[Transcript] – How To Use Low Level Light Therapy and Intranasal Light Therapy For Athletic Performance, Cognitive Enhancement & More.

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Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/10/intranasal-light-therapy

[0:00] Introduction/ Kimera Koffee

[1:36] Athletic Greens

[2:53] About Lew Lim

[7:42] How Dr. Lim Get Into Light Therapy

[11:10] Is Intranasal Therapy Something That Has Been Researched

[13:08] What is Going On From a Cellular Standpoint When a Cell or The Tissue in our Nose Gets Exposed to Infrared Light

[19:25] Why Any Athlete Should Pay Close Attention to the Emerging Field of Photomedicine

[26:07] How Does Intranasal Light Therapy Help to Manage Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

[31:48] A Biohack That Combines Red Light Therapy and Infrared Light Therapy

[32:16] How to Use Intranasal Light Therapy as a Way to “charge up your brain” Prior to Mentally Demanding Tasks

[33:48] Different Models of Intranasal Light Therapy

[45:55] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It's Ben Greenfield here.  The podcast episode that you’re about to listen to is brought to you by something that's been infused with 725 milligrams of premium grade nootropics.  And nootropics, very similar to smart drugs, enhance your cognitive performance, but do so naturally.  Now the thing that's been infused with 725 milligrams of nootropics is coffee.  So there's this stuff, it's called Kimera Koffee.  They've taken alpha GPC which is something you’ll find in meat and fish, and it improves memory, enhances mental focus and increases your power output when you're exercising.  Along with taurine which fights oxidative stress, along with cognitive decline, L-theanine which balances anxiety and keeps coffee from keeping you awake too far into the night, and then DMAE which is a molecule that's found in fish that boost metal performance and promotes red blood cell production.  So you get all this stuff mixed with high altitude premium and very, very tasty coffee that's been infused with healthy bacteria in order to maintain optimum flavor.  So you can check this stuff out at Kimera Koffee.  That's K-I-M-E-R-A-K-O-F-F-E-E kimerakoffee.com, and when you go there, you get a discount on your order of Kimera Koffee with code ‘Ben10’.  Prepare for your brain to freaking explode when you try this stuff compared to any other coffee that you've tasted before.  So check out kimerakoffee.com. Use code ‘Ben10’.

This broadcast is also brought to you by Athletic Greens.  I was actually making my smoothie this morning with beet juice and coconut milk, coconut flakes, dark chocolate powder, all the things that I usually put into a smoothie and I pulled my Athletic Greens packet from the refrigerator, dumped it in there and my 7 year old boy, who was standing there making his breakfast said, “Dad, that smells really good.”  And I said, “Make your breakfast.  Eat your eggs.  You can't have mine.”  Because it was my Athletic Greens and the reason that I was using Athletic Greens was because I just returned from a long plane flight and I needed to get a bunch of nutrients into my body fast.  So Athletic Greens has 75 whole food source ingredients.  In their natural form it’s got probiotics, it's got enzymes, it's got 10 plus years of research by doctors and nutritionists, it's got 12 servings of fruits and vegetables in just one tiny packet.  So you can check this stuff out at athleticgreens.com/ben. athleticgreens.com/ben.  If you're nicer than me maybe you will share it with your kids, but otherwise you can just keep it for yourself.  And by the way, when you go to that URL I just gave you, you get a 50% discount on your first order of Athletic Greens.  So check it out, athleticgreens.com/ben.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“So intranasal light therapy would be part of a fairly white and big field called photobiomodulation.  So when you talk about photobiomodulation, you’re using light to stimulate your body, including the brain, to heal itself.” “When a person is not functioning optimally and you’re exposed to a low level of light or laser therapy, oxygenation actually increases.  If you do a CAT scan, you can actually see more activity in the brain.”  “And systemically it stimulates the body to restore homeostasis which is the internal balance of the body.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:  Hey, folks, Ben Greenfield here and several weeks ago I actually wrote an article.  It’s called ‘The Ultimate Guide To Using Light To Biohack Your Circadian Rhythms, Sleep Better, and Beat Jet Lag Forever”.  I love those long titles.  Anyways, in that article I told you about an in-ear light phototherapy device called the human charger which I've been experimenting with for everything from jet lag to a burst of pre-workout wakefulness.  And then directly after that I wrote another article and that article was called “Pink Makes You Docile, Orange Makes You Buy Stuff, Red Makes You Mad: How To Use Color Light Therapy For Mood, Cognition, Healing, And More.” and in that article I talk about how to use something called chromotherapy to change your mood, deal with insomnia, or treat a variety of other health issues.  But then a few days ago, probably because based off of those articles it appears that I've lately been obsessed with light biohacks, one of my friends mentioned the word “photomedicine” to me.  And the word photomedicine was a new term in my vernacular, but when I looked into it I found that intranasal light therapy which is literally light stimulation of blood capillaries in your nasal cavity has actually been used for the past couple decades as this noninvasive way to introduce light energy into your body and there's actually, when I dug in, a surprising amount of research on this form of non-iodizing radiation or non-ionizing radiation rather on biological symptoms like cognitive performance and fighting free radicals, and combating Alzheimer's, and a lot of other interesting things.

