[Transcript] – Shining Laser Lights On Your Balls & Beyond: Photobiomodulation 101 – How To Use Near Infrared & Red Light For Collagen, Thyroid, Muscle, Skin & More.

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/biohacking-podcasts/photobiomodulation/

[0:00] Sponsors: Kion Colostrum / Kettle & Fire

[04:48] The Men Behind the Joovv and the Beginnings

[11:11] The History of Photobiomodulation

[21:00] Research About Phototherapy

[41:30] PBM and Weight Loss

[46:30] PBM as Performance Enhancing Drug

[49:30] How PBM Affects Stem Cells

[51:30] Effect of PBM on Thyroid Issues

[54:30] Exposure to PBM

[01:01:20] Continuous Wave vs Pulsed Frequencies

[01:03:07] EMF and Flicker from Joovv

[01:10:30] What Goes Well with PBM

[01:22:25] End of Podcast

Ben:  This is one of those podcast episodes where I welcome some very cool dudes into my home and you get to hear us jam out. We're going to talk all about light, near-infrared light, far- infrared light, red light, if light exists, then we talk about it on today's show. Which is brought to you by something that is probably one of the best things that you can put into your system to protect your gut. It is chockfull of cytokines which are part of your systemic immune system, growth factors which help to grow certain body tissues including your gastrointestinal lining, lactoferrin which actually helps you absorb iron, growth hormone, immunoglobulins which are these little proteins that are used by your immune system to seek out and destroy foreign invaders. And, also, what are called PRPs which are Proline-Rich Polypeptides, these are immune system regulators that encourage the growth of new white blood cells and help to restore the balance of a whole bunch of different immune functions. Well, you get all of this from something called colostrum along with a whole bunch of different vitamins and minerals and enzymes and even amino acids. If you load with this stuff before workout, it reduces the gut permeability that heavy exercise causes especially in the heat. It can heal the lining of a leaky gut. The list of benefits of this stuff, I mean, it's really nature's first food. It's what mammals first get from mom's milk. We get it from organic goats in western Washington at Kion. It's called Kion Colostrum and you can get your hands on this stuff, take it every morning and watch your immune system performance go through the roof and your gut feels unstoppable, getkion.com. GET-K-I-O-N.com. This stuff is called colostrum. GET-K-I-O-N.com and look there for colostrum.

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In this episode of Ben Greenfield Fitness Show….

Ben:  For some reason, I've gotten a reputation of late as a guy who shines laser lights on his balls and it may have been a Men's Health magazine article in which I talked about this form of light therapy called photobiomodulation as a way for a dude to increase his sexual performance or his sperm count or is testosterone. Maybe it's because I've described on many podcasts in the past about how I pulled down my pants for about 20 to 30 minutes a day, while I’m at my desk and I bathed my nether regions in red and near-infrared light using this nifty little light panel device called the Joovv. It turns out though that the benefits of photobiomodulation, all joking aside, go pretty far beyond just your crotch. There's one recent study, actually, and I'm going to link to it in the shownotes that I’ll give to you here in a little bit during this episode. There's a recent study that hints at the fact that photobiomodulation, which is also called PBM, should be banned because it might be an illegal performance-enhancing drug and that's due to a lot of the biological mechanism that I'll talk about in today's show. But, what I decided was I wanted to get a couple of experts in the field of photobiomodulation on my show. Guys who know the ins and outs of laser light. Their names are Justin Strahan and Scott Nelson. They're here in my home with me. We just finished piecing together this crazy modular photobiomodulation device they invented at my living room and kind of going through that and you're going to learn a lot about what that is too on today's show.

So, who are these dudes? Justin actually invented and developed much of the technology behind the Joovv Light and spent his career as an engineer, managing design and development teams. Apparently, has six children, as well. Something I’ve learned about Justin. So, a far more patient man than I.

And then, Scott is the guy who said a lot of what goes on behind the scenes at Joovv in motion and prior to co-founding Joovv. He spent his career in leadership positions with some pretty big medical device companies like Medtronic and Covidien and Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard. He also has a podcast, a top-ranked medical device podcast called, Medsider Radio.

So, these guys are pretty much obsessed with light. Welcome to the show. Welcome to my home, guys.

Justin:    Thanks, man. Awesome to finally be here.

Scott:   Thanks, man. So honored to be here.

Ben:  Just so you guys know, you'll get to know the voices of each of these casts here as you listen to the show. But, I would say, Justin, your voice is possibly a little bit more smooth and bold.

Justin:   I got years given me quite a standard to hold up now.

Ben:  Yeah, you’ve got the voice for radio.

Scott:   I was going to say mine was that much more masculine.

Ben:  Yeah, well, also, your microphone stand broke before we started recording so I'm going to boost your levels a little bit behind the scenes. So, which one of you casts design this thing, this Joovv Light?

Justin: Yeah, going back to how we kind of discovered it. My wife actually first introduced me to photobiomodulation or, as we've heard it at the time, red light therapy. After digging into the science of it, I worked on developing the original Joovv which I see sitting behind us here in your office.

Ben:  How’s your wife introduced you to it? What do you mean?

Justin:    She first tried out the therapy in a salon where they had tanning beds that were converted for the purpose of red light therapy. So, they were using strictly red wavelengths and she had some pretty awesome health benefits from it. And then, because of that, she wanted to try to find something she could use at home, not only just for herself but also for myself and her six children you referenced earlier and that's what really led us down the path of creating our own device that would allow that to be a possibility.

Ben:  Were you just tinkering together in your garage?

Justin:    No, it was kind of funny. The first Joovv prototype tinkering probably would be a pretty accurate description. It was basically a collection of infrared heat lamps clamped to a 2×4 hung on either side of our shower. So, that was the very first Joovv prototype.

Ben:  Wow. I actually have one of these. It's about 4 feet tall, about a foot wide that’s the Joovv original that you developed.

Justin:    That's correct.

Ben:  The original one I use to shine on my own my balls. Now, I've got your elite modular, I can just shine everything, my whole body, all at once. We'll talk about that because I think it's pretty sick. But ultimately, when did you hook up with Scott? How did that happen?

Justin:    Well, my wife, Melissa, her younger sister is Liz, who happens to be Scott's wife. So, we are brothers-in-law. We've known each other for 27 years now.

Ben:  Wow. So, you've got a lot of nephews and nieces, Scott.

Scott:   We do. Justin’s got six. He’s beaten me on that front, for sure. I've got four kids of my own. The family extension goes far and wide, for sure.

Ben:  And you're in medical device sales before you started doing this laser light thing.

Scott:   I was, I was. That's my entire career, in the traditional medical device game, primarily in the cardiovascular space. You know, products like peripheral stands and balloons, atherectomy catheters, the stuff that goes on in an interventional cardiology lab or something like that. But, yes, my last actually position before Joovv was actually overseeing marketing for Indovenus franchise at Medtronic. And so, that was the last. That's actually what brought us to Minneapolis in the first place. So, anyway, I come from a very formal MedTech, medical device background so when Justin's wife and then my wife who experienced the same kinds of benefits came to us with this concept of red light therapy, I thought, “Whoa. That's way to woo woo for me. There's no way different colors of light can have these types of benefits on your body.” As Justin mentioned before, we started digging into science and I'm kind of a guy who go straight to PubMed and it was pretty mind-blowing how much research has been published specifically using red and near-infrared wavelengths. It blows you away, just do a little bit of research.

Ben:  Yeah. That's what I want to get into this whole idea of photobiomodulation and I think a lot of people get confused when they hear about all these different light wavelengths and I get asked this all the time, “What is red?” “How does that compare to far red or far-infrared?” “What's near-infrared? Can you guys walk me through the specific wavelengths of lights used in something like photobiomodulation? I don't care if you call that PBM because I already did and apparently, that's the word all the kids use anyways these days.

Justin:    Yeah, I feel that one. So, basically, there are all types of health benefits that you can get from a wide range of wavelengths. Obviously, sunlight provides everything from the U.V., visible light, and the near-infrared, mid and far infrared wavelength ranges and all of those have some related health benefits. But, for the purposes of PBM, the specific ranges that have the most scientific research behind them are red wavelengths between 600 and 670 nanometers, and then, near-infrared light in the 800 to 880-nanometer wavelength ranges.

Ben:  Okay. That first term that you use, red light, that's not far infrared light?

Justin:  Correct. So, when I say, “red,” I mean, visible red that you're able to see with the naked eye.

Ben:  Okay. So, that red is the stuff you can see like when I flip on a Joovv and all the–it's like one of the circles is red and the next one next to that is clear and the next one is red. The ones that are red, that's actually red light and you said the 600 to 850-nanometer range. And the near-infrared is the one you can't see.

