Steve Reiter: Welcome to the Gladden Longevity Podcast with Dr. Jeffrey Gladden, MD, FACC, founder and CEO of Gladden Longevity. On this show, we want to help you optimize your longevity, health, and human performance with impactful and actionable information by answering three questions. How good can we be? How do we make 100 the new 30? And how do we live well beyond 120?
Dr. Gladden, we just finished up with Bjørn Ekeberg, who is the co-founder of a product called FlexBeam. It's a targeted red light therapy device that is about 18 inches in diameter. You can put it on your back. You can put it on your shoulder, wrap it around your elbow, your arm, or wherever it is that you need that red light therapy. And I know that we've covered red light therapy in the past on this podcast, but this is one I think you were excited about because of the portability of this versus some of the other products that we featured in the past, like Joovv.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah, that's exactly right, Steve. I think what's interesting about this ammo belt; I'm going to call it, is that you can carry it with you. You can travel with it. You can put it on a sore spot. You can use it for recovery. You can use it to aid healing. You can actually use it pre-workout to kind of get yourself primed. And it also has some significant impacts on... We're going to learn about sleep and circadian rhythm, and sexual function in the bedroom came up in this conversation, so I think people will be interested in that as well.
I think you're going to really enjoy this conversation with Bjørn. He's a fascinating guy with a background in Doctor of Philosophy of Science and is very interested in cosmology. He's written a book on that. He's also a film producer and a screenwriter. He's written a couple of things that appeared on Netflix, Borderliner in 2017 and a Norwegian series, Valkyrien, in 2016. So, really kind of a Renaissance man, if you will, and it turned out to be a really fascinating show.
Steve Reiter: Now, when you say cosmology, I guarantee you there are going to be listeners who are going to be like: "Cosmology? Is that... has to do with cosmetics or the cosmos?"
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Good question. Good question. No, we're not talking about cosmetics. Cosmology is basically the study of the universe, if you will, the cosmos. And he questioned some of the underlying assumptions, if you will, in some of the scientific models in his book. So, I actually grabbed the book and read a portion of it to get a feel for what he was talking about. So, a really interesting guy, a deep thinker, very bright, and really devoted to what he's doing here with the device with the red light, near-infrared technology.
So, today, we're here with Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg, a really fascinating individual who has a Ph.D. in cosmology. It's not every day you bump into somebody like that, but he's actually really involved now with light therapy, if you will. So, Bjørn, welcome to the show.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Thanks a lot for having me on. May I call you Jeffrey?
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. Yeah, you can call me Jeffrey. We'll go by first names here. That way, we will...
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: And I just have to tweak the title a little bit because I don't have a Ph.D. in cosmology, but in the philosophy of science, if you will, studying cosmology from a philosophical perspective. So, there are a lot of people in the astrophysics community who would tear their hair out at the difference.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Okay. Yeah. There you go. We don't want anybody to take a shot at you, so we'll clear that up. Okay. Well, great. Well, it's interesting. I'd like to know, though, how you got from thinking about cosmology into light therapy. That's an interesting transition. Maybe you can walk us through that just a little bit, how you got from one place to the other.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. Sure. It's one of those things that was not intentional or planned but that somehow had a strange kind of looping effect that life can sometimes have and send you on a path that I've discovered the connection in hindsight. But, basically, I did all my academic degrees in Canada. I studied up through the Ph.D., and I was really just following my interest, and I became really, really interested in what's called metaphysics, but it's really the groundwork and the foundational assumptions for physics and how a science develops and charting this history into today's cosmology, and I was just interested in this topic, generally.
At some point, I decided I could have become a professor, and I had one of those existential moments when I realized that I wasn't in it to be working at a university. I loved teaching and the research and all of it, but it was just something about it told me: "I want to create something. I want to build something." And so, I had a chance because I'm from Norway, originally. I can move back there after over a decade in North America and to start a creative career in filmmaking and this kind of line of work, which I did for about a decade. Worked as a screenwriter for some larger productions, and really, it's very entrepreneurial in that sector, to begin with.