So for today's podcast, I hunted down an expert in this form of photomedicine which is also known as photobiomodulation or also low level light therapy.  So this guy's name is Doctor Lew Lim, and Doctor Lim is the inventor of a wearable intranasal light therapy device that designed for home use called the VieLight.  And Doctor Lim is a doctor of natural pathe.  He has a graduate engineering diploma and MBA.  He’s also a chartered accountant for what that's worth.  Although, I don't know what accounting has to do with intranasal light therapy.  Perhaps we’ll find out.  He's also certified in medical neuroscience, neurobiology, and human physiology.  He has qualifications from University of California, Duke University, University of Chicago, University of Sheffield in the UK, and he collaborates with Harvard Medical School as well as Boston University in research related to this field, the field of photobiomodulation.

So considering the fact that my experience with photobiomodulation and intranasal light therapy has been shoving those little laser light pens up my nose when I was a kid and laughing that it turned one side of my nose red especially when you do it in the dark with your friends, I think I probably have quite a bit to learn from Doctor Lim.  And perhaps things go a little bit more deep than that, although maybe again, I was on to something when I was doing that as a kid.  So, Doctor Lim, I'm curious how you got into this.  Did you also just like hove pens up your nose when you were a kid or did you discover this some other more refined way?

Doctor Lim:  Well, actually no.  I think before I get into this, Ben, you actually touch on wide areas regarding light, the use of light and various therapy.  You actually covered a large part of photomedicine.  You actually touched on something that's often confused between light therapy that's known to the public and how its use in medicine.  So when you mentioned light therapy to helping your circadian rhythm, your wakefulness that has been not known in the public for a very long time, and a lot of people thought light therapy was all about that.  So that has been useful between winter depression especially winter, it’s really high right now in the north and in the east where people do undergo depression during winter when you don't see a lot of the sun.  So they have this device that’s light blue, you put it on in the morning.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.  A light box.

Doctor Lim:  Yeah, a light box.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doctor Lim:  So that’s not quite in my field and in the more recognized field for photomedicine.  That’s the other, you mentioned about chromotherapy which is they believed that when you have different color light, you can actually improve your mood or get into some kind of healing as well.  I'm not that particularly familiar with that.  The evidence is not quite there but I think a lot of people benefit from that too.  And then you mentioned photomedicine, how that is actually horizontally a pretty big deal and I’d like to enlighten your listeners a little bit about what that covers.

Ben:  Sure.

Doctor Lim:  So photomedicine covers laser surgery, use of lasers in actually more powerful lasers and a variety of treatment with laser surgery.  It's used in the treatments of scars in the skin.  That’s been around for quite a while.  That’s been used in dentistry as well and part of it is used to cure wounds and so on in dentistry.  And it also covers a field called photo dynamic therapy.  That's when you combine light with like a trace or photo sensitizer.  Some kind of solution that's been injected into your body.  And it’s been approved by the FDA for treating skin cancer when you do that; treating tumors.  The field is, I think they reached a stage where they’re discovering new things but the benefit is a little bit more marginal.  Then you have ADT or antimicrobial treatment when you combine this light and you actually kill bacteria on this.  I'm actually involved in research with Harvard, finding ways to do that to treat superbugs.

