Have you ever heard of red light therapy? Find out how it can help with acne, wrinkles, weight loss, pain and inflammation, muscle recovery and more. Learn how it works, why it’s beneficial, FAQs, and why you need it.
Disclaimer: I was paid to write this post and have an affiliate partnership with this sponsor. However, I only write posts about products I truly believe in.
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that my skin has been a long-time struggle. As a teenager it was acne that just wouldn’t go away. In my 20s and 30s, it was melasma, sun spots and fine lines. Before cleaning up my diet and my skincare products, I went to extremes with medical spa treatments and high-end skincare products to treat my skin. While going natural and gluten-free helped with 80% of my skin issues, I still needed help.
I had never even heard of red light therapy until a friend mentioned it to me. I was experiencing terrible back pain and inflammation. She suggested it as an option and that’s when I learned about the benefits of red light therapy. Once I dived in, I realized it’s been used for decades and has become a popular therapy among celebrities, athletes, fitness trainers, and even health clubs and gyms for everything from peak performance and muscle recovery to treatment for pain and inflammation… and yes, even for treatments for the skin like wrinkles and acne.
The more I researched, the more I found that red light therapy could be just the thing I was looking for to tackle my back pain and inflammation, as well as my lingering skin issues.
I wanted to share what I found with you and what product I decided to use. Keep reading to learn more…
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM), is a non-invasive therapy that delivers beneficial low-level wavelengths of light to your cells. This light energy increases the mitochondrial function, improving the body’s ability to produce cellular energy and enhancing healthy cellular function.
In a nutshell, red light therapy is like food for the skin and cells.
Who Needs Red Light Therapy?
Our bodies need natural light to survive. Period.
But to function optimally, red light therapy can be great for those who aren’t getting enough natural light due to staying indoors, working at a desk job, living in a climate without daily natural sun, etc.
Red light therapy can also be great for those who are getting natural light but may be dealing with pain and inflammation, skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis, and other health issues.
Can Any Natural Light Work?
While natural light can be beneficial, there are different wavelengths and colors in the light spectrum – and each has a different effect on the body. There’s been a lot of research done on light therapy and it’s actually a narrow band of red and near infrared wavelengths that have shown to have the biggest health benefits to the body.
The sweet spot? Red light in the mid-600 nanometer range, and near infrared light in the mid-800s. That’s the idea range to get the most therapeutic benefit.
What About Heat Lamps?
Interestingly, heat lamps do not produce the optimal energy in that sweet spot of the mid-600 nanometer range like red light or the mid-800s like near infrared light. Less than 1% of energy from heat lamps are in the 600-660 nm range and about 2% in the 810-880 nm range. In a nutshell, heat lamps don’t compare in terms of therapeutic benefit to red light and near infrared light.
In addition, heat lamps produce heat to the body. LED red light therapy devices actually produce very little heat.
What About Blue Light?
Blue light is part of the light spectrum, just like red light, in the 380 to 500 nm range. Sunlight is the main source of blue light and we get most of our exposure being outdoors. It can help to regulate our circadian rhythm as we get most blue light towards mid-day and it wanes by sunset to get us ready to wind down for bedtime.
In addition to blue light from the sun, there is artificial blue light in computer screens, smartphones, TVs, and LED indoor lighting. Since most of us are indoors and on screens for hours a day, including after sunset when the natural blue light of the sun fades, our circadian rhythm can get thrown off.
Blue light from screens can also lead to macular degeneration and eye strain. So it’s important to adjust your electronic devices to night mode, which lowers the blue light emitted from your screens. You can also try blue-blocking glasses.
So red light therapy can help if you’re exposed to excessive blue light and have trouble sleeping at night.
How Red Light Therapy Works
So it really depends on the device but typically just by sitting or standing near a red light therapy device for 10-15 minutes a day is sufficient. I personally use the Joovv, a medical-grade LED red light therapy device. When I did my research, Joovv repeatedly came up as the trusted source for red light therapy devices.
I got the Joovv Duo and hang it over my closet door. It’s large enough to do pretty much my whole body. I just rotate from front to back, and stand about 6 inches from the Joovv Duo about 10 minutes on each side.
A whole body device is ideal because more cells will absorb natural light in a short amount of time. It’s a bit of an investment but when I compared it to going to a local health spa and paying per visit it was a much more economical option to own my own red light therapy device.