And so, one day, an old friend of mine from Oslo called me up. He's based in Asia. We've known each other for a long time. He's an entrepreneur, and he had stumbled on something, and I heard the quiver in his voice, and I knew that this was something, and basically, I met him and the team. They had stumbled upon for them a discovery actually with a lot of NASA research, and actually, NASA developed this for a long time. It's near-infrared wavelengths of light combined with red wavelengths of light, sometimes called red light therapy. Stimulates the cells in such a way to produce a natural response in the body that has a lot of potential benefits and applications.
And so, they were blown away by this, and they had just the team to get a device made, and they had a medical doctor, who's amazing, who's been working in this field for over 20 years treating patients, but what they really needed from that building point is like, how do you take something that's not... Most people have not heard about it. I actually assume some of your listeners may know more about photobiomodulation or red light therapy. So, we'll talk about it then.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. It's a common topic in longevity. We've done podcasts previously with Joovv Lights and other light therapies, so to speak. So, it's out there, but it's always a fascinating topic, actually, how light interfaces with the body and with the psyche and with the DNA, for that matter, in terms of how it's expressed, et cetera. Right? All very interesting.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: No, it is a fascinating topic. And so, I basically stumbled into this, like how to make this business, get this out to people. How do you tell people about something they haven't heard about yet to educate them or to get their interest in what infrared and light can do, the bigger story about light? And so on.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Let me just interrupt you for a second. So, you come in contact with a friend who introduced you to this technology, and what was it about the technology that fascinated you? What really got you hooked? Was it using it, or was it starting to look at some of the biochemistry behind it in terms of its effects, or what was really the thing that pulled you in, so to speak?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. It's a great question, and I actually think probably with my philosophical inclination. For me, it was the sense of something clicking in and the potential for a paradigm shift in how we approach health. And this had to do with my own mindset coming... I mean, understanding coming into it. I was already familiar with some of the biohacking and various practices that would also be part of the longevity space, but with this whole understanding that I realized meeting Dr. Zulia Frost, who's one of the founders of the company, and understanding the whole approach to this that I've taken my light environment for granted.
I love being in the sun, but there's something about sunlight and energy and how we treat light, generally, and stuff that actually... I had no idea that it could stimulate us so much and be such a big factor, generally speaking.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Let's talk about that for just a second because I think this is an important topic. Sunlight versus artificial light versus LED light versus fluorescent light. We're all exposed to light all day long, and it's... Obviously, having lights at night kind of plays heck with our circadian rhythms, and we stay up too late, and we're watching TV and blue light and all these different things. So, light is therapeutic, and then light is also toxic. Do you want to talk to us a little bit about that in terms of how you've come to see that?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. Sure. I mean, I think you're spot on. It's got both, and this is... It's best encapsulated in how we relate to the sun, the sun itself, which is really just the most massive fireball of energy within our own solar system that sustains everything. It is the fundamental condition for all things for there even to be life. And somehow, through these millions of years of evolving under the sun, we have a rhythmic pattern imprinted into our bodies relating to sunlight and darkness, and usually, the light we can get is from the sun.
And then suddenly, at some point, a very short part of that genetic lineage, the whole light environment changes rapidly, and people lose focus on what the sun can do for beneficial purposes as well. I mean, we used to... In our culture up until the 1920s or so, before the big shift toward the pharmaceutical paradigm, it was common to send people who had various illnesses to places where they could get... sanatoriums, where they could get lots of sunshine, and usually some saltwater and things just so they could heal themselves, that they could take the energy from the light and then their own bodies would do the work and be the healer.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: This is true.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: And this is one part of it, but I think it's sort of interesting, and with the approach that hooked me into it is shifting from the model where I have a problem, and I get a prescription or a fix or something, just plug a hole, but it's like I am the healer. My own body has the healing power, but what it needs is the right energy and so on, and this is where light comes in as a... In our very recent days, suddenly, it's clouding and confusing, and we're playing with wavelengths that our eyes and our bodies are not used to at all.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. It is interesting for the audience to understand that, really, all the energy in your body is really coming from the sun, and you may know that. In fact, all the energy on the planet is coming from the sun, and even all the energy in our food is coming from the sun, whether it's plants or animals, for that matter. And so, in essence, the sun and sunlight are really the roots of all energetics on the planet, whether it's the tides or gravity. Whatever it is, it's all related to that. Right?