Ben:  Interesting.  So when it comes to intranasal light therapy and using something like photo medicine or photobiomodulation by putting light into your nose, is that something that also has been researched particularly regarding its use on things like molds and fungus or cancer, or is that more for stimulating like neuroreceptors or the brain or cognitive performance?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah, I was just going to come to that part.  So intranasal light therapy would be part of a fairly white and big field called photobiomodulation.  So when you talk about photobiomodulation, you’re using light to stimulate your body, including the brain, to heal itself.  And what actually happens biologically is the cells in the body contain a mitochondria, except the red blood cells which doesn’t have it.  All other cells have mitochondria which receives red, an infrared light at a low level, and that's why we call it low level light therapy for a long time and then it gets stimulated.  It is not functioning optimally, it gets stimulated to produce small cell energy.  So you know there would be some measures to additional energy created and then it also creates signaling that will stimulate the body to heal [12:37.8] ______ gain transcriptions on and accelerates wound healing and systemically it restores, it stimulates the body to restore homeostasis which is the internal balance of the body.

Ben:  Now, if I could interrupt you for a moment, a lot of times it seems like in health conversations and especially alternative medical conversations we tend to throw around words like homeostasis and restoring function, things along those lines but what exactly is going on?  From a cellular standpoint or a biological standpoint when a cell or let's say the tissue in your nose for example gets exposed to infrared light, what's actually happening on a cellular level?

Doctor Lim:  When that happens, actually, you know the cells go to this respiratory chain to produce the energy.  As part of the process of freeing the flow in a respiratory chain, very often nitrate oxide clogged in the respiratory chamber is not functioning properly.  So this process also releases nitric oxide back into the body and as you might know nitric oxide actually relaxes a bit your blood vessels and increases blood circulation.

Ben:  Yeah, it's like Viagra.

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  Viagra uses nitric oxide as well and you have intros in fitness and sports.  This is really helpful.  I can touch into the areas where photobiomodulation is used in sports medicine.

Ben:  Yeah, I’d certainly be curious about that but just to clarify, so basically what happens at the cellular level is that when a cell gets exposed to this infrared light, the area that it’s actually acting on is the mitochondria.  So it's acting on like the respiratory chain in the mitochondria where we basically absorb and utilize electrons and somehow when we get exposed or when the cell particularly gets exposed to infrared light there is a release of nitric oxide?

Doctor Lim:  Yes.

Ben:  Okay.

Doctor Lim:  If the cell is functioning optimally, nothing really changes especially when the amount of energy is low in which case it can be low and you don't damage the cell.  But if the cells are not functioning optimally, it will respond to this light energy.

Ben:  Now what happens if the intensity is high?  Why do we use low level light therapy?  Why not like I guess, like a different wavelength or a higher amount of energy?  What happens then?

Doctor Lim:  Wavelength is not so much an issue.  Actually the issue is going to be the power.  So even if it was blue, it is low level, it doesn’t directly do much damage.  But if you use a high intensity laser, and you can imagine.  High power lasers is used in surgery and we've seen science fiction movies and spy movies better and then they use lasers as weapons that actually happens.  High power laser actually does the opposite.  It is destructive.

Ben:  Okay.  So we’re basically firing a Star Wars weapon up our nose…

Doctor Lim:  Exactly.

Ben:  If we use something higher energy.

Doctor Lim:  Well, you got to know what you're doing.

Ben:  Okay.

Doctor Lim:  And so the property of laser light actually is, we call it, viephasing and it means that at low level it heals at higher level it is destructive.  Somewhere between nothing much happens.  So here you’re talking about healing, you got to keep it at low level.

Ben:  Gotcha.  And so when we didn't increase in nitric oxide production after a cell has been exposed to the energy in low level infrared light, what exactly is happening?  Is the cell just going to increase as oxygen consumption at that point or increase its production of ATP or what is the final effect of that increase in nitric oxide?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  We actually have evidence to show that when, like I said, that a person is not functioning optimally and you're exposed to a low level light or laser therapy, oxygenation actually increases.  If you do an FMR on the brain or a CAT scan, you’re can actually see more activity in the brain, more oxygen in the brain and you do demography of the body you can actually see more energy and oxygen being created.  So that actually happens.  And yeah in sports medicine there is quite a bit of research done now and there is a people that kind of suggest that low level light therapy, laser therapy,  that's applied to the body actually is quite similar to like doping, like new blood infusion.  So anyways, this rehab, what there’s gonna be no pain, what is it?  I think they’re discussing this particular area but it’s….

Ben:  Really?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.

Ben:  So they're looking at making something like this illegal for using during sports because of its effect?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah, you know there is some discussion but I've seen, low level light laser therapies sports has so far up been used in a lot of Olympic teams for many for rehab, for quicker recovery from injuries especially when you have injuries,  it is significant if you study the papers published.  Again, “are you enhancing performance?” is arguable, but I think you know I love studies.  In Harvard they show that mice being exposed to low level light therapy actually, they perform much better.  They climb up these miniature staircases at a quicker rate and endurance is better.