Justin:  Correct. So, the red is between 600 and 670 and the near-infrared is between 800 and 880. In terms of the scientific research, the Joovv devices that we've got here, we use red at 660 and near-infrared at 850 nanometers.

Ben:  Where does far infrared come in?

Justin:    Far infrared has some great benefits primarily related to the heating tissue. So, your infrared sauna, for example, is primarily to be using wavelengths longer than 3,000 nanometers which would be considered far infrared light.

Ben:  Can you see far infrared light?

Justin:    No, you can't. Basically, the human eye can see up to around 700 nanometers. Once you get much beyond that, you're not going to be able to see it with the naked eye.

Ben:  So, if I have an infrared sauna, specifically one of these far infrared saunas because I like that big, clear light, one of my gem over here. I'm not getting the same type of red and near-infrared as I'm getting from the Joovv? That's given me the far infrared spectrum and I get the red and near-infrared when I flip on something like this?

Justin:    Exactly.

Ben:  Okay. So, tell me about some of the actual research behind red and some of the research behind near-infrared because I want to wrap my head around why you'd combine these two into one laser panel. If you want me to stop saying laser lights, I just like tag but I'm all space age.

Justin:    I'll touch on that briefly. So, the original PBM devices were lasers. They were referred to as low-level laser therapy or LLLT. So, really, the origin of the field is based in lasers.

Ben:  I used to get attacked at a health conference by digital laser lights once. I never noticed Jack from any of them.

Justin:    Really? That’s interesting. I think the main issue with lasers is just the treatment area. Obviously, you’re talking very small area so even though there are some robust evidence for the deeper tissue benefits with lasers, the treatment area is such that it's very limited in terms of the overall benefits and applications.

Ben:  Yeah and to be fair, I think in many cases, people just like shine it on me like a bum knee as a marker on a Health Conference and I know a lot of times he repeated doses and probably a little more of a controlled environment but that's where all this originally developed. You call them low level…

Justin:    Low-level laser therapy.

Ben:  Okay. Those are like the wands or kind of like those laser guns that you'll see a lot of people use at chiropractic clinics or alternative healing clinics, places like that.

Justin:   Yeah, exactly. It's been used in the kind of physical therapy world for quite some time. And really, what came about was some studies in the 90s that demonstrated the fact that LEDs could be just as effective. Only now, you could treat a much larger surface area without having the risks of potentially overheating tissue that you have with lasers.

Ben:  What's the difference between LED and a laser?

Justin:  The main difference is just the light source itself. With a laser, you have a coherent beam and what that means is you have a specific wavelength. So, literally, all the photons are in alignment with each other so you have kind of basically all the waves lined up and that enables the beam of light to stay very, very tight and that's why you have all these different applications for whether it's cutting tissue or even in the manufacturing. We can cut materials with lasers because you can tighten up that beam to a very small point. With LEDs, you have a fairly small tight range of wavelengths but you don't have that coherent beam. So, the light is dispersing and in basically control that with the lenses on a device like basically what we have on the Joovv Lights who can control the spread of those photons to hit a target a specific area.

Ben:  So, in this case, if you wanted to target the entire body, you just stand in front of a whole panel of the LED but then that's combined with near-infrared.

Justin:    Exactly. To get back to your earlier question, “Why we use both wavelengths?” From a biological standpoint, both wavelengths have very similar impacts at the cellular and mitochondrial level. The main difference being that the near-infrared wavelengths are much more effective at penetrating through the deeper tissue. That really boils down to the water absorption that allows them to penetrate deeper.

Scott:   Just to add on to Justin’s comment there, photomedicine by and large is still a very niche field within health care in general but if you get if you were to go to a Photo Medicine Conference, most of the older academic would say the field was built on laser-based therapy. But, if you talk to a younger researcher or even someone like Dr. Hamlin, who's often referenced in this…

Ben:  Dr. Michael Hamlin?

Scott:   That's right, Dr. Michael Hamlin. He’s a Ph D. at Harvard, runs his own lab. He’s published over 300 manuscripts. He would say that with the advent of medical grade LED technology in general, you can deliver the same type of intensity with very quasi-coherent light just over much broader treatment area…

Ben:  As opposed to a laser.

Scott:   …as opposed to a laser, exactly.

Ben:  Okay. So, basically, what you're doing with LED Is you're covering more area but you’re still getting the same effects as a laser. It doesn't have to be like this targeted one that you hold over the tissue, it's more like a shotgun effect.

Scott:   Exactly.

Ben:  Okay, got it. So, how is this any different than sunlight, when you step out of the sun? Because the Sun's got UVA, UVB, all of the wavelengths and light spectrum from blue to near-infrared and far infrared and beyond. How is this different than sunlight?

Justin:    Sure. The main difference is instead of having the full spectrum and just to back up we're big fans of getting as much natural light as possible. My wife and I would typically go out in the morning try to catch sunlight…

Ben:  [0:18:33]_____ like white vampires hunched over in your garage over your two laser lights?

Justin:   Definitely not. We get the Southern California tan working on that, everything. We're definitely big believers in getting natural light as much as possible. But, the fact is, for most of us, we don't get outside near as much as we as we should. So, I think the latest stats that I've heard is Americans spend roughly 93% of their lifetime indoors separated from natural light.

Ben:  Especially those of us who are, you know, like I'm a blogger and podcaster. People ask me, “Why don’t you to spend all day on a sun-like you preach, Ben?” I'm like, “I can't because I have to pay the bills.”

Justin:  Exactly. Most of us fall into that category in one way or another. So, whether you are in corporate America or even most of our children spend most of their time indoors stuck in a classroom. So, for a variety of reasons, our lives have changed so much over the past 100 to 200 years, we're not getting the natural light that we should be. So, photobiomodulation or PBM just gives us a way to harness some specific wavelengths that are really important at helping to restore healthy cellular function. Specifically, with some of the stresses that our cells are constantly undergoing whether it's Bluetooth, EMF, from other types of technology, Wi-Fi, cell phones and even the stream out of blue light that most of us are under for a good section of the day. So, PBM is a great way to help restore that healthy function at a cellular and mitochondrial level after we're kind of bombarded by all those other stressors throughout the day.

Scott:   To just to add to that, it's not too dissimilar to supplementing anyway else you'd supplement your diet. If you take a multivitamin, if you're adding protein powder to a smoothie, it's not terribly different than that. Most of us just simply cannot spend the amount of time that we need outdoors.

Ben:  It would be like a bunch of folic acid from spinach and kale, my morning smoothie, but then wanting more and so I supplement my diet with a multivitamin like methyl hydro folate in it, something like that.

Scott:   Exactly.

Ben:  Those are my excuse to use big words. [0:20:43]_____ sound smart. So, you've got these lights that are essentially giving you some of the beneficial wavelengths of sunlight but you’re getting any UVA or UVB which isn't bad per se but excess amounts, it can be. You're not getting much of the blue light, the artificial light. Not getting artificial light from Sun but you're getting blue light and so these things can be used at night, for example, without disrupting circadian rhythm. But, what I want to do is we very briefly went over just a few a little benefits of this but I want to dig into some of the research-proven benefits of what photobiomodulation have been shown to do. I just got to start saying PBM, fellas. I obviously have, like I mentioned, caught some attention for talking about how it improves the activation of the Leydig cells in the testes for sperm cells and testosterone and sexual performance and in blood flow and I've possibly kind of kicked that horse to death and in articles that I’ve written. I think a lot of people are aware that I pulled out my pants in front of the Joovv Light, there's a lot of guys doing it now. My friend, Olly over in Finland, is the first guy who told me about this. He would lay on his couch at night and just like hug his Joovv, I think he had the original. You just like hug it, just like lay there on the couch with the thing nestled up in his crotch and get it off like 20 minutes a night and he showed me his before and after testosterone. I was amazed. You guys have sent some of the other research studies of on Pre and Post Testosterone levels of guys who do this but it seems to go beyond sexual automization, and testosterone, blood flow, and silly jokes about lead in your balls. There's a lot of other interesting and compelling research on this stuff. Walk me through some of the things that you guys know photobiomodulation to do and some kind of the ways you know the mechanism of action behind how that would work.

Justin:    Sure, I'll take a stab at that one. So, as you mentioned, the benefits are pretty wide-ranging it's literally everything from skin health to muscle recovery to enhancing peak athletic performance to reducing joint pain and inflammation. There's evidence that suggests that it helps with thyroid function. So, if I were to list all of those benefits on a late night you know, QBC commercial, most people would be like, “That's too good to be true.”

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  “That doesn't make any sense.”

Ben:  Yeah, it sounds like you used car seller.

