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Red Light & Photobiomodulation with Sarah Turner
Episode 5228th December 2023 • Biohacker's Podcast • Biohacker's Podcast
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In this episode, Sarah Turner joins Teemu Arina to discuss every aspect of Red Light therapy and Photobiomodulation. They cover the effects of different wavelengths of light and recommended types of devices for different treatments and use cases.

Sarah Turner has a postgraduate degree in Clinical Neuroscience from Roehampton University in London. She also holds BSc degrees in Psychological Sciences and Nutritional Medicine from Westminster University and Thames Valley University, respectively. Currently, she is pursuing a diploma in Photobiomodulation at the University of Montpellier in France. During the initial decade of her career, Sarah worked as a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry. Her role involved planning and conducting experiments to examine the impact of electrostatics on physiology.

Sarah actively participates in the Biohacker movement and has had the opportunity to interview prominent thought leaders, visionaries, and experts in the field of Biohacking. Through these interactions, she has gained a deep understanding of the crucial role of physics in relation to biology. This has ignited her interest in the areas of quantum biology in health, photomedicine, and consciousness studies. Sarah's primary focus lies in photobiomodulation, which involves utilizing specific light wavelengths and pulsed frequencies to enhance optimal functioning, with a specific emphasis on brain-related issues. As the Co-Founder and CEO of CeraThrive, she spearheads the production of a red light therapy system that specifically targets the gut-brain connection.

Learn more about Sarah and CeraThrive at https://www.cerathrive.com

This conversation was recorded in November 2023.


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Key moments and takeaways:


00:00 Introduction by Teemu Arina

01:00 Sarah's background

02:40 What contributed to the popularity of photobiomodulation?

04:09 Targeted effects of red and near-infrared light

07:14 The method formerly known as LLLT and PPM

08:35 Activation of cytochrome c oxidase

09:31 Increased blood flow

10:31 Collagen production

11:17 Headaches

11:51 Sleep and glymphatic drainage

12:45 Improving one system benefits another

14:33 Stimulating different organs

16:22 The body is always trying to return to homeostasis

20:15 Red light will not produce a tan

22:51 Mitochondria retransmit light

23:56 We are beings of light

25:33 Sarah's favourite applications of photobiomodulation

27:58 Targeting the gut to reach the brain

30:40 Degenerative diseases

32:30 Mental health issues

34:09 The skull: skin and brain

36:47 Mouth bacteria management with Lumoral

37:56 Red light as a non-invasive method of treatment

41:37 Different types of red light devices

43:26 It's difficult to overdose red light

44:13 How to best treat joint pain

45:58 Influencers are misrepresenting the use of devices

46:34 When to choose red vs. near-infrared light

47:31 Be careful with red light on your genitals

49:52 Your body (and common sense) will tell you if you're doing it wrong

50:36 Reproductive health

51:20 Red light therapy for race horses and farm animals

53:07 Wake-up lights vs. red light during the winter

54:43 Where to find out more about Sarah's device

Transcripts

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Music.

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Welcome to the Biohacker's Podcast. My name is Teemu Arina and today I am talking

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to Sarah Turner about photobiomodulation, red light,

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all the different health being performance benefits that come from using red

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light, or near-infrared light.

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I got to know Sarah already I would say almost a decade ago and she's been always

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into light and frequency and for the last years a few few different companies.

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She's been working on photobiomodulation.

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So she's definitely a super enthusiastic top expert on this topic.

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So I'm very glad I had the opportunity to catch up with you on this topic.

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Welcome to the show. Thank you, Teemu. It's great to be on. And yeah,

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it's been a while. So looking forward to this chat.

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Great. So give us a little bit of a background on yourself so our listeners

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can navigate where you come from. Sure.

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So I have been in this kind kind of biohacking world for a while,

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but I started out actually as a pharmaceutical chemist.

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And I spent the first part of my career actually working for GlaxoSmithKline

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in their inhaled products, looking mainly at things like drug deposition in

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the lungs and what may affect that kind of deposition and to work out ways to improve drug delivery.

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So actually that was my start into thinking more holistically about the body

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because one of the main things that changes Dangerous deposition in the lungs

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actually is static charge.

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And that was something that I was investigating from the point of view of drug

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delivery through devices.

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But it quickly got me thinking about how you could more effectively change what's

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going on in the body and then need less of the drug or potentially not need the drug at all.

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So that's really how I started to get involved in it. Then it was called alternative health.

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Now that's morphed into biohacking. But I moved to California actually and got

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involved in structured water science and all all of that whole thing.

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And I very quickly started to think about the brain because my qualifications

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actually are neuroscience.

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So although I was looking at how light structures water, I soon started to think

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about, okay, if it structures water, how does that affect the brain?

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And of course, there is a whole world of people who were already studying that.

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So that was my kind of into photobiomodulation specifically for a brain function.

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And when I trace back the whole history of biohacking, there's different trends

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that I would say a decade ago.

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Blood blocking was a big thing. But I wouldn't say red light was yet a huge

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thing, but it has definitely grown into one in the last few years.

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Is there any specific studies or outcomes that have contributed to the increased

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interest in photobiomodulation specifically?

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Yeah, you're right. I think it's exploding right now. And maybe it did start

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off by people looking more structured water, because that was something when

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Jerry Pollack came out with his book, that people started to take notice of.

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And specifically, that was how light is affecting biology.

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And I think from there, people have extrapolated to this kind of amazing world

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of photobiomodulation.

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But I think also on the brain side, there are a lot of studies that are now coming to light.

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There's some really interesting research that's being done in Australia looking at the microbiome.

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Of course, Hamblin put out a brilliant paper called Shining Light Onto the the head.

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And that stoked a lot of interest in brain photobiomodulation.

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But yeah, I think red light generally, just because it works.

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I think people have been using it for a number of years, and it's been a bit

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word of mouth, especially for things like pain, wound healing, joint issues.

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So I think that's really why red light is starting to become talked about a

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lot more now, mainly because it works and people are getting relief.

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Yeah, I remember this Finnish guy, His name is Vladimir Heiskanen.

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He's been tracking basically all the research that comes out in photobiomodulation for a decade.

