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.

DIY light hat

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.

Eliza vs Cossack

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”