Lighten Up the Office: Red Light Therapy at Work to Reduce Stress
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Lighten Up the Office: Red Light Therapy at Work to Reduce Stress
Create on 2024-01-03
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Due to long working hours and productivity burdens, it is inevitable that we will encounter stress. Stress is the greatest natural enemy that harms our health and happiness. Specifically, there is a direct relationship between stress and illness. Experts have estimated that about 75–80% of health problems are linked to or intensified by stress. When we are under constant stress and cortisol builds up in the body, we are prone to all kinds of chronic conditions. The six significant causes of death, such as heart attack, cancer, lung disease, liver cirrhosis, accidents, and suicide, are also inseparable from stress. In addition, the damage caused by constant stress to mental health should not be underestimated. It can lead to cognitive and mental decline, sleep disorders, low energy levels, etc.

stress theory

Staying under long-term stress is a vicious cycle that can adversely affect workers' emotions, productivity, and health. With rates of anxiety and depression soaring, it's crucial to ensure your workplace feels safe and supported. Fundamental factors such as temperature and lighting are also critical for the overall health of the workers. However, not everything in a work environment is controllable. There are practical measures that you can take to combat workplace stress.

Red light therapy addition to the workplace offers a unique combination of sufficient work and rest. Red light therapy can turn stress into motivation by reducing stress levels and boosting energy. It is especially beneficial for workers who sit indoors for longer hours and have an unhealthy lifestyle.

work with red light therapy at home or office

Workplace Stress Management with Red Light Therapy

Stress management with red light therapy is simple and requires only a daily red light break. Red light therapy devices are made of low-level energy visible light red and near-infrared (660–850 nm) LEDs. Red light is known to have a photo-stimulatory effect on human cells as it converts light into cellular energy. According to Professor Michael R. Hamblin from Harvard Medical School, red light has a super penetrating power into the human body as it acts on the mitochondria and supplies the necessary energy for cell repair and metabolism. Several research studies have shown red light therapy application decreases depression anxiety and improves cognitive abilities. Red light therapy has a range of benefits to strengthen your emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical well-being.

Circadian Rhythm Regulation

Our body has a 24-hour natural clock that regulates our physiological functions, such as sleep, attentiveness, etc. Lack of sunlight and frequent exposure to blue light from devices and fluorescent tubes disrupt the circadian rhythm. The absence of good-quality night-time sleep affects worker performance and increases the risk of burnout. Red light dramatically impacts the body's primary metabolic function and the secretion of the sleep-regulating hormones - melatonin. It can effectively stimulate feedback and regulate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain, maintaining the balance of melatonin hormone levels in the body. Studies have shown that red light improved sleep quality and alertness in night shift workers. Daily red light breaks may counteract and minimize the adverse effects induced by an imbalanced body's biological clock.

Boost Relaxation and Performance

Red light therapy has the ability to relax your tense muscles without drowsiness, improve your blood circulation, and calm you down. An increase in serotonin - stress-reducing hormone with photobiomodulation prevents depression and anxiety caused by stress. Red/near-infrared light has also been shown to benefit brain function. Red light acts on melatonin, which isn't just a sleep-inducing hormone. Melatonin protects mitochondria from damage and supports glutathione levels, one of our body's most powerful and important antioxidants and detoxifying compounds. Researchers found that regulation of melatonin with red light therapy increases brain-derived neurotrophic factors involved in neuron growth and regeneration. Other studies also demonstrated that applying red light improved cognitive abilities, memory, and mood in neurological diseases.

If you're overwhelmed by intense work, it's best to immediately put the work down and get some red light. Over the long workday in stressful situations, your perception of yourself and the outside world also changes, which can cause low self-esteem, energy levels, and satisfaction. Red light therapy can

  • Enhance brain power and improve thinking. We can improve our ability to analyze and solve problems by changing our perspectives and thinking.
  • Improve mental strength and manage emotions; develop good emotions and patiently listen to each other to express something positive.
  • Physically strengthen the body and improve resilience to stress.

Safety of Red Light Therapy

Whether confronting a stressor directly or regulating oneself, there are many ways to do it. However, some of those methods are temporary, and others are long-term, which can have certain undesirable effects. The use of low-power-density red light therapy has been reported to be a safe, non-invasive, effective therapy without any side effects.

Conclusion

While stress at workplace is common, finding a low-stress job can be difficult. Red light therapy is a more realistic, cost-effective approach to reducing the mental stress of the current job. Red light therapy can reactivate your cells that have shrunk due to stress and recharge your energy. No matter how intense or busy your work life is, you must maintain a regular life, be relaxed, avoid doing too many things, and get some red light therapy. Its utility at the workplace promises healthier, happier, and more efficient office environments.

References and Citations

[1] Figueirro MG, Pedller D. Red light therapy: A novel, non-pharmacological intervention for promote alertness in shift workers. J Safety Res. 2020 Sep;74:169-177. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2020.06.003. Epub 2020 Jul 10. PMID: 32951780; PMCID: PMC8059068.

[2] Cremascoli R, Sparasci D, Giustii G, Cattaldo S, Prina E, Roveta F, Bruno F, Ghezzi C, Cerri S, Picascia M, Bernini S, Sinforiani E, Terzaghi M, Priano L, Mauro A. Effects of Circadian Phase Tailored Light Therapy on Sleep, Mood, and Cognition in Alzheimer's Disease: Preliminary Findings in a Pivotal Study. Front Physiol. 2022 Jan 6;12:755322. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.755322. PMID: 35069234; PMCID: PMC8770402.

[3] Eshaghi E, Sadigh-Eteghaad S, Mohaddes G, Rasta SH. Transcranial photobiomodulation pbm/red light prevents anxiety and depression via changing serotonin and nitric oxide levels in brain of depression model: A study of three different doses of 810 nm laser. Lasers Surg Med. 2019 Sep;51(7):634-642. doi: 10.1002/lsm.23082. Epub 2019 Mar 18. PMID: 30883832.

[4] Schiffer F, Johnston AL, Ravichandrn C, Polcarii , Web RH, Hamblin MR. Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression anxiety. Behav Brain Funct. 2009 Dec 8;5:46. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-5-46. PMID: 19995444; PMCID: PMC2796659.

[5] Santos JGRPD, Zaninoto ALC, Zângaro RAA, Carneiro AMC, Neville IS, de Andrade AF, Teixeira MJ, Paiva WS. Effects of transcranial LED therapy on the cognitive rehabilitation for diffuse axonal injury due to severe acute traumatic brain injury: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2018 Apr 24;19(1):249. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2632-5. PMID: 29690927; PMCID: PMC5916588.

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