Does Red Light Therapy Device Really Work? Why More People Are Trying Red Light Therapy

by Equinox Technology on September 08, 2021
From skin conditions to seasonal depression, many people are claiming red light therapy can help treat a number of ailments, but is it really effective?

muscles pain relief

Behold — the power of light to cure literally whatever ails you — from sore muscles to itchy, dry skin and (maybe) even your winter blues.

It may sound like science fiction, but it’s a real treatment that’s been steadily growing in popularity: red light therapy.

And based on its intriguing “What the…?” factor, it’s only a matter of time before it shows up on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Instagram story.

Here’s everything you need to know about red light therapy before you try it.

Red light therapy, which is also known by the less-catchy names of photobiomodulation and low-level laser therapy (LLLT), releases light waves in the red and infrared spectrum.

Unlike ultraviolet rays from the sun which damage the DNA of skin cells, “light emitted in this spectrum is perfectly safe,” said Dr. Susan Bard, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.

That means there’s no tanning or burning when you’re exposed to red light. Its effects happen deep inside at the cellular level.

Sit or stand a few inches away from a panel of special red lights for a few minutes and their wavelengths reportedly alter the way your cells produce energy and antioxidants. In turn, this improved efficiency may help heal bones, nerves, skin, tendons, and ligaments, while lessening pain.

This isn’t a brand new discovery. Red light therapy Trusted Source has been around for over 50 years, although only recently has it been more widely accepted by medical experts.

Yet the degree to which it’s accepted still varies.

Healing Power Light
Uses of red light

Red light therapy has been used to treat or improve the following:

  • pain
  • inflammation
  • healing
  • tissue regeneration
  • autoimmune diseases
  • brain disorders
  • athletic performance
  • eyesight
  • heating
  • cancer therapy side effect

“The number of conditions red light can treat is ‘continuously expanding,'” said Michael R. Hamblin, PhD, a principal investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

Hamblin also serves on the scientific advisory board for Joovv, a company that sells medical-grade light therapy devices.

According to Scott Nelson, Joovv’s co-founder, many of their customers — a group that includes NFL players and Olympian athletes — seek help with three main issues: joint pain and inflammation, physical performance, and skin health.

“What’s interesting is that most of our customers will purchase a device for a specific thing, like muscle recovery, for example,” Nelson said. “But they’ll notice other benefits through consistent use, like ‘glowing’ skin, better cognitive function, enhanced sleep, and increased libido.”

Many red light therapy studies — Hamblin puts the number in the thousands — have been done, testing its effects on various conditions.

“The solidity of the evidence is variable, depending on the number of trials that have been completed,” he noted.

As far as skin goes, Bard points out that red light therapy is useful in decreasing inflammation and stimulating post-procedure wound healing.

It can also help bolster hair growth in people with alopecia and stimulate collagen production in people who hope to lessen fine lines and wrinkles.

When it comes to soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains, red light therapy may both promote healing and offer pain relief as well.

“A small study showed that ankle sprains treated with light therapy had less swelling at 24, 48, and 72 hours compared to rest, ice, compression, [and] elevation,” noted Dr. Caitlyn Mooney, a sports medicine physician at University Medicine Associates in San Antonio, Texas and member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.

“Another small study showed people treated with light therapy returned to full weight bearing earlier after ankle sprain,” she added.

Still, “it’s important to realize that there’s limited research in the field,” Mooney said.

Despite promising results from small studies, she’d like to see larger studies comparing red light therapy to other therapies (or none at all) to see if pain is improved, people can return to their activities faster, and if actual healing of the tissue occurs.

“While a friend may say [red light therapy] worked for them, this doesn’t mean that it’s an effective therapy,” Mooney said. “We know that sports injuries can improve with time, occupational and physical therapy, as well as the placebo effect.”

Some experts also question red light’s ability to alleviate mental health issues.

“As far as mental health is concerned, I know of no documented effects of red light,” said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine who coined the phrase “seasonal affective disorder.”

He points out that red light has actually been used as a placebo control for light therapy studies in which another active treatment was tested.

red light

“For example, in one study on people with seasonal affective disorderTrusted Source, we compared green to red light and found that the green light had antidepressant effects whereas the red light did no better than one would expect from a placebo,” Rosenthal said.

And while regular white lightTrusted Source may be able to suppress the hormone melatonin, which has been linked to seasonal affective disorder, red light doesn’t appear to have the same power.

Three months ago, Christine Gosch’s aesthetician introduced her to red light therapy.

“It was warm and relaxing, and allows you to go into a meditative state of mind,” said the Des Moines, Iowa resident.

While initially skeptical of the 12-minute treatment, Gosch was pleased with the results — and ended up buying her own Joovv over-the-door unit that she keeps in the closet of her master bedroom.

After just two weeks of daily use, her skin tone evened out and breakouts healed more quickly. Her cystic acne was no longer painful and inflamed.

“It just continues to get better,” said Gosch. “My skin is shiny looking and my pores are better.”

Her daughter, who struggles with eczema, now also uses the panel to relieve her itching. And Gosch feels that the red light has also helped alleviate her winter blues.

“We have cold gloomy weather in the winter,” she said. “It’s easy to be unmotivated and a little depressed. [Red light therapy] has totally helped.”

“Folks don’t really believe that it can actually work until they try it, when they often become committed advocates,” Hamblin said.

Product recommendations

movic pro red light thrapy

Movic® - Red LightPro™ Therapy Device | Red Light: 630nm, 660nm & Near Infrared Light: 850nm | for Joints & Muscles Pain Relief | Fit Compartment Case (Aluminum)

  • ✅ 3 COLOR LIGHT MASK - Designed with 3 different color sources with each benefit in each color. Helps soften and smooth your skin, revitalizes skin, eliminates wrinkles, and inhibits oil secretion
  • ✅ PERFECT FOR ALL SKIN TYPES - Soji LED mask is perfect for all skin types and it delivers facial beautification even for the most sensitive skin types. Really a Perfect choice for both men and women.
  • ✅ SKIN SAFETY Design - Soji Therapy mask uses the fixed wavelength natural light waves safe for your skin to promote blood circulation, produce rich collagen, accelerate metabolism, lock in moisture, increase skin elasticity and improve skin quality with no side effects.
  • ✅ RECHARGEABLE and Lightweight - Our LED light therapy can be recharge with a Power bank with a USB Cable, even your laptop so you can carry it around and enjoy the beauty and skincare when you do other things. Our LED mask is also much lighter than other masks, so it's definitely comfortable to use and allowing the user to move while wearing it.
  • ✅ 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE – We stand by our product with 2-year warranty, 90 days money-back & lifetime tech support. Any issues and we will replace a new one and make things right for you. Soij is a registered trademark of Equinox Technology Inc, products are CE, FCC, RoHs Certified.

buy amazon

Back to top