Red Light Therapy: Everything You Need to Know (Uses, Benefits, & How It Works)

Red light therapy is a technology that delivers beams of laser light to enhance overall health and provide specific benefits, like skincare, hair growth, healing joint and muscle pain, and even lifting mood.
By Reviewed by CHD Expert Team
Updated: 2021, Dec 29
Red Light Therapy: Everything You Need to Know (Uses, Benefits, & How It Works)
Image/PlatinumLED Therapy Lights

In This Research

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is also referred to as low-level light therapy, and it is a treatment which emits laser light to certain parts of the body for beneficial properties. The lasers can offer healing to the muscles, joints, skin, and hair, to give a few examples.

It may boost mood and treat neurodegenerative conditions. The light includes different wavelengths, each of which are healing to different parts of the body. It’s easy to use, and you can do red light therapy at home.

What Does Red Light Therapy Do?

Red light therapy emits photons which penetrate the body at different wavelengths. Some wavelengths only penetrate to a small degree, which is suitable for skin conditions and surface wounds. Others delve deeper to treat more intense conditions like muscle repair or joint pain. An article published in Journal of Lasers in Medical Sciences explored the biological effects of low level laser therapy [1].

The photons stimulate the release of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the energy powerhouse for all of the cells in the body. An article in Photomedicine and Laser Therapy described the mechanisms behind low intensity light therapy [2].

1

STIMULATE HAIR GROWTH

Stimulates stem cells in the hair follicle to encourage active growth

2

IMPROVED SKIN HEALTH

Reduction in appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars

3

PROMOTE CELLUAR HEALTH

Strengthens hair and improves skin elasticity

4

IMPROVE CIRCULATION

Dilates blood vessels for increased flow

red light img
5

REDUCE RECOVERY TIME

Stimulates mitochondria and stem cells for faster recovery

6

REDUCE INFLAMMATION

Soothes sore muscles, joint pain, and arthritis

7

INCREASE FERTILITY

May stimulate the brain’s pineal gland

8

REDUCE PAIN

Reduces muscle spasms and increases blood flow

How Do I Select a Red Light Therapy Device?

There are a number of considerations when buying red light therapy devices, and information you need to know about. We’ve prepared a brief guide of the factors that are most important.

Size and Treatment Area – The devices come in different sizes, some suitable for the face or more localized regions and others for full-body treatment. The bigger the bed, the larger the treatment area will be. Make sure you choose a model that suits your needs.

Wavelengths – Most of the red light therapy devices on the market have wavelengths that span from 600mn to 900nm. Different wavelengths suit different health benefits, so make sure you choose the correct one. We’ll discuss more about the wavelengths and their benefits later in this article.

Return Policy – Since these devices are somewhat of an investment, it’s very important that the manufacturer gives you a satisfaction guarantee with enough time to allow you to try it to see if it works for you. Look for a strong policy that gives you are least 60 days to return the product.

Safety – The red light technology is generally very safe, which many studies have indicated. Check the nnEMF (on-native electromagnetic fields) levels of the device, as high levels could be less safe. In addition, choose a product that is FDA approved and/or has safety certifications.

Manufacturer – When you choose a brand, it’s usually best to pick a manufacturer that is well-known and respected in the market. This increases the chances that you’ll get a quality product.

Customer Reviews – Reading through the reviews is a great way to find out about the pros and cons of the product, and the user experience. Don’t just look at the testimonials on the official website. You should also explore some of the independent reviews.

Cost – There is some variation in cost for these devices. What’s important is that the cost reflects the quality of the features included, so do some comparison shopping before you finalize your purchase.

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Pros of Red Light Therapy

  • Red light therapy helps support optimum immune functioning.
  • This treatment helps heal acne and smooth wrinkles and lines.
  • Red light therapy helps ease muscle and joint pain.
  • It helps treat neurodegenerative conditions.
  • Red Light Therapy helps to elevate mood.

Red Light Therapy Benefits (Video Credit: YouTube)

Cons of Red Light Therapy

  • The panels do require somewhere for storage.
  • The treatments require a time commitment.
  • They will offer varying results for different users.

What Are the Best Red Light Therapy Devices?

We’ve conduction an exhaustive evaluation of many of the red light therapy brands on the market today, and all signs point towards Platinum LED Biomax Products as being the best line available. We chose this brand due to the fact that it’s FDA approved as a class II medical device and also ETL/UL certified for electrical safety assurance, is high quality, and offers 4 size models and 5 wavelengths.

Platinum LED BioMax Products
Platinum LED BioMax Products

The Biomax set includes the following:

  • Power Link Cable
  • Digital Link Cable
  • Mounting Hardware
  • Panel Linking Hardware
  • Door Hanging Kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Therapy Companion App

Biomax: Therapy 300, 450, 600, 900

There are 4 sizes available in this product line, suitable for different purposes. The 300 is the smallest panel, at 48cm x 23cm with 100 x 3watt LEDs. It’s best for treating specific areas such as the face or a wound on your skin.

The 450 is a slightly bigger panel at 48cm x 30cm with 150x 3watt LEDs. It’s not suitable for full-body use but it’s ideal for somewhat bigger localized treatment areas compared to the 300.

The 600 is 36″ x 9″ (91cm x 23cm) with 200 x 3watt LEDs. This makes it suitable as a full-body panel for use for a number of conditions, like joint or muscle pain and a number of others.

The 900 is 91cm x 30cm with 300x 3watt LEDs. Note that it is the exact same height as the 600, it’s just wider for a larger treatment area.

Platinum LED Therapy Lights Review | First Impressions of the BIOMAX 900 | Red Light Review (Video Credit: YouTube)

Platinum LED Biomax Multi-Light Setups

The Biomax system has recently been upgraded to include new features, like more light power, an enhanced wavelength spectrum, a built in control and timer, and zero exposure to potentially harmful EMFs (non-native electromagnetic fields).

It also includes better modularity, by selling pairs of panels together for multiple uses. The manufacturer has arranged the panels in sets that could be useful together. Here are the options:

  • 300 + 600
  • 600 + 600
  • 2 x 300 + 600
  • 2 x 600 + 600
  • 450 + 900
  • 900 + 900
  • 2 x 450 + 900
  • 2 x 900 + 900

Where To Find It?

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The Original Bio Lights

Part of the new Biomax upgrade is in the number of wavelengths available, which opens up new healing options. In the original configuration the two wavelengths available were the 660nm and the 850nm. The new model offers 5 wavelengths, which are 630nm, 660nm, 810nm, 830nm, and 850nm.

Biomax Mounting Systems

This product offers several mounting systems which allow you to attach or hang the panel on a door, wall, table, or floor. Here are your options:

  • BioMax Tabletop Stand – Allows you to mount the panel on the table or floor.
  • BioMax Mobile Rack Stand – It’s a standing rack system that can hold 3 panels.
  • BioMax Horizontal Stand – This stand allows you to mount 1 or 2 panels.
  • Wall Mount Bracket – You can use it to mount the panel on the wall.

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Platinum LED Therapy Lights Biomax Series

*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

How to Use Red Light Therapy at Home

There’s isn’t much to know, as red light therapy devices are very easy to use. Mostly all you have to do is plug it into the wall. Some devices have a screen on the panel that allows you to set your treatment time, and often the wavelength you desire. Some products may have an accompanying app.

There are models which offer mounting devices which allow you to hang the panel on the wall, door, table, or floor if you choose. Different sizes may be more useful mounted, such as the smaller models. If your device doesn’t have a strong LED power output, you have to sit up closer to it compared to a more powerful model.

How Often Should I Use Red Light Therapy?

You can use red light therapy once a day, but not more than that. Note that too much red light therapy may be problematic and won’t necessarily increase the benefits. The ideal is about 3-5 sessions per week, but different brands will have their own recommendations.