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And last time I checked, he had four and a half thousand different references

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on his database or something like this.

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And he has actually published since several reviews also on photobiomodulation.

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But there is a spreadsheet somewhere online which has all these different targeted effects of...

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Red light and near infrared light. And clinically, it has been used definitely

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in the treatment of diabetic patients, for example, wounds that don't heal.

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So the wound healing effects have been known for quite some time.

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And there's some interesting systemic effects that seem to point to yet undiscovered

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or not fully understood mechanism how the systemic effect happens.

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So when you shine the light, let's say, in the artery, which might heal faster

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on the other side of the body.

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And what is interesting is that although the mechanism of red light and near-infrared

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light has been defined as activation

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of cytochrome C oxidase in the mitochondria and production of ATP.

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Red blood cells don't have mitochondria, so it can't be attributed to this mechanism.

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So there's something else going on.

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So why don't you guide us into the basic mechanics or mechanisms of of red light

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therapy, and then we can maybe go into the different targeted uses in the body specifically.

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Yes. Yeah, you're right. I think there are probably multiple mechanisms that are at work.

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And we are mammals that are designed to be outside in the light.

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So it's probably no surprise that we're covered in all different kinds of light receptors.

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The most studied, I would say, of all of those is the cytochrome C oxidase,

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like you mentioned, which is within the membrane of the mitochondria.

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And that's one of the enzymes in the respiratory chain where we know that actually

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absorbs red light and in doing so sets off a cascade of reactions that leads

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to dissociation of nitric gas in favor of oxygen and a whole downstream effects

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such as production of ATP.

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Signaling molecules in reactive oxygen species and that transient release of

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nitric oxide gas, which leads to increased blood flow.

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So that's probably the mechanism that's most quoted but you're right,

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there probably are a lot of other very interesting mechanisms.

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I mentioned before that I was interested in structured water and I think

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As you get a longer wavelength of light, so light that's more in the near infrared

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than the red range above 900 nanometers, water becomes a main chromophore and

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main light absorber there.

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And then you could potentially be getting these effects of changing the structured

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water in the cell, changing protein folding, changing how proteins behave that

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are surrounded by water molecules.

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So that potentially is another mechanism.

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And yeah, you mentioned blood. Yeah, blood doesn't have the mitochondria, but it does have heme.

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Anything that has this aromatic kind of structure also potentially will resonate

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with certain light frequencies.

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So I think you're right. There is a whole plethora of mechanisms that we're

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only just starting to understand,

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but probably the most recognized and the most widely reported is this cytochrome

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C oxidase, where you're getting this production of ATP, which is energy for the body.

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And of course, the body functions a lot better when we have more energy.

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So that's probably one of the main ways that red light is having this therapeutic effect. Right.

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Photobiomodulation is also formerly known as low-level laser therapy.

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So why is that? Why LLLT and PPM?

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Yeah, it's a bit of a mouthful. I think just historically, it was difficult.

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The main light source that was used was laser. When they first discovered this,

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a guy called Mester discovered it with looking at rodents and wound healing, actually.

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Back then, laser was what you could could get hold of.

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It's only recently that we've had affordable and efficient light sources,

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which is a light emitting diode.

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So I think initially it was called low level laser therapy or cold laser therapy,

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just to reflect that was the delivery system that we were using to deliver this therapeutic light.

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But since the invention of these double-stacker LEDs and highly efficient light

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sources, they've now changed the name to reflect that.

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A group has got together and decided on photobiomodulation as the umbrella term,

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as it's more descriptive, photo as in light, bio as in biology,

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and to modulate or change something.

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So now that encompasses LED or LED therapy and the laser therapy.

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So really, it's just a word to bring things up to date and

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bring into the fold new ways of delivering the

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light new delivery systems right yeah

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another interesting thing to mention about that

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you mentioned on the effects so one

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of them is the activation of cytochrome c oxidase

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that is basically those chromophores that

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absorb this specific wavelength of light and

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this longer wavelength of light that dominates when the sun goes down

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so when you look at the typical panel it usually has

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something like 560 nanometers which is

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red light and then going above 800 nanometers which is infrared light near infrared

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light and if someone is like thinking about the infrared sauna here far infrared

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is in the thousands of nanometers so all those wavelengths have like slightly

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different effects and it has been argued or argumented that.

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When the sun goes down, with this wavelength of light, it is sending a signal

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to biological organisms to start the processes of healing and recovery.

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And that's what we are abusing here when you use red light therapies to trigger

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the body's innate healing potential.

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Now, the nitric oxide thing is also interesting.

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Increased blood flow. So if you have, let's say, some injury in some area,

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you can increase blood flow in that specific area.

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In addition to triggering this production of cellular energy and proliferation

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of anti-inflammatory cytokines as well.

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So there's this anti-inflammatory and analgistic effect when using photobiomodulation.

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And there's also a lymphatic component to this as well.

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So there's enhancement of nutrient supply and oxygen delivery,

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and that facilitates the removal of waste products.

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So the stimulation of not just the cardiovascular system, but the lymphatic

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system, I think is very interesting for the biomodulation specifically.

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And the anti-inflammatory cytokines then point to effects on modulating the immune system as well.

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That might help in the management of autoimmune conditions where there might

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be elevated inflammatory cytokines in the body.

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And then there's the tissue repair functionality.

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It has been shown that photobiomodulation can increase collagen production.

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Personally, I noticed supplementing on collagen every morning and then doing.

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Photobiomodulation that I used to have some scar tissue from burns,

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and they just got a lot better over time by repeated daily exposure to photobiomodulation

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and simultaneous administration of collagen peptides.

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And yeah, so that's an interesting thing. And then there's the neurological

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aspects, the effects on nerve cells, the support of nerve regeneration.

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And also, I would say with red light, the effects on reducing neuropathic pain.

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Basically, if I have back pain or any kind of joint pain or anything,

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it just goes away after 20-30 minutes of administration with photobiometrialization.

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It's the same for headaches.

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I've noticed if I have a headache, it might be blood flow, so a constricted

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blood flow that you can help.

