Shining a Light on the Healthy Side of LED Lighting

Shining a Light on the Healthy Side of LED Lighting

13 April 2023

LEDs are a highly efficient, eco-friendly lighting option that can be easily customised to suit your needs. Most people are familiar with the benefits of using LEDs, but not many know that they also benefit our health. In this article, we share the many ways LEDs help people remain healthy and heal from injury.

LED warehouse lighting

What Is Electromagnetic Radiation?

To understand the health effects of LEDs, you need to know about electromagnetic radiation.  This can be split into three groups:

  • IR (infrared radiation)
  • VIS (visible light)
  • UV (ultraviolet radiation).

This combined collection of electromagnetic radiation is between 100nm (nanometres) to 1 million nm (or 1 millimetre) on the electromagnetic spectrum. Our sun is a natural source of these radiations, but lighting systems can recreate them artificially.

Not every element of electromagnetic radiation benefits our health, and ensuring only safe solutions are used in public environments is vital. As LED solution manufacturers, we recognise the significance of the IEC 62471 safety standard that categorises light sources and their potential risks. Luminaires without directly visible LEDs are mostly assigned to the safest group as they pose no risk to a person’s health.

The visible light spectrum contains many different colours; these can be viewed in rainbows or with a prism. Each of these colours has a different wavelength. For example, blue light is a short wavelength of 415 to 455 nm.

LED Blue Light

Blue-green light stimulates a pigment in people’s eyes called Melanopsin; this pigment promotes an alert state by suppressing the production of Melatonin. The blue-green light in natural sunlight helps us begin our natural daily rhythms (or circadian rhythm) and wake up, but this is something that should be avoided late in the day when people want to sleep naturally. Tunable white LEDs can be adjusted to suit the time of day and support a person’s natural circadian rhythm allowing for rest at night and increased alertness during the day.

Electromagnetic spectrum

LED Photobiomodulation

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) is a medical therapy that uses the previously mentioned electromagnetic radiation to promote increased healing in people. Specific wavelengths of light can be emitted for different results. Choices like lasers can pinpoint a specific small area, but LEDs offer a broader, wider and even full-body treatment.

There are many benefits to this light-based medical therapy. PBMT has been recorded to reduce inflammation after surgeries or injuries and is widely used to assist with sports performance. Nerve sensitivity can be reduced as the pain-inducing chemical Bradykinin is decreased through the exposed area. PBMT supports improved skincare by helping increase circulation and creating beneficial elements like collagens, elastin and fibroblasts. These will help tighten wrinkles and increase the speed of tissue damage healing.

LED lighting in surgeries

LED Light Medical Treatments

LEDs can be used in a variety of applications, from helipad lighting to 3D printing; they are even used in hospitals for medical procedures to get different results using the Photobiomodulation technique. The equipment can be set to emit specific wavelengths to primarily meet critical medical needs. Blue and red lights are two colour wavelengths that are relevant to the health effects of LEDs.

Red Light Therapy with LEDs

RLT (red light therapy) uses red light to repair skin, heal muscle atrophy and increase blood cell production. It achieves this by increasing the energy inside human cells.

Mitochondria are molecules in human cells that provide the energy it needs; a process called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) RLT increases the natural ATP process, speeding up those cells' natural healing abilities. This stimulation supports natural healing and is highly effective at reducing inflammatory areas. Red light is highly effective at reducing post-surgery effects by supporting faster healing.

This stimulation of the natural processes helps support healing in a broad range of ailments. Skin issues, Osteoarthritis, Tendinitis, dental pain and dementia, have been improved through the careful application of red light therapy,

red light therapy LEDs

Blue Light Therapy With LEDs

Blue light is used in a related light therapy called PDT (photodynamic therapy) to treat various kinds of skin cancer or as a pre-emptive treatment for precancerous spots called Actinic Keratoses. In combination with an applied chemical, the absorbed harmful cells are destroyed, leaving behind healthy skin. It has also succeeded with other cancerous areas such as the lung, pancreatic, and brain.

Blue light treatments have also been used for other, less serious skin treatments, such as for acne. The skin with the associated acne bacteria is exposed to blue light and is destroyed. Blue light has also been applied to treat or prevent neonatal jaundice (icterus neonatorum) through a photochemical process.

blue LED light therapy

Custom LED Lighting Solutions From Forge

Hopefully this article has sufficiently shared the valuable health benefits high-quality LEDs provide everyone. They are essential tools for vital cosmetic and life-saving medical treatments, and they help us maintain positive mental well-being during long periods indoors.

At Forge, we specialise in the custom design and manufacture of high-quality LED luminaires for any application you can think of. If you have an application in mind that requires bespoke LED lighting solutions, then contact us and tell us how we can help create an energy-efficient and cost-effective lighting system that also benefits people’s health.

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