What Are the Red Light Therapy Side Effects?

This technology is safe, and very unlikely to lead to any red light therapy side effects. There may be certain conditions that preclude using it, such as a tumor. If you have medical issues check with your physician before going ahead with the treatment.

Does Red Light Therapy Work?

According to the majority of the research, red light therapy is helpful in the treatment of various medical issues and conditions, such as joint and muscle pain, hair loss, acne, skin wrinkles, wounds, and neurodegenerative conditions.

A review in Arthritis Research and Therapy showed that low level light therapy is very effective in treating chronic low back pain [3]. A review article in Skin Appendage Disorders found that this technology is safe and effective in treating hair loss [4].

Working of Red Light Therapy (Video Credit: YouTube)

How Can I Enhance the Effects of Red Light Therapy?

Although red light therapy is a wonderful technique on its own, there are other methods which could help enhance its effects by boosting cellular energy production. A few of these include the following:

Niacinamide/Vitamin B3 – This is an enriching accompaniment to red light therapy, as it also boosts levels of ATP in the cells. It also has added skin care benefits like treating acne and signs of aging.

Honey – It’s anti-bacterial and helps to treat wounds. It’s also involved in cellular energy production.

T3 – This is a thyroid hormone which boosts energy production in the body and increases the number of mitochondria. It may also increase the effects of red light therapy.

Aspirin – This is a painkiller which can also reduce inflammation in the body, and it may enhance the effects of light therapy.

Red Light Therapy FAQ

Q: What is the Red Light Therapy Before and After?

A: This depends completely on what you are using the treatment for. For example, before may be acne, clogged pores, and wrinkles, and the after may be tighter, more elastic, more youthful skin free of blemishes. Another before could be sore, stiff, painful joints, and the after would be less pain and greater mobility.

Q: Where Can I Purchase Red Light Therapy?

A: Red LED light therapy devices are for sale all over. You can get them from numerous online retailers, and from offline stores like Walmart. The prices will differ depending on the size and features.

Q: Can Anyone Use Red Light Therapy?

A: For the most part, this is a safe technology for use by any adult who wants the red light therapy benefits. This is providing you follow the correct instructions, as too much laser light could be problematic. There could be medical conditions like tumors that would prevent you from using this technology. If you’re unsure, check with your physician.

Q: What Are the Different Wavelengths Good For?

A: Different wavelengths have different rates of penetration into the body, which offer health benefits. A wavelength of 600-700mn, for example, has light penetration and would be suitable for treating surface wounds, acne, and wrinkles. A wavelength of 800-850nm is better for deeper conditions like joint and muscle pain.

Q: How Does Red Light Therapy Heal Joint Pain?

A: Red light therapy can increase cellular energy, which helps balance inflammation in the body. It also boosts ATP production, which promotes healing and other benefits. This helps to decrease joint pain and discomfort.

In addition, red light therapy improves bodily circulation, which can also heal damaged tissue. A review in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation found evidence that light therapy improves pain, function, and quality of life in osteoarthritis patients [5].

Q: Are There Any LED Light Therapy Dangers?

A: As long as you are using a quality product, there are no direct LED light therapy dangers. The one issue you have to pay attention to is the levels of non-native electromagnetic fields (nnEMF) that the device emits, as high levels could be harmful.

Otherwise, researchers like the scientists at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital concluded that this is a safe technology [6].

Q: What Does Red Light Therapy Do For the Skin?

A: Red light therapy benefits the skin in several different ways. It stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which tightens the skin and improves elasticity. This can smooth wrinkles and fine lines.

This technology may also initiate the production of more hyaluronic acid, which helps moisturize the skin and eliminate dryness. Red light therapy can also slow the production of sebum from the pores, which helps get rid of acne.

Q: How Do Red Light Therapy and Infrared Therapy Differ?

A: There isn’t a huge difference between red light therapy and infrared light therapy, as they do the same thing and offer similar benefits. The main difference is that infrared light is not visible, while red light is. In addition, red light therapy uses wavelengths that range between 600-900nm, while infrared light therapy spans over 900mn.