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But I just feel feel neurologically like less brain

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fog so can you like based on what i just described talk a

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little bit about them functional effects on the body

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i would say on these wavelengths of light and happening there

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yeah and it's interesting you mentioned all those different systems in

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the body because you're right there is this kind of systemic effect

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or very holistic effect where of course all the systems are influencing all

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the other systems and when you're talking about the lymph system also with regards

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to the brain there's the glymphatic system and that's something think where

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there's some interesting research coming out specifically for sleep and brain function.

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That when you're using these red light, it stimulates that glymphatic drainage,

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which is actually the fluid that's going into the brain.

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And it seems to be something that where you have these kind of waves or pulsing

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of the glymphatic system,

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which flushes over the brain a few times during the night, and potentially that's

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what's washing away any misfolded proteins or any toxins that have accumulated.

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So again, it's very interesting to see this interconnectedness of the body with

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all the different symptoms.

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The glymphatic drainage system, along with the lymph system,

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the kind of the gut nervous system, the enteric nervous system, and the nervous system.

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I think that's the most interesting thing about red light therapy is that it

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seems to work on a lot of systems at once.

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And of course, when you improve the functionality of one system,

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you improve the functionality of another system.

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Something that I've really started to get interested in the last year is the

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effect of of red light on the microbiome.

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And there's a whole new field of study coming out of that called photobiomics,

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where researchers are actually looking at if you shine light onto the abdomen,

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can you actually change the composition of the microbiome, which of course is

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a huge topic right now with regards to any kind of long-term illness that's

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been connected to some kind of microbiome dysbiosis.

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And I'm not actually sure in human subjects whether you're actually directly

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targeting the microbiome or you're just changing the integrity of the gut,

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blood flow or the rest of it so you're making a better environment.

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But certainly on animal studies, mouse models and rodent models,

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they've shown very conclusively that you can actually change the profile of

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a microbiome to a more harmonious microbiome or a more what would be seen as

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a healthy gut profile just by using red light on this area.

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So to me, there's some really interesting research coming out now about different

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systems in the body and how you can target different systems to have a knock-on

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effect on other systems.

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So, for example, targeting the gut to treat the brain is a good one,

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or targeting the heart for the brain, or targeting the lungs for the gut.

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There's all of these different ways of thinking about the body where you're

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not just taking that more pharmaceutical approach of just having one treatment for one symptom.

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What you're doing is you're optimising all the systems in the body,

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hopefully, then you're bringing the general wellness up so that.

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The body can heal itself. So yeah, I think that is a hugely exciting thing about

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red light therapy, actually, the way that you can treat different systems and

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that in itself has this kind of holistic healing effect.

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Yeah. And talking about different organs, the thymus, for example,

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or the thyroid, those can be stimulated.

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So it's often described as stimulating a specific organ.

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But personally, I've noticed if I have any kind of traveler's diarrhea or any

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kind of gut issues, I ate something that was not good.

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I bounce back much more quickly by using red light therapy.

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It also helps with the pain modulation. So that goes away.

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So I guess it's somehow like helping the body to fight whatever it's going through

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in terms of inflammation and recovery.

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It just speeds it up. So if you think of wound healing, it might speed up wound healing by 2x.

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So your wounds heal two times faster.

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So if you think of phlegm and gout tissues, it can also help get out of that vicious.

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Cycle in a sense and if you have any kind of like chronic

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autoimmune conditions or so on so i

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personally have noticed like with some more chronic issues you

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give your body the ability to get out of that loop where

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it's not able to restore normal function necessarily so it might be like just

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the right tool to tip it to the right direction so i've seen people with rheumatoid

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arthritis for example get a lot better with that where the body is normally

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like constantly fighting condition when you combine that with other modalities that would help,

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let's say, anti-inflammatory compounds.

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Anything from curcumin, EZM-9-5, for example.

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Of course, changing diet in such a way that you don't stimulate the oteymo condition

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through the gut too much and you help the gut to heal some of these symptoms.

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Even in addition to rheumatism, there might be skin rashes, psoriasis,

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like a lot of different conditions can improve.

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And there's definitely studies on this, but it's very interesting.

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Yeah. You want to talk a little bit about the different organs and all that?

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Sure. I think that the body is always trying to return to homeostasis, right? So the body is.

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That's where it wants to be. And that's what it's trying to do.

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Even when you're getting all of these weird symptoms in a way,

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it's just the body trying to compensate for something that's missing or trying

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to work around some toxin or some injury.

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So the body always wants to get to that homeostasis.

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And so when you're shining this light onto wherever your target is,

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you're just helping the body to get there.

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But for sure, I think there is a lot of studies. We

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mentioned that database earlier where there's thousands

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and thousands of study and you can look at anything that you

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want to look at bone or like you say heart tissue

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thymus whatever it is and there are a lot of studies that's done on that because

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really we're giving the body energy we're giving the body blood flow we're signaling

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to the cellular dna what's going on in the mitochondria so your body can make

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the adjustments so really wherever you're putting the light you're having this effect.

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Things like using long bones to stimulate stem cells or adipose tissue to stimulate stem cells.

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What you're doing, again, is just giving the body the tools that it needs for self-healing.

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So I've also seen people use the light for all kinds of different things.

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Personally, I think stomach issues respond the most rapidly and seem to get the most effect.

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And maybe that is because you have this kind of combined effect of

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increasing blood flow energy and reducing the inflammation and

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because the gut is an easy target because we're fairly transparent and near

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infrared light actually but it obviously depends on the delivery system how

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deep into the body the light can go if you're some of the deeper organs maybe

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you're getting more of an effect

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of improving the environment rather than actually stimulating the tissue.

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But those things that are nearer to the surface, the gut, like you mentioned,

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the thymus, those places you can maybe stimulate more directly and potentially

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have a quicker effect there.

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So yeah, I think really whatever organ you're targeting, whether you're actually

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having a knock-on effect by making more blood flow, making more energy,

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or whether you're actually stimulating the organ, which again,

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extremely possible, that's what you're doing.

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You're letting the body get to its own homeostasis quicker than it would before.

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And of course, anything that you're doing to improve that grounding,

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eating good food, all the good biohacks, it's just preparing the body and giving

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yourself more chance to get there a lot quicker.

