I was introduced to the ever so exciting Photon Shower at the All Things D Conference recently, a new concept product created by Delta. For frequent travelers, we increasingly get hit with less than stellar conditions, whether it be last minute cancellations, hotels that are not up to par or the simple fact that we’re always running from one place to the next. The idea behind the Photon Shower is to give travelers a boost of energy by allowing users to bathe in a specific kind of light while they’re going from Point A to B.
Above, I’m hanging out with Delta’s social media guru Judd Hooks outside the Photron Shower before experiencing it in real time. Yeah I know, we look like cool cats, even before my Photon Shower boost. The technology behind the Photon Shower is based on research by Professor Russell Foster that shows that exposure to bright blue light at the right times can help people suffering from jet lag recover more quickly than they otherwise would.
This research also shows that light acts as a stimulant, optimizing alertness and cognitive function in people suffering from drowsiness, regardless of their recent travel. Delta’s Photon Shower puts this research into practice by allowing jet-lagged users to jump-start their recovery, and anyone to jump-start their metabolism, with a quick dose of bright blue light.
Below, you can see the bright but soothing blue light through the open door of the Photon Shower, a nifty looking structure that looks like a bit like a modern space ship we might all take to the Moon one day for a “holiday.”
The below shot gives you an idea of what it looks like once you’re inside the Photon Shower.
A Bit Behind the Science and Why it Works: Circadian desynchronosis occurs after the body rapidly shifts multiple time zones. We all know and experience it as jet lag. Our brains contain a master clock (called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN) that coordinates the circadian rhythms of our body’s many systems.
The symptoms of jet lag occur because the body gets off schedule, not only with the day/night pattern of its new location, but with itself. This is where light comes into play. Professor Foster and his team discovered a photoreceptor in the eye – one that senses light, but isn’t used for seeing.
The photosensitive retinal ganglion cell (pRGC) responds strongly to blue light with a wavelength of 480 nm, and is responsible for regulating the SCN. By targeting this receptor, we can reset our master clock that much faster. The faster our internal clock is reset, the faster we recover from jet lag.
While it can’t yet be found at airports, its a fabulous concept in the making and I for one can’t wait until the Delta Photon machine goes live in various Delta destinations. To get a sample of my experience, I had a chance to chat with Judd about Delta’s new initiative to help travelers on the road. See our video below which includes my time IN the photon shower. It was quite “the experience!”
After the Photron Shower, a revitalized me!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Delta Airlines but all opinions expressed are my own.