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What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation (PBM), is a form of light therapy that uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate the healing and regenerative cell processes in the body. This therapeutic treatment may help improve acne, fine lines, wrinkles, alopecia, and other skin and health conditions.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy works by exposing the body to low levels of red and near-infrared light, typically in the range of 600 to 1,000 nanometers. These specific wavelengths of light have the ability to penetrate the skin and reach the cells, where they interact with various cellular components to produce biological effects. More specifically, red light therapy is thought to work by acting on the “power plant” in your body’s cells called mitochondria. The red and near-infrared light is thought to stimulate the activity of the mitochondrial protein cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), which increases ATP production. This increase in ATP synthesis can in turn lead to enhanced tissue repair, changes in gene expression, and the generation of cell signaling molecules, all potentially contributing to the biological effects of red light therapy.

Procedure for Red Light Therapy

The procedure for red light therapy can vary depending on the specific application and the device being used. Devices may include light panels, handheld devices, or full-body light beds. In general, the procedure may be performed in a medical office, clinic, or hospital setting and may involve the following steps:

  • The area of the body to be treated is cleaned and dried. This involves removing any makeup, lotions, or oils from the skin, as they may interfere with light absorption.
  • The red light therapy device is then positioned at the recommended distance from the skin. This distance can vary depending on the device and its specifications. Ensure that the treated area receives adequate light exposure.
  • The red light therapy device is turned on and the treatment session is begun. The duration of each session can vary but is typically in the range of a few minutes to around 10 minutes. Follow the recommended treatment time for the specific device.
  • For optimal results, adhere to a consistent treatment schedule. The frequency of sessions can vary, ranging from daily to a few times per week, depending on the intended benefits and the condition being treated.
  • After the session, there is usually no downtime. You can resume normal activities.

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy has been studied for its potential therapeutic benefits in various applications. While research is ongoing, some reported benefits of red light therapy include:

  • Skin Rejuvenation:
    • Stimulates collagen production, promoting skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
    • Improves skin tone and texture.
    • May aid in the treatment of acne and other skin conditions.
  • Wound Healing:
    • Accelerates the healing of wounds and injuries.
    • Reduces inflammation and promotes tissue repair.
  • Pain Management:
    • Alleviates pain by reducing inflammation and modulating pain signaling pathways.
    • Used for conditions such as arthritis, muscle soreness, and joint pain.
  • Muscle Recovery:
    • Enhances muscle recovery after exercise or injury.
    • Reduces muscle fatigue and soreness.
  • Joint Health:
    • Supports joint health by reducing inflammation and promoting the production of synovial fluid.
  • Improved Circulation:
    • Increases blood flow and enhances microcirculation.
    • Promotes the release of nitric oxide, a vasodilator.
  • Reduced Inflammation:
    • Modulates the immune response, leading to a reduction in inflammation.
    • Used for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis.
  • Cognitive Function:
    • Some studies suggest potential cognitive benefits, including improved memory and cognitive performance.
  • Hair Growth:
    • Stimulates hair follicles and promotes hair growth in certain types of hair loss.
  • Mood and Sleep:
    • May have positive effects on mood by influencing neurotransmitter levels.
    • Some users report improved sleep quality and insomnia relief.
  • Thyroid Function:
    • Some studies suggest potential benefits for thyroid function, although more research is needed.
  • Sports Performance:
    • Used by athletes for faster recovery and performance enhancement.


Red light therapy is a very safe procedure, however, on rare instances it may cause dryness or irritation of skin. The following precautions should be taken when undertaking the procedure:

  • Skin creams and makeup should be removed or it can cause skin irritation
  • If you have had laser hair removal, it may grow back.
  • If you have had Botox, it may cause irritations or hyperpigmentation.


While there is evidence supporting the therapeutic effects of red light therapy for specific conditions, research is still ongoing, and not all claims have been universally accepted. Additionally, individual responses to red light therapy can vary, and consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions.