Justin Strahan

Does Red Light Therapy Work?

You may have heard about red light therapy and its supposed natural health benefits. But does it really work? This article answers that question by examining the large base of clinical research on red & near infrared light therapy, with an additional look at the results of current professionals in athletics, training, and natural health who use it.

Light Therapy: Legitimate Medicine or Not?

NASA had that same question in the early 1990s and got to work. After finding that red light therapy activated natural plant growth in space, they started researching medical applications for people. NASA’s findings demonstrated health benefits from specific wavelengths of red light delivered through light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The medical science community took notice and over the last 3 decades, there’s been extensive clinical research on the various medical applications of red light therapy. The results are extremely encouraging for people seeking natural, non-invasive treatments for a wide range of medical conditions.

Here’s the short answer: yes, light therapy definitely works, and it’s backed by a wealth of published research.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Natural red light powers your cells. A light therapy device like a Joovv delivers red & near infrared wavelengths directly to your body with medical-grade LEDs. These photons of natural, therapeutic light produce a chemical reaction in the mitochondria of your cells that boosts energy production and regeneration. The two primary effects are:

More ATP Energy: Light therapy reduces oxidative stress and increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP, produced through cellular respiration, is a crucial molecule required by all living things to make usable energy for your body. It’s often called “the energy currency of life.” This article goes deeper into the science of light therapy and ATP production.

Enhanced Cell Signaling: Specific wavelengths of light help to create a better oxidative environment in your cells. This results in the activation of numerous intracellular signaling pathways, increased protein synthesis, enzyme activation, and enhanced cell cycle progression. 

Health Benefits of Red and Near Infrared Light Therapy

Thousands of peer-reviewed clinical trials and studies on red light therapy have been conducted over the last 3 decades and published in major scientific journals. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of its effectiveness & safety, and the FDA has approved light therapy for the treatment of joint pain, reduction of wrinkles, and many other conditions. [1,2,3,4,5,6]

Here’s an overview of some of the major, clinically-proven health benefits of red light therapy:

Skin, Collagen, and Anti-Aging

Red light therapy feels so rejuvenating because it stimulates the production of collagen, which gives skin its elasticity, hair its strength, and connective tissue its ability to hold everything together. [3] You can read more about red light therapy increasing natural collagen here.

Numerous studies and trials have found light therapy improves skin tone & complexion, diminishes signs of aging, and speeds the healing of wounds and scars. [2,6] You can go deeper into
red light therapy and skin benefits here.

A longtime favorite in spas, in-home red light therapy has caught on with Hollywood’s elite estheticians like Shani Darden and celebrities like Sophia Bush and Carole Radziwill.

Training and Muscle Recovery

Elite trainers and athletes are using Joovv for muscle growth and recovery benefits. The late great strength trainer Charles Poliquin even told us that some in the sports world wondered if red light therapy was an unfair competitive advantage, even though it’s completely natural. You can read up on red light therapy and muscle recovery here.

NFL stars like Patrick Peterson and elite fighters like UFC champion TJ Dillashaw swear by Joovv for recovery after demanding workouts. Numerous trials and studies have found that light therapy helps your body produce more cellular energy and reduces oxidative stress, which helps tired & damaged muscle tissue repair and regenerate faster. [7]

Recent 2016 research published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation shows that the application of light therapy also promotes the growth of healthy muscle tissue, naturally increasing muscle size and bulk—as well as strength. [3]

Ben Greenfield, voted America’s top personal trainer, also swears by Joovv for muscle health and recovery, in addition to sex drive and testosterone. He wrote a major guide and answered FAQs to red light therapy in late 2018 with a ton of good information, as well as his personal experience with Joovv.

Inflammation and Joint Pain

One of the primary responses to red light therapy is a pronounced reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress, with significantly lowered joint pain. [8,9] You can see a breakdown of the large base of positive clinical research here.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, aka Paleo Mom, suffered from chronic pain for years from fibromyalgia, but says she hasn’t been symptomatic since she started using Joovv red light therapy last year.

Melatonin and Sleep

Most people are exposed to a lot of unhealthy artificial light that disrupts your circadian rhythm and makes it harder to sleep. Red and near infrared does the exact opposite and helps protect your internal clock. Clinical studies show light therapy also increases natural melatonin production for healthier sleep. [10] 

Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey swears by red light therapy for healthy sleep, and even devoted a chapter of his book on sleep, Game Changers, to using Joovv for a better circadian rhythm instead of unhealthy blue light.

Other Health Benefits: If you want to know more about red light therapy, the science and research behind it, and dig deeper into these and other natural health benefits areas, check out our library of scientific learn articles.

Safe, Non-Invasive, and Drug-Free

Unlike most conventional treatments, red light therapy is safe, non-invasive, uses no chemicals or drugs, and is not associated with harmful side effects. Red light therapy simply harnesses the natural healing and rejuvenating benefits of a specific range of therapeutic natural light and delivers this targeted energy at a higher rate than the sun—without harmful UV rays.

