Co-founder of the Helight ™ company, which develops a device using red light to facilitate physical and mental recovery, Jérôme Grange talks to us about the benefits of photobiomodulation and how it works on the human body.
Foot 24hfootnews: today, recovery is more and more important in the daily life of footballers and like Timo Kadewere, some have their little secrets. The Lyonnais opts for photobiomodulation with the Helight pro device. Can you explain the benefits of this technique to us?
Jérôme Grange: photobiomodulation acts on cells in the human body which have receptors for light. Thus, the red light Helight promotes the natural process of physical and mental recovery. That is to say that by using photobiomodulation, we will recover better, faster and in a more sustainable way.
FM: this technology has long been used for cosmetic surgery, what has changed in recent years for it to develop in other sectors?
JG: it is used in the context of cosmetic surgery but also in the medical world, since photobiomodulation is also used in the dental world or in oncology. There are therefore different medical and surgical sectors that use photobiomodulation and what we wanted to do at Helight is to bring the benefits of red light in the field of well-being. What makes it possible to do this today is essentially technological and electronic developments. Until a few years ago, the necessary technologies were very expensive, but today it has evolved rather well, which allows us to manufacture less expensive devices and therefore more suitable for the general public in particular.
FM: how does red light bring us so much?
JG: red light is known for its three main implications: relieving inflammation, pain and promoting healing. The light acts on the cells, then the cells and the human body do their job better in a natural way.
FM: if the red light has an undeniable contribution to recovery in general, it can also be used to better treat an injury?
JG: yes, already because at the local level, the red light has an action that promotes physical recovery due to an injury, that’s for sure. And then there is also the aspect of mental recovery since the light will in particular act on the quality of sleep, and we know very well that an athlete who sleeps better and who is better in his head will necessarily recover better physically.
FM: Helight technology would therefore have a preventive role in addition to helping better recover?
JG: indeed, it is even almost more of a prevention tool than of recovery, but it can be used in both phases.
FM: in addition to the benefits allowing players to recover better physically, you spoke to us earlier about the mental aspect. How does this device impact the brain?
JG: when we do a Helight light session, all the cells react and those through the retina, which are therefore brain cells, do not escape it. Red light is the universal signal for falling asleep. If we come back to natural light, it is the dominant light of the setting sun so it is a naturally calming light. What we observe when we subject people to red light is that we have a drop in indicators such as brain activity, body temperature and heart rate so there is really a relaxation side that allows you to better recover.
FM: what time of day would you recommend using Helight pro?
JG: the device can be used at different stages, there is not necessarily a recommendation at the moment. It is especially the athlete who must apply it to his own program, it is very important. But in general, once the training or the match is over, after having carried out all the necessary care with the staff, using this light at home to better recover remains a very good solution.
FM: what are the feedbacks from athletes using this technique? Do they really feel an additional contribution in their recovery?
JG: yes, they really feel it. I have an example that is not in football but we worked with Elea Diarra, who is a French athlete specializing in the 400 meters. Elea discovered the Helight pro at her physiotherapist in Villeurbanne and this is what did her good in terms of her tendonitis but also in terms of stress and sleep. Like Timo Kadewere of Olympique Lyonnais, she got herself a device and she clearly saw the difference. She says it really helped her in her overall process of preparing for competitions and recovering from competitions.
FM: is red light the only recovery technique used by professional footballers?
JG: there are plenty of other recovery techniques out there, i would never say Helight is the only one. In this area, we must combine techniques. There are massages, cryotherapy, electrostimulation… There are really a lot of different ways of doing things. Everyone ultimately chooses the tools and techniques that suit them. What is very interesting about light is that it is complementary to all other recovery techniques. Using red light in addition will enhance the effects of recovery.
FM: do you think it’s a technique of the future that high-level athletes will soon be unable to do without?
JG: I am deeply convinced of this because otherwise I would not have created this company. I firmly believe that all top athletes should at least consider this technique because it is short and efficient. It’s super easy to integrate into your life in general.
FM: and the professional clubs in all this, what do they think? Would it be possible to see them use this technology in the future?
JG: So far, we have done little with professional football clubs, but on the other hand, we have been developing the B2B field for a few years with practitioners such as physiotherapists, osteopaths or sophrologists. It is through them that we arrived in the field of sport since it is these practitioners who went to see athletes. Afterwards, the clubs have very precise protocols in the medical field, we are in the well-being. For now, technology has undoubtedly more its place at home among athletes than within clubs!