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Does Red Light Therapy Really Work?

The red and near-infrared (NIR) light spectrum of visible light has a bioactive effect on the human body, which means our bodies respond to specific wavelengths of light with increased energy production in cells.

Several recent infrared light therapy research compelled us to believe this can lead to cellular level healing of the skin, and connective tissue without the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UVA/UVB) light. But does red light therapy really work?

Over the past two decades, thousands of published studies have focused on red light therapy.

Although not a cure, it is often touted as a miracle treatment for numerous health conditions—and its best-known therapeutic benefits are backed by science. The results we have seen support having faith in red light therapy.

What Is Red Light Therapy Good For? 

red light therapy science

This is is not an exhaustive list of studies on red light therapy, but it covers the most common list of ailments that can be treated with red and/or NIR light. Please follow our blog to discover more uses for this amazing therapy.  Red light is ideal for skin conditions, whereas NIR light has benefits that extend deeper into the body where it is absorbed by muscle, connective tissue, and bones. The most promising area of study is the combination of red and NIR light to deliver positive effects on the body’s metabolic processes, endocrine system, immune system, and nervous system.


red light therapy for skin

Skin Health

Improved skin health is the most well-known benefit of red light as it increases intradermal collagen production, meaning within or between layers of skin, which is vital for improving skin tone and reducing signs of aging. Red light therapy can heal sun damage and help reduce wrinkles and fine lines, as well as plump and firm sagging/papery skin.

Other anti-aging therapies like dermabrasion and chemical peels while popular,  are relatively harsh on the skin. They work by causing controlled damage to the outer layers of the skin in order to stimulate collagen production, tissue repair, and rejuvenation. In contrast, red light therapy causes no damage to the skin. Instead, it takes an inside-out approach by stimulating natural, healthy skin regeneration at the cellular level primarily by increasing cellular energy and collagen production.
Here are several studies that  focus specifically on red light therapy for skin-related issues:

red light therapy for Reduced Inflammation

Reduced Inflammation

The Red light therapy reduces inflammation lessoning the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases (including chronic skin disorders), spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and muscle soreness.



red light for weight loss 3

Weight Loss

As much effort as people put into losing weight and trying to keep it off, diet and exercise are not always effective. This can be due to factors such as chronic stress or chronic inflammation. Red light has a stimulating effect on the metabolism and may actually cause fat cells to shrink, for fast and effective fat loss, and associated weight loss.

red light for Muscle Growth

Muscle Growth, Performance, and Recovery

Many elite athletes regularly use red light therapy before and after training or competition to maintain peak functioning and shorten recovery time. Red light stimulates the mitochondria (the muscle cells’ energy centers) to produce more energy, which leads to faster cellular regeneration and growth. And since red light also reduces inflammation, muscles recover faster from high-intensity training.

This process also accelerates muscle recovery from injury by reducing scar tissue in muscles known as fibrosis. Left untreated, fibrosis can cause permanent loss of function or mobility. Red light supports the formation of new, healthy muscle tissue by activating stem cells in the muscles called myosatellite cells. These cells are activated in response to any kind of muscle damage, including microscopic tears that occur during training, as well as more significant tears or compression caused by injury. Instead of the haphazard jumble of cells that form scars, red light-energized myosatellite cells will form healthy new muscle tissue. Both red and NIR light are beneficial for muscle repair and growth.

red light therapy for Pain Reduction

Pain Reduction

Reducing pain is a top priority for anyone dealing with injury or chronic conditions. NIR light is particularly effective at penetrating deeply into muscle and connective tissue to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue (through increasing cellular energy), increase blood flow, and reduce inflammation.

In addition, the soothing warmth of red light treatments can offer immediate feelings of wellbeing, which contributes to a decreased feeling of pain. Red light may offer long-term relief without resorting to potentially harmful anti-inflammatory medicines.

red light for Wound Healing

Wound Healing

Healing wounds quickly has psychological as well as physical benefits. Red light activates stem cells and reduces inflammation to accelerate wound healing and supports the formation of collagen density and healthy tissue.

red light for Scar Reduction

Scar Reduction

Scars, especially in the facial area, can cause severe psychological distress. When scars are located at the joints, they can impair mobility and cause pain because scar tissue is not as elastic as normal skin tissue.

Red light therapy is used to soften and reduce the appearance of burn scars, stretch marks, keloid scars, and hypertrophic scars, though the best way to minimize the appearance of scars is to prevent them. So while red light therapy does reduce the appearance of existing scar tissue, it also encourages cells to collect around a wound to form healthy, normal cells. So, it’s best get a jump on the tissue before a scar forms.

red light therapy for Bone Health

Bone Health

NIR has the ability to penetrate bone, where it stimulates bone repair.


Immune System

Red light therapy can enhance immune system function by reducing inflammation; supporting the thyroid, lymphatic system, and liver; and increasing cellular energy, which gives cells enough resources to successfully fight off pathogens.

red light for hair growth

Hair Regrowth

Hair loss afflicts more than 35 million men and 21 million women in the United States alone. Hair restoration medications often come with serious side effects, but red and NIR light stimulates dormant hair follicles into entering the anagen (growth) phase, increases blood flow, and increases collagen production to restore normal hair growth.


red light for Chronic Skin Conditions

Chronic Skin Conditions

Chronic skin conditions can cause severe psychological distress, as well as physical discomfort and pain.

Many chronic skin conditions are considered autoimmune disorders, meaning those in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body.

Red light therapy may help get to the root of the disorder. It has proven to be effective at treating psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and acne by minimizing skin roughness, pain, and itching.

Emerging red light therapy research is also showing promise in led light therapy to treat non-melanoma skin cancers.

Red Spectrum Light for Better Sleep

Sleep Disorders

The prevalence of sleep disorders has soared in recent years due, in part, to widespread exposure to blue light emitted from electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. Blue light is a natural part of visible light emitted by the sun and is energizing, which is why sunlight is beneficial during the day. At night, however, blue light interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms, meaning its natural internal processes that regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Red light therapy can counteract this effect and promotes healthful sleep.

red light therapy Hormon and Thyroid

Hormonal Balancing and Thyroid Health

Hormonal imbalances are at the core of many chronic disorders. Red light has shown to have therapeutic effects on the thyroid, which is instrumental in regulating the body’s metabolism.


red light therapy for Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and Brain Disorders

One of the most exciting discoveries about NIR is that it can stimulate the accelerated healing of neurons (brain cells) after traumatic brain injuries. This is because NIR can penetrate bone, including the skull. According to the first study listed below, “NIR appears to initiate a cascade of subcellular events which can yield immediate, delayed, and persistent beneficial changes in the injured neuron or other cell.”

Stem Cell Activation by red light therapy

Stem Cell Activation

Stem cells are known as the body’s master cells because they have the miraculous capability to change into different types of cells as needed. They are found throughout the body in dormant state, ready to specialize in case of injury or other cell death. Stem cells are essential for tissue repair, wound healing, and a healthy immune system.

This list covers the most popular uses for Red light therapy  that came about through red light therapy studies. As more research and case studies emerge, we will post the results on our blog.

How Long Should You Use Red Light Therapy?

Because red light therapy works at the cellular level, the best results may take several weeks or months. Skin cells, for example, renew approximately every 27 days, and not all at once. You may experience some immediate relief, but consistent use over time will give you the very best results.

Every individual and every condition will react differently to red light therapy. How fast you see results can depend on the severity of your condition, age, overall health, immune system health, and  lifestyle choices.

Many studies show satisfactory results after 8 to 12 weeks of consistent use. For many conditions, including chronic skin disorders, a maintenance program can prevent symptoms from reappearing.

We generally recommend two 20-minute session per week.

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