There is nothing more satisfying on a cold winter day than feeling the sun beaming down on your face and body, enveloping your body in a regenerative, soothing warm embrace.
As you probably are aware, natural sunlight contains more than just a pure, full, and balanced spectrum of visible light. Sunlight also includes the full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation - including all the invisible energy of ultraviolet and infrared.
Interestingly, while we skew our focus towards the visible spectrum of light (visible light helps us see!), the non-visible portion of full spectrum light has some nourishing properties worth paying attention to as well.
When it comes to "artificial" lighting - in terms of health and well-being at least - there isn't anything quite like the good old-fashioned incandescent light bulb. So if you'd like to incorporate the soothing, regenerative effects of sunlight into your life, incandescent bulbs can become a valuable part of your wellness toolkit.
Read on to learn about the benefits of incandescence and some ways to incorporate it mindfully into your life!
What is incandescent lighting?
Let's first get some basics down: incandescence is the emission of visible light by a hot object. The hotter the object glows, the more light is produced. Think burning coal, a candle flame, and, of course, the sun -- all provide visible light through the process of incandescence!
An incandescent light bulb produces visible light by the energy running through the filament and heating it so much that it glows. The higher a bulb's wattage, the brighter the filament glows. Even in its basic essence, an incandescent light bulb has the most similarity of form to natural sunlight! Read (what is the healthiest light bulb)
Light is like food: the quality matters.
Light works intimately with our bodies, with visible light dictating our circadian rhythm, in turn controlling many aspects of our physical and mental well-being, such as the release of hormones, temperature regulation, etc.
But again, just like sunlight, we can't forget the other energy available in light!
Just like the quality of food we provide our bodies, the quality of light we use can make a difference in our overall well-being and vitality.
For optimal well-being, our bodies expect the presence of full spectrum visible light, in addition to other essential, non-visible, electromagnetic energy.
For this reason, we always suggest mixing up the light sources in your life -- one light technology won't provide it all. For example, you need bright white light to trigger your alertness and a cascade of awakening functions in the morning. Still, you'd also benefit from infrared and incandescence for your cells (we'll get into that in a moment).
Since this article is on incandescent light bulbs, let's dive into the benefits these traditional light sources provide.
What are the benefits of incandescent light bulbs?
- The full, balanced spectrum of visible light
- Provides nourishing, regenerative infrared light
- Low flicker
- Low EMF
A full and balanced spectrum of visible light
Starting with the visible, incandescent light gives off a naturally full and very pure spectrum. As we know, a full spectrum light usually means a high - or in the case of incandescence, nearly perfect - color rendering index, or CRI, score. Color rendering index measures how well a light source replicates colors in your environment. That said, incandescent light is still a bit on the amber/yellow side. So for true vivid colors and beauty, you'll want to try a version like Chromalux®, which uniquely filters light to improve colors and contrast.
What is infrared light? What are its benefits?
Getting into the non-visible benefits of incandescent light bulbs: infrared light is the non-visible light energy directly closest to the visible red light wavelengths. You'll feel a lot of it as the heat given from these bulbs. Whereas from a visible light giving standpoint, incandescent bulbs don't fare well, that thermal energy isn't precisely "wasteful": infrared light and red light - particularly the 600-1000 nanometer span in the light spectrum - provide our cells with energy and regenerative power.
Infrared's effect on mitochondria & cellular energy
Mitochondria are the power houses in each cell of our body, fueling our cells to run efficiently and giving ourselves the ability to thrive and heal.
Red and near-infrared light are the only wavelengths of light able to penetrate the skin, promoting cell regeneration, tissue oxygenation, and promoting overall energy in the cell.
While all light bulbs flicker (LEDs+fluorescents being the worst offenders), the interesting thing about the nature of flicker in incandescents is that rather than a rapid on off cycle, the flicker is actually more of a pulsing glow.
Incandescent and halogen (which is essentially an enhanced, whiter light version of incandescent) light bulbs are EMF-safe. While EMF, which stands for electromagnetic frequencies, aren't a problem on their own, it's the so-called "dirty electricity" that most electrical appliances emit into our environment that have the potential to - over long periods of time - wreak havoc on our biology and overall well-being.
How to mindfully incorporate incandescent light bulbs into your life
With all the potential benefits incandescent light bulbs provide, you'll probably want to start using some daily! But - with the number one argument against the use of incandescent light bulbs being their energy inefficiency - how do we do so without being an energy hog or significantly increasing our electricity bills?
Our top lighting hack:
Use incandescents sparingly like supplemental vitamins, and only where you actually can get some benefit, i.e., use them in close range table and floor lamps, and as ambient bedroom lights that aren't on all night long.
Feel free to use beautiful, natural LED flood lighting as overhead fill and general lighting, switching on incandescents in the evening and when you are reading, working and able to bask in one spot for a bit.
So, while we don't recommend keeping your 150W incandescent bulb on for hours of ambient illumination (except maybe during the winter time), switch it on whenever you intend to sit for a while and take advantage of all its benefits in close range.
Energy lost or energy gained? It all depends how you look at it.
When we think of light bulbs, we think only a tool to provide illumination, i.e., visible light. With the push for LED, the focus has been on creating a light bulb that provides as much illumination for as little energy as possible. While that's all well and good, there's still room to use incandescent energy sparingly to round out the type of lighting we get on a daily basis.
Just like you wouldn't expect to get your daily value of nutrition from just one kind of food, you shouldn't expect the same from your light bulbs - we need conservative sources of visible light just as much as our cells and overall being require some of the unseen energy emitted from incandescent varieties of light.
So, just like anything else in life, always pick the tool best fit for the job. And consume a balanced, varied diet of light!
Into incandescent? Try the more beautiful version
Thanks for reading! If you're here, you most likely don't need to be sold on incandescent lighting. But, with all the benefits, most incandescents still produce a yellow - not - exactly - pleasing, light.
Back when incandescent was all that was available (our parent company, Lumiram, has been around since 1959), our founders were on a quest for a more vivid, beautiful version. That quest turned into the development of the Chromalux® full spectrum light bulb, still around today in all varieties of lighting technology (incandescent included!) For true vivid colors and beauty, with all the above-mentioned benefits that only incandescent provides, you'll want to try our best-selling Chromalux® incandescent line of bulbs, which uniquely filters light to improve colors and contrast.