Justin:   Exactly, but the reality is all of this is supported by a robust amount of published Peer Reviewed Clinical Literature. In fact, there are over 3000 manuscripts, I’ll that repeat again, 3000 manuscripts. It's unheard of in like most healthcare arenas but there are 3000 manuscripts that have been published to showcase the benefits of these wavelengths of light, and maybe more compelling, there are over 200 double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trials showcasing the benefits. So, there's a robust amount of science, so every single benefit that we mentioned here during this conversation. It's supported by research. You can simply do a PubMed search for LLTPBM, photobiomodulation. It will be a laundry list of studies that support this. Those are some of the benefits at a high level but the reason for the wide-ranging, varying, sort of, health benefits from these wavelengths of light kind of goes back to the fundamental core mechanism of action. You know, what are these specific wavelengths of light doing at a cellular level and from a macro perspective, these wavelengths actually excites an enzyme during the fourth phase of cellular respiration called, cytochrome c oxidase. You mentioned that earlier in the intro. By doing that will actually tend to free up cytochrome c oxidase from nitric oxide that's why you get the nitric oxide vasodilation-enhanced blood flow then you can probably speak more than I did. Your masters was specifically on nitric oxide but you, more than anyone, probably can speak to the benefits of that.

Ben:  Yeah, in Bio-Chem I spent a lot of time writing a paper on nitric oxide, the entire freaking semester.

Justin:   You want to rename your voice “Nitric.”

Ben:  Yeah, exactly. For me, honestly, though, I was a gym rat. You know, I was bodybuilding, [24:43]_____ I’ll explode and just want to dig into the mechanism of action. I just thought it was freaking cool molecule. I didn’t get it tattooed on me or anything like that but, you know, it is interesting. In some cases, excess nitric oxide, as you guys know, can result in excess free radical production and I want to talk to you a little bit more about this whole purported Goldilocks effect of photobiomodulation and the idea that you might not want to do too much of it. There's this guy that makes his headset device. Have you heard of the Vielight before? I have one over there in the corner or right under there. I wore that every other day or so. It's fantastic for jet lag and for cognitive performance. For what I understand it’s very similar to putting one of you guys’ Joovv light on the skull and he told me, “Use it for about 48 hours, for 30 minutes or so. You don’t want to create excess Reactive Oxygen Species.” So, I want to talk to you guys a little about that but before I do, I want to continue on the sort of mechanism of action. So, this exacting Cytochrome c oxidase, releasing nitric oxide and then, what?

Justin:  By doing that, you free up Cytochrome c oxidase to be used in the way it was supposed to be during the fourth phase of cellular respiration, and that's really to produce the gradient in the mitochondria matrix to produce ADP which is a precursor to ATP, which is cellular energy or the energy currency of life, if you're taking everyone back to the high school Biology class. That’s sort of the core fundamental mechanism of action. You do get sort of secondary things that go on, so enhanced gene transcription, better cell signaling, a shift in cellular redox. You get sort of the secondary benefits of a better immune response by secreting more subtle kinds, there's always secondary responses but it kind of all goes back to that primary mechanism of action which is breaking and helping excite Cytochrome c oxidase to free up the bond between nitric oxide and CCO and then, restoring sort of natural cellular function.

Ben:  Okay, got it. You talked about skin help, that’s one of the first things that you brought up. How would that affect the skin specifically?

Justin:  Yeah, and going back to the difference between red and near-infrared light, red light has been shown to– it's often studied for skin health, so if you look at like a Derm paper for example, most of the studies will use red light because most of that energy is absorbed in the dermis and epidermis of your skin or as near-infrared light has unique ability to penetrate into tissue a little bit further and so near-infrared light is often used for studies related to joint pain, osteoarthritis most of it covered…

Ben:  Yeah, you’ve been talking about it for detoxification because it penetrates so deeply.

Justin:  Yes, exactly. So, that’s the same mechanism of action applies to both wavelengths. It's just the major difference is the depth of penetration.

Ben:  So, in my little boys, because you brought one of these Joovv minis, I'm turning them in a little biohacker. They have a little Biomat upstairs for their warming and their negative ion exposure, and I've got a Joovv mini, they’re ten years old. When they start to break out an acne when they're 13 or 14. Hopefully, their insulin levels are pretty stabilized, they're not doing a lot of vegetable oils but you know, shit happens when you become a teenager when those balls drop, weird things happen to your face. How would this work on that, like could they use something like this for acne?

Justin:  Yeah, there's a whole host of skin benefits with red light. You'll find some studies actually that use blue light for acne related issues but that's primarily bacterial-induced acne but any other form of acne, red light is actually great for restoring healthy skin, healthy collagen production, and everything from Rosacea to Psoriasis, to reducing acne, red light is great for that.

Ben:  What about the eyes? And two questions really for me because I've got these lights and I've always kind of wondered but I haven't done much of it because I wanted to ask you guys about it now I've got you as captive audience here in my home. What happens if I look at this? Like will it damage my eyes if I turn around and stare at this Joovv and then, be like, does it hurt my eyes at all?

Scott:   Yeah, interestingly it has actually been shown to be beneficial for our health so there's actually a decent number of studies for a wide range of various degenerative eye disorders where PBM has been shown to be quite helpful. In fact, referencing Dr. Michael Hamlin and he's a big fan of using near-infrared because it's a little bit more comfortable on the eye, whereas, for some people, they have a little bit of a sensitivity to the red, that’s something that they can overcome, but for most people, we basically recommend they would start treatment with their eyes closed and then, if it's comfortable to them, they can open their eyes and take those wavelengths right directly.

Ben:  So, this new Elite model that you have, you guys just set up in my living room, that has the ability to shut off the red. So, if that was bothering my eyes and I just wanted to treat my eyes and enhanced the health of the eyes, I could switch it to near-infrared and just use it that way?

Scott:   Exactly.

Ben:  Interesting. Okay, cool.

Justin:  The one thing to add to that is I would say not all devices are created equal, so when you're submitting to FDA, there is a series of IEC tests that you need to need to submit along with the 510(k) and one of those is Photo Biological Safety Testing. So, you could, in theory, be using a PBM device that hasn't been tested properly that may not be the best. It’s just kind of an unknown, you don't know for sure.

Ben:  [30:15]_____ so don't Amazon Prime it necessarily.

Justin:  Exactly, just be careful.

Ben:  So, what about this one? Is this thing like FDA approved or how’s that work?

Justin:  Yeah, all devices were class one registered with FDA which is, you know, relatively easy to get, you still need all the testing in place, but our newer devices are actually class two cleared. Which is a big milestone for us as a company, even though fundamentally, they're still delivering the same wavelength with fairly similar power, it's just a big milestone for us because we want to get more involved in clinical studies and in order to get IRB approval at certain clinical sites, you need class two approval with most devices.

Ben:  Those are hard to do, class two?

Justin:  I wouldn't say it's hard, the barrier is definitely harder and are more challenging than class one. It's just that the paperwork, the testing, everything goes up a notch with class two. Just to put in perspective, class three devices are like heart valves. You know, something that you didn't plant in a body typically. Were class two, it’s everything from something like the Joovv that's not used inside the body, you know, an orthopedic implant, maybe, could be class two device. It's kind of a wide variety of devices but it's the barriers definitely leveled up, for sure.

Ben:  Have you guys seen the pictures of the guys who actually are implanting lights onto those skin like LED lights and light tattoos, these grinders. They treat the human body as wetware and they install these things called hardware, you know, chips and bio tracking devices but they do lights now. If you Google light tattoos, you would see these guys and I think they're just like, basic LED lights that they're implanting as an almost like an advanced form of a tattoo. I'm pretty sure they don’t have class three FDA clearance [0:31:52]______.

Scott:   Probably not.

Ben:  So, the other thing interesting about collagen, I want to ask you, you mentioned thyroid health and I'm super interested in the idea of weight loss as well. But my friend, Andy Hnilo, who develops these clay masks, it's called Alitura. It’s like clay and colostrum, all these things you put on your face. He talked about how you could do that and then, do infrared at the same time. So, I actually have been putting out a clay mask every Wednesday, I do this and I go shine the Joovv light on my face with that clay mask on for like 20 minutes which sounds incredibly laborious. I know those of you're listening in on one but, you know, you put an audiobook or podcast seems kind of jam on your face. Your 20 minutes of self-love for your face each week. What's going on with collagen production when you're using something like red in near-infrared?

