Amplify your light intensity with a crystal ball!
Sometimes we want higher bursts of intensity to penetrate deeper or target a specific spot in the body. This way we can have shorter, more effective treatments when we use the right techniques.
As we have talked about in earlier blog posts, most of LLLT studies use high intensity narrow beams targeting individual spots on the body. And also the importance of using skin-contact and firm pressure to reduce intensity losses from skin reflectance and improve penetration.
So when you have a large LED panel that you have to use 6 inches away, how do you reclaim that lost intensity, target individual spots, and beat the skin reflectance issue?
Well, we could use a crystal ball! No, we aren't going to gaze into the future with it. A crystal ball acts as a focusing lens or magnifying glass!
As light enters the crystal ball on one end, it is focused towards the center. As the light exits the crystal ball, it is focused again! The light exiting the ball is highly concentrated and converging. As opposed to the wide angle lenses on many LED panels that are highly divergent.
The peak concentration is usually just behind the ball and about 3/4 inch away (depending on the size and optics). After that the light is divergent again. We see this easily when looking through the crystal ball. Up close it acts as a magnifying glass, and further away it "flips" the images because of how the light is redirected through the focal point.
I was actually inspired to experiment with crystal balls after reading an LLLT blog that also uses a snow-globe to enhance penetration, as well as seeing a YouTube video that used a crystal ball to strengthen a laser.
So, as I mentioned the advantages of using a crystal ball are:
1. Focuses the light to a smaller spot behind the ball.
2. Takes light from panels that you normally use 6'' away and increases the intensity and convergance.
3. Can be pressed against the skin to help reduce skin reflectance, and enhance penetration by compressing the layers of the skin.
4. Helps with targeted treatments from a clunky LED panel.
The disadvantages are:
1. It concentrates to a spot, but also creates a "shadow" around the new high-intensity spots.
2. Do not use around the eyes or sensitive areas! Test on the back of your hand to make sure it doesn't get too hot.
3. Do not use outside to concentrate sunlight, which can quickly lead to burns.
There are many different sizes to choose from, which are common to the photography industry as a "lens ball" or "photography ball."
I tried 80mm, 100mm, and 120mm diameter balls. As they increase in size, it increases the amount of light collected and focusing power. However it increases the price, weight, and bulkiness to try to hold. So my favorite turned out to be the 100mm size for being the perfect size and weight to fit in the palm of my hand.
Increases in intensity!
Here we take some measurements showing before and after using the crystal ball. We don't move anything but just place the ball down between the light panel and the Tenmars Solar Meter TM-206. Note that this meter does read falsely high, but here we use it for a relative "before and after" comparison just to help illustrate our point.
Here we see the before and after with the GembaRed Beam! It starts out with 21.8 mW/cm^2 and we concentrate it to over 187.8 mW/cm^2! Note that the meter maxes out at 200mW/cm^2 reading, we had to move the Tenmars meter away from the crystal ball to get this reading.
The same thing happens again with the new GembaRed Oomph! We are reading about 60 mW/cm^2 in the first picture, then get over 200mW/cm^2 just behind the crystal ball!
So certainly we can see the concentrating power and potential to increase intensity through the crystal ball!
That is great it enhances intensity, but does it actually improve penetration? I would love to show you how I see better penetration through my fingers, but the pictures don't turn out.
Instead I set up two sheets of standard white copy paper between the GembaRed Oomph and the Tenmars Solar Power meter. Two sheets of white paper are a good simulation, since they also offer some reflectance, scattering, and some penetration through the papers.
Here we see the brighter concentration spot through the two sheets of paper, compared to the first image with normal penetration and coverage.
Now we set up the Tenmars Solar meter again between the paper. The initial penetration on the left is only 7.6 mW/cm^2, the penetration with the crystal ball jumps up to 32.6mW/cm^2. That is an increase of over 4x intensity through the papers! So we can imagine massive potential for increasing intensity and penetration to deeper layers of the skin and body!.
So this is a clever hack to turn your wide area LED panels into a targeted intensity with better penetration. A crystal ball can potentially improve intensity, be pressed against the skin to reduce the reflectance barrier, and enhance penetration!
When standing in front of your favorite light panel, you could experiment holding the crystal ball pressed into a grid around the body. This might simulate the usages of higher power lasers in discreet grids for targeted treatments.
As we mentioned above, exercise caution when experimenting with crystal balls and light, as it could damage the eyes or increase heating to a single point on the skin.