Q: What is the Difference Between LEDs and Lasers?

A: In terms of efficacy, there’s very little difference between them. Lasers may penetrate the skin more quickly, but they deliver the same types of photons. There’s no reason to believe that either one is superior to the other.

Q: Can Infrared Light Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder?

A: No, this is not the correct treatment for seasonal affective disorder. The goal with SAD is to provide full spectrum light like the light from the sun. Red light therapy only provides part of this spectrum, so it’s not enough for full treatment.

Q: How Does Red Light Therapy Affect Oral Health?

A: You can use red light therapy for face to improve your oral health. It may heal wounds, destroy bacteria in the mouth, lessen teeth sensitivity, and help restructure the bones after teeth damage. In order to get the best results, make sure you open your mouth during the therapy session so the light can easily penetrate.

Q: Can I Wear Clothes During a Red Light Therapy Treatment?

A: In fact, the best way use a red light therapy lamp is without clothes. Depending on what you wear, there is a chance that wearing clothing could block out some of the light.

Q: Does Red Light Help You Sleep?

A: Using a red light therapy bed may increase melatonin, which could have a positive impact on your sleep quality. However, it’s also possible that if you do it too close to bedtime, it could have a minor impact on disrupting sleep. This is why you should aim for having your sessions in the morning or afternoon.

Q: What Do the Red Light Therapy Reviews Say?

A: There are numerous red light therapy reviews online, depending on the brand. Different products got different feedback. However, generally speaking reviews about the efficacy of this technology were excellent. Users mentioned improvements in skin, mood, hair growth, joint and muscle pain, as well as other conditions.

Conclusion

Red light therapy is a revolutionary technology which involves sending photons deep into the body with laser light, for the purpose of promoting certain health benefits. The system can grow the hair, enrich the skin, remove acne, wrinkles, and lines, heal wounds, treat joint and muscle pain, repair muscle, boost mood, and even help treat neurodegenerative conditions.

There’s a number of studies indicating the benefits of this technology for many of these issues, and there’s also research indicating its safety. There are no real side effects associated with using a red light bed, unless you use it too frequently.

Depending on the brand, there are some very positive red light therapy reviews indicating the great benefits of this technology for the body. They cited numerous health benefits they got from the red light spectrum. Many customers said this device really changed their lives for the better.

It’s important to do your research when looking for a good red light therapy brand. Ideally you want a choice of sizes for different purposes, as well as a number of wavelengths for versatility. In addition, look for a device that is FDA approved and meets rigid safety standards. It should also have very little to no exposure to potentially harmful EMFs (non-native electromagnetic fields).

In our extensive evaluation of the market, we have selected Platinum LED Biomax Products as the highest quality brand. It offers 5 different wavelengths and 4 sizes. It’s also approved by the FDA as Class II medical devices and ETL/UL certified for electrical safety assurance. We’d highly recommend this brand to anyone looking for a quality red light therapy device.

6 sources

[1] Biological Effects of Low Level Laser Therapy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291815/
[2] Low-Intensity Light Therapy: Exploring the Role of Redox Mechanisms: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996814/
[3] The Effectiveness Of Low-Level Laser Therapy For Nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis: https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13075-015-0882-0
[4] Examining the Safety and Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy for Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Review of the Literature: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/509001
[5] Effects of Light Therapy on Osteoarthritis and Its Sequelae in Aging and Older Adults: Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation (lww.com) https://journals.lww.com/topicsingeriatricrehabilitation/fulltext/2020/01000/effects_of_light_therapy_on_osteoarthritis_and_its.3.aspx
[6] MGH-Led Study Shows Light Therapy is Safe – Harvard Gazette https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/09/mgh-led-study-shows-light-therapy-is-safe/
Author
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Jason Vredenburg, RD

Jason Vredenburg is a nutrition writer with over twenty years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. He has researched and written nu