best, he just enhanced your dining experience, increased your bill, and ultimately his tip. Job well done!

  • Creating the Ideal Retail Mix - December 2008 Creating the Ideal Retail Mix - December 2008
    by Melinda Minton

    Selling retail is an essential part of a well run spa. This is true not only because the additional revenue is so crucial to a spa's bottom line, but also because prescriptive home care is the necessary second step to the professional care given to a client in the spa. While mastering the retail sale can be difficult from a team or individual perspective, there are methods for making your spa’s retail routine hum.



    Your Spa's Style

    Oftentimes spas try to sell a bit of everything in an attempt to accommodate everyone. This can be a fatal error. The more fragmented your retail mix the more clients and staff will be confused. There must be a driving force behind your spa philosophy. Are you primarily a spa focused in on medical skin care, contouring services, water therapies, or all organic non-ablative therapies? Before you can determine the best retail mix for your spa, you really need to dig deep and understand your theme, focus, and primary therapeutic offerings. Moreover, remember that if you can’t get the product on them in the treatment room—there is a much smaller chance that the client will be taking the product home with them for further use when not at the spa. Integrating the treatment experience with the retail experience is crucial. When determining your retail mix, be cognizant of your client. Do you primarily offer clinical services or is your treatment mix somewhat more “fluffy” or gift-oriented?

  • Deal or No Deal Deal or No Deal

    When Sarah Hughes skated off with the gold medal, she pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history. Her surprisingly simple secret? “I didn’t skate for a gold medal. I went out and had a great time.”

    Athletes say it all the time: “I just went out there and had fun.” And, admittedly, they do look like they’re having a great time.

    Fortunately, fun isn’t the sole province of superstar athletes. It can work for the rest of us in the skin care industry, too. The link between having fun and business success has been proven in countless studies. When we’re having fun on the job, we are more creative and more productive.


  • Sugar... Not Just for Coffee Anymore Sugar... Not Just for Coffee Anymore

    by Lina Kennedy

    A couple of decades ago, offering cream and sugar for anything other than coffee or tea would have sounded quite ridiculous! But in today’s realm of aesthetics and cosmetics promoting coffee and chocolate to soothe even the jitteriest skin, or offering sugar as a real hair removal solution to an age-old problem is very realistic. And as post treatment, applying a good trans-dermal cream to hydrate and moisturize the skin is simply a great, soothing and natural way to complete your sugaring service.

  • Jan Marini - August 2010: A Legend in Aesthetics
    Jan Marini - August 2010: A Legend in Aesthetics
    Jan Marinin


    Those who know Jan Marini refer to her as a visionary. While Jan might agree in principle, she sees this characterization as both a strength and a weakness. She envies those who are able to savor the moment. Where others view life in snapshots that capture real time, Jan sees broad borderless landscapes and endless possibilities. She does not see a product, she sees a business and in that same instance her mind is flooded with the business plan and all the accompanying details. Even when she is not envisioning empires, she is never satisfied with the status quo.
    Given her background, perhaps this is an understandable if not necessary survival tool. Jan’s mother, Florence, was a single mom of three boys in an era when divorce carried a major stigma. Florence remarried and unexpectedly gave birth to Jan late in life. The family struggled to live a very meager existence. Her father died when she was eight years old and the family was thrust into poverty. Florence worked only menial jobs and food was often scarce. It was no wonder that Jan viewed her world not as it was, but as it might be, and that she softened the bleak reality by envisioning a larger and more optimistic scenario brimming with potential. Because of her early circumstances, Jan is adamant that in order to succeed you must be tenacious, doggedly determined, and completely focused on the ultimate goal.
    Jan describes herself as a product researcher. “Back in the early days I was considered a product ingredient expert. I lectured to medical professionals, skin care professionals, and consumers about how ingredients really performed and what they could realistically expect to provide.” She also did talk radio and T.V., because as she puts it, “consumers love to hear about ingredients and whether their products really work. It is a popular topic that lends itself to talk shows.”
Login to post comments

February 2024

Wellness Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • Repechage
  • Skin Script
  • Eminence Organic Skin Care
body { overflow-y: auto; } html, body { min-width: unset; }