Mitochondria (Cellular Energy Batteries) Enhancement with Red Light and Near-Infrared (NIR) Light Therapy

Light therapy is as old as the sun. Human beings thrived and grew due to exposure to the full light spectrum of the sun. Today we limit our time in the sun so we are not overexposed to ultraviolet rays and their damaging effects. But a daily 20 to 30 minutes of direct light and sun exposure will increase health and energy due to the benefits of visible white light and infrared rays. One literally receives thousands to millions of light energy units known as joules. As a therapy away from the sun modern technology has learned to harness visible red light and invisible near-infrared light to penetrate the skin’s surface and enact healing to both organs and skin, including the brain.

Light and Personal Energy Production

As the light hits your skin at an appropriate enough intensity several metabolic events take place in the cell’s batteries, ancient bacteria known as mitochondria, that stimulate the production of energy currency, known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The food you eat combines with the oxygen you have taken in to produce ATP and the stimulation from light adds to this process. This energy unit, which is essentially light, is behind every function in your body from keeping you healthy and rejuvenating to having energy for social engagement and all of life’s events. When this is compromised our system still functions but poorly, much like an economy in recession – we see systems functioning but well below par, knowing we never feel so good but can’t understand why. Eventually ill health is an outcome. This is worsened due to reduced time in the sun, an overload of sunscreen on the skin when in the sun, and for many most of the day is spent indoors under artificial light – primarily only blue light, which deprives our cells even further.

Light Therapy

Light therapy is essential for our modern lifestyle, one that limits our time outdoors and even warns against direct sun exposure. Your cells want and need good light from the full spectrum. As a result you can produce more energy. The process is self-reinforcing. Light therapy has been studied through intensive scientific research over the past 40 years, specifically under an area known as low level laser therapy, or nowadays referred to as photobiomodulation. It is understood that the targeted wavelength of the red light spectrum, 630 to 660 nm, can penetrate the skin 8-10 millimeters, working from the inside-out to enhance mitochondrial function and thus benefit the skin. It has been noted in research that 660nm wavelength is closest to the resonant frequency of cell tissue and can subsequently be absorbed better in the hemoglobin, the carrier of oxygen in red blood cells. Near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths that function at the 850 or 880nm level have been shown to penetrate far deeper beneath the skin to tissue and bone. Based on research at NASA, NIR emitted through color specific LED bulbs operate by activating color sensitive chemicals in body tissues. This in turn stimulates the cell’s mitochondria.

Red and NIR, Skin and Organs

The combination of red light, which offers healing to the skin, and NIR, as healing to deeper organs, means a light therapy that improves our energy and healing, upgrades our health, enhances how the brain works because its energy workload is freed up and it can achieve higher grade energy production.

Health Benefits

Research study programs reveal health benefits that include enhanced blood circulation, anti-inflammatory effects, increased muscle recovery, improved skin tone and glow, reduced wrinkles and scars, improved wound healing, pain reduction, lymphatic flow boost, increased cellular growth, and even enhanced fertility and increased testosterone. A reduction of inflammation on both the skin and inner organs improves health and aids the reduction of inflammation in the brain to improve brain function.

How to Apply It

Take any opportunity you have to spend time outside in good, natural light. This is especially beneficial at the start of the day. One of the best ways to handle jet lag is to get up at dawn on your first wake up day in your new time zone and be outside, under the light looking towards the sun, whether cloudy or clear skies. Also take any opportunity to walk to work, school or the stores, and sit outside for lunch.

SOURCE: Samahita Retreat

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Red Light Therapy: Recovery & Athletic Performance

Light therapy has been used for years to treat an array of medical conditions and diseases, from skin conditions like psoriasis to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression1,2, and most of these studies have focused on broad-spectrum and UV light – the “shortest” types of light waves. But it’s only been more recently that scientists have begun studying the effects of light waves at the other end of the spectrum – red and near infrared (NIR) waves. Like UV waves, red and near infrared waves can penetrate the skin – triggering chemical and other physiological actions deep inside the tissues. And now, medical researchers are beginning to realize how important those mechanisms can be in promoting good health – specifically for the repair of damaged tissues.

Several medical studies have evaluated the effects of red and near infrared light on conditions like multiple sclerosis and specific types of blindness – once thought to be irreversible – and found that application of measured doses of red and NIR acted to heal damaged tissues and restore cellular function. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now, researchers have found that both red and infrared light can also help repair muscle tissue in athletes, helping them train and build muscle tissue more efficiently and compete more effectively. Light therapy has the additional benefit of being effective without the use of potentially harmful drugs. But how does it work?

