If you’ve already begun researching LED light therapy products, you know there are a LOT of products out there in the marketplace. In our own research, we found the biggest obstacle in comparing products is not being able to make a straightforward, “apples to apples” comparison. Manufacturers highlight certain features; downplay others; even use different measurements (like “Milliwatts” or “Millicandellas”). It can be confusing and overwhelming, to say the least!
A good place to start your evaluation of LED light therapy products is by identifying which features you absolutely require, which would be nice to have but are not necessary, and which features don’t really matter to you.
Our research reveals that many of the features we typically see promoted in advertisements or marketing materials aren’t as relevant as one might think. For example, bigger or brighter is not better or more effective.
Following are several ways manufacturers use to promote their products. Let’s take a look to see if these are relevant when purchasing a unit:
Q: Manufacturers use nanometers in ways that imply one wavelength is better than another — for example is red 660 nm any better than red 670 nm? What's the truth?
What is a Wavelength?
Basically, colors are described as wavelengths, which are measured in nanometers (nm). Nanometers, in turn, correspond to a specific hue of a color. Keep in mind the colors we see in visible light cover a range of wavelengths, for example, what we perceive as "red" can have a wavelength anywhere from 620 to 740 nm. So when manufacturers refer to nanometers they are basically talking about a certain shade of a color. Keep in mind there are wavelengths of light we cannot see such as infrared and ultraviolet. Although these wavelengths are outside the range of what the human eye can see, that doesn't exclude them from therapeutic use.
Good to Know
Is one particular shade better than another? Apparently not. We were unable to find a single study identifying certain wavelengths as non-effective.
In terms of purchasing a unit, specific wavelengths or specific nanometers are a non-issue. Science is just beginning to catch up in understanding the possibilities light presents for therapeutic purposes. All the research we've seen is unanimous: all colors — all wavelengths — all nanometers — are effective.Back to Top >
Q: Is one level of intensity more effective than another?
What is Intensity?
Intensity is often emphasized as a critical feature of LED light products. It represents the amount of light being emitted by the LEDs in a particular area. Intensity is often measured in milliwatts per centimeter squared (mW/cm²).
Good to Know
Intensity is often confused with "brightness". Intensity is measurable, whereas brightness is subjective. In the context of a light therapy product, brightness doesn't really mean anything so it shouldn't be used. Intensity is the proper term.
As far as LED light therapy units for personal use at home, we found nothing that proved intensity is an important factor in effectiveness. Intensity is important in clinical applications because a higher intensity allows for shorter treatment times. It's also possible to overdo it. An LED light with a higher intensity will need a shorter treatment time, while an LED light with a lower intensity, suitable for home use, will require a longer treatment time in order to match the same treatment in terms of therapy.
To-date there is very little data as to the intensity needed to trigger healing. Historical use tells us that all levels of intensity have healing benefits.
The intensity of light has not shown to correlate with the effectiveness of a light unit.Back to Top >
"Multi-Color" (also known as "Multi-Wave")
Q: One of the newer features advertised is multi-wave or multi-color. In today's "Supersize" culture, the idea that more is better sounds plausible. Is using a multi-color product any better than a single-color product?
What is Multi-Color or Multi-Wave?
Multi-Color products combine two or more colors of LED lights on one surface area, paddle or wrap, implying this is more efficient and beneficial. Two colors are better than one, right? Not necessarily.
Good to Know
We found this feature to be more a matter of personal preference. Multiple colors do not need to be applied simultaneously; they can also be applied separately and consecutively -- achieving the same result.
While there are times it might be useful to have mixed color LED lights operating all at once, what will you do when you only want to use a single color?
Single-color products provide more options and flexibility in how you choose to use the colors. Multiple-color products (as long as you always want to use those particular colors simultaneously) may be more convenient, but are more limited in actual applications. So which is better? Neither, really, but we like to keep our options open. Units that allow for selecting from a choice of colors so we can use just one color alone or use different colors in succession gives us the best of both worlds.Back to Top >
Continuous Wave or Pulsed Wave
Q: Some products feature continuous waves and others offer pulsed waves. Is one preferable to the other?
What is Continuous Wave vs Pulsed Wave?
Continuous wave is when the light source is turned on and stays at a constant level of output until it's turned off. No variation. Some applications may benefit from treatment with continuous waves.