Justin:  Yes, these wavelengths have been proven to actually produce help your body produce more collagen, so that's typically seen with skin health. I mean you probably noticed it the most but there is evidence that suggests that increase in collagen is actually is what helps restore joint health too. You're right, I mean, we're big fans of what Andy's doing with Alitura and I know there’s actually somethings had been–even though the evidence isn't strong, you know, copper and green light which I know he uses in some of his products have actually shown enhanced the benefits of light therapy as well. So, not only you're getting sort of a natural collagen boost with these standalone wavelengths but using you know something like that mask that has some of those ingredients, you'll get a good and even more…

Ben:  It's crazy what can be combined with light. I mean, when we step back and we're talking about this in the living room a little bit about how you know you step back and you look at all this science on pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and photobiomodulation all these things biohackers are doing now. It really comes down to the fact that we're kind of like achieving a concentrated equivalent of mineral-rich water, and sunlight, and grounding, and earthing, and all these things that our ancestors would have done, but we're kind of figuring out a way to concentrate those in these deliverable dozes even one more inside in our office, which I think is incredibly cool.

Justin:  Oh yes, super interesting when you think about sort of the how our biological systems have evolved so fast, right? Because most of the stuff we're doing now, I mean, we certainly were doing even you know 50-60 years ago, you know, in front of like all of you know Wi-Fi exposure, Bluetooth exposure, indoors most of the time, that wasn't the case 50-100 years ago. Our biologies can't keep up with that sort of technology or to expect it is probably not the best the best way to go about living but you're right, I mean, all of this you know a lot of the stuff that most of us use kind of hearken back to are our Paleolithic ancestors.

Ben:  Not to rub a hole too much but is there any evidence on whether or not this could mitigate either the circadian rhythm issues or other issues generated by excess exposure to blue light or to artificial light?

Scott:   There's definitely some interesting studies out there specifically on doing treatments of PBM either in the morning or in the evening to help overcome some of those challenges even in related to U.V. light that we would get through the sun during the midday. So, the sun kind of gets a bad rap because I think a lot of times when we do get sunlight, we basically live in a cave all week and then, go out into so sort of it's associated to Skin Cancer.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Yeah, exactly.

Ben:  There's interesting data on workers who work all day in the sun they don't get skin cancer, the people go to town on the weekends on the beach they get skin cancer.

Scott:   Exactly, and there are some interesting studies on the skin actually being exposed to red and near-infrared wavelengths that you should be getting in the morning and evening parts of the day that actually help both prepare your skin for the U.V. exposure that is certainly more harsh and has some different challenges for your body. But it's obviously necessary for vitamin D production but then, as you're getting those red and near-infrared wavelengths in the evening, you're able to actually help restore and repair some of the stress that your tissues have been undergoing during the day.

Ben:  Yeah, so red light at night, blue light in the morning. Actually, it's interesting because I've been using this in the morning as well, not only to get my little release of nitric oxide and blood flow and activation of mitochondria at the beginning of the day, but because even at the beginning of the day, when I open up my phone I'm looking at a blue light, an artificial light. As soon as I go down to my computer, I start reading research studies, and preparing for the day, and writing articles, and doing what I do on my computer, again, big blast of blue light and artificial light to a certain extent from my computer monitor. You know, I've done some things to mitigate that like I use that the iris tech software on there and I have, you know like this monitor over here and eyes all monitor so I can switch that to paper mode and decrease some of the artificial light coming off the screen. But my logic is if I'm going to expose myself to blue light in the morning and I'm not able to get out into the sunlight, I want to create an environment in my office that's as close to sunlight as possible. So, I flip on the Joovv, so, I'm getting blue light from the screen but then, I'm getting the red and near-infrared from the Joovv, so I’m almost like simulating sunlight in my office. Even these lights overhead you guys notice that they're pretty bright you know, those are those are blue light producing lamps from Lighting Science. So, the kind of or more biological LED. They still produce a lot of flicker and we can get in that later maybe. Ultimately, that's kind of my approach as I want to combine as many different light sources as possible in my home so, I'm kind of simulating sunlight in the morning and not just flipping these things on at night.

Scott:   Exactly.

Justin:  And there's evidence that even using red in the infrared light in the evening does help your body produce more melatonin.

Ben:  Oh absolutely. My wife and I are crushed out in the sauna last night. We flipped on the red light in the sauna. We got far infrared in there but it's amazing. We sleep like a baby when you get some form of red light, you know, same thing upstairs in our bedroom, right? It's red incandescent bulbs or candlelight at night and you sleep so much better.

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Ben:  So, the one of the things that annoyed me especially as a trainer at the gym was you walk into the gym you'd see these ladies like stand on the vibration platforms with their big 400 Calorie Jamba juices in their hand, losing weight by vibrating their bodies and in standing there. And whenever I see weight loss claims that don't involve just working hard and sweating, and burning calories, I sometimes raise an eyebrow and I've seen you guys talk a little bit about how you might get weight loss or felt lost with this Joovv. Is there any actual research on that?

Scott:   Yeah, there is actually some research on the slimming effect that PBM can have.

Ben:  Oh, slimming effect.

Scott:   Yeah, as you mentioned, it can be a slippery slope if you start talking about weight loss claims but there actually have been some studies specifically around slimming as I mentioned. It basically has to do with the metabolic burn rate that your body is able to process fat. There’re some interesting studies using red light actually to help increase that metabolic rate

Justin:  When you dig into some of these some of these research studies there's actually slides showcasing Adipose cells actually going more porous. So, it's hard to say, “Is it weight loss? Is it more like contouring?” But in essence, these fat cells are shrinking.

Ben:  You're getting dispersal of lipids when you're almost like vibrating the Adipocytes.

Justin:  Yeah, exactly. So, it's kind of interesting but your point about you know, is there any evidence? Actually, some of the more well-structured PBM studies are kind of for weight loss. FDA has cleared it for the slimming effect. So, there's pretty well designed, well-structured studies that do in fact showcase significant results with these wavelengths of light.

Ben:  That's interesting and I think that the whole idea of mobilizing lipids from fat cells is one of the reasons that you'll see, you know, I know the whole like detox oral is full of scams and quackery but you know three guys I really respect in the whole like detoxification sector Dr. Brian Walsh, Dr. Dan Pompa, and Dr. Chris Shade. They all talk about how you don't just want to eat a bunch of chlorella, or dump a bunch of charcoal into your body. You need to mobilize toxins then, you need to enhance detoxification pathways then, you need to somehow bind or excrete them. So, this whole idea of mobilizing toxins from fat tissue which is a lot of times where they are stored, that's where things like rebounding in those infamous vibration training platforms, and saunas, and exercise, and movement and even use something like light therapy would be a way to mobilize fat cells during something like a detoxification program.

Scott:   Yeah exactly, and I think one of the things that we've really tried to focus on is to get people to start thinking about their overall health in terms of the big picture instead of just trying to think, “I have this specific issue and I want to try to fix that problem.” It's kind of a similar what we've had in the whole medical field where you know, you have this symptom you're taking this drug to basically mask that problem. I think to kind of get that change where people start to realize, “What are these things that we can do to get back to the way our bodies will function at their highest level, optimally at a cellular function?” Now, we can actually address all of these issues instead of trying to work the other way around.

Ben:  Did you guys see the research on sleep deprivation and hormones and how it can assist with your leptin and ghrelin levels?

Justin:  I don't think I've seen that one, actually.

Ben:  It was really interesting. Indirect associate to weight loss but essentially, stabilization of appetite by modifying ghrelin and leptin in response to light. I think that's one of the reasons that of course sunlight can be so helpful mitigating the effects of sleep deprivation. Particularly, the appetite enhancing effects of sleep deprivation but this kind of seems to do a similar thing kind of indirectly affecting weight loss of just like stuffing more food in your gaping maw.

So, we've got skin we've got weight loss you know obviously the sexual performance we talked about that a little bit. Muscle recovery is another, is that all just related to the collagen?

Justin:  I would argue that it's probably more to do with the actual the repair of muscle tissues. It’s actually expediting how fast your body can respond to that stressed that you just induced. In fact, you're familiar probably with Dr. Charles Pollock? He’s been recently…

Ben:  Yeah, my biceps are a little bigger than his.

Justin:  I remember when we first met with him it's like…

Ben:  He’s jacked.

Justin:  Oh yeah, veins rippling through his biceps. He's recently been testing our devices and he's noticed even with a lot of the competitive athletes that he's training, they've noticed pretty profound benefits in terms of how much faster their bodies are recovering from their work. I think it's more of a repairing function more so than collagen even.

Ben:  Interesting. Now, what about the whole idea of Heat Shock Proteins? Because I know that saunas in the absence of muscle loading and physical activity seem to allow for some retention of muscle mass. You know, I've talked with Dr. Rhonda Patrick about that and I've certainly used that on recovery days to keep muscle on. Is that all just the heat effect or does light play a role in the development of the Heat Shock Proteins as well?

Scott:   Yeah, I think they're really two distinct therapies. So, the Heat Shock Proteins are specifically rate related to those far-infrared wavelengths where you are delivering heat to the tissues and that really boils down to the way those wavelengths are absorbed by the cells. So, whereas with PBM, instead of basically creating a stress on the body related to the heat that's delivered, PBM you really providing more nutrients really in the form of light that are largely absent or basically don't contain heat that you would get from far-infrared wavelengths.