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And it's interesting, actually, with some of the compounds you mentioned,

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things like turmeric, things that are very brightly coloured are probably light activated too.

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Their structure is going to resonate with the light to some degree.

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And I think, again, this is probably research that's for the future.

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We haven't quite got there yet, but soon we'll work out how to activate certain

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supplements and compounds with certain wavelengths of light to increase the

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efficacy of those compounds.

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So, yeah, for sure. We're just giving the body the tools it needs to do its thing.

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And there's, of course, there's this dose response curve that like too little,

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there's not much effect and too much, there might be a reverse effect, a detrimental effect.

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So with photobiomodulation, it's all about the power of the LEDs,

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distance, and then the duration.

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Personally, how I use that, if I put it like right on the skin,

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going for a joint, for example, infrared light goes, near infrared goes deeper than red light alone.

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But so if you want to really target a joint, then I go close to the joint and

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then it might be just like five to 10 minutes, maybe 15 maximum is just a good dose.

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While if I'm lying down or under

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red light device for whole body treatment

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or upper chest or whatever back and

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the distance from the lamp is let's say 10-15 centimeters then I might stay

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there for half an hour and if I increase the distance from the body then it

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goes like 45 to hour even but one should always start with these just testing

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how their body and skin and everything everything reacts to.

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That's not like harmful.

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It's not going to tan you, which is funny, like some people who have bought

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a red light device, they claim they like saw a nice tan, but maybe it's more

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like a blood flow that they notice.

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But it's quite interesting, actually, when you look at these chromophores,

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so chromophores that absorb different wavelengths of light.

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So we mentioned cytochrome C oxidase, that is about 600 to 1000 nanometers where

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it peaks off the absorption of that wavelength of light. Now,

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if you look at something like hemoglobin.

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The oxygen-carrying thing in red blood cells, that is less than 600 nanometers, about 500 to 600.

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Then plants have chlorophyll, which is like one molecule difference from the

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chlorophyll that carries oxygen in plants, which is green, in humans is red.

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With hemoglobin, it's one molecule difference.

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And then when we go into melanin, which is in the skin, the pigment that it

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actually actually absorbs mainly UV light and blue light, and it really doesn't

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absorb this red or near infrared or whatever.

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The higher the frequency, the less melanin is absorbing it.

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Then you have in the eyes, you have the retinal cells, you have also carotenoids,

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these organic pigments that are also in plants, but which are really important for eyes.

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So carotenoids are about 400, 400-500 nanometers.

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Beta-carotene, for example, is about 450 nanometers.

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Interestingly, it's the same as bilirubin, which is the bile-producing compound.

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It's about 450 nanometers or so.

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And basically what blue light does, it helps to break down bilirubin,

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products that can be more easily eliminated by the body.

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So there's this whole day-night cycle, how our eyes, our bodies,

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blood, everything is like reacting to different frequencies of light.

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And it's fascinating that there is even these flavoproteins,

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flavins, those are actually, they also peak around 450 nanometers.

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So they are important cofactors in various redox reactions in the body.

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The whole recycling energy basically is connected to different wavelengths of light in the body.

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It's fascinating. I mean, if you shine a flashlight on your hand,

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a certain way when it's coming through, they see what light gets absorbed by the cells.

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And eventually, all of that has a biological effect, not just to regulate our

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circadian rhythms, which is another effect, of course, the intensity of different frequencies,

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day and night cycle, but it's also helping these cyclical processes in the body.

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So I find it very fascinating how it all functions.

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Probably light is being transferred into different forms of light.

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You can shine light onto the mitochondria, red and the infrared,

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and then the mitochondria is actually emitting its own light predominantly in the UV range.

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So you're transferring the wavelength of that light.

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So the body is doing all of this communication with light, with like you say,

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all the different light receivers depending on the structure and the resonance

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that's going on in the body.

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So potentially some of the effect of this light could be how we're stimulating

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further further biophotonic emission.

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It's especially interesting in the brain because that has implications for how

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our brains are actually functioning and how obviously a lot of our processes

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seem to be quicker than we would expect with the model of the body that we have at the moment.

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So this goes into that kind of quantum biology piece where we're looking at,

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okay, how are we transferring energy or how is the body actually signaling?

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Could part of that signaling actually be with light?

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So you're right, you have all these different molecules that are resonating

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at different frequencies and absorbing light, but they're also potentially putting

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out light of other frequencies.

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We are literally beings of light in that we're absorbing light and we're also

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emitting light and potentially our cells are communicating via that light.

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And certainly that's been seen in a lot of studies with bacteria.

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We know bacteria emit light and it seems like they do use that light as some form of communication.

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So I think from a point of view of looking at the quantum biology angle and

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looking at things like biophotonic emission, that again is something that's

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fairly in its infancy right now.

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Not a whole lot of funding to study things like that, but people are starting

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to get more of an idea of perhaps this is much more important than we previously thought.

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Indeed, yeah. We are definitely responding to our environment in so many different

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ways. We are biochemical.

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Bioelectrical maybe even like biophotonic entities

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and if you think about it photoreceptors just

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like cells primarily retinal cells

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have this capability of responding to light but

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there's also non-visual photoreceptors in

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the body melanopsin is a good example that photomigment that

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really is involved in the circadian rhythm and pupil

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responses and all of that and if you

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look at plants the bacteria you mentioned bacteria

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so they do have mechanisms to

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detect light and of course photosynthesis is

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an important process like thinking about our ancestors but also like signaling

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in a sense and there's probably nothing more beautiful than bioluminescence

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bioluminescent algae communicating with each other and making rituals yeah but

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let's talk talk about the practical details of photobiomodulation.

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So what are your favourite protocols or applications of photobiomodulation specifically?

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Where do you apply it and what kind of effects are you personally looking at?

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So I've been to this whole systemic thing and finding the best way to actually

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deliver light to the body to have an effect.

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So I've for the last five years really been solely focused on how to deliver

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light most effectively for brain optimisation.