So, it's really quite fascinating. So, when you think about it, it would kind of make intuitive sense that having some relationship with sunlight would be beneficial and that light itself could be beneficial. Right? And so, tell us a little bit about what they discovered with the near-infrared and the red light in terms of how that was photomodulating energetics inside the body. What did they tell you when they brought you in to talk to you about this?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. So, one of the most arresting facts for me about the sun's total energy that you say very correctly, it's just mind-boggling. We don't think about it in this way sometimes. We just think of the sun as where it is and vitamin D or not get burnt, and otherwise, it's just there, but it is the source of all life. 53% of the energy that comes from the sun is infrared, and that is invisible to us, largely.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: It's the red on the spectrum that is visible, and there's a very, very small spectrum, a visible light on the longer spectrum of all the energy we get that is all in the sun at all times, varying degrees. And so, infrared is a massive part of this. And near-infrared, specifically, the spectrum is quite wide. So, you have something called “far-infrared”, which has a very long wavelength that is able to penetrate so deeply that it can induce detox effects by making you sweat.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. And just so the audience understands this, so we're talking about electromagnetic radiation, and we're talking about wavelengths. So, just imagine a sine wave of these wavelengths, and as they get longer and longer, you go all the way out to... I guess there are waves that are unbelievably long. Right? I mean, you get out to radio waves, and you have the things. And the longer the wavelength is, in other words, the further it is between peaks of when the wave is at its peak and when it's at its nadir, the more penetrating it is, the further it travels, so to speak, particularly through objects or whatever.
And there are people that are actually trying to use energy, and Tesla talked about this also, I think, to be able to transmit energy anywhere on the planet using the right wavelengths. Right? So, it's quite fascinating. And then our retina, which basically are receiving light and giving us vision in basically the visible light range, if you will, those are fairly short frequencies but not necessarily toxic. And so, we're talking about frequencies that are just a bit longer than that.
So, the James Webb Telescope is an infrared telescope. Right? So, if 53% of the energy from the sun is coming from infrared, then all of a sudden, you have the Webb Telescope out there, the James Webb Telescope out there looking at the universe now through an infrared lens to learn more about things that we couldn't see otherwise. Right? And then there are high-frequency waves as well. You get up into X-rays and cosmic rays and things like that that have so much energy in them that they're damaging. Right? And this is where too much exposure to the sun can be an issue too. You get too much damage.
But then when we have a solar flare, or we have a burst from the sun, there are extra cosmic rays that are coming to the planet, and those are deflected by the poles on the planet to some extent, which is why we get the aurora borealis, but that's protecting us from some of that excess high-energy radiation, if you will. So, this is a whole spectrum, just so you understand this, of wavelengths that do all kinds of amazing things, everything from damaging your DNA to being able to transmit energy over long distances. And we just see a small part of that spectrum with our eyes. Right? We can only see certain colors. So, it's a fairly narrow spectrum, just to set the stage for that.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah, and that's excellent, and it's precisely at that point where the red light turns into the invisible infrared very early on in that spectrum, near-infrared light, specifically. It is what is responsible for the warming effect you can get at a sunset's glow or the sunrise in the morning. It's a reddish light. There's more of the infrared on the red in the spectrum at those moments. But with the warm feeling you get, that is infrared, whereas red only goes into the skin. And so, the fascinating discovery with near-infrared was that it stimulated the cells in a particular way.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. That is fascinating. Just so you understand this, too, as the wavelengths get longer, they penetrate deeper into your body. So, there's near-infrared, medium-infrared, and far-infrared, and that's basically just telling you, in essence, how far does the wavelength of light penetrate into your body. So, if you're using near-infrared, you're really focusing the energy on your skin, and that's really what you're going to get. If you're using far infrared, you're actually focusing it more on the internal organs and things like that, which, to your point, can be used for detox and some other things.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: But near-infrared at these wavelengths, around 800 to 850 nanometers, is able to... With the way we designed the device that is directly on the skin, you are able to penetrate between 5 and 10 centimeters in through the skin.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Okay.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: So, red light on the visible spectrum, which is used a lot in cosmetic applications because it has a stimulating effect just on the skin level, the surface level itself. As with near-infrared, you're able to penetrate beneath the skin and go into tissue and into joints and so on, and this is where we have seen the most profound effects by designing it this way.