Ben:  Really?  So in a study like that, are they putting little low level life therapy devices up the noses of the mice or are they using some other way to introduce that?

Doctor Lim:  It’s a lot easier than that.  They just bathe the mice in red probably new infrared light.

Ben:  That's really interesting.  So I use an infrared sauna, and frankly once I’ve gotten my cold shower and my body temperature back down after I’ve come out of that sauna, I feel amazing.  My cognitive performance goes through the roof for the next couple hours and I'm a productivity machine.  However, for use during sports, like let's say for the triathlete hammering a bicycle down the highway or you know, somebody pounding down the trails during a trail run, how would you practically use something like low level light therapy in a situation like that?

Doctor Lim:  Well, they actually apply low level light therapy before the event, before your need for performance and find that the performance and muscular recovery is quicker.

Ben:  So you do it but almost at the same as they've done studies on the use of like an ice vest prior to competition or the same reason that the Tour de France cyclists would sit in an ice bath before they warm up to head out for a time trial, you could use something like low level light therapy prior to your performance?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  I guess you can.  There’s no regulation against it.  I actually have feedback from a coach who is also, if I remember this a couple years back, a chiropractor.  He was telling me that he had someone that was on a [20:30] ______ that was being handled, a guy who does long distance running and he said he was improving his time by a minute of [20:38] ______ Oh my god.  I'm pretty sure that you know that can be sustained but that was the beginning.

Ben:  Yeah.  That's a lot.  I mean, I guess in a non-elite athlete that's certainly doable, that's quite significant though for like an elite athlete.  Sometimes, well, I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I question things like that and how much of that is like placebo versus actual effect when it comes to something like this.  But I am curious what you mentioned.  Were you saying that that it's the US Anti-doping Agency or the World Anti-doping Agency or something like that that is looked into the possibility of making something like low level light therapy illegal or was it a different organization?

Doctor Lim:  This was actually mentioned by one of the leading researchers in this field, a professor from Brazil.  And he’s named a little junior, I think and yeah he had some discussion about this.  I think there’s nothing really serious.  I think there's no major complaint that’s come up but this is just discussion.

Ben:  Interesting.  It's always, I'm always curious about how decisions are made about what's going to be illegal like, is it unfair for a guy like Tiger Woods to get Lasix surgery right or is that just something natural versus Lance Armstrong taking testosterone, and is there a big difference between the two.  I'm always curious especially now that were in the air of being able to biohack and use devices like this about where do you draw the line ‘cause frankly so far, and I wanna ask you a little bit about this in a moment, from the research I've done on photomedicine unlike testosterone or something like that, they don't seem to be a lot of dangerous side effects.

Doctor Lim:  There’s actually no major side effect at all.  That makes it actually interesting but I'm not really an expert in the use of light and laser in sports.  I’d be more into neurology and the immune system, and so on.

Ben:  Yeah and that's actually, I want to ask about that.  What happens when you take like an intranasal light therapy device and you put it in your nose, and by the way for those of you who are curious what in the heck this would actually look like, if you go to the show notes, and the show notes are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight.  If you go there, I’ll put a picture and some other resources from what Doctor Lim and I talk about, but when you put it into your nose, what happens?  What do you feel like and what occurs from like a cognitive or neurological standpoint?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  Here’s the thing about the nose.  The nose has more blood capillaries per square centimeter than virtually anywhere else in the body, believe it or not.  You just think about it.  Here’s the scratch test.  You scratch anywhere in the body including the membrane side and all the same, just ask yourself which will bleed first and it’s most likely you know, we get nose bleed easily.  So we know that’s quite a lot of blood capillaries there, micro ones, and very near the membrane.  So if you're talking about irradiating the blood, for example, the nose would be a good place.  And the other thing is the nose is about three inches from the brain.  There's not a lot in between.  There’s many soft tissues and moisture.  There’s no scalp, no hair like if you try to direct it from the top of your brain which has been in research for over 10 years, it doesn't, there’s a lot more work.  You need more power and so it doesn't, there's no way that the light energy will reach the bottom part of the brain which is very important because they’re the more ancient part of our brain.  And as way also to memory and emotional areas are.  So the nose is always a great way to reach the brain and once it reaches the brain the stimulating goes on.  I’ve had some evidenced by way of EEG readings from some exclusive neurofeedback and when you do this, immediately you can see in the 25 minutes in one treatment, you can actually see the brain going through a rewiring activity just from one intranasal device.