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And it is actually quite difficult to get light onto the brain because although

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we are fairly transparent to near-infrared, we still have to get through bone

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and connective tissue and a lot of things to actually get to the surface of the brain.

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One of the ways is to use a longer wavelength of light for potentially a deeper penetration.

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I've been utilising not only the two main wavelengths, which is like the visible

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red and the 850 near-infrared, but also going up to 1070 nanometres. So that's interesting.

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And even then, the evidence shows that if you're you're shining light actually through the skull.

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Even if you've got quite a strong light right up against the head,

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you're still only getting between one and 3% of the photons actually getting

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to the surface of the brain.

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So I've really working on, okay, let's utilize this systemic effect a bit more

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and shine light somewhere where we know we can actually deliver a lot of photons.

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And so that's shining light onto the gut. And I think that's probably the best

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target for the brain because we don't call the gut the second brain, not for a reason.

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We We have a lot of, we have the vagus nerve there, we have stem cell production,

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we have neurotransmitters, we have the endocannabinoid system, and it's an easy window.

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You can easily expose a good proportion of the gut and you know that the light

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penetrating at least a couple of centimeters.

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So for me, that's what I've been really working on for the last five years is,

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okay, how can we develop some tech that we're targeting the brain,

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but we're not necessarily shining the light directly onto the brain solely.

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Maybe a dual device approach where you shine light onto the brain.

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And maybe modulate that with the pulse frequencies, which again is a whole other

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avenue, which is very interesting, more neuromodulation, but then actually using

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the gut as the main target for

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the brain to actually make sure you're delivering a good dose of light.

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Because all of that blood we know that's going to carry the light and we now

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know that mitochondria are free floating.

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That's a fairly recent finding that was only published in 2019,

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I believe, the fact that that we have mitochondria that can migrate around the body.

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So utilising the gut as the best target for a brain health effect.

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And so far, I've been looking at a lot of the research. I've got a few pilot studies going.

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I know Dr. Ann Lee, but in Australia, has got some really interesting data on

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Parkinson's disease using the gut as a target.

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There are some other researchers who are also looking at this,

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especially in the south of France.

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There's a group that are using a mass model of Alzheimer's and getting hugely

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increased effects when they target the gut and brain together.

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They've done studies on a mouse model where they target the brain,

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they get an effect, they target the gut, they get an effect.

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They do both together. You seem to get this much increased effect.

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There's a synergistic effect there.

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So that's really been my focus on, okay, perhaps the best way that we can deliver

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light to the brain is actually not by targeting the brain directly,

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but by targeting the gut and then maybe modulating brainwaves using pulsed light to the brain.

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So you're working with Seratribe and you have a device for doing all this.

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Can you describe how it works?

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So it's a fairly simple device where I just have a body panel.

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So the panel has the two wavelengths, the 630 and the 850, because we know there's

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not much barrier there at the gut.

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So you're getting a lot of light to the gut there.

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Delivering a fairly high dose, about 30 joules per centimetre squared,

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which is a good dose of light to the gut.

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But at the same time, a headband that has different pulsed frequencies,

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because that's an interesting thing that we know now that we can do with light,

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is we can modulate what's going on in the brain by pulsing the light,

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which really just means turning the light source off and on at a certain hertz

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rate or a certain times per second.

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And that seems to have really interesting effects, especially for some of the

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neurodegenerative conditions or for things like meditation and focus.

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So my band, it's got four different wavelengths in the headband.

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So as I said, it's got 630 and 850, but also those longer wavelengths, 940 and 1070.

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And then it has six different pulsing schedules ranging from 7.8,

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which is human resonance, right up to 100 hertz,

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which is perhaps not so perceptible to the brain in that you don't see a reflected

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change in brain but it does seem to increase altered states or meditative states.

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So that's the idea is to utilize the gut as the target using a body panel, the Sarah body panel.

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And then you target the brain with a headband that utilizes this pulsed frequency.

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And it does shine light. You are getting a little bit of light to the brain.

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And if what we were talking about before, you have these quantum effects,

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you have water effects, you have the brain producing bio photons,

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that small amount amount of photons delivered to the brain has been shown to

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have a hugely beneficial effect.

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I just want to maximize that effect by treating the gut at the same time.

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Of course, a lot of studies are done on degenerative diseases.

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That's where the holy grail, of course, is if this could help with Alzheimer's or dementia.

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So that's where a lot of studies are done. Now, it's very interesting because

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it does seem to stimulate stimulate brain-derived neurotrophic factors.

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So in neurological applications, EDNF is important because it stimulates and

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is involved in neurogenesis.

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So basically creating nerve tissue and also in neuroprotection,

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so like slowing down your degenerative diseases.

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And also in brain injury, that's one area that is also interesting is if you

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get a concussion, maybe this could help other protocols involved.

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Now, there is the glymphatic system. So the lymphatic system that extends to

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the brain is called the glymphatic system mediated through glial cells.

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So photobiomodulation does affect glial cells, just for example,

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astrocytes and microglia.

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And that might promote an anti-inflammatory response as well.

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So that kind of flushing out toxic byproducts is probably...

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Important for conducting this kind of environment where neuronal survival is objective.

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Then there is, you mentioned the pulsation.

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I remember ViaLite, for example, had, I think in Nature magazine, an article about this.

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They use like a intranasal delivery to the brain. And what happens there is

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synchronization of brainwaves.

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So just like with music, if people have heard heard about binaural beats,

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you can also use light for the brain waves to synchronize.

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So you can induce certain brainwave patterns that could be, let's say,

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related to a meditative state.

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But that might have implications also for certain brain-based conditions like

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anxiety or mental health issues or PTSD, where I believe there is a huge gut

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brain component usually involved.

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So often people who have anxiety, depression, there might be a gut component involved.

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So there has been observations on disturbance of the microbiome and gut lining

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and all of that. And when you fix that, it also helps the brain.

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I think there's a two-way communication that is key. You have to target both.

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And that's why you get this reduction of brain fog and maybe improved mood and

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all that by also fixing your gut simultaneously, not just focusing on the pain.

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So basically these symptoms related to depression and anxiety,

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there might be an inflammatory condition behind that.