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: So, basically, the combination of the two, you're going from skin-deep into 5 to 10 centimeters deep, which is two to four inches deep, so to speak. And with that these devices have been used for a number of different indications like pain and arthritis. Do you want to talk about this? Why don't you tell us about the device that you've created? We've kind of talked in the abstract here, but let's talk about the device that you're associated with. Tell us a little bit about that device.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: It's called FlexBeam, is what we named it, and it's a recovery device that uses targeted red light therapy. It looks sort of like a belt with three different light pods that are attached.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: It looks like an ammo belt, basically, and each of the pods are-
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. It's about the size of an ammo belt, and it packs a lot of power with fans and so on and these particular wavelengths. It has a couple of different settings. You can choose how deep you want to go and so on. But it's basically the only device of its kind that's designed for the human body because most of the devices you can get out there are either panels or lamps that you have to get closer to or stand up against, whereas FlexBeam is designed to be worn directly on the skin and you can just strap it on wherever you need it and do whatever you want in the meantime, so to speak.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: And this makes it targeted in a way that we're actually starting to see. We're doing a lot of studies, internally what we can, also of FlexBeam effects. There is a tremendous amount of research on photobiomodulation, as it's called, or the infrared light therapy generally in the literature, but specific to this device, we're starting to see stronger effects on recovery times for athletes, for example. It is significantly shortened if they have a muscle strain or injury like this, with a reduction of inflammation and kinds of pain relief. Pain relief is also mentioned.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Right. So, when you talk about recovery, are you talking about recovery from: "I just exerted myself really hard, and I want to exercise again this afternoon, so I'll put the red light therapy on my quads and my calves, and I'll be able to go run again this afternoon," or are you talking about: "I kind of tweaked my hamstring and I'm going to put it on there so that I'm good to go tomorrow"? Are you talking about both those things, or what are you speaking to?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah, both those things. Actually, a whole range of things that you can recover from, an actual injury or whether it's recovering from a particularly hard workout or overdoing it or getting an excessive load on one foot over the other and therefore having pain in this, or various kinds of things that when you have some sort of health setback that is related to your muscles or muscular skeletal things, infrared therapy in this targeted way can be tremendously effective.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: And it accelerates healing as well in terms of joints and ligaments. If somebody has a broken bone if they put this on their broken bone, would their bone heal faster? Do you have data to show that, or not sure?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: We have case studies that suggested the overall healing process goes faster, but obviously, if you have a very severe condition or you have a chronic condition or something, it's not a magic wand that you just stick it on 10 minutes and then suddenly you can run around again. Instead, it's... By working on the mitochondria, as you know, and I know you cover this topic a lot in a lot of your podcasts as well, that is the main mechanism that is being stimulated to produce more cellular energy. It leads to effects like these.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yup. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. We get higher ATP concentrations when photobiomodulation is used. The other interesting thing is that it does, as you mentioned earlier, decrease inflammation. So, do you want to speak to the mechanisms of that? Because inflammation is also related to pain and it's also related to recovery. It's also related to healing. And if it's photobiomodulating, then that would suggest that it's not just shutting down inflammation, but it's actually modulating it in a more healthy way, potentially. Is that what the research is showing that the company is doing?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: There is a physiological effect of treating yourself with targeted red light therapy. It improves the blood flow in the area, so it increases circulation wherever you put it. So, just that increased... One of the things we can measure is oxygenation in the blood, for example, that that increases after a session. So that, and I think you can speak much more clearly to it than I can as a philosophical doctor on the effect that that would have on inflammation, for example, but that's the main physiological way that we see.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: There are a number of devices that can be used to actually increase blood flow after a workout, let's say. There are electrical stim devices that can be used to increase blood flow. Light therapy will do it. Saunas will do it, things like that. And so, when you do increase blood flow, what you're doing is you're actually getting the toxins. You're clearing the toxins out that much faster. And biology likes to work in a clean swimming pool, if possible. So, if you can get the toxins out, you can actually regenerate and repair that much faster. So, there's kind of a local detox that occurs.
