Kanye West has a knack for evoking emotion from demographics as unexpected as he is unpredictable. If you’re a mental health advocate, Trump supporter, left-winger, sneakerhead or hip-hop saveur, it’s likely you have an opinion of Mr. West, and a strong one at that. The guy doesn’t just dip his toes in a realm that piques his interest; he cannon balls, soaking everyone lounging poolside. You’re either grateful you don’t have to leave the comfort of your chair to cool off, or you’re downright pissed he disturbed you. Either way, you can’t help but feel something.
Sunday Service, an invite-only musical worship gathering held in locations throughout the Calabasas, CA area, is West’s latest endeavor.West delivers an overwhelming sensory experience, particularly through light, which West deems his latest fascination during his recent appearance on David Letterman’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”West offers an explanation of his choice of red light for the Sunday Service featured in the episode, which includes a nod to his latest source of inspiration, light artist James Turrell:
“I saw the way [U2 and Daft Punk] use strobe lighting and…it would get everyone really excited, but Turrell’s lights would pull you into a zen space…and reprogram us to not be hit with what makes us more susceptible to fear…but to be more calm, in the moment, and stable.”
Unbeknownst to West, the very red lights of which he speaks are utilized by professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike to optimize how their bodies look, feel and function. Red light therapy, it entails spending an average of 30 minutes in a room lit with bulbs emitting red and/or near-infrared light. It’s proven to deliver an extensive, seemingly “too-good-to-be-true” list of health benefits you’d expect from a late-night infomercial rather than hundreds of peer-reviewed, double-blind clinical studies.Read on for the lowdown.
HOW IT WORKS
To understand how red light therapy works, we have to take it back to those high school biology days and brush up on our knowledge of cellular anatomy and function. The powerhouse of the cell, the mitochondria, is responsible for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the compound we needto do anything and everything. Only specific wavelengths of light stimulate our cells’ mitochondria to produce ATP, namely red and near-infrared. Exposure to these wavelengths increases ATP production within your cells. The more ATP your cells make, the more energy your cells’ mitochondria produce. The result? Your body carries out necessary functions more effectively and efficiently, leading to remarkable health and wellness benefits.
1. Increased Testosterone Production: Levels follow a cycle that corresponds to seasonal light exposure; they increase during the spring and summer months, then peak in October. Red light therapy is scientifically proven to mimic this natural process. IN a 2016 study conducted by the University of Siena College in Italy, subjects who practiced active light therapy saw a massive increase in testosterone levels,from 2.1 ng/ml to 3.6 ng/ml in only two weeks.
2. Better Sleep: Our bodies react to colors based on their temperature. Lights with high color temperatures, such as the blue lights of our phones and other tech devices, tell our bodies to stay awake, while red light, which has a low color temperature, signals it’s time for bed. Studies show that a 14-30 minute red light therapy session before bed even increases your body’s natural melatonin production in a matter of weeks.
3. Fat Loss: Red light therapy rejuvenates your body’s fat-processing abilities on a cellular level. By increasing cellular energy production, red light enhances the body’s ability to break to cells that store fat, resulting in aesthetic benefits such as decreased waist, hip, and circumferences, as well as a reduction in cellulite. Studies have shown that red light therapy users can experience these changes in as little as four weeks.
Promotes younger-looking skin: stimulates collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Alleviates chronic inflammation: increases blood flow, as well as the body’s natural production of anti-inflammatory agents, thus decreasing symptoms such as swelling and pain.
WHERE TO GO
1. BDY SQD
349 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02115
34 Traveller St
Boston, MA 02118
Cost: $35 for initial session. Packages available.
2. Cloud 9 Boston
62 South St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Cost: Red Light Therapy: $25 per session
Infrared Sauna: $50 per session
Laura Alessi is a certified personal trainer running her own business in various locations around Boston. Her first foray into weightlifting was on her father’s BowFlex at age 12, and the rest was history. She has nearly a decade of experience in the fitness industry, having worked at age 16 as the youngest wellness coach on staff at her hometown Y. She has competed in six NPC shows, most recently in the figure division, where won her class. Prior to figure, she competed in the bikini division starting in 2013, either winning or placing second in her class in each category.