SAD lights, PBM & Circadian Light: What You Need to Know

PBM used to only be available in medical offices and salons, but today LED light therapy devices are more accessible and affordable, even from the comfort of home. This includes hand-held, full-body, and transportable devices to meet your personal needs. 
There are many ways to measure a light therapy device’s effectiveness. The best way is by how you feel when you use it, or the changes to your body you can measure. Measuring your Nitric Oxide/NO2 levels before and after use is an easy and inexpensive way to see the impact at a molecular level. But that means you must already own one. When you’re shopping, you’ll discover that there isn’t a standard way to compare your options. 

You may see the “power” of a device listed, which seems like it could be a standard. However, it’s not as simple as measuring the power and ranking one with another. It’s important to take into consideration how many wavelengths the device uses, energy density, and the distance from the body that the “power” is measured. 

The energy density, also known as the irradiance, that a light therapy device puts out is important. A high-power unit can make a device work faster, but more heat doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more effective near/on the skin. In fact, PBM has a biphasic dose-responsive curve, meaning that using too much light can have negative effects and may even do nothing for you. 

When a device is moved away from the skins surface, the power ratio goes down, so the irradiance is lower at that distance. A device may have a mid-range power, so it can be comfortably used next to the skin for longer periods of time. 

Note: The majority of TrueLight® LED light therapy devices fall into the ideal range of 10mw/cm2 when used at 4” to 6” away(6). The one exception here is the new TrueLight Luna Red Baton Rouge, which has a higher intensity because it covers a smaller surface area, and its timer is set to stay on for just three minutes at a time compared to larger devices which require 20-30 minutes of use. 
Offhand, you only need 20-30 minutes each day to see the benefits of PBM. The key here is to be consistent about using your device – which could be anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months, depending on what you’re trying to heal.

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