In fact, you can actually augment the effects of exercise by decreasing the ability to clear toxins during the exercise, like using blood flow restriction bands, KAATSU or B Strong bands, or Vasper, where you actually are increasing toxins accumulation in the muscle acutely, which tells the body that there's a massive amount of exercise going on here and we need to actually respond to that. And so, it sends out hormonal signals that actually increase anabolic growth and strength and increase vasculature, and then you could complement that by putting red light on afterward to actually help clear the toxins out so that you're not necessarily sore the next day or something like that. Right?
So, there are ways to hack into this to where you're getting the best of both worlds. Do you find that there's any benefit in doing this prophylactically? Let's say somebody is going to play a tennis match, and they use the red light not only after the tennis match but they use it prior to the tennis match on their shoulder or elbow or something like that.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. There's a lot of cases we have working with athletes or, I guess, body performers in some way in which they do it as a kind of warm-up routine.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: We have runners who talk about how they're able to get through treating themselves with FlexBeam prior to, in the hour before they go running for a long marathon, for example, where they would usually find that their legs stiffen or they get that lactic acid response and they think: "Okay. That's game over for me," because you know that feeling, and then this is what they're reporting back to us. They were able to have an extra go, an extra round in them that they didn't think they had. There was a little bit extra in the tank for some reason, and they associate it with this used beforehand.
So, this is, of course, something we're very interested in. We're mapping this out, working directly with athletes now to do trials for these kinds of specific things that have to do with performance. There are some interesting studies being done also on basically being able to increase your performance by integrating infrared therapy into your regimen.
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Endurance athletes use saunas all the time to improve cardiovascular function. They'll go for a run, let's say, and then they'll jump in the sauna afterward. In fact, people will go to altitude. Let's say they're going to move to Boulder for three months and train at altitude, either cycling or running, and then they're going to move back to the coast. They'll use saunas after their workouts to actually keep their hemoglobin levels up and actually maintain some of that altitude acclimatization that they've undergone to continue to boost their athletic performance. Is there an interface between things like an infrared sauna and the FlexBeam? Would somebody sit in a sauna and use the FlexBeam, or what are you thinking about that? Is there too much confusion there?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: I've heard of that combination, then you're really covering more of a spectrum, I suppose, that, of course, you can use it in an infrared sauna. I mean, really, the benefits of near-infrared particularly, and that sets it apart from some of the other hacks that you mentioned before that you could get to also increase blood flow and so on, is that you are really charging your mitochondria. Right? So, you're getting a cellular energy boost, so to speak, not simply just improved or change in blood flow like you can get from heat and ice packs and things like this that are classical sport remedies.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Right.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: With this, you're really getting to the cellular level, and that's what's a profoundly different application.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. That's a really important point that you're making. That is completely different. We know that circadian rhythms are important. With the infrared therapy, is there any impact that it has on circadian rhythm? Does it augment sleep? Is it something that should be used in the morning or at certain times of the day, or does it not matter, or what are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: No. And absolutely, there's a huge impact on the circadian rhythm, and there are some really interesting scientific papers linking this light to melatonin and the regulation of melatonin in your body.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm. So, with that, is there a particular time of day that people should use it, or not really?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: What we have found the most effective when we have been trying this out is the link between sunrise and sunset, for example, that it can be favorably used in the morning if you don't have access to the sun in the morning, to tell your body that it's that time of day and start certain hormonal processes. This kind of near-infrared red light combination can give you a little bit of a sunrise feeling on the body and helps to regulate the circadian rhythm.