Ben:  Which of these mechanisms that we're talking about would have been the reason that the article came out? I assume you guys saw about the potential for this eventually being like banned by Olympic committees or by WADA as a form of illegal performance enhancing. I mean that's the type of study you would expect to be put out by your guys as industry, right? It’s actually paying you in a favorable way. But I mean this is this is in the Journal of Biophotonics is where it appeared. They talked about how it could increase muscle mass after training, decrease inflammation, decreases oxidative stress, what they showed in muscle biopsies. What your guys thoughts on that study and whether or not it's legit? I guess it was more of a Med Analysis.

Scott:   Yes, it's more of a Med Analysis, but I think when you look at how that was researched, I mean, they parse down some like 300. I'd have to look it up to be specific, but they parse down some 300 studies only to the most well-structured.

Ben:  Even 500 studies.

Scott:   I was going to say 500, it was a big number and the Brazilians have actually done probably the most research.

Ben:  The Brazilians?

Scott:   The Brazilians, yeah, Photo Medicine Researchers, they've done a ton with respect to muscle recovery and peak athletic performance. But it's largely those near-infrared wavelengths in that that kind of that 800-880 nanometer range that have been shown to over and over again across all of these studies to have a pretty profound impact.

Ben:  So, if I'm using a sauna and it's just far infrared, I'm actually not getting all the benefits they found in these studies if I don't have near?

Scott:   Yeah, it's just a different therapy all together. You know, do you need cardiovascular exercise versus like heavy weight lifting something like that. Just different therapies all together, because those wavelengths, we metabolize those differently, and we have a different impact at a cellular level. Saunas are great for sure. I mean, there's profound amount of benefits from Saunas but just different type of therapy altogether than that photobiomodulation.

Ben:  What about stem cells? I have a lot of listeners interested in stem cells. I've used Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on the long bones of the femur. Super easy wand, you know, same thing as yanking down my pants when I'm standing there at the corner and doing the Joovv light. I can just run PNF on my femur and the guys that showed me that from this company called PulseCenters, showed me some of the very interesting data on PNF and stem cells but there is some research, at least from what I understand the photobiomodulation stem cells. Can you talk about that?

Justin:  Yeah, there's definitely some evidence. Dr. Anthony Jay, he's doing some bench lab testing right now at Mayo, specifically with our devices and stem cells. At a high level, I mean, stem cells are loaded with mitochondria more so than other cells in our body. So, it would make sense theoretically, since the mechanism of action is at a mitochondrial level, and if stem cells just have more mitochondria, you get a more profound effect with that that specific cell types. In fact, a question that often comes up from customers is, you know, can a pregnant mom use PBM, and we always have to play that pretty carefully because you're going to be hard pressed to ever find a study where you can successfully enroll pregnant moms. I mean, what mom is going to enroll themselves in a study like that, there's probably a few of them out there but Dr. Michael Hamlin, whom we referenced earlier, he theorizes that actually mom and fetus would actually get way more benefit from PBM just because of the overabundance of stem cells during pregnancy. So, it's a theory for sure. I mean, I don't want to make any claims by no means but because of that core mechanism of action, you can sort of, at a high-level kind of understand why you'd even see more benefit with stem cells.

Ben:  Make sense. Use a Joovv, have a wine cooler, drink a latte. Try everything. That fetal research, I think that's a whole can of worms.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  That's really interesting though. You also talked about something that I hadn't heard much of. I think it was you guys I was talking to, maybe it was a Paleo Effect or something and somebody was standing there and you're talking about like shining on your neck for thyroid. What's the idea behind that? Because I personally have had thyroid issues in the past due to everything from combining Ketogenic Diet strict with Ironman Triathlon, just beating my body with a lot of endurance. I've had thyroid issues. I have a lot of clients who have thyroid issues. How does this affect the thyroid?

Scott:   Yeah. I mean I think it's interesting because you have a gland that's quite near the skin surface in the neck where it's pretty easy to get an effective dose of light to reach that area. I think because of that, even though you have kind of a similar process going on at the cellular level, you're basically able to have some systematic impact by hitting the thyroid gland. There's some pretty interesting research to suggest addressing both hyper and hypo thyroid conditions to bring that back into a regulated healthy range.

Ben:  Levothyroxine I know that on one study they actually got people off levothyroxine using infrared.

Justin:  Yeah. That’s what I was just going to mention.

Ben:  So, was it on it was near-infrared or far?

Justin:  It was near, it was near. Yeah. Near-infrared. I can't remember the exact percentage but it was a significant percentage of the participants that completely stopped the thyroid meds.

Ben:  Yeah. That’s very interesting. Obviously, we still don't want to make an argument for not getting out into the sun but when you can get it I mean that's kind of the advantage of some of these devices, right? You can get it that close to the body, get that concentrated dose even use something like a Joovv mini too directed at the neck and affect thyroid activity. I'd love to see more people out there doing like n = 1 self-quant and just tracking reverse T3, T4, TSH and see what happens to the thyroid because you guys have some of the data from some of the docs you have using this and they're testosterone levels. I mean we're talking like well they jump from like 300 up to 600 or 700 something like that?

Justin:  Yeah, yeah. I mean one particular guy Dr. Toma, I mean I'm not sure if you've met him yet but practitioner in Scottsdale I mean the guy's jacked. He's like completely yoked. He's like, he lives like if you could paint the perfect picture of health it's like he lives it. The one thing that was missing was like light in his sort of his daily routine. He saw over the course of–he had all this tested over the course of three and then six months his testosterone is free test and well his free test went from like in the mid-300s to I think in the mid-700s and then up again at 1200s.

Ben:  To one of these anti-aging docs?

Justin:  He works a lot like the professional athlete clients and whatnot.

Ben:  These guys are doped to the gills.

Justin:  He would definitely if you met him he would definitely not be taking anything like that.

Ben:  Okay. So, I want to talk a little bit about technology because I know that there are certain powers or certain intensities that you want to look for. This Dr. Michael Hamlin guy who you brought up. I think he brings up the idea of a certain amount of joules I think it's called that you want to expose yourself two per day and when you do his math I think it comes out to like 20 to 30 minutes per day something like that would be like the sweet spot for photobiomodulation. Talk to me a little bit about how you deliver power and this idea of how it can vary from device to device and what you actually want to look for as far as how much of this light to expose yourself to?

Justin:  Yeah. That's a kind of a loaded question but I'll do my best here.

Ben:  Feel free to rat a hole dude. We got all day. I got coffee upstairs.

Scott:   You might need it.

Ben:  I got Kion Bars TM, which is nosh all day and fill ourselves with caffeine and talk light, but go ahead.

Justin:  Yeah. So, there isn't a great cost-effective way for your average consumer to really test the power output of a device. So, you'll see some of these solar meters that people use to measure devices but what we've seen, comparing that to professional meters, you can be off by 40%-50% or even more trying to use a device like that. So, that might not be a terrible way if you're comparing two devices under the same conditions at the same distances, try to control things the best you can, you can kind of get a comparative effect there. But really in referencing folks like Dr. Michael Hamlin what him and his team use. You're talking a power meter that's in the cost range in the neighborhood of $2,500 minimum. Even with a device like that, you have to calibrate it specifically for the wavelength that you're testing. So, let's say you’re wanting to test the output on that Joovv Elite. You would calibrate the device to measure the wavelengths at 660 nanometers and then you'd turn just those wavelengths on, test those and then you would have to calibrate it for the 850 turn just those on and now add this together. So, it's not something that the average consumer is going to have access to or be able to readily access. I think when you boil that down, you really want to make sure that you're purchasing a device from a reputable company that you can trust, that they're not just basing claims off of either wattage or using kind of these cheap solar meters as a way to verify the output. So, with the Joovv Light the output at the surface of the device you're looking at an excess of 100 milliwatts per square centimeter and to convert that into the joule measurement you're talking about you were referencing earlier, that equates to about six joules per square centimeter per minute and obviously that goes down with the distance. Our general or recommended treatment guidelines we recommend a ten-minute treatment about 6 inches away from the device and we found to…

Ben:  Ten minutes 6 inches away, how many joules does that give me?

Justin:  In the neighborhood of 20 to 30 joules per square centimeter. It really kind of depends on how far off center the distance there's these different factors.

Ben:  Yeah. But I think Hamlin, some of Hamlin's research show like you could go as high as 100 joules. I mean technically you'd be showing then. You could do 40 to 60 minutes on this thing.

Justin:  Yeah. That's what's interesting is…

Ben:  If you're 6 inches away.