Ben:  But what's that mean “rewiring”?

Doctor Lim:  It goes, well, your feedback, people are in the business to help get patients to restore normative functions in the brain and they looked at different brain waves in the reading, and see in each category of brainwave that whether it's functioning normally or not.  And when it’s not, they do various things like maybe cognitive behavior or they do some computer stimulation to try and achieve that.  That takes time.  They got into various methods, even writing songs to achieve that.  I got feedback that the new infrared intranasal [25:49.2] ______ actually produces the restorative activity more quickly than any of this.  This is a new field.  I'm working with a couple of, it’s all leaders in this field to see how we can get even more adapted in the field of neurofeedback.

Ben:  Gotcha.  Now, one of the things related to neural activity, and actually my friend who first told me about this intranasal light therapy device that you invented, I believe he knew about it because someone close to him was using it for managing, I believe, Alzheimer's.  Now is that true?  Is there some type of research that's been done in particular not for improving of cognitive performance but for example for managing the symptoms of something like Alzheimer’s?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  You’ve touched in a field where I have a lot of passion in Alzheimer's.  It is affecting people like today who have no hope of recovering.  The best that a drug can do is temporarily restore you’re neurotransmitter activity for six months to a year.  And down even in the pipeline, they are talking about slowing down a decline but not arresting it.  So I'm doing the first placebo control study for Alzheimer’s patients here in Toronto and Ontario, Canada.  If we’re in the middle of it, I think we’ll be publishing in a few months’ time.  What we have, I think is a breakthrough.  It’s ready, it might be, for working from skepticism here but until we get the study completed, I'm just saying that in this part of the study, all the volunteers who started early have shown recovery and we’ve measure it not just the assessment of the daily living but also measured cognitive skill like the mini mental state exam.  So there's something really interesting.  I’m getting, my co-authors are going to be the professors of neurology at Boston University and a professor at Harvard Medical School.  So I think there's something to look forward to.  I'm really looking forward to it because I think the drugs are not really helping that much, even all, and we’re seeing something really interesting here.

Ben:  Interesting.  I want to ask you about how this works from like a logistical standpoint, okay.  ‘Cause it appears to be, from the pictures that I've seen and I haven't used the Vielight at all.  I don't own one.  I’ve never used intranasal light therapy unless you, of course, count shoving a laser pointer at my nose.  But how does one wear it like what exactly does the unit, what exactly is the unit comprised of in terms of where things go and what you do when you're using it?

Doctor Lim:  Easiest thing in the world, Ben.  All you do is, this is a really portable device with a nose clip.  You clip it to your nose, you press a button, it turns on and shuts off automatically after 25 minutes.  I sleep with it.  Because of my busy schedule, I have it on my bedside.  I turn it on when I go to bed and it shuts off automatically.

Ben:  It doesn’t, well, I wanna ask you this because in-ear light therapy is something I use for wakefulness.  When you put it in your nose it doesn't keep you awake?

Doctor Lim:  Well, it looks a little bit differently.  We have people and actually just another quite consistent feedback, people with sleep problem.  They use any time of the day and find that they sleep better at night.  The reason and there’s actually a study done in China and it shows that people who are exposed to low level light therapy sleep better and they measure the melatonin level.  It seems to help the body to release melatonin.  As you know melatonin helps you to go to sleep.  It helps to release it better when it's time to do it.  Now the other light therapy where it helps with your circadian rhythm, you turn on a bright bluish light in the morning, that shows how melatonin, so you don't feel sleepy during the day.  And by the time it comes in the evening, you’re tired and it gets into that rhythm of sleeping at the right time, I guess.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay.  So you put this in, you personally use it, you put it in and you press a button and it just turns on for 25 minutes and then automatically turns off?

Doctor Lim:  Yup.  And it runs on a disposable double A battery.  You can get it at any grocery or pharmacy. I say you change it, you may use it daily, you change it once every three months.

Ben:  And the actual device, how far does it go up your nose?  It seems like it would be uncomfortable.

Doctor Lim:  Try it.  It’s not. (chuckles)  It is not.  You can still breathe freely and I have people who use two different intranasal devices because we have one set of devices with visible red which doesn't go quite as deep as the new infrared which means that it gets them to your circulatory system and it creates a body as a whole in general.  Whereas the infrared does direct brain stimulation.  But when you do them both together it’s kind of holistic.