And also, one thing that we have found that we are really working on for the next version to do more around is we discovered that it has a sleep-inductive effect for a lot of people. And we didn't design the device for this purpose, but we did some studies, and then we saw this correlation with sleep data from sleep-tracking apps and so on that it increased deep sleep and these kinds of things. So, we're very keen to study this more in-depth, but that's what a lot of our users are reporting back and are buying it for as well is that it helps them to sleep better.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. That's great. Now, the device looks like an ammo belt, but it's about, I don't know, how long? Is it 18 inches long, maybe, or something like that? It's not going to go all the way around your waist.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: It will fit around a normal waist with the strap, and it will cover more or less the lower back on the side or on the stomach if you need, and it will fit around an elbow or a knee or a shoulder blade. Yeah.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Right. Okay. So, my question is this: Is there any place that you need to put it in particular to optimize the sleep effects? Obviously, for pain or inflammation, you're going to put it on the sore spot, so to speak, but is there any place, or it doesn't matter where you put it on the body?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: There are some placements that are more effective and that we recommend from studying, and it's either over the chest or over the lung area, or it's on the stomach.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Okay. And would this be something somebody would lay in bed as they're getting ready to go to sleep and do a session for 10 minutes or something like that, and then they would have a better sleep? Is that what we're talking about, or what are we talking about here?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. That's become a common, and a favorite application for a lot of people is FlexBeam comes with a 10-minute time program. So, you can literally just turn it on, and it will turn itself off, so you can't risk just keeping it on. And a lot of people fall asleep that way for sleep induction and then also for regulating throughout the day, as we talked about with the circadian rhythm. It's a-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Nice.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: ... common use.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: And is your feeling that it somehow counteracts some of the negative effects of artificial light to some extent, or do you have any insight into that?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: I mean, it's certainly a better light in the bedroom than a refrigerator light, for example, or something like this, because it's just in the red part of the spectrum. It doesn't disrupt anything. Light in the spectrum is generally recommended. Whether it can reduce the stress that you get from artificial lights, I'm not sure. I would just advise to try to not use so many artificial lights and get in the sunshine. And when needed, FlexBeam is something that is a concentrated dose of what you can get in a sunrise and a sunset that's much more powerful than you can get in a certain spot, and that is maybe all the light you need other than some warm tones.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Right. So, I'm thinking, in the bedroom, it might have multiple uses, if it's increasing blood flow and setting the mood. I don't know. We'll have to see about that.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: We have some case studies in this direction as well. Yes.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: You do?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: It's one of the challenges with launching and marketing and telling a story about this device as well is because it has so many applications, as you know, that infrared therapy, that it can be used for so many things. So, we particularly emphasize the recovery aspect because that's what we designed this for, is the recovery and pain relief, but there's a whole, call it a little catalog of things that we know that people buy it for something for a particular health condition or something in mind and then they discover it has very pleasant effects in the bedroom, or that their pets love it because it works on dogs and cats also,-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Nice.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: ... and that there are other uses in the home and other reasons to have it. And this is why we are quite confident that if we can raise awareness on this issue in general light and so on, and to create a device that people could have at home that could have multiple uses and can help regulate their sleep and it can be their go-to friend when they have pain, or they injure themselves or something, it should be a no-brainer that one day in the future, this is a thing and that people can have it at home.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I imagine, based on the size of it, that you could travel with this also. Is it charged off something? Do you have it plugged in when you're using it?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: It comes with a travel case, and it's rechargeable. So, it is just you can stick it in your suitcase. You can use it at least five or six times before you need to recharge it. So, it's a very versatile and easy-to-use tool, is what we designed it for, and that's the reason why now over 10,000 users love it.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm. And is it the kind of thing that you can use at multiple times a day, or is there a restriction on that where it's like, you can use it three times, but you shouldn't use it six times, or any limitations on that?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. It was quite challenging to come up with good rules around this because, as you can probably imagine, it's very individual also that some people respond differently to it, and the matter of dosage and stuff is highly individual. It is very interesting to try out this, an extended period, where we really did what we could have of testing and really landed on recommending people 10 to 20 minutes a day unless you have multiple issues, like multiple areas you want to cover. You can use up to an hour.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: But what the science clearly shows on it is that there is an optimal dose that is not really too high that if you keep using it a lot, you're not going to get more benefits.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: There's a plateau effect.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: It's a kind of stimulation.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yup.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. There's a plateau effect, and that is what you're really inducing on a cellular level; it's called hormesis or like a stress response in your cells. And in a way, it just doesn't... When you keep triggering that, it produces the opposite effect of what you desire. The body adapts to it really quickly. So, you get...