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By the way, one thing that we didn't mention on the effects,

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we mentioned cytochrome C oxidase and mentioned nitric oxide,

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but we didn't talk about reactive oxygen species.

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Why reactive oxygen species are interesting is that when you have this pathway

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of reactive oxygen species activated, it also activates transcription factors like NFKB and AP1.

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And these regulate gene expression related to cell survival.

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Inflammation, and cell proliferation.

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Although it's related to oxidative damage, and then you have antioxidants that help fight that.

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But in the body, to speed up healing, you might want to actually stimulate cell

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renewal and recycling and not just inhibit that.

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There's a lot of interesting effects there.

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So if you have like a brain-derived vision, what you could potentially do.

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So basically, your favorite application is on the gut, but you also mentioned

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that on your device, you have four wavelengths.

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And basically, the red light, the shorter wavelengths that probably when applied

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on the skull is mainly on the tissue level, maybe on the skull level,

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like maybe blood flow there.

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Yeah, hair growth, like all of that is, of course, like another brain or head-related

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issue that that people want to work with.

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So that might also improve like air growth. Now that infrared light.

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Goes deeper, might reach the brain. But with this longer wavelength,

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like 1070, I would imagine it goes even deeper, so strong enough to penetrate the skull as well.

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I think even the 850 will penetrate the skull. We know that the 850 will get through.

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There have been a lot of studies on that. But I'm specifically thinking I want

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to target the water because water absorbs light when you go above 900 nanometers.

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So actually, it might be that those long waves like the 1070 doesn't actually

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penetrate a lot deeper because the water will absorb a lot before it really travels down far.

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So probably the 850, the 940 and the 1070, perhaps they penetrate to a similar

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depth considering that the longer wavelengths are going to be absorbed by the water.

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But I think from all the studies that have been done, they've only been done

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on mainly on 850 and people are seeing amazing results.

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So it's obvious that you really only need to get a small amount of photons just

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just to the surface of the brain to have an effect.

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And I think, again, that's something where more research is going to come in,

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perhaps because the brain has a lot of projections from deep in the brain to the surface.

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You're actually affecting the connectome or what's actually going on in the brain.

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Maybe even the neurons are acting as fiber optics, like wave guides for the

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light that's directing the light deeper down.

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We don't know actually right now why shining light just onto the surface of

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the brain has such profound effects for diseases like Parkinson's,

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which is due to the substantia nigra fairly deep in the brain.

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So I think just getting light onto the surface of the cortex is enough.

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We know that from studies. It's just interesting.

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We're going to find out soon enough how are we affecting deep structures.

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Is it more this systemic effect?

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Is it mitochondria? Is it the water? Is it some kind of quantum effect?

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And that's why I think this is such an exciting field to be in because there's so much left to learn.

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We really are at the early stages of the research.

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Yeah, I believe so. If we take something like optogenetics, where we might induce

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light-sensitive proteins to respond to light,

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I would imagine like with a therapy where you're putting something into the

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bloodstream that gets into the brain, across the blood-brain barrier,

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you can use then light to activate that.

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Personally, I'm using sometimes a dental device that reduces plague formation

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by targeting the bacteria specifically.

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So you have this specific compound that you gargle with and that makes only

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that specific type of autogenic bacteria light sensitive and then you use a

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device to activate basically destroy only that type of bacteria with light so

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I would imagine you could potentially treat some brain derived conditions.

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That's interesting Teemu, where do you shine the light?

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In the mouth, yeah. It's called Lumoral, this device specifically.

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It's some kind of seaweed extract that they use.

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I think it's basically like it attaches to the bacteria only,

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and then this light, which is more, I think it's more like UV.

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It looks like blue-violet-ish light, and that then destroys the bacteria.

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It's incredible what it does to plague. mouth.

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It's all gone after a treatment. And there's a lot of interesting studies behind

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that for treating gum disease and all kinds of stuff where it's very hard to

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get into the deep pockets where that bacteria is residing.

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You're able to use something like this. Yeah, it's a non-invasive methods,

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right? And they have actually, I remember reading a paper and a study published.

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It was in South America. I think it was in Brazil. They studied herpes and they

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figured out a similar way of marking that virus with light and making it photosensitive

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and then being able to destroy it.

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You can destroy the herpes virus anywhere. You don't even need to make it photosensitive.

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If you use UV light on the herpes virus, I know one of my scientific advisors,

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Professor Paul Chazot, was doing studies actually using UV light on- Yeah,

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specific way like on viruses.

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Yeah, yeah. You can just get little devices. If you've got a cold,

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because herpes, it's like Like the cold sore virus, you can actually just use

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a very pinpoint UV light.

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And things like acne, we already know things like acne, the bacteria that causes acne.

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You can use a blue light on that. You don't need to photosensitize it.

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It's just because of the way that the bacteria have different kind of cell membrane.

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You can destroy those with the blue and UV light without damaging the human

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cells. I think you can also do the same for photosensitization with certain

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types of cancer cells and a lot of things.

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So I believe there will be a lot of therapeutic agents that we will be developing

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in the next decade in a very targeted way without using a scalpel where we can

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get into the tissue and we can get rid of every single cell.

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Like if you think of something like warts, for example, which have high reoccurrence

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because you have to get every single cell out that has that virus.

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And if there's even a little bit left, it might renew itself.

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But if you can target every single cell with a targeted therapy,

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they're using lasers right now to cut this out or freeze them or whatever.

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But there might be a much more, I would say also less traumatic ways to treat things.

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Yeah, less traumatic on the body. you're being able to target.

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Certainly, I spoke to a doctor the other

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day who had developed a brilliant photosensitizer for looking at tumours.

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So you could deliver this photosensitizer and then you could wear a special

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pair of glasses so the surgeon could more comprehensively make sure that there

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was none of the tumour left in the body.

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And that's technology that he'd already developed that's out there already.

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He was a dentist who'd done a lot of stuff with, because a lot of this This

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stuff is in dentistry already, as you were mentioning.

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But if you can have different ways that help surgeons to be more effective in

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what they're doing, also, that's hugely effective.

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And there are tools that are out there now. But you're right.

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Anything that we can do to make things less invasive, less traumatic.

