For all of its benefits in the field of health and wellness, there’s still a surprising lack of understanding about phototherapy. While people around the world have turned to this treatment modality for thousands of years, many people are still unaware of how it can positively affect a variety of ailments. To help address this, we’ve turned to information from David Schmidt, CEO of the health technology company LifeWave. Through an examination of the CEO’s patented phototherapy patches, as well as other related resources, we will provide an overview of the field of phototherapy and many of its applications.
What Is Phototherapy?
Phototherapy is the practice of using light for therapeutic purposes to address health and wellness concerns. In some cases, this can be accomplished with the application of external sources of light, such as through the use of infrared saunas or high-powered light boxes to help address a variety of mental health issues. Light therapy can also entail practices as direct as simple sun exposure, which has been used as a treatment for numerous conditions.
Phototherapy is not just limited to external sources of light, however, and can instead be accomplished by harnessing internal sources of light as well. To understand this, it is important to understand that light encompasses wavelengths beyond the visible spectrum and includes sources such as ultraviolet or infrared wavelengths, which the human body emits. By utilizing this fact in real-world applications, a variety of phototherapies can harness these emitted wavelengths and work to achieve powerful potential health and wellness outcomes.
This is the case with the technologies developed by David Schmidt in his capacity as CEO of LifeWave. The company’s phototherapy patches are topically applied to your skin and reflect wavelengths of light back into the body. By altering the patch design and placement, users can achieve a variety of positive outcomes, such as mitigation of mild discomfort, sleep quality improvement, and faster recovery following physical exertion.
History of the Field
The utilization of light in this manner dates back thousands of years and may go back even further. Notably, many of the most developed civilizations of their time turned to the use of light therapy, often in the form of sunlight, to improve health and wellness. This includes the Egyptians, who built numerous temples designed to direct and harness sunlight to special rooms within the structure. Sunlight would sometimes be directed through various gems to change its color and achieve specific outcomes.
The ancient Greeks also placed a lot of importance on the therapeutic uses of light. In fact, there was an entire Greek city largely dedicated to phototherapy applications to which people would travel to improve their health. Much like the Egyptians, a primary modality here was the creation of structures that could direct sunlight onto individuals and help them recover from a variety of ailments. The appreciation of the restorative powers of the sun carried forward into Greek culture beyond this time and is still present to this day. This has helped inform the modern world’s perception of how sunlight can play a role in improving overall well-being.
Use in Mental Health
One major way that phototherapy is used today is in the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions. A well-known example of this is in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. This condition, which is often characterized by a generalized depression that manifests during months with lower levels of natural light, is sometimes treated with a light box. These boxes emit large amounts of light that mimic the light naturally put out by the sun and help return the user to a more positive state of mind.
The use of light therapy in this way is often considered to be a good first treatment modality to treat SAD and related disorders due to a variety of reasons. This includes the noninvasive nature of the treatment, the safety and convenience associated with it, and the lack of side effects.
The idea for LifeWave’s patches originally stemmed from investigations that Schmidt conducted with the U.S. Navy on how to promote increased energy levels in service members without resorting to pharmaceuticals. One of the primary reasons for these efforts was a desire to avoid the potential for serious side effects.
This investigation touched on the power of phototherapy to achieve a range of benefits without the potential for adverse reactions. It also led to the idea of using the light emitted by a user’s body as the source for phototherapy. Combining these two insights, the CEO fleshed out a first prototype of his patches and helped move the field forward with his new and innovative designs.
While phototherapy is an important modality for those seeking to improve their health and wellness, it is still misunderstood by many. By analyzing this work in greater detail, including its history and current applications, readers can gain a better understanding of its importance in treating a variety of conditions. Coupled with the efforts of David Schmidt and LifeWave, these insights help paint a picture of a field that is working to create durable solutions to some of the world’s most common health and wellness concerns.