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Right.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: There are no side effects of using infrared light therapy, but if you overdo it, you will just not get any effects at all. So, that's why we said one or two sessions with FlexBeam in a day is enough.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Mm-hmm. Yeah. No, that's important for the audience to-
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Usually.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: ... understand that, that there is a plateau effect that happens fairly quickly with this. So, after 10 minutes, the returns are diminishing, so to speak. And the body adapts to these hormetic stresses fairly quickly, so it is something that you want to do. In one sense, you want to do it sporadically. It doesn't mean you can't do it each day, but having some recovery time to where the body has a chance to reset and lose its adaptability to it. That way, it gets a full response when you use it again. Yeah. That's good for you guys to know. So, what's next for the company? Where are you trying to go with this? Are you trying to make other devices, or are you improving this device in some way, or what's happening?
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: Yeah. We are planning to make a version two, which is going to have a few more interface-friendly add-ons, so to speak, that it's also going to have a software component and sensors and a data platform. There are things we can read out of the device and tell back to the users and so on, and also combining lights. We have found other wavelengths of light that are also very interesting in combination, and also other modalities to combine it with. So, it will be a more advanced upgraded version of this, I suppose.
And I mean, where we are right now as a company is we are still in the early growth stage. We've just passed the startup stage, and we still are struggling in the sea of attention. I very much appreciate the opportunity to come and talk to you about it. You're so knowledgeable about this field, to begin with, but it's really to get people's eyes open to this other way of understanding how your health is impacted by your light environment, your relationship to it, and so on, is sort of the bigger story here beyond the product itself.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yup. Absolutely. Yeah. That's great.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: And I was going to ask you how infrared and red light also fit into your whole longevity scheme as a kind of lever, or how do you see it?
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. I think at this point in time, the way that we've leveraged it the most, quite honestly, is with the utilization of saunas as opposed to focused red light and infrared light, not because we're not aware of the fact that it does have a healing benefit, but we like the saunas a lot for longevity. You're probably familiar with the Scandinavian data on saunas in men and the 20-year study in showing a 65% reduction in Alzheimer's and cardiovascular events and heart attacks, and cancer, and all-cause mortality is at 40%, cancer 40%.
So, those studies really got us interested in saunas, in Swedish saunas, then the Japanese did a bunch of studies with infrared saunas that showed significant improvement in angina, which is chest pain related to decreased blood flow in the heart arteries, and also claudication, which is pain that comes in the legs from blocked arteries in the legs. They showed improvement in congestive heart failure. People were able to walk further and had less shortness of breath.
And so, we feel like the saunas, in general, are very helpful, and we currently have an infrared sauna in our office that also has red light therapy in it in an attempt to try to combine the two modalities. But from the standpoint of... We've been fans of things like Joovv and Joovv Light and things like that, but I think one of the issues with that is people have to buy a whole wall, or they have to set it up, and I've used it. You have to stand in front of it and that sort of thing.
I think to have something just lay on you and either go after the point that you're struggling to heal or recover that's helpful, and then also to be able to travel with it. It's difficult to travel with any of these devices. Right? So, a lot of our clients travel, and it may be that this would be a nice adjunct for them, particularly with sleep and some of those kinds of things, changing time zones, et cetera. So, I'm seeing that there's really, from my perspective, a little bit of untapped possibility here. Yeah.
Dr. Bjørn Ekeberg: So, one of the design maxims for us is that the best red light therapy device or the best-infrared device is the one you use the most or that you use most frequently. And so-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: That's right.