Skip to content

What is Red Light Therapy and what are its Benefits?


Red light therapy is beginning to gain some traction in media reporting. This being said, not everyone is familiar with the concept. The following aims to remedy that by examining what red light therapy is and what it’s used for.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, sometimes referred to as RLT, is a therapy that involves exposure to low levels of red light or near-infrared light (low-wavelength light). Typically exposure is done using a lamp or device that emits red light. The light levels used are low, meaning it doesn’t hurt or burn the skin. It is worth noting that this isn’t the same kind of light found in tanning booths, nor does it involve exposure to UV rays.

Red light therapy has a lot of different names. If you’re in the midst of researching it, you might want to keep your eyes open for any of the following descriptors:

  • Low-level laser light therapy
  • Photobiomodulation
  • Low-power laser therapy
  • Phototherapy
  • Non-thermal LED light
  • Biostimulation
  • Soft laser therapy
  • Photonic stimulation
  • Cold laser therapy

What’s the Difference Between Red and Infrared Light?

Infrared light is an energy that can’t be seen by human eyes. It can, however, be sensed by the body as heat. Red light is structurally similar to infrared, but it is visible to the human eye and appears reddish in color.


What is Red Light Therapy Used for?

Studies on red light therapy are still in the early stages. Because of this, you can expect our understanding of red light therapy to evolve as more studies are completed. This being said, positive correlations, associations, and connections have been found between red light and:

  • Wrinkles along with other indications of aging skin or damaged skin like burns, UV sun damage, and acne scarring
  • Dementia
  • Tendinitis
  • Dental pain, jaw clicking, and jaw tenderness
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hair loss

Again, most studies are in the early stages. The tendinitis study, for instance, looked at seven people experiencing tendinitis and their experience of inflammation and pain after red light therapy. This being said, some of these smaller initial studies have produced results that are well worth people’s attention. One study examining how red light therapy can aid with osteoarthritis found that pain was reduced by more than 50%.

Red light therapy was initially studied by NASA. They experimented with low-wavelength light and its impacts on plant growth in space. Later they tested the impact of red light on wound healing, focusing on astronauts.

More studies are needed, particularly studies that include placebo groups and larger study groups. The results thus far have been promising, however, so it’s likely that the time and money needed for more in-depth studies will be allocated.

How does One Set Up Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is usually done in a doctor’s office, but it can sometimes be found as an offering in salons or dental offices. Red light therapy devices can also be ordered online or purchased in some stores. It’s recommended to speak to a healthcare professional first to figure out what seems like a good amount of light and length of exposure for you, particularly if you want to use red light therapy as part of a treatment plan for a specific health-related experience. If you are looking to purchase your own device after talking to a healthcare professional, Therapeutic Beams has a ton of reviews on different options. Always do your research before purchasing a health-focused device and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care.


How does it Work?

Red light therapy isn’t fully understood. The mitochondria in your cells (the part of your cells responsible for energy creation) soak up a red light and create more energy. Some studying red light therapy believes this encourages cellular repair and cell health. Skin and muscle tissue heals more quickly when exposed to red light as blood circulation increases, inflammation decreases, and collagen production is stimulated. Because of this, red light therapy has the potential to positively affect many skin conditions.

What are the Side Effects

At this point, red light therapy seems incredibly safe. It’s not associated with any side effects, nor is it considered toxic or invasive. Further, red light therapy is a lot gentler on the skin than many other topical skin treatments, which makes it particularly interesting to those who have sensitive skin. Of course, all studies have involved following the manufacturer’s instructions and medical direction, which means it’s possible there are side effects if you conduct red light therapy more often than recommended or at higher dosages.

Research on red light therapy is still in the early stages, but results thus far have been promising. Given the minimal known risks and side effects, many people have decided to try out red light therapy for themselves. The above has hopefully made clear the background information you need to determine whether red light therapy is something you want to research further for your own use or knowledge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *