An LED red light therapy bed may look like a tanning bed and glow like a tanning bed, but this light-up piece of machinery is definitely NOT a tanning bed. In fact, unlike tanning beds (which have been shown to cause cancer and premature aging), LED light therapy beds may be able to lower your blood pressure, make your hair shinier, and ward off acne and fine lines. All very good things, in our book. And aesthetician Mzia Shiman is one of the only people in New York City to have one. “I wanted something that feeds the entire soul. That literally heals my clients from the inside out,” she says, which is why I didn’t hesitate to book an appointment to test it out when I discovered she had ordered one for her spa.
The LightStim LED bed is the first FDA-cleared, red-light LED bed. It’s designed by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife duo who discovered that LED red light treatment healed their 21-year-old son’s high blood pressure after two months of laying on the bed three-to-five times a week. Turns out, studies have shown that red light helps the body release nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps our cells manage blood pressure levels.
According to additional research, LED red light therapy has even more health benefits than potentially lowering blood pressure. It’s been shown to treat acne, reduce certain scarring, heal burns, delay the signs of aging, decrease exercise-induced muscle fatigue, and even prevent against cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and strokes. The science behind this full-body treatment states that just like plants, our skin and other body tissues have the ability to absorb light and turn it into energy, stimulating our body’s natural process to building new proteins and regenerating cells.
When I returned from my tropical vacation to a very dreary New York City, I went to visit Shiman’s spa to try the LED bed. She recommended this was a good time to try it as the red light can also help soothe the skin after sun exposure. When I arrived, I was shocked to see the bed itself looked like a piece of art. “When they delivered the bed to the office, the owners came to make sure it was installed properly, and that it was ready to go for my clients, making it extra special,” said Shiman.
I laid down on the bed on my back with just a towel over me. Within the first five minutes, I instantly felt relaxed by the red light enveloping my entire body. After 20 minutes, the bed turned off and I had 20 seconds to turn around onto my stomach. As I laid my face onto the outrageously comfortable head rest, I felt pleasantly warm and just the slightest bit sweaty. For the remaining 20 minutes, the treatment relaxed me as if I was transported back to the beach in Mexico. When it was over, I felt warmed to my core, rejuvenated, and refreshed. The muscle tension in my feet from several nights dancing salsa in heels seemed to instantly melt away. By the end of my session, I was more than impressed.
I ran the concept of light therapy technology in terms of improving skin’s texture by New York City-based dermatologist Macrene Alexiades. “Having read the literature on the subject of low level light therapy, it’s clear that photomodulation (the fancy word for LED treatment) activating collagen production does occur,” she said. “There are several published reports showing improvement in skin texture and color with corresponding rises in collagen levels. However, long term follow-up has suggested that these results may be short-lived and more study is definitely needed on this topic.” Despite the fact that red light technology is still new, it definitely can’t hurt to soak up these physical benefits, even if we don’t know how long they’ll last at this point. Plus, who doesn’t want to be warmed, relaxed, and totally disconnected for a whole 40 minutes? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
The Red Light Bed Treatment is now available at Mzia Shiman Spa, 35 E 67th St. 40 minutes for $350, with package options available.
Learn more about the power of light therapy, below:
- 9 At-Home Skin-Care Gadgets for Every Skin Concern
- I Tried the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare SpectraLite EyeCare Pro (and Scared the Shit Out of My Dog)
- The $1 At-Home LED Facial
Speaking of spas, get an inside look at Chanel’s fabulous spa at The Ritz in Paris: