You’re About to Discover Everything You MUST Know About Red Light Therapy
Updated: November 2018
We all want to live the healthiest, happiest life possible, right?
Consequently, if you are like most, you consistently look for new, non-evasive ways to promote the body’s natural ability to heal and recover. This could be through your diet, through your exercise routine, the supplements you take or even the products you use.
This is especially true if you are looking to reduce the appearance of your age, have chronic pain or other conditions that are a regular part of your life like acne or eczema.
Once such treatment that is growing in popularity is at home Red light therapy.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about red light therapy through this definitive guide.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Have you ever wondered why stepping outside and feeling the sun on your face instantly makes you feel better?
Well, red light therapy takes that healing aspect of sunlight, without the damaging elements and provides you with an indoor way to rejuvenate the body. Red light therapy, which is technically called photobiomodulation, is a non-evasive treatment option for a wide range of conditions.
It has been utilized to promote skin regrowth, as an anti-aging method, for wound care, pain relief, acne treatments, overall health, and much more.
There are two classifications of red light therapy depending on whether you are looking at it from a western or eastern perspective.
How Western Medicine Views Red Light Therapy (Photobiomodulation)
In western medicine, a treatment isn’t approved until the effects of said treatment can be quantified and measured in a lab and proven to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Thankfully, due to NASA’s proof of red light therapy’s ability to help with wound healing some 10 years prior, and many subsequent clinical trials, the treatment option has now been thoroughly researched and has since been FDA approved for wound care, pain relief, and anti-aging.
It is often referred to as the following treatment methods, though by western medicine instead of simply red light therapy.
Other Names for Red Light Therapy:
- Photonic stimulation
- Biostimulation (BIOS)
- Low-intensity light therapy (LILT)
- Low-level laser of low-level light therapy (LLLT)
All the treatments listed above utilize some more of red light or infrared light therapy.
How Eastern Medicine Views Red Light Therapy
Eastern medicine also recognizes red light therapy as valid.
However, they tend to incorporate red light therapy into focused healing via the energy systems of the body though chakra zones and meridian points. They sometimes refer to red light therapy as red color therapy and combine the treatment with acupuncture. This mesh of healing practices is referred to as colorpuncture.
Eastern and western medicine use different methods to incorporate red light therapy into viable treatments. However, they both agree that light is energy and our bodies are made up of energy as well.
Therefore, through light therapy, the light energy penetrates deeply into the body and can promote healing.
How Red Light Therapy Works
The red light penetrates the skin to a depth of between eight and 10 mm. Once the light energy is absorbed by the body, it is converted to energy of the cellular variety. This, in turn, stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal on a basic cellular level and leads to various metabolic events, a few of which are listed below.
A Few Benefits of Red Light Therapy
- Reduced inflammation
- Stimulation of tissue granulation
- An increase of cellular clean up or phagocytosis
- An increased release of raw cellular energy or ATP
- An increased production of fibroblast or collagen
- An increase in the activity of the lymph system
- An increase in the formation of new capillaries and circulation
What is the Most Common Use of Red Light Therapy?
Although red light therapy has been proven an effective treatment for various conditions, the most common reason it is sought after is its anti-aging properties along with its general effectiveness on various skin conditions like those listed below.
Top Red Light Therapy Skin Benefits
- Bruises, burns, scrapes, cuts, etc.
- Herpes, cold sores
More about the many benefits of red light therapy listed below.
Most Common Red Light Therapy Benefits
As you have learned from the information above, red light therapy can be used for a variety of ailments.
However, the following are the most common benefits of the treatment:
- Repairs Tissue, Reduces Pain, Heals Wounds: You should aim for higher range devices to get the deeper penetration you need for healing the body. This means you want to get an at home red light therapy device like RedRush 360 that has wavelengths of 600 to 1000nm. (more on wavelengths below)
- Hair Loss, Anti-Aging: Red light therapy stimulates the skin tissue, which regenerates and improves the skin. This makes it effective at treating acne and rosacea. It also has been proven through clinical trials that it is effective at treating alopecia or hair loss by stimulating epidermal stem cells in the hair follicles.
- Improves Muscle and Joint Health: LLLT has been proven effective for the treatment of pain, such as arthritis and is now an FDA approved treatment for the condition. It has also shown the ability to repair muscle injuries and promote healing in the muscles.
- Helps Reduce Cancer Treatment Side Effects: A clinical trial performed by NASA proved light therapy helped reduce one of the painful side effects of cancer treatments specifically oral mucositis.
- Fights Fatigues and Helps Depression: Red light therapy has been proven effective at helping reduce the symptoms of fatigue and depression in individuals suffering with those conditions. This is especially true for those suffering with seasonal affective disorder or SAD. If you live in a place that has little sunlight throughout certain seasons buying a red light therapy device can be a great option for you.
How is Red Light Therapy Applied or Utilized?
You can gain access to red light therapy either at your own home through portable devices like Joovv or RedRush 360 or beds or obtain this treatment in a doctor’s or dermatologist’s office or a spa.
Having your own red light therapy device at home is likely your most cost-effective option when it comes to regular treatments. This is what I’ve personally done.
Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Yes, according to many studies, a few of which are referenced below, red light therapy does in fact work.
