I’ve been answering a lot of emails from people who have recently read about the red/near infrared lights and Parkinson’s disease.
The stories have given hope, and justifiably so, as the case reports have shown that red and near infrared light can help PD symptoms.
But expectations must match the reality of red and near increased lights.
Red and near infrared light will NOT cure Parkinson’s disease.
Red lights will not magically return people to their previously healthy selves.
Red lights will not take the place of PD medication.
Red lights will not create immediate improvements.
In different people, depending on the degree of the disease and their general health, the lights will have variable effects. These effects occur slowly and subtly over time.
Any improvements, however small are worth having, but they do not occur speedily nor dramatically.
I would ask that you temper your expectations.
Maintain hope, but do not expect miracles for you will be disappointed.
I’ve been contemplating the DIY red light hats I’ve seen. Some are brilliant, made with artistry and an aesthetic balance that is breathtaking. Some are, um, not so magnificent to behold. Does appearance matter? Not really.
It is not the beauty, it is the function.
If the DIY light hat is heavy, hot, oppressive or worse, covers the face, it is not going to be comfortable to wear, no matter how elegant it looks.
If it is a physical burden to wear the light hat, then it is unreasonable to expect anyone to take on such a daily commitment of misery.
Comfort is the key to any DIY light device.
Here is the List of Nots:
- Not heavy
- Not hot
- Not oppressive
- Not covering the face
- Not difficult to balance on the head
- Not physically awkward or painful to wear for 20-odd minutes at a time
The User of the device must always have the final say.
If the User finds the light hat distressing or uncomfortable wear, the User can and should refuse to use it.
The User’s opinion is final.
I know that this term has been recently used in conjunction with red lights which is a pity. While it might make a thrilling moment on television, it gives a very inaccurate and misleading picture of how red lights work.
Even worse, it raises unnecessary fears.
The answer: red lights won’t fry your brains.
If you follow the guidance given in this blog, you’ll notice that there is occasional mention of heat, because some LED strips can get warm. And anything warm on your head can be uncomfortable.
This is easily avoided by making yourself a light hat that is open and not closed in – the Cossack is the best DIY design.
If you have looked at the availability of rolls of red and near infrared LED lights, you will see that there is a bewildering array, between orangey-red (630nm) to out of the visible spectrum so that you can’t see it at all (940nm).
So what, you ask. Surely it doesn’t matter? Surely red light, near infrared light – it’s all the same? One wavelength is as good as another?
Wavelength matters – please be cautious!
I’ve been corresponding with lots of people over the last week. In my response, I always ask whether the query is for uncomplicated Parkinson’s disease, or for PD complicated by another neurodegenerative process. I’m not asking because I’m being nosey – the question is really important.
Continue reading “What wavelength is best for my condition?”
It’s wonderful to hear from people making their own light hats. Keep them coming, and please send me photos to post on the blog. I love the creativity people bring to it.
Some important things to remember:
1. 12 volts only. No more than 12 volts, ever.
2. When you search for LED strips, and all the bibs and bobs needed, always choose the 12 volt versions.
3. My experience is that the visible red spectrum (especially 650-670nm) seems to be loved by cells anywhere in the body.
4. But the almost-visible near infrared 810-850nm wavelengths don’t work for every neurodegenerative condition.
5. When in doubt, stick to the visible red, preferably a gorgeous dark red.
I had a really good question from a blog reader today about why I recommend the Cossack design.
Look at the instructions for DIY light hat devices, and the photos of both devices, and you’ll see that Eliza is all enclosed, with a few holes at the top, and is lined with reflective foil, whereas Cossack is very open, lots of ventilation, no reflective foil. Continue reading “Eliza vs Cossack”