Deborah Stauss N.D. - Naturopathic Doctor & Master Herbalist

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

What is RED light therapy?

Through emitting red, low-light wavelengths through the skin, red light therapy helps naturally jump-start the process of tissue recovery and other forms of rejuvenation through increased blood flow, collagen stimulation and more. 2010 marked the 50th anniversary for medical laser treatments like red light therapy, providing a host of evidence on their benefits.

If you’ve never heard of red light therapy before, you might already be familiar with other terms that are used to describe this treatment, such as low level laser therapy (LLLT), biostimulation (BIOS), photonic stimulation or simply light box therapy. Red light is considered “low level” because it works at an energy density that’s low compared to other forms of laser therapies.

Red light therapies have come a long way, but do they really work? Clinical studies show that, yes, red lightbox therapies have certain healing capabilities and medical applications thanks to the way they positively affect the human endocrine and immune systems. LLLT is now FDA-approved for treating conditions like chronic joint pain and slow-to-heal wounds. In the near future, we can expect approval for many more conditions thanks to red light benefits, such as increased immunity, tissue repair, anti-aging effects, improved joints and more.

There are many different types of red light therapy. Red light beds found at salons are said to help reduce cosmetic skin issues, like stretch marks and wrinkles. Red light therapy used in other settings may be used to treat more serious conditions, like psoriasis, slow-healing wounds, and even the side effects of chemotherapy.

How does red light therapy work?

Red light is thought to work by producing a biochemical effect in cells that strengthens the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell — it’s where the cell’s energy is created. The energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things is called ATP(adenosine triphosphate). By increasing the function of the mitochondria using RLT, a cell can make more ATP. With more energy, cells can function more efficiently, rejuvenate themselves, and repair damage.

RLT doesn’t cause damage to the skin surface.

How is red light therapy used?

Ever since the initial experiments in space, there have been hundreds of clinical studies and thousands of laboratory studies conducted to determine if RLT has medical benefits.  Additional clinical research is needed to prove that RLT is effective. At the moment, however, there’s some evidence to suggest that RLT may have the following benefits:

  • promotes wound healing and tissue repair
  • improves hair growth in people with androgenic alopecia
  • help for the short-term treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
  • stimulates healing of slow-healing wounds, like diabetic foot ulcers
  • reduces psoriasis lesions
  • aids with short-term relief of pain and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid  arthritis
  • reduces some of the side effects of cancer treatments, including oral mucositis
  • improves skin complexion and builds collagen to diminish wrinkles
  • helps to mend sun damage
  • prevents recurring cold sores from herpes simplex virus infections
  • improves the health of joints in people with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee
  • helps diminish scars
  • relieves pain and inflammation in people with pain in the Achilles tendons

Currently, RLT isn’t endorsed or covered by insurance companies for these conditions due to lack of sufficient evidence. Although, a few insurance companies now cover the use of RLT to prevent oral mucositis during cancer treatment.

Side effects

Red light therapy is considered safe and painless. Proper eye protection should always be used while undergoing red light therapy.


  1. Increased Immunity and Reduced Side Effects of Cancer Treatments 
  2. Wound Healing and Tissue Repair
  3. Anti-Aging Effects for Skin and Hair Loss
  4. Improved Joint and Musculoskeletal Health
  5. Reduced Depression and Fatigue

How Often Should You Use Red Light Therapy?

Dosages vary depending on what condition you are trying to treat, and it is always best to consult a doctor for advice on how often you should use red light therapy. For anti-aging, some regimens suggest 2-3 treatments per week for 3-6 weeks, and then a single maintenance session every two weeks. This however changes for the age of the client and the severity of the condition they are looking to improve.

On the other hand, for pain relief, some programmes suggest treating the area twice a day for two weeks and then continuing with 1 or 2 sessions per week. You should always follow the directions of the device you are using, and to find the most effective red light therapy treatment plan for you.

How Soon Will I See Results?

In some cases, for example, using red light therapy for pain relief, effects can be noticed as soon as 20 minutes after a treatment session. In comparison, wound healing enhancement may be first noticeable after 24 hours.

Sauna vs Red Light?

The purpose of a sauna is to raise the temperature of the body. This can also be accomplished through infrared or far-infrared exposure. This heats the body from the inside out in a sense and is said to provide more beneficial effects in less time and at lower heat. Far-infrared penetrates deeper than infrared.

Sauna heat increase heart rate, perspiration, heat shock proteins and improves the body in other ways. It also helps the body detox during perspiration. Unlike red light therapy, infrared and far-infrared light from a sauna is invisible, and penetrates much deeper into the body with wavelengths at 700-1200 nanometers.

Red therapy light or photobiomodulation is not designed to increase perspiration or improve cardiovascular function. It impacts cells on the cellular level and increases mitochondrial function and ATP production. It essentially “feeds” your cells to increase energy.

Both have their uses, depending on the desired results.

At New Life Spa you can benefit from our Red Light Far Infrared Sauna and gain the benefits of both the sauna and red light at the same time. Or you can use our Red Light Vitamin D bed and gain the benefits of Red Light and helping the body produce Vitamin D at the same time.


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