Ben:  Really?  So you combine low level light therapy with infrared?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah. We have the visible red which doesn’t penetrate that deep which goes into the blood circulation and again for red which goes right…

Ben:  Okay.  So it's visible and then infrared and is that on the same device or do you have to like purchase two different devices to kind of combine the two?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah, they’re different devices because you know it’s often better than not to have two different wavelengths coming out of a diode that’s close together.  There is some…

Ben:  Okay.

Doctor Lim:  series going on.  Yeah.

Ben:  That makes sense.  Could you put, for example, the red one in your left nostril and then the infrared one in your right nostril and do both at the same time?

Doctor Lim:  Yes.  We have a growing number of people doing that.  I don't do it because I just feel healthier now.  My annual medical is qualified so I use the infrared to make sure that I don’t get into a dementia or cognitive impairment.

Ben:  Yeah.  Do you use this at all prior to efforts for which you need enhanced cognitive performance such as writing a paper or recording the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.  Do you actually use it to like charge your brain up for certain activities?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah, that's interesting.  I know a professor at University of Texas in Austin and last year he published a paper testing on his university students, and found that while he didn't use the intranasal, he directed the light through the front part of the brain and found that the memory retrieval of information improved significantly in terms of like time and also more accurate.  Then this year he published another paper demonstrating using the Wisconsin contest, demonstrating that the decision making is significantly better and learning improved.  So it does, I don’t notice a lot of difference in myself because you’re not quite sure what’s happening but I'm 60 years old, and this year I feel that my mind is sharper than when I was in my 30s and I actually had my IQ tested as well.  So I still stand out.

Ben:  Interesting.

Doctor Lim:  You know but the control studies show that it seems to be working this way.

Ben:  Now on your website it appears that you have kind of multiple models.  For example, you have a red which I assume is the red light and then you have an infrared which I assume is the infrared light, but then there’s one called a prime and also one called a pocket miracle.  What are those?

Doctor Lim:  Right. I explained briefly that we have one set that is using visible red that is actually, you can see the red light and infrared which is invisible, largely invisible.  So the red ones goes more into your circulatory system, the infrared goes direct to the brain.  So these are intranasal devices.  We have the pocket miracle which is a portable equivalent of something like what they’ve been using among the Olympic coaches.  They have big, very tremendous, it cost thousands of dollars.  So among the visible red, we have the laser version which is the prime and we have the non-laser version which is the LED.  A lot of people who do research into low level light laser therapy finds a lot of research material based on equipment using lasers.  And this is to me, is largely legacy because the first discovery of low level laser therapy literally is using laser and there have been studies, thousands of studies, accumulated over time back 15 years ago.  Researchers recognizing that LED will produce the same outcomes provided you can deliver this similar wavelength and energy to the cells.  Now laser has, is more coherent like so it penetrates a little bit deeper but when laser hits the tissue it scatters anyway so that's the way light works.  So the trick is if you are using a non-laser, you have to deliver more power.

Ben:  Okay.

Doctor Lim:  So your target cells, as long as the target cells receive the same energy and same wavelength the outcome is the same.  So we have both because some people don’t want to use laser because of safety issues.  It's not a big deal in low level energy, so we provide an option to people.

Ben:  I see.  So if you wanted to be as safe as possible even though it is probably the most expensive of the different intranasal light therapy devices which appear to range from 300 up to about 500 dollars, it looks like this infrared is kind of like the safest and probably like the best bang for your buck as far as having a non-laser infrared wavelength that kind of penetrates deeper into the tissue is better absorbed by your central nervous system and kind of gives you most of the benefits with as much safety as possible.

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  The infrared we have is non-laser, it’s LED.  The reason is we don’t want, for safety reasons, we don’t want a light that’s visible yet is laser because you don’t know, you’re shining laser into your eyes or something.  The safety has mainly to do with the eyes.  So the infrared, like I said, has a longer wavelength, it penetrates deeper.  So the LED is more expensive and so on, and you could use it.  You need more technology to build that, but the idea is to have a deeper penetration and it penetrates directly to the brain.  Sorry, I was gonna touch on pocket miracle…

Ben: Well, that's exactly what I wanted to ask you about too is you have this thing called the pocket miracle.  So you’ve got the red, you’ve got the infrared and the prime and of course, I’ll link to all these in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight if people want to check them out.  Your pocket miracle frankly it reads like an infomercial it says, “The pocket miracles is a laser device that combines the science behind hair regrowth, pain reduction, and wound regeneration through photobiomodulation.”  Please do explain.

