Green color on the traffic light with a beautiful blue sky in background

At the Green Light, Pain Takes Off

Going out in nature always has a soothing effect. Stress goes away, pain subsides, and the mind clears. It may not be the quiet surroundings that relax the body, but the actual plants themselves. It’s not some chemical they release, but the color that emanates from the leaves into our brains – green.

Researchers at the University of Arizona decided to investigate if the color green could relieve chronic pain, so they exposed rats to green light. One group of rats were put in clear plastic containers with green LED strips attached, while another group of rats, exposed to room light, were fitted with contact lenses allowing only green wavelength to pass through. Both groups of these rats showed benefits from the green light exposure. A separate group of rats with opaque contact lenses did not benefit from the green light.

The results of this study were published in last month’s issue of the journal Pain, explaining that rats with neuropathic pain exposed to green LED light showed improved tolerance for thermal and tactile stimulus than those not exposed to the light. No side effects were observed, nor was their vision impaired by the color. Beneficial effects last for four days. How green light relieves pain is not yet determined. It could be that the light increases the circulating endogenous opioids, which relieve pain.

Researchers are now conducting a double-blind clinical trial on the effects of green light on patients with fibromyalgia. The participants in the study were given a green light strip and instructed to use it one to two hours in a dark room for 10 weeks. The results have been promising, working equally well for males and females. Two patients refused to return the light because their pain had diminished so greatly.

Non-drug methods are needed to help those who suffer from chronic pain. Altering the endogenous substances stopping pain and decreasing inflammation is a great breakthrough. This therapy is inexpensive and easy to use worldwide.

uanews.arizona.edu/story/treatment-pain-gets-green-light
Tricoles, Robin. “Treatment of Pain Gets the Green Light.” UANews, 1 Mar 2017. Web. 9 Mar 2017.

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