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Red Light Therapy: Benefits, Side Effects & Uses

Red Light Therapy Benefits, Side Effects & Uses

Red Light Therapy (RLT) involves exposing the skin to low wavelength (660 nm – 890 nm) red LED lights, which improves skin conditions from wrinkles and scars to persistent wounds. RLT is also known as cold laser therapy and low-level light therapy, which has been the subject of thousands of studies since the 1990s when NASA used red lights to grow plants. However, its popularity has soared over the past years since it offers skin-enhancing perks to anxiety-alleviating effects.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

The red light produces a biochemical effect in cells that strengthen the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the cell’s powerhouse where the cell’s energy is created. It is also called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy-carrying molecule in the cells of all living things.

When RLT increases the function of the mitochondria, a cell can make more ATP. With more energy, cells can function more efficiently, rejuvenate themselves, and repair damage. However, RLT differs from laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies because it doesn’t cause damage to the skin surface. 

Laser and pulsed light therapies work by causing controlled damage to the outer layer of the skin, which then induces tissue repair. RLT bypasses this harsh step by directly stimulating the regeneration of the skin. The light emitted by RLT penetrates roughly 5 millimeters below the skin’s surface.

What Benefits Does Red Light Therapy Provide?

All human beings need light to be healthy. When the skin absorbs Vitamin D from the natural light, it helps prevent bone loss, heart disease, and weight gain and reduces the risk of various cancers. In addition, natural light also wards off seasonal depression, improves sleep, and reduces the health risks associated with fluorescent lights.

Here are the benefits of Red Light Therapy:

Wound Healing

Red light and near-infrared light therapy are effective in wound healing. In fact, the red light can clean dead and damaged skin cells, also known as “phagocytosis.” 

Aside from that, it also stimulates collagen production and the health of the extracellular matrix. Stimulating the capillaries and promoting new connective tissue on the wound’s surface

Improve The Skin

RLT is ideal for repairing damaged tissue from UV rays, which can stimulate collagen synthesis and fibroblast formation. 

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and Increased Energy

AccordingAccording to research, RLT is highly effective at safely treating Fibromyalgia as well as restoring energy to those with fatigue. That said, red light and near-infrared light therapies help enhance the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients and decrease pain and muscle spasms.

Good for Cellulite

According to research, massage with red light therapy found a 71% reduction in cellulite. Regarding skin health, it has been found that “91% of subjects reported improved skin tone, and 82% reported skin’s enhanced smoothness in the treated area.

Increase Bone Healing

RLT can speed up the healing process for broken and fractured bones. RLT and near-infrared light have been shown to stimulate energy production in the bone cells, increase bone growth factors and modulate inflammation. (

Improved Eye Health

With age-related macular degeneration (AMD), red and near-infrared light therapy help improve vision in patients. Also, it appears to improve edema, bleeding, metamorphopsia, scotoma, and dyschromatopsia in some patients.

Anxiety and Depression

According to research, red light therapy has recently shown promise as a treatment for anxiety, depression, PTSD as well as traumatic brain injury as soon as two weeks after a single treatment.


One major contributor to chronic disease is chronic inflammation. In fact, red and near-infrared light therapy is as effective for anti-inflammation as routinely prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Improved Cognitive Performance

One benefit of this therapy is brain and cognitive performance. It has been found to improve sustained attention and short-term memory in young adults and improved memory in older adults with impaired memory.


Red light speeds wound healing, stimulates collagen production, and is highly anti-inflammatory for people suffering from tendinopathy and tendonitis.

Oral Health

There are numerous aspects of oral health that Red light therapy can help, including facilitating tooth growth and movement and reducing pain for individuals with corrective braces. Moreover, it combats viral and bacterial infections of the mouth (tonsillitis, herpes, cold sores) and reduces mouth pain and thrush (yeast in the mouth/candidiasis).

Pain Relief

Red light therapy is proven effective in pain relief in several areas, which includes back pain, chronic neck pain, joint disorders, Fibromyalgia, knee pain, and Sacroiliac joint pain.

Improved Quality of Sleep

Red light therapy has been found in several studies in China, which naturally increases melatonin levels in insomnia patients, thus improving the quality and ability to fall asleep.

Muscle Gain and Recovery

RLT offers benefits for building muscle, preventing fatigue, and improving endurance since muscle tissue is more densely packed with mitochondria than nearly any other cell, tissue, or organ in the body. Some of the significant findings involving red light therapy include greater reduction in fatigue, and red light therapy before exercise significantly lowers creatine kinase levels (a fatigue marker).

Weight Loss

Studies show that red light therapy reduces fat mass and fat tissue and eliminates cellulite. Other studies have shown that red light therapy dramatically increases exercise-related fat loss.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

Red light therapy appears safe and is not associated with any side effects, at least if used short-term and as directed. This therapy is not toxic, not invasive, and not as harsh as some topical skin treatments. Unlike the cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning booths, RLT doesn’t use this type of light. I’ve taken Ambien for about 5-6 years for insomnia and sleep apnea

However, if products are misused — perhaps used too often or not according to directions — the skin or eyes (if not protected) could be damaged. The long-term safety of red light therapy devices is not yet known. In this case, it is best to see a dermatologist or qualified, trained cosmetic therapist as the safest option.

The Bottom Line

Red Light Therapy can help to stimulate cellular rejuvenation, increase blood flow, stimulate collagen, fight free radical damage, and more. Viva Vitality offers Red Light Therapy, a procedure that emits infrared lights on the face in several wavelengths. Ultimately, the targeted area absorbs the low light beams from the light diodes into the skin’s deepest layers to stimulate healthy cells, combat aging and acne, produce new proteins and revitalize the skin.