A major 2013 study on light therapy conducted by Harvard and MIT researchers praised light therapy for its “noninvasive nature and almost complete absence of side effects.” [2]

Although Joovv is specifically indicated for the relief of muscle spasms, minor muscle & joint aches, as well as pain & stiffness associated with arthritis—we’re proud to say our modular design & entire production process is FDA-cleared, and our technology has been approved for use in clinical trials to further explore the benefits and applications of natural light therapy.

LEDs Make all the Difference for Personal Red Light Therapy

Highly efficient, medical-grade LEDs are by far the best way to deliver the specific wavelengths of light and intensity needed for optimal, full-body light therapy. LEDs are uniquely capable of delivering a specific wavelength of light at great efficiency, with almost no heat. They last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and they’re not fragile, nor likely to break. LEDs have revolutionized lighting in the last two decades, and made it possible for individuals to harness safe, effective light therapy in their own homes at a reasonable price.

Why Joovv?

Joovv offers the leading personal, in-home light therapy devices on the market. These are among the biggest advantages of choosing Joovv for your light therapy needs:

Personal, Customizable, & Affordable: Joovv devices allow you to experience personal light therapy in your own home at a fraction of the cost of clinics and spas. Our modular design is fully customizable to your treatment needs—and you can connect your Joovv and track your progress from any Bluetooth-enabled device.

Industry-Leading Sizes for Optimal Treatment: In light therapy, size matters. The more surface area you can cover, the better. Full, even, and consistent coverage provides optimal treatment benefits, something small devices just can’t do. Joovv offers industry-leading sizes for the best results.

Truly Portable Light Therapy with the Joovv Go: In late 2018, Joovv released the first portable, handheld light therapy device for targeted treatments and light therapy on the go. The Joovv Go has all the same power of the larger Joovvs, but slips in a big or purse so you can take clinical light therapy anywhere. Check out the Joovv Go here.

The Most Powerful Light Therapy: Many manufacturers don’t even offer verified power measurements. Joovv does, and the power of our devices have all been third-party tested. This article goes deeper into the power of various light therapy products and how to compare them. Overall, Joovv delivers the most total power and covers the most surface area, for optimal results.

FDA-Registered: Joovv’s modular design and entire production process is registered with FDA and have passed rigorous safety and quality testing.

Nearly 24/7 Online Support: Questions about light therapy or Joovv? Need help with your device? Our service team is ready to help anytime at nearly all hours of the day.

Advised by the Best: Joovv’s scientific advisory board includes some of the world’s best doctors and medical researchers, like Dr. Michael Hamblin of Harvard Medical School, a leading voice in light therapy science.

Take it from NASA, the medical science community, and today’s elite trainers and competitors: light therapy works and Joovv is the best choice for your personal needs.

You can check out Joovv’s light therapy options here.

Scientific Sources and Medical References:

[1] Facial Rejuvenation in the Triangle of ROS – Andrei P. Sommer and Dan Zhu – Institute of micro and Nanomaterials, University of Ulm, 89081 Ulm, Germany July 24, 2009

[2] Avci P, Gupta A, Sadasivam M et al. “Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring.” Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013 March ; 32(1): 41–52.

[3] Ferraresi C, Hamblin M, and Parizotto N. “Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on muscle tissue: performance, fatigue and repair benefited by the power of light.” Photonics Lasers Med. 2012 November 1; 1(4): 267–286. doi:10.1515/plm-2012-0032.

[4] Al Rashoud AS, Abboud RJ, Wang W, Wigderowitz C. “Efficacy of low-level laser therapy applied at acupuncture points in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised double-blind comparative trial.” Physiotherapy. 2014 Sep;100(3):242-8.

[5] Mitchell UH, Mack GL. “Low-level laser treatment with near-infrared light increases venous nitric oxide levels acutely: a single-blind, randomized clinical trial of efficacy.” Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Feb;92(2):151-6.

[6] Emília de Abreu Chaves M, Rodrigues de Araújo A, Piancastelli ACC, and Pinotti M. “Effects of low-power light therapy on wound healing: LASER x LED.” An Bras Dermatol. 2014 Jul-Aug; 89(4): 616–623.

[7] de Almeida P1, Lopes-Martins RA, De Marchi T, et al. “Red (660 nm) and infrared (830 nm) low-level laser therapy in skeletal muscle fatigue in humans: what is better?” Lasers Med Sci. 2012 Mar;27(2):453-8.

[8] Brosseau L, Welch V, et al. Low level laser therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. The Journal of Rheumatology. Aug 2000; 27(8): 1961-9.

[9] Alfredo PP, Bjordal JM, et al. Efficacy of low level laser therapy associated with exercises in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind study. Clinical Rehabilitation. Jun 2012; 26(6): 523-33.

[10] Morita T., Tokura H. “Effects of lights of different color temperature on the nocturnal changes in core temperature and melatonin in humans” Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 1996, September; 15(5):243-246.


Joovv light therapy products are indicated for use in the relief of muscle and joint pain, including arthritis and muscle spasm pain, and increasing of blood circulation, and relaxation of muscles. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to support the safety or effectiveness of Joovv devices, or diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It's not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.

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