LED lights versus Laser lights

I’ve had a few queries about the use of laser lights. I can understand the allure of a laser, as its coherent light with such total focus is pretty impressive.

LED lights used to be very expensive. In the last decade the costs of LEDs have really dropped, and we can now buy them easily and inexpensively. LED lights are not coherent like lasers – the light from the average LED lights scatters and shines over a bigger area.

Question: For lights on the head, are lasers better than LEDs?

Answer: Nope.

Both have their place, but the previous dominance of laser lights is being whittled away by practicality and safety of LED lights.

For trans-cranial use, you want the red lights to scatter – you want coverage of the lights over the head. You also want to use the lights daily, safely and at home.

Lasers are a pain to use, they come with safety issues and they are not suitable for home use.

LEDs are the best.

DIY – practicality beats perfection

I’ve had lots of emails from people making a DIY light hat from the blog instructions. The tricky part is finding the best red LED strip.

670nm is hard to come by, as is 660nm.

The tendency is to stop work on the light hat, on the basis that it can only be made with the best possible LED strip.

Wrong approach!

The best thing is to get any old red LED strip and make a light hat as soon as you can and get it on the suffering head every morning – as soon as you can.

Then, and only then, start hunting for the elusive 670nm LED strip. And when you find it, make another light hat with the new LEDs. And give away your first one – there is always someone who can put it to good use.

It is far more effective to have red lights on brain than it is to have no red lights. Every day counts.

And remember – the Cossack is a far better design than the bucket Eliza.

Meet Michael, the Cossack designer.

Here is Michael, wearing his wonderful Cossack light hat.

Michael has been putting together an instruction for a LED-Leg. A few months ago he managed to upset one of his legs by straining his Achilles’ tendon.

He decided to put his red-light making skills into action to fast-track the recovery of his tendon.

And it worked. Here are the instructions:

Comfort is paramount – the Not List

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.

Will red lights “fry my brain”?

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.

Pulsed vs continuous light

I’ve had a number of queries about pulsed light.

There is good evidence now that pulsed light is more effective than continuous light. Maybe the cell batteries, the mitochondria like to have a little pause in between receiving a pulse of light energy and directing it into the cell as metabolic energy. It makes sense.

The other reason is that by pulsing the light, the light dose is then the average of the pulse-ON and pulse-OFF. This means you can push the power in the pulse-ON, knowing that it will be offset by the no-pulse time.

I know of several people who have gone on to pulse their LED-based Elizas and Cossacks, and I have nothing but total admiration and envy for them, but there is no way I could do that.

The reasons that I have not previously mentioned the value of pulsed light is because;

1. I couldn’t give instructions to achieve it

2. I didn’t want anyone to devalue the effectiveness of continuous red/near infrared light.

Daily unpulsed red light better than no red light.

If you are using your Eliza or Cossack with continuous red/infrared light, do not be tempted to chuck it in the corner and refuse to use it because it won’t pulse. It is still doing its very best for you, and that is a lot better than nothing.