- The Photo Medicine and Laser Surgery Study 2014: This controlled trial was created to determine the effectiveness of red or near-infrared light treatment for the reduction of fine lines, collagen density and skin roughness. The study found the red light therapy treatment immensely effective in the trial at treating these conditions. (R)
- Frontiers in Physiology: Low-level laser therapy and chronic pain, 2014: LLLT was tested as a way to alleviate chronic pain. It looks at 16 randomized, control studies that looked at LLLT’s effectiveness as a treatment for neck pain. It was found to decrease pain in these patients. (R)
- NASA, QDI Study 1993: This study (R), conducted by QDI on NASA’s behalf proved medical application of light-emitting diodes could have significant health benefits. This eventually led to the FDA approval of red light therapy for the reduction of wrinkles, arthritis and joint pain among other conditions.
Dr. Mercola with the help of Joovv did a full interview about red light therapy: You can view this interview in its entirety here. It talks about the various options for red light (Photobiomodulation) treatment and how effective they have been as an alternative non-evasive treatment for a wide range of conditions.
What Are The Side Effects of Red Light Therapy?
As with any treatment, there are some side effects noted even with red light therapy.
- Mild visual problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Eye strain
- Headaches and irritability have been reported with red light therapy
However, they tend to diminish quickly and many of these can be avoided by optimizing how you use red light therapy.
Is Red Light Therapy Dangerous?
No, not for the average person.
However, if you suffer with a disease involving the retina of the eye, like diabetes, take photosensitizing medications such as specific antibiotics, phenothiazine antipsychotics, melatonin, or lithium, you should talk to your doctor before beginning a light therapy regimen.
You don’t have to worry about skin cancer, though, as red light uses a different type of light than tanning beds, thus it doesn’t utilize cancer causing light. However, if you have a history of skin cancer or systemic lupus erythematosus, you should avoid phototherapy of any kind.
Top Companies For Red Light Therapy and Their Best Products
There are many red light therapy products on the market produced by various companies. The help you make sense of all the options, the following will narrow down a few of the top companies and their best product for at-home red light therapy:
- RedRush 360: This product by Red Therapy Co is ideal for athletes and is designed for skin rejuvenation to help you look and feel your best. It retails for $449.00 but as a Trusted Supplement Reviews reader, I’ve negotiated a $25 discount code for you. Just use discount code DISCOUNT25 at checkout.
- Joovv Total Body: Joovv products are FDA approved and have been endorsed by NFL and Olympic athletes. They have a wide range of options, but their Full Body LED Red Light Therapy products are some of their best. These products range from $1,196 to $5,995.
- ReVive DPI: (R:10)This product, which retails for $349.00 was named the “Best At-Home Red Light Therapy Device” for treating wrinkles. It works in just minutes a day and can be used for your full back, neck, and face.
My #1 At Home Red Light Therapy Pick Is…
The patent-pending RedRush 360. It’s the one I use at home and as a Trusted Supplement Reviews reader, I’ve negotiated a $25 discount code for you. Just use discount code DISCOUNT25 at checkout.
What to Look For in a Red Light Therapy Product
The above are just three of the many red therapy products you could choose from. You might wonder how to decipher an okay product from one that will be super effective. Thankfully, we can help you with that. Read below to learn what to look for before purchasing a red light therapy product:
- Check Out The Wavelength and Delivered Energy: The two most important factors for red light therapy effectiveness is the intensity of the light energy and the wavelength. Aim for light that ranges anywhere from 600 nm to 800 nm wavelengths for maximum effectiveness. As it relates to energy aim for 4-6 joules, though some dosages of even 60 or more joules can be effective when dealing with deep tissue treatment.
- Consider The Treatment Area: Another element to consider before purchasing an at-home device is the size of the treatment area. A handheld device will only treat a surface area of around five to eight square inches. Therefore, you need to keep that in mind when contemplating what device is best for your needs.
How Often is Red Light Therapy Required to be Effective?
Of course, there is no hard and fast rule here as everyone is different and your condition will differ from everyone else’s. In addition, your skin’s current condition and your age will affect the effectiveness of the treatments. In general, most people begin with a small amount of treatment time, only about 15 minutes.
Then, after seeing how the skin will respond, they can increase their sessions to anywhere from three to five times a week throughout the first one to four weeks of treatment. Eventually, sessions can be reduced to two to three times weekly, for around four to 12 weeks. Once your body begins to change and heal, you can reduce your therapy sessions down to one to two times weekly for maintenance.
As you can imagine, this amount of sessions would be extremely financially taxing if you went to a spa or doctor, who will likely charge up to $100 or more per session. That is why purchasing your own treatment device is likely the most cost effective option for long-term red light therapy use.
In conclusion, red light therapy can be a non-invasive way to treat a wide range of painful and life-altering conditions.
Resources and References
https://www.news-medical.net/health/Light-Therapy-Safety-and-Side-Effects.aspx (more general research than actual references within the content)
Studies Proving red light therapy effective:
6. Dr. Merco la interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8CG8jknDpw
Side Effects of Red Light Therapy: 7. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Light-Therapy-Safety-and-Side-Effects.aspx
9. RedRush 360 by Red Therapy Co (use discount code: DISCOUNT25)
11. What to look for in products:11. https://joovv.com/blogs/joovv-blog/guide-to-choosing-red-light-therapy-device
12. Information on the frequency of treatments:12. http://thepalmstanningresort.com/faq-items/how-often-do-i-need-to-use-the-red-light-therapy-bed-to-achieve-my-desired-skin-results/