Light Therapy Fuels Your Muscle Tissue

We all know we need sunlight to stay healthy. Plenty of studies have underscored the role of sunlight in the production of vitamin D, and even back in the first century A.D., Roman scholar and naturalist Pliny the Elder extolled sunlight as “the greatest remedy.” But despite the sun’s longtime reputation as a natural healer, it’s taken us thousands of years to figure out how the sun promotes healing responses in the body – particularly in the muscles. It all starts deep in the cells where tiny structures called mitochondria take in nutrients, process them, and convert them to an energy source that the cells can use to function and repair themselves. Different types of cells have different energy requirements, and that means they contain different numbers of mitochondria. In the case of muscle tissue, which has high energy demands, mitochondria abound. In fact, it’s those high levels of mitochondria inside the muscle tissue that makes red and NIR light therapy so effective in promoting muscle health.

Red and Near Infrared Light Prevent Muscle Fatigue

One of the primary ways light therapy helps promote better muscle health and function is by preventing or limiting muscle fatigue, which naturally occurs as a result of physical activity – especially strenuous exercise and training. In fact, research shows red and infrared light therapy is effective in preventing muscle fatigue and enhancing skeletal muscle performance.3

So how does light therapy reduce muscle fatigue and repair cells? At the most basic level, red and NIR light therapy improve the mitochondria respiration cycle and help mitochondria produce energy more efficiently – and that means muscles are less likely to suffer from fatigue. That’s it in a nutshell, but of course, the physiologic mechanisms behind all these benefits is a lot more complex. For instance, application of red and near infrared light helps promote production of antioxidants which play a central role in reducing oxidative stress associated with muscle fatigue. And they also increase the production of heat proteins – special proteins that help protect cells from stress and early cell death (apoptosis).4,5 Plus, light therapy helps reduce inflammation that can lead to cell damage.6,7,8 Some studies have shown an increase in microcirculation following light therapy, indicating tissues are more able to receive oxygen and other nutrients important for tissue healing – in addition to ridding themselves of toxic byproducts.9

Light Therapy Enhances Muscle Growth

Muscle function and repair are important for improving strength and endurance and reducing fatigue and soreness following workouts and physical activity. But the benefits of red and NIR light therapy don’t stop there. Research shows application of light therapy also promotes the growth of healthy muscle tissue, or muscle hypertrophy, naturally increasing muscle size and bulk – as well as strength.10,11 In fact, one study comparing muscle growth and strength between two groups of athletes – one using light therapy combined with exercise and one using exercise alone – found muscle thickness and strength were significantly improved in those who used light therapy, and results were clearly measurable using ultrasound imaging and isokinetic dynamometry (Figure A).12

The Long-Term Benefits of Light Therapy

In addition to increases in muscle repair, strength & size, and decreases in muscle fatigue – light therapy also offers long-term benefits for future muscle health and development by targeting muscle stem cells called myosatellite cells. Like other types of stem cells, muscle stem cells remain in an undifferentiated state until activated, at which point they develop into specific types of muscle cells. Just as mitochondria produce energy muscle cells need for optimal function and repair, they also help regulate muscle stem cell activation and differentiation – essentially guiding stem cells into their final form as healthy muscle tissue. Since light therapy enhances mitochondrial action, it may also play an important role in stimulating the growth of new muscle cells and tissue used to “speed up” the repair process following muscle injury or fatigue –  improving overall muscle health and function in the long run.

Conclusion: Light Therapy Works

Red and near infrared light therapy shows amazing promise as a drug-free treatment to enhance and improve muscle function, strength, and performance – as well as improving muscle size and bulk to help athletes of all levels train and compete better. And, the natural healing mechanisms stimulated by light therapy can help athletes heal more quickly following injury while also preventing muscle fatigue and soreness that can interfere with both training and competitive performance. Plus, light therapy can be performed in a professional setting or at home, making it extremely accessible. But as noted before, wavelength and intensity are incredibly imperative when it comes to light therapy.  Make sure you choose a device that delivers red or near infrared light with the correct wavelength along with an optimal amount of power.

For athletes of all backgrounds – from pros to students to “weekend warriors” – light therapy is a scientifically-backed approach that can have significant and long-lasting benefits.


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Four Odd Ways to Improve Digestion that I Doubt You've Tried

Four Odd Ways to Improve Digestion that I Doubt You've Tried

By Jen Broyles, Blogger

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “all disease begins the gut”. This statement is very accurate,and I’m certainly not going to argue with it. If your gut isn’t in optimal shape, then your immune system and your health will suffer.