Pulsed wave is when the light is interrupted, or pulsed, by a frequency. The light source is turned on and off at programmed time intervals. This happens very quickly and is usually not detectable by the human eye. It’s been suggested that pulsed light may drive the light deeper into the tissue, providing a variety of applications not available with the continuous wave.
The Nogier Frequencies have taken the basic single-pulse to an entirely new level. Dr. Paul Nogier discovered a relationship between the various parts of the body, their respective resonating frequencies, and the optimum treatment frequencies. See Nogier Frequencies for more information, as well as an easy to use chart in the Guide to Using LED Light and Nogier Frequencies.
Good to Know
According to a report by the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are studies that show continuous waves more effective, other studies that show pulsed waves more effective and studies that show no difference between the two.
Whether to select a continuous wave unit or a pulsed wave unit all depends on how you plan to use light therapy. Each type of wave can work effectively in particular applications.
Ideally, look for a product that provides both continuous and pulsed waves for the most flexibility. Even better, look for a product that offers the Nogier Frequencies!Back to Top >
Laser or LED
Q: Laser light units seem limited to use for clinical applications; practically everything in the consumer marketplace uses LED light. Which is better?
What is Laser vs LED?
You may be familiar with laser light as a bright red light from a hand-held pointer, or as a surgical instrument. These are not the only forms of laser light; in fact, lasers come in a wide range of intensities. Technically, laser light is called a "coherent" light. This means the light waves of the laser act in concert as a unit, resulting in a concentrated, targeted, powerful beam of light, appropriate for detailed and precise uses.
LED lights, however, do not act in concert resulting in a more distributed light. Technically, LED light is known as "incoherent" light. This distribution of LED light, as opposed to the laser's singular focus, results in a gentler, less intense light. LED units also offer far more variety in terms of color, intensity and pulse combinations.
Good to Know
The use of laser and low-level laser light for therapeutic purposes may be appropriate in certain clinical applications. Because of the inherent dangers associated with laser light it is generally only used by trained health professionals. For general consumer use, LED light therapy units are a safe and economical alternative.
Everything we've learned indicates all forms of light are effective. Most likely, if you're shopping for a light therapy product to use yourself at home, you'll find an LED product will meet your needs just fine.Back to Top >
Q: One product on the market highlights its use in NASA-funded research. Is this kind of thing something to look for? Or is it the equivalent of a celebrity endorsement?
What it is
Both private and public entities have been researching LED light therapy using a variety of LED light products over many decades. NASA is one example of an entity studying LED light therapy.
Good to Know
Linkage to a famous organization like NASA is certainly impressive, and for a company it’s nice to have! Keep in mind that there are many other factors to consider when purchasing a product. For example, participation in a study is not an indicator of effectiveness, quality, range of features, ease of use, customer service, etc.
Research studies are interesting to us as they give scientific credence to the historical knowledge of light and color being effective for healing. In researching LED light therapy products, we found other features of products such as color options, pulsing options, ease of use, quality and dependability to be far more compelling.Back to Top >
We believe all light products are effective.
When considering which LED light therapy product is right for you, keep in mind your plans for using the product now and how you may want to use it in the future. If you haven't already, download a copy of the Guide to Using LED Light and Nogier Frequencies so you're informed and knowledgeable about the possibilities for using the technology.
To help you out, from the hundreds of LED light therapy products currently available in the marketplace, we selected over two-dozen LED light therapy products. We examined features like color options, pulsing options, product quality, serviceability, company reputation, return policy, customer service, and more.
Natural Health Productions (NHP) presents MyLightTherapy.com as a public service.
We're not trying to arm-twist or sell you anything. On the contrary, we've done our best to provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding LED Light Therapy so you can come to your own conclusions.
We obviously think LED Light Therapy is pretty cool, but it's really up to you to decide, and we respect your ability to do so. Although light therapy dates back literally thousands of years, it's not exactly mainstream. (Yet... Give it time.)
And be smart... this is about your health. Do your homework. Research. Read. Ask questions. Seek out health practitioners you trust for their advice. The information we've brought together at MyLightTherapy.com isn't provided to diagnose, treat or cure any condition, and of course results can't be guaranteed. We're all unique individuals, after all, and one size really doesn't fit all.
One more thing — We take our role in providing the information found on MyLightTherapy.com very seriously. As with any topic, there are lots of differing opinions out there, and that’s okay. So that you know, our opinions are based on our understanding of the many sources of information available to us — from science to historical context to manufacturers to anecdotal and more.