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More easy for people to do so they don't need to go into hospitals,

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can do things in clinics where potentially you're not going to get reinfected with something else.

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Yeah, I think that's definitely the future for a lot of these technologies.

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I remember a professor demonstrating an open heart surgery technique where they

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would create this kind of photosensitization of specific types of cells in the heart.

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And when you're like cutting in to an open heart that you're not avoiding like

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very key arteries, which is probably a good idea.

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And you're basically operating at like nanomicromillimeters or whatever.

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You might like make a huge mistake by just going a little bit off like it's

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actually good that you have something that where they can see better into the

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tissue just doesn't look all the same but they can distinguish between cells

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and in that way you can also then distinguish

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get some potential problematic things out. Now, let's go back to earth.

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On a regular person who is looking

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into these devices, there is a lot of different options on the market.

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You have spotlights, you have panels, you have bigger stacks of panels,

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you have portable ones, you have things that are designed to be applied mainly

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on the face for for beauty things.

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You have different LEDs ranging from anywhere between 600 and 1100 or 1170, whatever, nanometers.

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In this sea of opportunities for using photobiomodulation, what would be your recommendations?

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I can personally say that there's no single one-size-fits-all solution.

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So I have different devices for different situations.

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But what is your advice if someone is looking for a device like this?

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I think you need to be aware of your goal. What is it that you're trying to

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achieve with the red light device?

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Because there are all kinds of different form factors. And certainly if you're

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looking for general wellness and something that you can maybe incorporate into

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your morning meditation, then the panels are great.

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You can get a panel and you can sit in front of that and they're cool.

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I think if you're looking at a more kind of healing therapeutic function,

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you really need something that potentially contours to the body.

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Because Because don't forget, light will only go in a straight line.

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Light is not going to bend to you. It will bounce off you and all kinds of crazy things.

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So if you really want to deliver a good dose of light to the body,

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it's best to get something that...

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You can shape around the body, especially if you're trying to get to an injured joint or something.

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So I think for wellness, the panels, for joints, some kind of flexible device

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that you can strap around the body and you need to get it from someone where

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they have listed their specification because it does need to be a reasonable dose of light.

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We spoke a bit about this kind of Goldilocks effect of too little is not enough and too much is too much.

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I think it it is quite difficult to overdose with red light,

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but it is easy to not do it enough.

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So I think making sure you're getting something that's got a decent milliwatt output.

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And at the moment, there are no standards,

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unfortunately, because the form deliveries are just so different.

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But if you know that you're getting it from a good manufacturer where they've

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given you your specification and they have a rationale for their dose,

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then at least you're getting a good dose according to the manufacturer.

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And then again, something, my device is portable and easy.

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It's battery operated and shielded and Bluetooth protected and all of that.

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They may be things that are interesting for people who are looking for something

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that they use every day for concentration, for focus, for wellness.

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So I think they're the things you need to look at. What do you want to use it for?

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If you really want to get into joints and into difficult to to reach places,

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you do need something that contours around the body so that you get the full dose of light.

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And if you imagine light is coming at you like in arrows coming down,

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if you have something that's curved around a joint, you're getting the effect

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of all of those lights converging on a point, which is great.

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That's what you want for a joint.

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You're not going to get that so much with something that's flat.

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Precisely. So yeah, it depends what you're trying to do. Just get something

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for your individual need.

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But yeah, the more focused you need to be, the more you need a device that's

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been specifically designed for that function.

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Yeah. I personally, I use these bigger panels in the morning just to increase

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blood flow and get ready for the day.

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Like I use it sometimes as a pre-workout almost because of

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the nitric oxide effect like some bodybuilders use

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beetroot i use red light and i think it's red

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light is more effective than beetroot for that specific reason

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and then it's important of course to be aware of

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this kind of biphasic dose response also known

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as the arndt-schultz curve or hormesis effect where

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low doses of light stimulate so then

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physiological processes and higher dose will inhibit those

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responses so you have to understand like the optimal dose like

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not falling asleep under your panel but like knowing

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the right dose and then like this like a targeted use

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i personally like these battery operated ones like

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yours to be used when i travel and also when i'm let's say sitting at my computer

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and chair or something i apply it on a gut or like a joint or something like

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this while i'm doing something else while a big panel will just like blind you

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and it's not so comfortable I mean,

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there's people out there like Ben Greenfield who have all these images of them

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using big panels while they use computer.

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I have no idea how they can do that. But I'd rather use a targeted device.

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And I've noticed like on shoulder area, neck area might be good while working

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sometimes to alleviate some neck stiffness and pain.

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So there's a lot of different reasons why you would have a certain device, different situations.

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And I would definitely get one that has these different frequencies.

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Because can you explain in what situation you don't want to activate,

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let's say, near infrared light?

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And in what situation, the red light is not that necessary. So you want to switch

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between mirror infrared and red light.

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Does anything come to your mind, like in terms of application?

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It's mainly a case of penetration depth because the red light is surface level.

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If you're looking to do things like we spoke about collagen and fibrinogen and all of those things.

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So if you're looking at something where you're fairly surface level,

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you want to stimulate, like, for example, a cosmetic application,

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or if you just want to stimulate the blood, like you said, a scar application,

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then the red light is a good option.

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The near infrared light is going to go deeper and you need that for a joint, for an organ function.

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To be honest, I think if you're using both together, that's great because you're

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going to target the surface and deeper still.

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So I don't see much wrong with using them both together for almost all applications,

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even in a cosmetic application.

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But certainly red light on its own is fine for just surface level things.

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Yeah. I remember reading specifically about shining the light on testicles. Oh yeah.

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And of course, that's very interesting for men if you're looking into testosterone

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production, because there is a mechanism with photobiomodulation that stimulates

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the lytic cells in the testes, which is responsible for testosterone production.

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So the idea is that that with this light exposure, you could enhance the mitochondrial

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function of these cells and that might lead into the.

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Increased production of testosterone. But I think there is like a dose and safety

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curve because your testes are outside of your body for a reason.

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So I wouldn't heat them up like too much with near infrared light,

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for example. I might maybe use more red light for that.