Doctor Lim:  Okay.  Here in the field of photomedicine and anesthetics, you might have come across devices that, laser devices that, stimulate your hair to grow.  You have a full head of hair so it probably doesn’t apply to you, but when your hair is thinning, it is pretty much established that light will stimulate your thinning hair provided that you’re not bald, you still have roots to regrow and I can speak from personal experience because about 10 years ago my hair was thinning.  So it works and it’s becoming a big industry now.  For a long time they had it in the clinics where you get a set date, make an appointment for weekly or bi-weekly treatments.  Now you can buy helmets that does pretty much the same thing.  We actually had handheld devices almost like a comb.  You do it slowly over your head.  Now the same device, all you need to do is change their data and you have a device that you can use for bruises in your body for joint pain, for muscle injury, for quicker muscular covered by strapping and having a direct contact to the focal area where the problem is.  So we've seen it really working.  I, when I have a back problem, I strain part of my body, I generally find that part of the body recovering much quicker.  Even back a few days ago, I woke up in bed and I got a hotel, my back ached and put it on and this almost magically the pain goes away.

Ben:  Yeah.  That makes sense.  I've used one of those before.  Those low level light therapy devices.  It’s like a wand.  I think the one that I had used was made by a company called [39:53.9] ______.  So for the hair regrowth though because I, not that any of our listeners are bald or struggle with hair issues but I'm just saying, for the hair regrowth thing, would you just move it like a comb over your head repeatedly?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  You know all these clinical devices, they all apply the same principle.  There’s direct, low level, laser light through that area of the scalp and it actually stimulate the growth factor that governs the speed of the hair growth.

Ben:  Interesting.

Doctor Lim:  And there is another one, in case you’re worried about your wrinkles, we have another adapter that keeps it a certain distance away from the skin and helps to reduce wrinkle.

Ben:  Now the pocket miracle, this one that we were just talking about, that is a laser?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.

Ben:  If, one were to theoretically use infrared instead of a laser, would it not have the same effects on something like hair regrowth?  Is there something special about the laser frequency specifically?

Doctor Lim:  Yeah.  It also has a better penetration.  The new infrared penetrates deeper and now has been recognized to actually helps in deeper muscular pains, joint pains.  I find the laser when you put it in direct contact, thus do almost the same thing.  But for hair you want to keep it pretty close to the surface and the laser I think, probably the visible red laser, probably works the best.

Ben:  Okay.  Alright, gotcha.  Well, this is super interesting.  I’m gonna put all the show notes for this over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight.  I'm kinda loving you and hating you right now, Doctor Lim.  Loving you because you’ve opened my eyes to this new area of photomedicine that I wasn’t aware of.  Hating you because now I need to go buy another biohack to add to my library of things to try, but regardless it should be interesting and what I will likely end up doing, I'm guessing is probably I’ll post a picture of myself doing something like in-ear light therapy and intranasal light therapy simultaneously and of course, I’ll report on the results as I usually do.  So super interesting.  A couple other things, for those of you listening in, Vielight actually provided us with a discount code.  It's V. I. E. light, V. I. E. light.  So you can go to Vielight.com.  The discount that they've given us is a 10% code on any of these and it’s called, the code is ‘greenfield’. ‘Greenfield’ over at Vielight.com.  I've also taken some notes while Doctor Lim and I were talking and those that you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight.  So within several days after this episode is being released, I do expect all of my listeners to be walking down the streets of their own towns with light therapy devices hanging out of their nostrils.  So, Doctor Lim, thank you for coming on and sharing this stuff with us.

Doctor Lim:  Sure. Definitely.  I’m happy you called me.  I think people need some education on what possibilities are with this technology.

Ben:  Yeah.  I'd only come across it very, very briefly before and now I understand it a little bit more completely and I'm actually, I'm game to try it whereas before I thought maybe I would just be shoving something dangerous up my nose.  But it sounds like it's actually quite interesting and the benefits to sports performance are actually greater than what I had thought after your explanation of the nitric oxide production and the increase in ATP production.  So that's exciting too and thanks for coming on the show, man.

Doctor Lim:  Sure.  Yeah.  Thanks very much.  I’m gonna forward some information and maybe you can Google it the next few days.  There is, I’m giving an online seminar in early October and I would give you, they’re preparing a trailer for that.