Justin:  Yeah. If you look at some studies that indicate skin health, for example, that just for 4 to 6 joules is effective but as you mentioned for deeper tissue benefits there are studies showing benefits that 60, 80, 100, 120 joules per square centimeter.

Ben:  Interesting.

Scott:   I mean this concept of in the world of like academic literature referred as the biphasic dose response meaning can you, basically trying to answer the question can you use PBM too much where you actually you're doing harm? We've gone deep and down the rabbit hole with this set with this topic especially with a guy like Dr. Hamlin who's co-authors some pieces on this very on this very subject. The reality is like the unique thing about PBM, with these specific wavelengths of light, it's really hard to have this. I mean there’s really virtually no contraindications. It's really hard to do damage.

Ben:  Really, none? You couldn’t produce too many reactive oxygen species or too much nitric oxide?

Scott:   You'd have to really, really overuse it. I mean that made analysis that we spoke about earlier the 500 studies that were parsed down to like you know the 50 best. I mean when you look at the amount of joules that were delivered to induce a biological effect on those subjects. I mean, you saw results even up to 300 joules per session delivered to muscle tissues.

Ben:  Yeah, but they had increased performance but I mean are there any downstream health effects?

Scott:   It's really unclear.

Ben:  So, that was 300 joules so based on we were just talking about I mean that could mean what if you said 10 minutes would give you like 6 joules?

Scott:   10 minutes would give you more. I mean at the recommended treatment distance, 10 minutes would give you more around like 30-ish joules.

Ben:  So, we would be doing like 100 minutes?

Scott:   Yeah. You have to really use it for a long period of time. That's one of the challenges within photo medicine research is the wide variety of the ways researchers have gone about publishing their studies. So, you've got different participants, you've got different tissue types, different ways to deliver light, different energy dosages, deliver it at different times of the day. There’re all of these different variants. It's one of the problems. So, it's really hard to say that the biphasic dose responses exactly this. I don't think, I mean the evidence is really unclear for anyone that I think probably make a definitive, take definitive stance there.

Justin:  Yeah. I think the bottom line is it's one of those things where you want to listen to your body and make adjustments to work what works best for you. I've had people through us ask specific questions like, “What should I do for this specific problem?” Talk with Dr. Hamlin, he's like, “Well, there's no for us to know that.” We're just not far enough down the science to say that you need 7.5 joules per square centimeter and that's going to be the magic number. I mean you'd basically start at a reasonable level. There's not, as Scott mentioned, there's not a danger of overdoing it other than you may find that it's longer than you need. So, in rare case, you have some people that maybe have some sort of a light sensitivity but outside of that, there really isn't any substantial research that shows that you’re going to have problems if you do it for too long.

Ben:  Now, photo by modulation can be delivered in, from what I understand, either waves or pulses. I know some of Dr. Hamlin's research seems to show that I believe this pulsed is more effective or better. Can you describe the difference between the two and what exactly the Joovv is deliver?

Justin:  Sure. So, the bulk of the PBM research is based on what is called continuous wave light. So, you're basically talking about a continuous source of light. You have a wave of it basically related to the AC power that's being used by the different devices. But there certainly have been some interesting studies using pulse light where there's a true on off of the source of light, be it a laser which is honestly more typical but can be accomplished with LEDs. What is not clear is what frequency of this pulse is optimal for what different, for a given benefit. So, because of some of the things that are really yet to be determined there, the bulk of the research supporting continuous wave light therapy we know that that works for a wide range of benefits so that's why we've stuck with the Joovv for now.

Ben:  Okay. What does sun do? Do you guys know, continuous versus pulse?

Justin:  Yeah. It's continuous. I mean there are different things in nature where you have a pulsed effect. So even like the magnetic field from the earth, for example, you have this Schumann residence that you actually have this pulsing from the Earth's magnetic field. So, there's certainly some of this in nature but yeah, sunlight you're looking at a continuous wave light.

Ben:  Okay, got it. That's what the Joovv is making is a continuous wave light?

Justin:  Yup.

Ben:  Okay. Now in terms of, and this is a question I get a lot, health effects. So, there are two things that I'm concerned about in my home right now. One, I kind of alluded to these lights overhead they're awesome, they're amazing in terms of–they’re made by this company called Lighting Science, biological LED. I can have certain bulbs that have the complete absence of blue light or for awake and alert areas presence of blue light. I recently had a building biologist go through my home and these things produce a bunch of flicker. Some more to like a computer monitor that's producing flicker so even if I'm not aware of it, almost subconsciously my retina they're detecting that flicker. That long-term can cause everything from macular degeneration to brain fog in the afternoon to headaches. It's kind of why I'm in the process of slowly going through and just replacing everything with incandescent or candle OLED or just freaking candles. Now for the Joovv as far as the actually LED is concerned obviously it’s LED. These are bunch of LED panels. So, are they producing a lot of flicker? Could this potentially be irritating to the retina or if you guys looked into this at all?

Justin:  Yeah. No, definitely that's a common question. One of the things that we've done with the power supply in the drivers that we use is to minimize that as much as possible.

Ben:  The flicker?

Justin:  The flicker or sometimes called flicker rate or flicker ratio which basically has to do with the maximum light output into the minimum light output as you're looking at it like an almost like a continuous sine wave. The main difference between the two topics there is your lighting that you're using in your household lighting that you're using to see things that are all the time versus a therapy that you're using for a limited period of time to boost cellular function.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s a good point. I’m not under it all the time.

Justin:  Yeah. Even though it's something that we do design for, there's not any PBM research that shows if you have a certain amount of flicker rate that you're somehow negating these effects or you're not going to get the benefits.

Ben:  I mean I wear blue light blockers and a lot of times like I'll even wear, I don’t know if they're here at my desk, I'll wear glasses like this. I think these are Swannies. They’re kind of like glasses you can wear during the day that block flicker and glare from monitors but they're clear so you don't look like a freak and you’ll also fall asleep at your desk because you're just blocking out all stimulatory light. So, they’re not a yellow lens or orange lens, they’re clear lens. Now, these type lenses block some amount of flicker if I wear these and have the Joovv on at the same time?

Justin:  The flicker, like I said, the main difference between at your household lighting is you've got a–most LEDs people are using just a regular socket where they had their incandescent bulb screwed in and they were just replaced it with an LED. Basically, what you have there is a transformer where you're taking that alternating current transforming it to a DC current for the LED chip. In that process, especially when you’re doing it at extremely compact level at for just a screw in light bulb, it's not very effective at regulating that alternating current pulse whereas when you have an FDA approved medical device where you're going through much more stringent process with the transformers, with the drivers to where you can get a much more consistent output from those drivers to minimize that. So, if you were to do…

Ben:  To minimize the alternating current or minimize the flicker?

Justin:  To minimize the flicker. So, we basically, you’re taking alternating current you're converting it to direct current.

Ben:  You guys doing AC DC conversion?

Justin:  Yes.

Ben:  I did not know that. That's really good to know. That's the reason that I have not switched all the bulbs in my home to halogen because it's incredibly difficult. Even though halogen would probably be the most biologically foreign friendly form of life for me to have, it all runs on AC current and there's no way to just like retrofit every can in my house with like an AC DC converter. You guys have AC DC built into the Joovv?

Justin:  Correct.

Ben:  Okay. That's really good to know because that affects the other thing I was going to ask you guys about is EMF. That's the dirty electricity. It’s the reason that I won't use something that uses a huge amount of AC electricity. As far as the EMF produced by the Joovv, the dirty electricity, have you guys tested that, have you mitigated for it? What’s going on with that?

Justin:  Yeah. So interestingly, right around the same time we were first developing the Joovv prototypes we realized that our oldest son was quite sensitive to EMF. So, that really brought that on our radar and kind of brought that home to like, “Hey, this is something important.” Not to go too deep down that story but he realized that if he would just unplug his computer and different electronics he would sleep 100 times better at night. So, since then we've gone to Wi-Fi free all the time. We’ll actually turn the power off at our house at night.

Ben:  Flip the breaker?

Justin:  Yeah. We’ll just flip breakers off and limit that. So yeah, to answer your question is something that we're quite aware of and have designed for the even the original Joovv has a very low EMF output you're looking at less than one milligal at the at the treatment distance which for reference you're probably in that neighborhood just walking through a typical house that has…

Ben:  Six milligals is where you start to get really concerned. Above three I have this thing called an Acousta meter that Dr. Mercola told me I should get. So, it’s kind of addicting. You walk around your house you just test everything, hold it in front of everything. Anything that goes above three, I get to my phone, not only does my phone go above six whenever I test it but if I test my body, my body’s at like zero. As soon as I hold my phone in one hand and test my body, my body goes up to like three. It's crazy. The phone uses my body as an antenna. What you're saying is the Joovv is less than one for milligals?

Justin:  Exactly. Yup. We've actually taken some new steps with the new Joovv system modular system to even further mitigate that. So, we've got the power cords, for example, we're using multiple forms of technology to shield the electromagnetic field from the power that's coming through that and then even the drivers that we referenced earlier, we are now using aluminum cases on those to further mitigate the EMF output from those.

Ben:  Wow. It’s fabulous. I’m proud of you guys. A lot of people are into technologies that aren’t paying attention to shit. They’re just, they produce some amazing device that winds up harming you long term due to the things like electro pollution or the flicker. So, I'm glad to hear you guys are working on some of this stuff. I mean after my own heart. I want to ask you a bit more about that Joovv model. The other thing is that for example, we know that nano-structured water in the cells and this whole water-based matrix surrounding the cells responds very favorly to near and far infrared light meaning that, like having adequate water being adequately hydrated having like really mineral-rich water or even going on making Hunza Water or structured water, two things that we don't have to rat a hole too deeply into, seem to be able to allow yourselves to respond more favorably to light. So, that's one example of something I'm very careful of where I’ll drink structured water. I put trace liquid mineral droplets in it or sea salt in it and I keep myself very adequately hydrated especially before I use the Joovv or before I use photobiomodulation. It just seems to enhance the effects even more. That's one example but are there other things that you guys have found whether technologies or supplements that seem to combine really well with something like photobiomodulation whether based on research or your own internal testing, hacking?

Justin:  Well, you hit on a big one. Kind of boiling back to what you referenced earlier that really getting back to the way things were a couple hundred years ago. So light, water, magnetism, grounding these are some foundational things. So, there are certainly some powerful effects related to light and water in our tissues and cells. You reference easy water that's something that's fascinating to me. We've had some conversations with Dr. Gerald Pollock and kind of quizzed him on some of these processes and how near-infrared light and red light can have an impact on that structured water…

Ben:  Movement of water through vessels in the absence of like a pressure gradient. It all acts on electrochemical gradient. It's fascinating which is both the four phases of water. You shine infrared light on the water and it literally just like crawls up a tube. The same as water would go up through a tree.

Justin:  Yeah. For any of you out there that haven't read that book, I highly recommend it.

Ben:  I’ll link to it in the show notes.

Justin:  It's a great one because I think some of us–any references I mean he really went out on a limb with his research related to the structured water because he really calls into question kind of the established generally accepted concepts of how water behaves in that research. I mean you mentioned some of the things that just defy logic. I mean just shining light on water and having it flow through an ion tube which is basically just a hydrophilic surface. You mentioned the other thing that I think is fascinating too. Just a lot with blood flow and how light plays an incredible role in those processes. So yeah, I think you've hit on a big one. I mean there are certainly other things. Scott mentioned the green tea extract and some other interesting benefits on skin health level with the things that you can have actually on the surface of the skin but yeah, I think a lot of…

Ben:  You mean you put green tea on the skin? How does that work?

Scott:            Well, initially you’d think it has to do with the ORAC score, the antioxidant. The fact that green tea has a high anti-oxidant ORAC score but actually there's way more evidence that suggests green tea enhances self-signaling, which is one of the secondary sorts of benefits of red and near-infrared light is its ability to…

Ben:  So, you don't drink it you put it on the skin?

Scott:   On the skin, yeah. No, grant…

Ben:  How do you even do that?

Scott:   In the research, it was literally like a cloth dipped in green tea and then put on the face.

Ben:  Green tea shower.

Scott:   Yeah, exactly. So, if you're using green tea spray or a mist or something like that, in theory, you could probably do some maybe better benefits.

Ben:  Business opportunity for you guys right there like upsell in the shopping cart, add a little green tea spray to your Joovv purchase.

Scott:   There you go. You know copper is actually another one that again evidence is somewhat limited but it's pretty tantalizing that actually copper can help induce…

Ben:  Copper is toxic isn’t it?

Scott:   Not in certain dosages. In fact…

Ben:  You’re talking about oral consumption of copper?

Scott:   No, no, I'm talking about copper…

Ben:  Like a topical.

Scott:   Yeah, like a topical yeah. In fact, like Andy's one serum, his gold serum I think part of the ingredient stack is copper. That's actually has something to do with the way cytochrome c oxidase actually the chromospheres inside a chrome c oxidase, the copper element of CCO and how that responds to light. So, its kind–it's super interesting. There’re some little hacks like that that we've heard people try and there's some interesting early evidence that suggests they actually could work.

Ben:  Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea. They sell it on Amazon. I don't know if it's got a bunch of other chemical crap in it but I’ll look into this.

Scott:   Stay tuned for the Joovv green tea spray. They’re coming out in the future.

Ben:  I’ll put this in the show notes for you guys if you want to try the green tea. So green tea, copper, this clay masking we talked about, adequate water preferably structure with minerals in it. Any other little things you would combine with something like a Joovv to enhance the benefits?

Justin:  Well, I mean just kind of going back to water, Dr. Laszlo who's a tenured professor at UCLA, he actually, it's his theory, they've done a lot of pioneering research with respect to deuterium depletion. He actually fundamentally believes that these certain wavelengths change the viscosity within the mitochondria of our cells helping our nanomotor spin faster. So that's actually, it's a little bit of a different mechanism than like exclusions on water but that’s sort of some interesting things too. It’s not necessarily like anything that you would do per se but if you are doing things…

Ben:  You’re talking about drinking deuterium depleted water? This stuff called light water?

Justin:  Yeah or just doing anything in general that lowers your deuterium levels.

Ben:  Ketosis and fasting.

Justin:  Yeah. Exactly, exactly. So, along with light could actually help even further lower your deuterium levels too.

Ben:  So, controlling glycemic variability, maybe using this primarily in like an intermittent faced state in the morning, putting a green tea spray in your clay mask or copper in there. I like it. I love things like this that allow you to amplify the effect. Most this makes pretty good sense. These are all things that would probably be pretty good if you're just going to go out and sunbathe as well.

Justin:  Sure, exactly.

Scott:   Yeah, exactly.

Ben:  Interesting. So, you set up this–I thought it was going to be massive but actually, it’s not a big of a footprint. This new Joovv, what's it called a modular?

Justin:  Yup. The new Joovv Modular System.

Ben:  Joovv Modular System. So, tell me about this thing.

Justin:  Yeah. So basically, what we set up for you this morning is six of the Joovv solar devices. So, what the flexibility that that gives people to do is let's say they're hearing about light therapy, they’ve kind of come across this a couple times and they’d like to try it out. You’re like, “It doesn't really make a difference. Is it something that I could feel? I’m not sure that I totally believe in this yet.” They can try out. They could buy one Joovv Solo and then say experience some of those benefits and then they can add on to that later.

Ben:  Like Lego blocks.

Justin:  Yes. You can basically connect the devices together. As you saw, they work pretty seamlessly together. So, we basically have two kinds of size building blocks. The Solo which six of those make up the elite or that full-size system or we also have a mini device so you could start even with a mini to use for if you just want to treat targeted areas such as your face or if you have an issue with a with a joint or a knee. The devices connect via Bluetooth to pair the devices together and control with just a one touch on and off button. As you mentioned previously, you can change the control the wavelengths as well so if you want to just red or just near-infrared.

Ben:  Can you disable the Bluetooth? I don’t want Bluetooth on.

Justin:  Exactly. The way you do that we just have a hard-wired paring kit. So, similar to how you would get rid of having Wi-Fi in your house you just hard-line your computer, this is the same way. So, you just have a system that comes actually automatically with all of the modular systems. So, if you get the elite or any of the other devices we’re using multi devices that does include that hardwire pairing kit.

Ben:  It's all one big flat panel but could I if I wanted to kind of like turn that into a square that I would like step inside to just get my body from all angles? Can you do that?

Justin:  Yeah, you can. In fact, we have some practitioners that are already set up with multiples of these elites or some of the smaller devices so you can surround and get a true full body treatment and a very time effective treatment.

Ben:  It has a red light and near-infrared to that thing I make. So, you just blast myself with that? Cool. I like it. I can't wait to experiment. I’m going to give my kids this little Joovv mini too, they’re going to love it. My little Baha king sons. Cool, you guys this is amazing. I've always wanted to do a deep dive into photobiomodulation. I've gotten so many questions about this Joovv and I think we managed to cover most of them. I know I also talked about a lot of things for those of you listening in along with a lot of research. There actually is, kudos to you guys because you've done a pretty good job creating a website that isn't just a bunch of sales spiels but has some really good peer-reviewed research on it. So, I'll link over to the Joovv website and I’ll also link over to everything Scott and Justin and I talked about. You just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/joovvpodcast just like it sounds but Joovv just you know how to spell this if you’re going to Google them at all et cetera. It's two Os two Vs. So bengreenfieldfitness.com/joovvpodcast and I’ll just link to everything over there. I believe we have a discount code or something like that for the Joovv somewhere. I have trouble keeping everything straight when it comes to codes but we have a code, don’t we fellows?