However, sometimes we have to look beyond the gut to help fix the problem. The gut is connected to every other system and organ in the body in some way. What happens in the gut can affect your skin, hormones, brain, etc.

Often times, the reverse is true too; especially when we’re talking about the brain. The brain and the gut are incredibly linked. In fact, the gut has it’s own nervous system and is considered the second brain.

In order for your digestive system to function properly, it has to communicate with a properly functioning brain. The health of your brain affects your digestive system, and the health of your gut impacts your brain.

So, if you’ve been struggling with digestive problems like IBS and haven’t seen any improvement with diet or supplements, then you may want to consider the health of your brain; specifically, a very important nerve call the vagus nerve.

I recently read the book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working, by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, and he spends a lot of time talking about the function of the vagus nerve. I highly reading his book; it’s fantastic and full of wonderful information.

Vagus nerve coordinates communication between the brain and the gut.

Your brain stem contains a group of nerve bundles called the vagal nuclei, which branch out into the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve then branches out from your brainstem to your intestines.

As previously mentioned, your gut has it’s own nervous system called the enteric nervous system, and your brain communicates with the enteric nervous system through the vagus nerve.

It does this by activating the vagus nerve and the vagus nerve then activates the enteric nervous system. Your enteric nervous system then stimulates motility in the intestinal tract.

When your vagus nerve is working properly, you have good bowel movements, good enzyme production and overall good digestion.

When your brain function suffers due to degeneration and inflammation, output through the brainstem lowers. This decreases the firing rate of the vagus nerve, which can cause poor digestion, constipation, and food intolerances.

Does this sound like you?

Lack of sufficient output through the brainstem can impair the vagus nerve, which can result in poor digestive motility and constipation.

Many symptoms can occur when the vagus nerve is not functioning efficiently due to poor brain function.

As the gut-brain axis loses efficiency in communication, the vagus nerve loses the ability to activate the release of stomach acid, which helps digest protein.

Therefore, you may notice you can no longer digest protein like meat and eggs without feeling like you have a brick in your stomach. Or you may develop acid reflux. Both conditions are a sign of low stomach acid production.

If your gut-brain communication is poor, then you may experience poor enzyme and bile production. These functions are needed to digest fiber, starches, and fats. At this point, you may experience the inability to digest fiber-rich foods or fatty foods.

An impaired vagus nerve also leads to leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. Other consequences of impaired vagal function include bacterial and yeast overgrowth.

If any of this sounds like you, then you may have poor vagus nerve function. You can actually strengthen your vagus nerve by performing a few different exercises.

Neurons are like muscles. They need constant stimulation to be healthy. So, there are exercises you can do to make it stronger. Vagal exercises are easy to perform at home.

Try These 4 Techniques to Improve Vagus Nerve Function


One exercise is to gargle with water several times a day. The vagus nerve activates the muscles in the back of your throat that allow you to gargle. Gargling contracts these muscles, activating the vagus nerve and stimulating the GI tract.

Be sure to gargle long and deep enough to make it challenging.

Sing Loudly

This can be a lot of fun. You can do this at home or in the car. If you’re like me, it’s probably best  to do it when you’re alone, so you don’t annoy those around you. (I was not blessed with a nice singing voice.)

Singing loudly works the muscles in the back of the throat to activate the vagus nerve.


This one may seem strange and even dangerous, but hear me out. You basically just want to stimulate the gag reflex, but don’t hurt yourself. You can purchase a box of tongue blades or use a spoon. Just lay it on the back of your tongue and push down to stimulate the gag reflex.

Gag reflexes are like doing push ups for the vagus nerve while gargling and singing are like doing sprints.

You will need to do these exercises consistently for several weeks to produce change.

Coffee Enema

If you are having significant difficulty with regular bowel movements, then you may try coffee enemas. Dr. Kahrrazian suggests doing them daily, but you could try weekly or whatever is comfortable for you.

Distending the intestines with an enema activates the vagus nerve. Additionally, the caffeine in the coffee stimulates intestinal motility. Many people notice their bowel movements improve over time, and they can start weaning off the enemas.

So, now that you have a few easy techniques to try, start incorporating them into your daily routine. Gargle as you sip your water throughout the day. Sing out loud in the car. Do a couple of gag reflexes before bed.

Over time, you may notice that your digestion is improving.



Why Isn’t My Brain Working, Dr. Datis Kharrazian



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