Natureneering: Benefits of Light

08/06/2019

It’s inevitable that most of us in today’s active workforce spend more than half of our waking hours at work.  Whether you are working from a home office or sitting in a corporate cubicle, long hours and stressful deadlines can lead to sedentary behavior, unhealthy posture, and seclusion from a natural habitat our bodies were born to thrive in.  

Depriving our bodies from light can have several adverse effects.  It is ideal to get natural light during the day.  According to a 2013 study from Northwestern University, people with windows in their offices get better sleep and are more physically active than those without. Fitness Genome strongly advocates our connection to Nature and offers modalities to supplement critical areas where we may be deficient. Try to schedule a 20 minute walk break during your work day, or plan a meeting in a conference room that has natural light.

A great way to ‘hack’ our busy lives is to Natureneer our need for light.  Prime example of Natureneering to harness the power of light specifically within the red light spectrum is Photobiomodulation/PBM.  The red light used at Fitness Genome is the most evolved iteration available in the Aspen Theralight 360.  The Theralight possesses an average irradiance of 80 millivolts/inch - four times the irradiance of the previously regarded gold standard within PBM devices.  Theralight provides exposure equal to what one would absorb being out in the sun for two plus hours in just 10 minutes.

PBM provides countless benefits including reducing oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress has been proven to be an underlying trigger in most disease and degeneration and a component in the inflammatory phase of acute and chronic conditions.  PBM promotes regeneration, reduces inflammation and pain and is non-toxic and has no side effects.  

Let's drill deeper into PBM’s effects on the body.  The body has 11 systems, each system made up of organs and organs made up of cells.  There are over 37 trillion cells each individually programmed to perform specific functions thousands of times daily.  Each cell has one thing in common = mitochondria.  Each cell has hundreds to thousands of mitochondria taking the food we eat and the air we breathe to produce over 10 million ATP molecules a day.

This ATP production takes place in an orderly manner called the electron transport chain.  In the last step of this chain is an enzyme called cytochrome C oxidase where oxygen attaches and ATP is produced.  It is the receptor site for the oxygen we breathe.  GIven that things are working well. 

Cytochrome C oxidase is the absorption site for our cells and displaces free radicals and allows oxygen to rush back in and resume the process of producing atp or cell energy.    Our cells respond to light then these free radicals are then reabsorbed into local blood vessels leading to local vasodilation.  Together these steps lead to reduced stress on cells and remove the cause of oxidative stress triggering a cascade of events that produce repair, reducing oxidative stress, increasing circulation, increasing energy production and triggering repair all at the cellular level makes it beneficial to overall health. Over 4000 clinical studies attest to these benefits.  

Further, to mitigate the damage caused by exercise, nutritional imbalances, lack of oxygen, digestion issues, chemicals, infectious agents and biological imbalances can cause free radicals to bind to cytochrome C oxidase and force out the oxygen molecule hampering the cell’s ability to produce atp.  Leaving us without enough gas to run our engines.  Our cells can naturally neutralize these free radicals with rest and antioxidants from our diet.  When free radical production exceeds our ability to neutralize them we can’t produce enough atp and triggers production of an even more damaging free radical called Reactive Oxygen Species.  ROS accelerate the aging process, cause gene transcription errors leading to cancer, is an underlying trigger for most disease and neurodegeneration, autoimmune disease and many more.

Additional benefits beyond ATP production and neutralizing ROS include faster healing for injuries and muscle damage  healthier and younger looking skin, enhanced wound healing through increasing collagen/long chain amino acid that makes up 70% of protein in skin and elastin.   

Some argue that ATP production is a short term phenomena given that we make so much of it daily.  Beyond ATP production looking at PBM, it’s worth considering that many of PBM’s effects are long-term once a plateau of exposure is attained.  One of these effects being the activation of signaling pathways that positively alter gene transcription and ultimately gene expression - a topic we will explore further in the coming weeks.  

Until then consider taking advantage of a major leap in technology in the Aspen Theralight 360.