What is one of the greatest underlying factors behind so many of the health problems we face in North America? If you guessed stress, then you are correct. Stress alone is responsible for contributing to heart attacks, the progression of type two diabetes and high blood pressure - which in turn can cause other health problems. It can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms and altogether lower our quality of life.
Types of Stress
It is important to differentiate between the types of stress we experience. Surprisingly, some stress is positive, producing exhilaration and making our lives interesting. This is calledeustress and would be typified by the sudden receipt of good news, or the exhilaration experienced during a competitive sport. This is generally very short-lived and can add spice to our lives and is not detrimental – it is needed in our lives.
Other types of stress we are focusing on fall into roughly two categories; the first being frequent acute stress, which can be likened to a roller coaster type effect, where the reaction is stimulated by anxiety or a dangerous job. This can be harmful over periods of time. The second is chronic stress; being the most common, with several factors contributing to a constant, and heightened state of anxiety. This is associated with a heightened risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, ulcers among many other negative health outcomes.
From a Rouge customer: It's just like going on holiday for 15min! I can completely relax and get rid of daily stress in an instant!
What does stress do in our body?
Stress has direct and indirect effects on us: The immediate effect is that it prompts the production of the “flight or fight” hormone called cortisol. This evolutionary response dates to our cave dwelling origins, where we had to be very attuned to our environment and ready to react quickly to ever present danger. It is an important survival mechanism even now – think of having to step out of the way of a fast-moving object or react to a physical danger. However, it can also be problematic, as a constant level of this type of stress creates a sustained state of flight or fight cortisol/adrenaline which in turn can contribute to the health problems that result.
Simultaneously, as our bodies produce cortisol, this process in turn reduces the production of insulin which allows for glucose to be readily used by the brain and muscles, however this can cause an increase in blood sugars over time. This in turn can contribute to:
- Weight gain
- Depressed immune function
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure which can contribute to a stroke or heart attack
- High blood sugar
What causes stress?
The modern lifestyle we live can often be the culprit in creating a state of heightened stress in many people; wedging us into difficult situations through the many demands imposed on us by work and family obligations.
Present-day workplaces are conducive as well – from the pervasive round-the-clock presence of the digital workspace - to the daily grind of sitting in traffic; work hours are increasingly longer and invade our personal time and spaces even more than ever before.
Another facet of this vicious cycle of an overly demanding work schedule is chronic sleep deprivation which in turn will cause increased cortisol levels, stress,discomfortand a lowered immune system and can over time, lead to more serious health issues. Check out our blog post on sleep Red Light Therapy for Sleep: The Safe and Natural Way to Better Rest – Rouge
Sobering Fact: There is a 24% increase in heart attacks and a noticeable spike intraffic accidents on the Mondays following the switch to Daylight Savings Time Daylight-Saving Time Is Deadly: Heart Attacks and Car Crashes Spike (businessinsider.com)
Many people lack the balance of work versus leisure activity, and are consistently in a state of heightened anxiety, which can lead to major problems. Another factor is the resulting damaging coping mechanisms we employ to manage stress and find pleasure in our day.
Toxic Coping Mechanisms
In order tocombat stress and make ourselves feel better, we often turn to highly addictive and toxic substances such as alcohol, high fat/sugar laden food, recreational drugs, etc. The resulting neurotransmitter releases of dopamine and serotonin may give us a sense of immediate relief and pleasure, however the benefits of "comfort" foods alcohol are illusory and transitory at best, while the harm they do is lasting and profound.
How can stress be managed?
It is important to realize that stress in our lives is not a foregone conclusion, we do not have to take a passive role in our own stress management, we can be proactive in how we take control and learn how to manage our stress levels as we make improvements to our environment.
There are many easy and very effective ways to manage negative stress as well as the elements in our life that cause the stress. Obviously, the first and foremost strategy would be to examine one's personal situation and see if anything can be done to mitigate sources of chronic stress. For example, leaving a toxic relationship or job may be a painful but necessary step.
It is also important to find ways to release the buildup of tension. This can come in the form of going for a walk on a beautiful evening, playing sports with friends or family, engaging in activities that bring us outside, provide us with exercise as well as give us a connection to others.
The other side of the approach would be to find healthier coping mechanisms and rewards forourselvesand this is where red light therapy can really come into the picture as both a health benefit as well as source of deep relaxation in addition to its other neurological benefits.
Where Red Light Therapy Can Help Relieve Stress
Red light can help alleviate stress in multiple ways. In of itself it has been shown to have positive neurological benefits; studies have shown that photobiomodulationcan significantly help with alleviating, PTSD, depression, insomnia and provide other neurological benefits.Therefore, it makes perfect sense to include red light therapy in one’s daily routine for these reasons alone.
Red Light Therapy can also have an added benefit, to achieve deep relaxation which is difficult to attain outside a spa or vacation environment.
Creating an Affordable Mini Spa in Your Own Home
When you lie under ared lightpanel and put the goggles on, the sensation is quite similar to relaxing on the beach, brilliance and soothing light are not too dissimilar to the gentle rays of the sun on a beautiful early summer day. Add to that the sounds of the ocean which can easily be done by finding a high-quality recording of the waves of your favorite beach.
With that achieved in a peaceful environment, one can find oneself slipping into a very soothing and deep state of relaxation which can go a long way to de-stress and relax after a long day’s work.
This gives red light therapy a dual benefit that can really make a marked difference in one’s stress levels. This is because we offer the only red light therapy line of panels which from our smallest to our largest can be enjoyed lying down. All of our panels are compatible with either our compact horizontal/vertical stand which can be easily wheeled aroundand has a small footprint, or our deluxe, motorized horizontal/vertical stand which can accommodate even our biggest light.
This deeply relaxing experience comes from the beneficial immersion of the senses and is documented in an article where “cognitive psychologist explains how immersive technologies are improving the human experience”.
Check out our Podcast interview with the folks from Operation Happy Nurse, on this very topic!
From our small but powerful Tabletop to our most popular Pro, MAX or Ultimate you can enjoy your red light therapy lying down – our family of lights and horizontal stands. Kick that stress to the curb, close your eyes and let thered lightexperience take you away!
- Daylight-Saving Time Is Deadly: Heart Attacks and Car Crashes Spike (businessinsider.com)
- Review of transcranialphotobiomodulationfor major depressive disorder: targeting brain metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurogenesis PaoloCassano,a,b,* Samuel R.Petrie,aMichael R.Hamblin,c,d,eTheodore A.Henderson,f,gand Dan V.Iosifescuh
- A cognitive psychologist explains how immersive technologies are improving the human experience By Kelly Hall, 3M Storyteller and EliotPopko, 3M Videographer