Why pulsing is the new feature you should be looking out for in your red-light device

In this Blogpost we will be going over the science of specific pulsing patterns of light for well-being and longevity. While pulsing has been around for a while now, it is starting to gain more attention, as more and more scientific studies have shown pulsing to be beneficial in many health cases.

Here’s a little taste of what you will learn in the next minutes:
– What is meant by “pulsing” in the field of Photobiomodulation
– How – and why – this setting is beneficial for us
– Specific use cases

Let’s get started, shall we?

Firework-like light sparking from the core

Brain waves and the effects of both Red- and Near-Infrared Light

Our bodies are full of frequencies that define what we do, feel and think. And vice versa. Brain waves (which we will be mentioning a bit more often in this article) are electrical impulses that flow through the brain, ranging from low to high frequencies. They are measured in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz).

There are six main types of brain waves, each of which is associated with a different state of consciousness:

Gamma waves: associated with information processing and memory-forming. (>30 Hz)
Alpha waves: associated with relaxed, calm and healing. (8-12 Hz)
Beta waves: associated with wakefulness and alertness. (12-30 Hz)
Delta waves: associated with deep sleep, the unconscious mind. (0.5-3.5 Hz)
Theta waves: associated with sleep, dreaming and deep meditation. (4-8 Hz)
Infra-low waves: associated with basic function and brain timing. (<0.5 Hz)

All of these waves are important, as they help us restore and regenerate our bodies while we sleep at night, and keep us awake, alert and energized when needed.  Depending on what kind of waves are more dominant at the moment, they have an impact on our body and mind. If higher speed waves are more dominant, we tend to feel alert and energized. If waves at a lower speed are more dominant, we feel sleepy, dreamy or unenergetic.(1,2)

A recent study from 2021 has shown that Low-level laser (LLL) therapy at an operating frequency of 10Hz at a wavelength of 850nm, significantly induced brain activation in tested subjects. The results have shown a remarkable positive effect on both alpha and theta waves. Furthermore the study shows that higher dosages (or frequencies) might also have an impact on beta and gamma waves. Lower dosages (or frequencies) on the other hand have an impact on the theta and alpha waves. (1,2)

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Positive effects of Pulsing Light:

- clearance of brain fog
- overall improved cognitive functions
- improved ability to stay focussed
- support in regeneration
- improved ability to concentrate

The science behind pulsing:

The pulse setting has shown specific benefits, ranging from improved memory, clearance of brain fog, improved concentration and focus, to overall improved cognitive function. If you’ve been in the topic of photobiomodulation (also known as low-level laser therapy), you’ll know that both red- and near infrared light penetrate into the skin, reaching into the cells and charging them up like batteries. At a pulse rate of 10Hz, and in combination with near-infrared light it can penetrate even deeper into the body. The exposure to near-infrared light can boost the production of nitric oxide in the body, leading to better circulation including cerebral blood flow – which can result in a positive effect on alertness, attention and can reduce brain fog (more on brain fog soon). The heightened blood flow can help provide the brain with oxygen and nutrients, which it needs to function properly.

This makes sense for very targeted usage, not in full-body panels. (3,4,5)

The idea of “pulsing” rather than continuous light originated in the medical field, where it was tested on people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Simply put, the Alzheimer’s brain is characterized by a distinct pathology featuring extracellular β-amyloid plaques – which we do not want to have on our brain! Targeting near-infrared light on the head and applying pulsating Red- and NIR light to it at a special rate has shown some positive results in reducing the amount and density of the plaque. So far, so medical. As we are not medical professionals, we don’t want to dive in deeper into this topic, as we also do not produce medical devices. However we do believe education and information on the topic are important to understand the science and technology behind pulsing – and to showcase the broad usage of Red- and Near-Infrared light in all sorts of branches. (6,7,8)

Woman burries her face in a book, posture is exhausted

What is brain fog?

Brain fog isn’t an actual medical condition or scientific term, but rather used to describe the sensation of being mentally sluggish and fuzzy. While we all experience brain fog from time to time, especially when going through difficult or stressful phases in life, or when we’re having troubles sleeping at night. It is also natural to experience brain fog as we grow older, as the brains’ functions are expected to decline as we age. In any case, brain fog can have an impact on your mental and physical well-being, as brain fog can cause a loss of mental sharpness. These can be signs you are experiencing brain fog:

  • difficulty focussing on a thought, idea or conversation
  • difficulty remembering things
  • difficulty with multitasking or switching between tasks
  • zoning out during conversations or having difficulty following the conversation
  • difficulty paying attention to your surroundings 

There are many reasons why someone can develop brain fog, and sometimes they go hand-in-hand. On a medical view, people living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), long COVID, insomnia, eating disorders and nutritional deficiencies, or other conditions, tend to experience brain fog. In any case however we encourage you to discuss this issue with a medical help professional. It is also important to note that brain fog is not the same as fatigue or lethargy, although these might go hand-in-hand with other symptoms. There are different approaches to manage brain fog, but they also depend on the root cause – which can vary from person to person. In this article, we want to focus more on helping you clear brain fog from your mind with the use of Photobiomodulation and light pulsing. (9,10,11)

What helps against brain fog?