Ben:  Yeah.  I'd love to post it in the show notes and also by the way, if you have any compelling research studies that you'd like to send over that I can link to in the show notes as well.  I always like to include those if you’ve got some that you find particularly meaningful when it comes to low light therapy, or intranasal light therapy, or photomedicine.

Doctor Lim:  Well, there's a lot of stuff but if you’re, I’ll just email links for us,  I can send you the paper’s that's been published that I talked about briefly during the …

Ben:  Yeah, that would be great.  Now, I can link to that in the show notes for people to check out.

Doctor Lim:  And I would definitely send you the link to my webinar because you will learn in a nutshell all the important things about photobiomodulation.

Ben:  Perfect.  We’ll link to that too.  So all of that will be over, for those of you listening, at bengreenfieldfitness.com/noselight.  So until next time, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Doctor Lim, signing out from Ben Greenfield Fitness. Have a healthy week.

Doctor Lim:  Thank you for listening.



Several weeks ago, in the article, The Ultimate Guide To Using Light To Biohack Your Circadian Rhythms, Sleep Better & Beat Jet Lag Forever, I told you about an in-ear light phototherapy device called “The Human Charger“, which I've been experimenting with for everything from jet lag to a burst of pre-workout wakefulness.

Then, in the article, Pink Makes You Docile, Orange Makes You Buy Stuff, Red Makes You Mad: How To Use Color Light Therapy For Mood, Cognition, Healing & More, I taught you how to use something called chromotherapy to change your mood, deal with insomnia, or even treat a variety of health issues.

Finally, several days ago (probably because it appears I've lately been obsessed with light biohacks) one of my friends mentioned the word “photomedicine” to me.

This word photomedicine was a new term in my vernacular, but when I looked into it, I found that intranasal light therapy, which is literally light stimulation of blood capillaries in the nasal cavity, has been used for the past couple decades as a very non-invasive method to introduce therapeutic light energy into the human body, and there's actually a surprising amount of research on this form of nonionizing radiation on biological systems, including effects on cognitive performance, fighting free radicals, combatting Alzheimer's symptoms and more.

So for today's podcast, I hunted down an expert in photomedicine, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM), or low level light therapy. His name is Dr. Lew Lim, and Dr. Lim is the co-inventor of a wearable, intranasal light therapy device designed for home-use called the “Vielight”.

Dr. Lim is a Doctor of Naturopathy, has a Graduate Engineering Diploma, a MBA, and is a Chartered Accountant. He is also certified in Medical Neuroscience, Neurobiology and Human Physiology. He has obtained qualifications from University of California at Berkeley, Duke University, University of Chicago and University of Sheffield, UK and collaborates with Harvard Medical School and Boston University in research relating to the field of photobiomodulation.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Why any athlete should pay close attention to the emerging field of photomedicine, particularly low level light therapy…

-Why the FDA has approved infrared therapy for everything from eliminating microbes and fungus in the human body to killing cancer cells…

-What happens to your cells (and specifically to your nitric oxide production) when your cells get exposed to low level light therapy…

-How to use intranasal light therapy as a way to “charge up your brain” prior to mentally demanding tasks…

-A biohack that combines red light therapy and infrared light therapy…

-Exactly when, how and how long to use low level light therapy and intranasal light therapy for everything from brain stimulation to sleep…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-The HumanCharger (10% discount code is “BENG10HC”)

Vielight (10% discount code is “GREENFIELD”)

Lew's free, upcoming “World Summit of Integrative Medicine”

Applications of Intranasal Low Intensity Laser Therapy in Sports Medicine

Superpulsed Low-Level Laser Therapy Protects Skeletal Muscle of mdx Mice Against Damage, Inflammation and Morphological Changes Delaying Dystrophy Progression

Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy in the Development of Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Fatigue and Changes in Biochemical Markers Related to Postexercise Recovery


Ask Ben a Podcast Question

4 thoughts on “[Transcript] – How To Use Low Level Light Therapy and Intranasal Light Therapy For Athletic Performance, Cognitive Enhancement & More.

  1. isacco says:

    Hey Ben, is it better to use both human charger and vielight? they are two different technologies.

    1. I use both and get great, albeit different, effects from both

  2. Michael rosen says:

    hey ben, which model (of vielight) do you use? & why?

    1. Vielight neuro. It provided what I was looking for basically. The 10-Hz pulse frequency is a feature of a healthy, calm and resting brain. I suggest you review the descriptions of each model and choose what is right for you.

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