Doctors say red light therapy does a variety of things including slowing the aging process and improving your skin’s appearance, help with jet lag, overcome seasonal affective disorder, and increase muscle recovery. Consequently, the industry has seen an explosion in the popularity of red light therapy and a jump in the number of devices available in the last few years. All are promising big results.
All those promises. How trustworthy are they? After all, are red light therapy’s effects too good to be true?
Yes, red light therapy actually works. We’ll go into detail about how it actually works and the benefits and negatives in this post, but first, let’s understand what red light therapy is and what it does to the body so that you can determine if it’s right for you.
What is red light therapy and how does red light therapy work?
Derived from studies on near-infrared light (a part of the light spectrum that comes between infrared and ultraviolet), red light therapy is purported to be a noninvasive form of treatment that can supposedly penetrate deep into your skin to give you a number of skin benefits. These include things like improved sleep, detoxification, and skin rejuvenation, as well as helping with issues like acne and cellulite reduction. Though it’s still fairly new in terms of clinical research—and though there are some claims about how it works that don’t quite line up with what experts know about how our bodies work—many people swear by its ability to improve their health in a number of ways. While we aren’t entirely sure how red light therapy works, we do know that it stimulates cells within your body to function at a higher level and produce energy. It’s thought that many of these positive effects come from an increase in mitochondrial activity—the tiny structures inside each cell responsible for creating energy.
What is the history of red light therapy?
The first use of red light therapy has been traced back to a South African surgeon named Erasmus Middleberg in 1917. In his paper, he described using red and infrared light for cancer treatment and other ailments. He noticed that light had a strange effect on tissues that were in different stages of healing (Source). What was it about red and infrared light that caused such a response? Little research was done until we discovered cells called mitochondria. Mitochondria are important energy-producing organelles within our cells, giving us energy from nutrients we eat. They are what allows us to literally burn fat through exercise. NASA wanted a way to grow plants on long space flights, so they used a device called a light emitting diode or LED. This is where things get interesting! NASA found that plants grew faster when they used LEDs instead of sunlight. And not just a little bit faster – up to 30% faster!
What science says: Does red light therapy actually work?
In their book, The Science of Stretching, leading researchers Thomas R. Dye and Daniel K. D. Lee explain that red light is absorbed by mitochondria — or energy-producing structures within cells — which have a role in producing ATP (the body’s main source of fuel). As well as being an anti-inflammatory agent, antioxidants can assist growth and repair of cells, increase blood flow and lower levels of inflammation. Increased blood flow is associated with a range of health benefits such as improved recovery after exercise. It also improves circulation to muscles to support training performance, along with faster removal of metabolic waste products resulting from intense physical activity.
The science-based benefits of red light therapy
While it’s important to consult a medical professional before beginning any sort of self-treatment, red light therapy has some serious benefits. According to WebMD, red light therapy can help: Improve blood circulation Balance hormones Boost your immune system And we aren’t alone in believing in its healing power: The American Medical Association conducted a clinical trial on red light treatment for acne and found that improvements were reported in about three quarters of patients treated with laser treatment. The cosmetic industry also supports its use. However, Dr. Rokhsar says there are still a few things you should know before trying out red light therapy at home… For example, not all types of red lights are created equal!
Proven benefits: Does red light therapy actually work?
Many beauty brands are embracing red light therapy to enhance skin tone and texture, reduce acne scars, and reduce hyperpigmentation. But does it work? Our experts weigh in. Hint: The answer is yes — kind of. Though there’s currently no scientific evidence suggesting that red light can cure acne or diminish fine lines, some dermatologists agree that the technology works. In a study published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine , researchers found that a six-week course of laser treatments reduced wrinkles by 40 percent (Photo: Courtesy of Lumenis ). That said, our experts suggest you keep your expectations in check. They recommend limiting yourself to two or three treatments at most; overdoing it can lead to inflammation, scaring, and scarring.
At-home red light therapy treatments vs. at a clinic: what’s the difference?
You may have heard of red light therapy and its health benefits while visiting a health spa, a dermatologist’s office, or a functional medicine doctor. Until recently, if you wanted to reap the benefits of red light therapy, you had to either visit a clinic or invest in an expensive laser device. These devices (known as low-level laser therapy, or LLLT) can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000. And a single 15-minute treatment at a spa or doctor’s office could cost around $100. Getting treatments weekly for several months would end up costing you thousands of dollars. Because of this, it was not very feasible for most people to use red light therapy regularly.
Luckily, red light therapy has now become more affordable and accessible with the advent of LED technology. LED stands for “light-emitting diode.” LEDs are a type of semiconductor that emits light when an electrical current passes through it. Because they don’t overheat as lasers do, LEDs are safer and easier to work with than lasers. In addition to that, LEDs are the most cost-effective for at-home treatments.
Recent studies have revealed that lasers aren’t any better than other kinds of lights with comparable wavelength and power output. In fact, affordable home devices like the Evra Red Light Therapy Devices are proven to give the same results as lasers, for a fraction of the cost.
What is the best red light therapy device for at-home use?
If you’re confused and overwhelmed by all the red light therapy device options, know that it can be difficult to start when there are so many of them. That being said, the fact that there is misinformation makes the decision difficult.
To buy a red light therapy device, consider investing in medical-grade lights or at least lights that have been cleared by the FDA. Red light therapy can come in many different shapes and sizes and can be hard to figure out if you’re not an expert. Understanding the technology can be an important step to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Evra’s light therapy devices are state-of-the-art, clinically-proven, manufactured by a trusted source, and comply with regulatory requirements.
Red light therapy does work. We wanted to give you scientific proof and evidence so that you could see for yourself how red light therapy can transform your life. You can enjoy a lot of benefits from regular red light therapy.
- Increasing your brain power.
- Relieve the effects of inflammation.
- When consumed, these grapes will ease your pain.
- It relieves pain caused by menstrual periods.
- Help you sleep better.
- Increasing the recovery time of muscles
To figure out which red light device is best for you, take a look at the different Evra Light options we have. We have three different devices each tailored to a different need in red light therapy. Evra Red Light devices are all the same because they are all carefully created with the same attention to detail.