Just about every thought leader that I follow in the Bio-Hacking space is a fan of Photobiomodulation (PBM). Some use it for reducing pain and inflammation or as a post workout recovery technique. Others tout the benefits related to skin health and collagen production. Still others claim it’s a miracle for increasing libido. Based on the research I’ve read, I was always interested in using PBM as a sleep aid. The biggest deterrent for me was that the best PBM devices are NOT inexpensive. Independent analysis of many of the ‘cheap’ models reveal that they bathe your body in EMF as well as (if you’re lucky) the desirable red and near infrared wavelengths of light. Since I go out of my way to avoid EMFs where I can, this wasn’t a viable option. So I jumped at the opportunity to participate in a study that provided a Joovv to use in my own home.
The Joovv is the gold standard when it comes to red light therapy devices. It’s a medical grade, modular system that allows you to build the ideal red light therapy setup for your needs over time. It supports both red and near infrared wavelengths and allows you to control them independently. The EMF levels emitted by the device are also third party verified to be within an acceptable range.
The study that I participated in was designed to investigate the impact of using the Joovv device to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I followed the protocol exactly as specified during the study… 10 minutes of red light and near infrared exposure to the face every morning. Since the light emitted is a bit strong for me to keep my eyes open while staring into the device, I took this as an opportunity to get in an extra 10 minutes of meditation each day. After a few days, I noticed a definite improvement in my mood. It could have been the PBM therapy, or the extra early morning meditation session or both, but there was a noticeable change. By the end of the first week, my sleep quality was obviously improved, even though my overall length of sleep remained unchanged. Not only did I feel more refreshed, but this was also quantitatively verified by the data from my Oura ring. I continue to follow this protocol even though the study has ended since it is obvious that this 10 minute morning ritual has a very pronounced positive impact on my sleep and overall mood.
After the study ended, I started experimenting with some other uses for the Joovv. One thing that was very top of mind for me at this time was the fact that I was spending more and more time working out, but seemed to plateau in terms of increasing/maintaining my lean muscle mass while decreasing my overall body fat percentage. Working out more or harder wasn’t really an option for me as I was getting into a situation where timely recovery was becoming problematic and to be honest, I didn’t really want to dedicate a larger portion of my day to working out. Initially I started using the Joovv to try to enhance muscle and joint recovery, but I don’t have a ‘full body’ setup (yet) so I was spending a ton of time spot targeting pain areas. This wasn’t sustainable with everything else that I have going on so I started investigating how I could increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat while working out less and/or at a lower intensity. This led down a crazy rabbit hole of many things to try (I’ll go more into this in another post) and ultimately had me circle back around to the libido boosting PBM advocates. At this time, I’m still experimenting but some minor diet tweaks, a few new supplements, and adding a second daily Joovv session aimed at boosting testosterone levels has allowed me to decrease both the frequency and intensity of my workouts and resulted in a 2% increase in overall lean muscle mass and a ~3% decrease in body fat. Over the next few months, I’ll test out all the variables and see how much of this change can be attributed to the Joovv session.
Have you been using a Joovv or other device for PBM? Do you have questions specifically about the Joovv? Let me know in the comments or each out via email.
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