Another option is to get the Joovv Go (perfect for travel) or the Joovv Mini. Both are compact and perfect for targeting specific areas like the face. They are also budget-friendly and perfect for just getting started with red light therapy.
It’s ideal to do red light therapy daily – even up to 2-3 days a day. It can be done any time of the day, including morning and night. I love to use it right after a shower at night before bed.
There is light heat but nothing like a heat lamp. No special eyewear or goggles are needed.
12 Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy
So let’s delve into all of the health benefits of red light therapy. I’ve listed the top 12 reasons why you should try red light therapy.
Red light therapy helps to reduce inflammation, soreness and pain, while speeding up the healing process. It can be really beneficial to those with joint pain, arthritis, recovery after a workout, or even post-surgery for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Collagen is essential for skin health and is actually the most abundant protein in your body. It gives your skin its elasticity and is the connective tissue that holds everything in place. Collagen makes up 70% of the protein in your skin and 30% in your body. As you age, you naturally lose collagen and signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines become more noticeable. Red light therapy helps to boost your natural collagen production, improving your overall skin health.
Red light therapy has been found to not only improve skin tone and complexion but also fade wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks. In one study, 74% of participants saw an improvement in both fine lines and wrinkles.
Red light therapy helps the body to regenerate skin and reduce inflammation, which helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation from melasma, age spots and acne scars. It helps the skin to reduce to normal pigment levels.
Red light therapy can help to increase the hair count, hair density and hair thickness in both men and women.
Red light therapy helps to reduce itchiness, flakiness and redness, decreases inflammation, and speeds healing.
Red light therapy helps the body to get rid of fat cells. This is because red and infrared light is said to have an impact on fat-storing cells called adipocytes. The impact of the light forces the fat cells to break and wash away. One study focusing on red light therapy and cellulite reduction in women aged 25-55 found that red light therapy can improve body aesthetics when used alongside treadmill exercise.
Red light therapy has been shown to improve muscle recovery, with light therapy being highly beneficial to muscle injuries, and it can help to stimulate muscle growth. In addition, it’s been found that it can help to improve strength.
It almost sounds too good to be true, but yes red light therapy can help with weight loss and fat reduction too. There are numerous studies that show that it can reduce the circumference of the specific areas of the body that are treated with red light therapy, including smaller waistlines and tighter thighs and hips.
Red light therapy may be able to help to improve libido and performance. While treatments are still being studied, there have been some promising anecdotal evidence from men who use red light therapy.
Red light therapy can help to speed up and promote wound healing. Light therapy has been shown to decrease inflammatory cells while increasing the production of collagen.
12. Get Better Sleep
As mentioned earlier, too much exposure to artificial blue light from TVs, smartphones, and computer can negatively impact sleep. Red light therapy can help to boost natural melatonin products, which regulates sleep.
My Results with Red Light Therapy
I got the Joovv Duo to help with my back pain. I used it 3-4 times a week at night after taking a shower, and noticed improvement within a month. I didn’t know it at first but then realized it didn’t hurt to stand up from sitting for long periods or bending over. That’s why I started using it daily and just love how it helps to reduce my back pain.
I also noticed that my skin is glowing. I haven’t been getting hormonal breakouts like I usually do and my skin texture is smooth and radiant. I’m seeing some of my fine lines and sun spots fade too.
The biggest change for me was sleep. I admit that I often work in the evenings and then have trouble going to sleep. Red light therapy has been amazing for my sleep. It helps me to relax before bed and when I do lay down I just avoid my phone and fall asleep pretty easily.
I’ve also been using Joovv when my kids get scrape or cut. Since red light therapy is great for wound healing, I have them sit in front of it for just a few minutes a day for a few days and we’ve seen great results.
Where to Get a Red Light Therapy Device
I highly recommend Joovv. You can get a Joovv Go (the most compact model) for under $300 or the Joovv Mini for under $700. When I compared that to local health spas that charged $25-40 per session it made sense to me to get an at-home unit. After just about 10 sessions at a health spa, I could have my own Joovv Go.
Here’s a great option: Joovv does offer 3, 6, or 12 month payment plan options with 0% APR and 0% interest. So if you need to pay monthly to get your Joovv that’s an option too. It’s almost like paying for a gym membership but you get to keep it and use it as much as you want.
Find out which Joovv is right for you. Use coupon code TRACEY to get free gift when you get a Joovv.
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