Scientists and medical experts recommend taking a look at lifestyle factors first, such as nutrition, sleep and exercise. In some cases nutritional deficiencies may also contribute to brain fog. Vitamins such as: vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, magnesium, omega-3s and zinc are necessary for a happy and clear brain. (12,13,14)

Keeping your brain happy and healthy is crucial not only to avoid brian fog, but for a healthy life as well. Here are some more tips on how you can support your brain:

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Habits for a happy brain:
- get enough good quality sleep
- reduce screen time
- avoid multitasking
- use red- and near infrared light
- engage in social activities
- keep caffeine intake low
- eat nutrient rich whole foods
- engage in physical activity 
- learn a new skill

– keep your mind busy by learning a new skill or through further education
– get in physical activity on a regular and consistent basis
– fuel your body with healthy and nutrient-rich whole foods
– while it may not seem attractive, try to keep your caffeine-intake low, as the caffeine consumption comes with a rebound effect: too much caffeine (as well as a complete cut from caffeine, if you’re body has gotten used to it) can both cause brain fog 
– engage in social activities and communications
– make sure to get enough (and good quality) sleep
-reduce screen time as good as you can, especially before going to bed
– try to avoid multitasking and keep your focus on one task

The last tip we highly recommend on reducing brain fog is the usage of photobiomodulation. Especially in the combination with pulsing, rather than continuous light. (15,16,17,18)

How to use the Luminousred Essential “brain boost” setting:

Our brain-boost setting is specifically designed to support your brain. Ideally, use the “brain boost” in the morning and continuous light an hour before bedtime. We recommend using the pulsing function in combination with near-infrared light, as the wavelengths penetrate deeper and therefore leading to a more intensive outcome.

Graphic describing the Control panel of the Luminousred Essential device

What is the difference between pulsing and flicker?

Pulsing is often confused with flicker. While pulsing has shown to have many positive effects, flicker on the other side is something we do not want to experience.

In short: Flicker is a change in the brightness of electrical light. The average person won’t be able to see it with the bare eye, but long-term exposure could cause damage or cause sensitization. There seems to be the widespread misconception that flickering may be harmful or also compromise the results during your red-light session.

Some people believe that flicker can cause stress, eye strain, and headaches for example. Now, most of our everyday household lighting has (potentially) harmful rates or flicker. Now even though most of us do not notice the flicker of LED screens and lights on our devices or in our homes and offices, our brains pick up on this flicker, which can potentially cause stress. 

If you’re curious about the topic of flicker we’ve written a whole article about it a while back. (19,20,21,22)

Conclusion

To summarize; our bodies use specific frequencies to steer what we do, feel, think and they define the way we behave or react – but also help us regenerate while we sleep or rest. These frequencies are called brain waves, and they range from low to high.

Applying Near-Infrared light at a pulsating setting has scientifically shown to increase brain behavior and support it in its daily functions:
– clearance of brain fog

– improved ability to stay focussed

– improved ability to concentrate
– overall improved cognitive functions

– support in regeneration

Pulsing however is not to be confused with Flicker, which is believed to have negative effects on our eyes and cause headaches when exposed to it. Our newest addition to the Luminousred product line, the Luminousred Essential, now offers this very specific pulsing feature at the very specific frequency of 10 Hz, which has scientifically shown to be the optimal pulsing-rate. If you’re curious, you can get it here.
We hope you enjoyed this article and could learn something new!



Sources:

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7954620/
2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390875/

3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933784/
4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5523874/
5) https://www.redlighttherapydigest.com/red-light-therapy-for-brain

6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933784/
7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5523874/
8) https://www.redlighttherapydigest.com/red-light-therapy-for-brain

9) https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/13/well/mind/brain-fog-treatment.html

10) https://www.verywellhealth.com/brain-fog-8363295

11) https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-covid-19-brain-fog-and-how-can-you-clear-it-2021030822076

12)https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/more-about/fibro-fog

13) Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A. Vitamins and minerals for energy, fatigue and cognition: A narrative review of the biochemical and clinical evidence. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):228. doi:10.3390/nu12010228

14) Zajac IT, Barnes M, Cavuoto P, Wittert G, Noakes M. The effects of vitamin D-enriched mushrooms and vitamin D3 on cognitive performance and mood in healthy elderly adults: A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3847. doi:10.3390/nu12123847

15) https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/pho.2018.4489
16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7954620/
17)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390875/
18) https://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/13/7/1490

19) https://luminousred.com/flicker-facts-or-misconceptions/

20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7990011/

21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4707222/22)https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/08/09/1026207499/new-treatments-look-for-ways-to-protect-the-brain-from-alzheimers

Disclaimer:
This blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, illness or health issue.

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