Scott:   We do. If you use the code Ben at checkout you'll get some, you’ll get a special bonus gift there that will help.

Ben:  I hate that what you did with the bonus gift. People are going to ask,

Scott:   The reason we leave it –

Ben:  Are you saying that because you’re still coming up with what it’s going to be?

Scott:   It’s the green tea body spray. Joking aside, right now it's going to change probably in a quarterly basis. We’ll keep it fun. Right now, it's actually a hat actually that we brought with us here today. It's a kind of a Joovv-branded hat. It's pretty. It's not like a cheap hat, it’s actually like a one that you [1:20:19]_____.

Ben:  Well, I have two thoughts about that. First is one of those laser hats that you see in the back of airplane magazines?

Justin:  It's not that, it's not that.

Ben:  You guys should do that. It’s an idea for you. Two, you guys sent me a blanket. Do you remember that?

Justin:   I do.

Ben:  I just got back from camping and I had that. That's like my blankie. That’s the best blanket in the world. You guys should do that as a gift sometime because that blanket rocks.

Justin:  Maybe in the future, we’ll throw that into there.

Ben:  It’s like the softest, nicest blanket that I have. My wife laughs at me because I go into bed and I’m like, “Where’s my blanket?” I put that blanket underneath my other blanket because it’s soft. Literally, it’s just like the one I have when I was six. I love it. Thank you.

Justin:  That blanket I'm not kidding has a little bit of a cult following just so you know.

Ben:  Well, it’s a good blanket.

Scott:   We may even spray that with a green tea and have people wear it, sleep with it.

Ben:  If it ever disappears I’m going to freak out. Well fellas, thanks for coming up to the Greenfield Compound. Thanks for setting up that new Joovv Modular Elite thing out my office or living room. It looks sick. I can't wait to use it and enjoy the rest your time here in Spokompton.

Justin:  Spokompton. It’s beautiful. It’s been an honor to have to be with you.

Scott:   Thanks, Ben. Appreciate man.

Ben:  Ben Greenfield along with Scott Nelson and Justin Strahan signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com/joovvpodcast. Have an amazing week.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.



For some reason, I’ve gotten a reputation as a guy who “shines light on his balls”.

Perhaps it was this Men’s Health magazine article, in which I discuss a form of light therapy called “photobiomodulation” as a way for guys to increase sexual performance, sperm count and testosterone.

Or perhaps it’s because I’ve described on multiple podcasts how I pull down my pants for 20-30 minutes a day while I’m at my desk, and “bathe my balls” in red and near-infrared light, using a device called a “Joovv”.

Turns out the benefits of photobiomodulation go far beyond your nether regions. Heck, this recent study even hinted at the fact that perhaps it should actually be banned as an illegal performance-enhancing drug!

On today’s podcast, I discuss photobiomodulation ins and outs with two experts in the field: Justin Strahan and Scott Nelson.

Not just any man can take his wife’s dream and make it a reality. This is just one of the reasons why Justin is so special. Justin’s affinity for process and extreme attention to detail is why we are lucky to have him as head of R&D. The two words we would to describe Justin are intuitive and thorough. Prior to inventing and developing the Joovv, he spent his career as an engineer managing design and development teams. He also has six children, and can apparently play drums and trumpet like it’s nobody’s business.


Scott is the impetus, power, and energy that set Joovv in motion. As head of commercialization, his ability to metabolize information quickly makes him an irreplaceable asset. The two words we would use to describe Scott are efficient and personable. Prior to cofounding Joovv, he spent his entire professional career in leadership positions with some of the largest medical device companies in the world, including Medtronic, Covidien, Boston Scientific, and C.R. Bard.


During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The intriguing history of photobiomodulation (PBM) and the JOOVV light…11:11

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  • All types of health benefits from a wide range of wavelengths.
    • Sunlight is optimal
    • Red (600-670 nanometers); near infrared (800-880 nanometers)
    • Visible Red light is considered near infrared.
    • Far infrared is useful for heating tissue (over 3000 nanometers); you can’t see it.
  • Comparing research between red and near-infrared light.
    •  Original PBM devices were lasers. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
    • Difference between LED and lasers: light source itself. Laser is a specific wavelength. LED is tight range, but not a coherent beam.
    • Photo medicine is still a niche field. Most older academics say that it’s based on laser therapy, younger professionals say with newer LED light, you can deliver the same level of intensity over a much broader treatment area.
  • How is LED light different from sunlight?
    • Americans spend around 93% of their lifetime indoors due to their work and lifestyle.
    • PBM harnesses specific wavelengths; restores healthy function to offset stressors such as wifi, bluetooth, etc.
    • It’s similar to supplementing our diets with a smoothie or multivitamin.
    • It doesn’t contain the UVA or UVB, blue light, etc.

-The compelling research behind phototherapy for everything from testosterone to collagen to thyroid to muscular recovery and beyond…21:00

  •  Wide-ranging benefits: skin health, muscle recovery, thyroid function.
    • Supported by over 3,000 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
    • Over 200 placebo-controlled trials.
  • Restores natural skin health.
  • Red light is studied for skin health; near infrared often used for joint pain studies.
  • Are JOOVV lights effective for controlling acne?
  • The effect of red lights on the eyes. Will it damage your eyes to stare at a JOOVV, or will it even help them?
    • Proven to help degenerative eyes.
    • Near-infrared a bit more comfortable to the eye.
    • Begin treatment with eyes closed; then open eyes if you feel comfortable.
    • JOOVV elite allows you to use only near-infrared light.
    • JOOVV devices are registered with the FDA, Class 2.
  • How red and infrared light affects collagen production.
    • It increases collagen production, helps restore joint health.
    • Copper and green light have been shown to enhance benefits of light therapy.
  • Can PBM mitigate circadian rhythm or exposure to artificial light?
    • Sun gets a “bad rap”; unfairly associated with skin cancer.
    • Studies prove that red/infrared light increase levels of melatonin.

-Is PBM effective in attaining weight loss?…41:30

  • Not necessarily weight loss, but there is a “slimming effect”.
  • Some studies have shown that red light helps in increasing metabolism.
  • Red light has been shown to mitigate the effects of sleep deprivation. 

-Why PBM is now under consideration for classification as a “performance enhancing drug”…46:30

  • Meta-analysis claimed that red light builds up muscle tissue.
  • Near-infrared waves have had a profound impact.

-How PBM affects stem cells…49:30

-The effect of using PBM on your neck for thyroid issues…51:30

-The optimal amount of PBM to which you should expose yourself per day…54:23

  • It’s difficult to test the power output of a device.
  • There are many variables that affect the amount of PBM a device is able to put out.
  • Ensure you purchase your device from a reliable, trusted company.
  • JOOVV is ~100 milowatts per sq. cm.
  • Recommended 10-minute treatment about 6″ away from the device.

-The differences and benefits of continuous wave vs pulsed frequencies…1:01:20

  • Pulsed means the light turns on and off very rapidly.
  • A bit of ambiguity on the results of pulsed; continuous wave is tried and true.
  • Sunlight is considered to be a continuous wave light.

-Whether the JOOVV produces much EMF or flicker, and if you can actually look at the light without eye damage…1:03:07

  • Household LED lighting is different from PBM. JOOVV lights have AC/DC built in.
  • JOOVV lights mitigate “dirty electricity.” 
  • Newer devices are even more effective.

-What kind of things you can combine with photobiomodulation to enhance the effects…1:10:30

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Biomat mini


Alitura Clay Mask

PulseCenters PEMF

Blue light blocking glasses

The structured water filter Ben uses

4th Phase Of Water Book by Gerald Pollack

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Ask Ben a Podcast Question

3 thoughts on “[Transcript] – Shining Laser Lights On Your Balls & Beyond: Photobiomodulation 101 – How To Use Near Infrared & Red Light For Collagen, Thyroid, Muscle, Skin & More.

  1. Kyle Agati says:

    Ben, what’s your take on new tattoos and PBM? I use a pair Joovv Elites (I stand in between) every morning and I just got a tattoo (my first). I’m wondering if there will be any detriment to the tattoo since it’s still fresh.

    P.S. I’m a huge fan; definitely looking forward to Boundless!

    1. The effects of PBM on tattoos are unknown so if you're concerned with fading, I'd recommend covering it up.. If you happen to notice that your tattoo feels a little warm in the presence of the near infrared wavelengths, this is due to the metal from the ink.

  2. c says:

    Probably a silly question for you but you mention incandescent red bulbs in your bedroom – Can it be any incandescent bulb or must it be something special?
    Thank you!!!

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