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That's a good question, like what's the right amount?

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I was going to say most of these devices, if they're good, they shouldn't get

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too hot because although you're using near infrared, it's right down down there in the 850s.

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So the body, it's not so much the thermal energy you want to have.

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The light pads should get warm, but they shouldn't get hot.

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So if they're getting really hot, either something's gone wrong with the fan

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on them or the output is potentially too high.

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Because I think even when you're doing testes, you still want to penetrate a

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little bit deep because you do want to get into the tissue.

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So I think you could use near infrared, but you just have to use your kind of common sense.

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If it's uncomfortable, don't do it. And you need a lot less time because you

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can adjust the dose by either increasing the output or the time.

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Both of those things are going to have an effect.

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It's like making a cake. You can bake something for longer on a lower temperature or vice versa.

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So I think for sensitive areas, you can use a similar device,

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use the near infrared, but just use it for a lot less time.

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And I have to say, just to put in there, Taimou, it is also for women too.

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Women also want to boost their testosterone.

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It's a question I used to get asked a lot more and I'd forgotten about it because

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actually at the last few events, people haven't asked me so much,

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but it used to be one of the main questions.

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Maybe because Ben Greenfield, I think he did that article, didn't he?

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About where he shines the light.

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And that became a big topic of conversation for a while. But certainly I think

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you can use these longer wavelengths, which potentially will get warmer,

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but just use them for less time.

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Maybe use them for a minute and you do it a couple of times a day rather than

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doing it for an extended period.

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A lot of it does come down to people taking a bit of sovereignty and a bit of

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self-responsibility and using the light in a way where you're using your body as a measure.

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You can tell if something feels good. You can tell if something's too warm because

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we are all individual and it's not one size fits all.

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Even things like skin tone has an effect on how the light is going to penetrate.

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So it's very difficult to give certain specific protocols because of that.

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But a lot of these devices are very user-friendly.

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Once you start using light and you get used to it, you can tell in your own body what's going on.

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Yeah, I think near infrared, yeah, you can use it even on sensitive parts of your body.

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You just have to do your N equals one and work out what works for you.

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Yeah, what I'm thinking about in terms of females is also like reproductive health and ovary.

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There's not that much studies, but I would imagine red light photobiomodulation

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might have an effect on follicular development, ovulation, like certain fertility aspects.

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I mean, if you think about the cellular energy production, ATP.

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The ovaries are also central in production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

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So like there might be a potential hormonal balance related effect there.

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Usually when you have men studying these things, they're just like first thing

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they do is like shine a light on their testicles or something.

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But like this is some super interesting area for study for sure.

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It is. And I did a little bit of digging into this at one point.

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And we're kind of biohackers so we're focusing on

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performance but actually there's a lot of data in things

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like farming because they're way ahead because this is

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a lot of money there's big money in farming is like prized cattle and things

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so they're already using these kind of like therapies things like sperm production

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in bulls things like fertility in animals because it works and they're getting

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results i think there are plenty of examples where this is actually being being

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put into practice and having a result.

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After all, we are all mammals. We're functioning on the same system.

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If it's working in those kinds of environments, it's going to work in a human

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environment. We just need to get the data out there and the clinical trials need to go ahead.

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But for sure, there's already evidence that it is having a huge effect on all

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of those things you mentioned, fertility and reproductive health.

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My friend's cat always likes to hang out around the red light panel when it's on.

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I don't know if it's because it's the heat or they know better than we do.

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Oh yeah, animals are so clever. I have a friend who does red light therapy for racehorses.

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Again, people who want to get the edge and know what's up, they are using this

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technology because it works. These animals are worth millions of dollars or whatever.

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They wouldn't do something if it wasn't effective.

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So I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from what's already going

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on out there, you know, outside of the human domain.

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Precisely. That's already done on the genetic side, even supplementation.

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A lot of that has been applied on racehorses.

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So it's very interesting how this will be combined and what we can learn from

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it. But if you've seen on the internet people tanning their balls or buttholes

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with sunshine, please don't do it. There is a safer method.

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It's using near-earth red light and red light. Then you don't have the UV and

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all of that stuff going on. That might be a smarter idea.

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People in the north, they use these wake-up lights, like these so-called seasonal

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depression lamps, which is blue light, short wavelength of light,

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which helps them to wake up.

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But for me, like the red light and near infrared, it works better in those darker months of the year.

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And the reason is that the strength of the light also matters for circadian rhythm.

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So the intensity of light seems to be also a fact.

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So you can actually get similar seasonal effects also from very strong red light.

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But also the fact that when you're meditating in front of one of these panels

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and you feel this, I can't describe it, but it feels almost like being on the beach in sunshine.

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It's just beautiful warmth and just this sense of well-being that comes from

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it that I just don't get eyes closed in front, seasonal warmth.

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Light therapy lamp. So I rather opt for a really good red light near infrared

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light device if I have a choice in winter months rather than using a daylight lamp.

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But definitely it's useful when you work at the computer or something to have

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a bright light close by, but I always have my red light also there if I need it.

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There's different mechanisms with light through the eyes and light through the body, but you're right.

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The body responds to sunlight and in turn red light by by creating natural opiates, in fact.

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Our bodies want us to enjoy being in this light because we're meant to be out in it.

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It's healing for us. It's good for us. So our body provides us with those happy

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chemicals to make sure we do it, I think.

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Precisely. Yeah, we are light beings. Now, if people want to check out your

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device, where should they go?

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Yeah, so it's just CeraThrive, which is C-E-R-A, CeraThrive.

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So I'm Sarah, but this Cera is spelled C-E-R-A.

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So cerathrive.com. And then all my socials are the same, CeraThrive or Cera.

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That's wonderful. Your name justifies the whole product already.

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So it's not a coincidence. It's a really good device and appreciate talking to you.

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You know a lot about this topic and happy to share this incredible primer to

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people about photobiomodulation and red light.

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So check out cerathrive.com for more.

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Thank you so much, Sarah, for coming to the show. Thank you.

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Thank you so much, Teemu. It's always great to speak to you. Yes.

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So stay light beings out there. And if you don't have sunshine, get a red light device.

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Music.