Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Does Red Light Therapy Work?

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Does red light therapy really work? Yes, red light therapy is an effective health modality that’s been widely studied and tested. With so many therapy options, it’s normal to wonder “What is red light therapy?” “How does red light therapy work?”, and "What does red light therapy do?"  Check out this video to learn more about the science behind red light therapy, and how a red light therapy treatment affects your body at a cellular level. 

 Red light therapy is also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Like so many crucial scientific breakthroughs, it was discovered by accident when Dr. Endre Mester noticed the positive effects of a low-level laser on hair growth and wound healing in mice. This led to greater scientific interest in stimulating cells to improve healing and growth, and the field of photobiomodulation was born [1].

Since then, many advancements have been made in the realm of red light therapy and medicine. Many people use red light therapy for muscle recovery or to maintain healthy skin. It has also been used to improve sleep, help inflammation, and enhance mental acuity. 

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red Light therapy is a simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers red and near infrared (NIR) light to a person’s skin and cells. A high-quality home medical-grade red light therapy device like a Joovv uses light emitting diodes (LED) to deliver red and near infrared light on your body during a treatment session. When using this type of treatment, an individual can see the red light and feel the warmth from the near-infrared (NIR) light.

Joovv Solo 3.0

Red light therapy is just like the wavelengths of light your body needs from sunlight, but without the heat or UV rays that may cause sun damage. Red light therapy is a healthier alternative to all the bright blue light we’re surrounded by every day, which can make it harder to sleep and may lead to other health problems [2]. Today, many people work indoors and look at screens for extended periods of time. Red light therapy can help offset the negative effects of blue light and promote overall wellness and cellular balance

Red light therapy is an easy and effective treatment. Joovv suggests 10-minute sessions per treatment area. The session does not require anything other than exposing your skin and sitting or standing in front of the Joovv and letting your body absorb the light. This is a great time to meditate, read, or relax all while receiving high-quality red light therapy. 

Learn more about how red light therapy can enhance your health at Joovv’s science page

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Natural red light powers your cells. A true medical-grade red light therapy device like a Joovv delivers red & near infrared wavelengths directly to your body with 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. 

Red Light Therapy Lasers Versus LEDs

Red light therapy varies from other forms of treatment because it is painless and your skin faces no harm or damage. Red light therapy is not just a surface-level treatment. The light can reach up to 50 millimeters below the surface of the skin depending on the power [4]; it can even reach your brain, which may benefit your mental acuity. Other forms of treatment, like cold or hot lasers, do not have the same advantages as red light therapy from LED’s. These methods may cause minor pain and can also damage the outermost layer of skin [5]. When the top layer of skin is damaged, your body is forced to repair the skin tissue after receiving treatment. The treatment size is also very limited with lasers compared to products using LED’s. 

Model Using Joovv

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

The benefits of red light therapy have been tested and published in various medical journals. Here is a list of just a few of the potential systemic benefits of red light therapy:

  • Inflammation and Pain Relief: red light therapy treatments have been shown to help your body’s natural inflammation process as you recover from illness or injury.
  • Performance and Recovery: supporting circulation and inflammation reduction with red light therapy can help you heal and have less soreness after workouts.
  • Improved blood flow: red light therapy increases blood flow following treatment sessions. This indicates tissues are receiving more oxygen and other nutrients that are important for healing.
  • Skin Health: red light therapy can help support skin health not only for the face but across the entire body. The mitochondria in skin cells can absorb red and near infrared light, which allows for more energy (ATP), stimulating the synthesis of pro-collagen, collagen, basic fibroblast growth factors (bFGF), and proliferation of fibroblasts.
  • Hormonal Support: in 2019, Joovv participated in a case study with Bristlecone Medical to examine the systemic effects of continuous broad treatments of red and near-infrared light. One of the examined outcomes was a positive effect on hormonal serum levels in both male and female participants. 

Risks and Side Effects of Red Light Therapy

Joovv uses only the red and near infrared wavelengths that are clinically-proven to be effective and safe. However, we always recommend consulting with your healthcare provider for specific questions about your health conditions.

Safety is paramount when you’re treating your body with an electrical device. Before choosing a red light therapy product, make sure the device meets safety and testing standards. All Joovv products are independently tested by third parties and deemed safe for at-home use. 

Science Shows That Red Light Therapy Really Works

Red light therapy does really work and is a great option for easy, in-home health improvements. But it’s crucial to make sure the device you use on your body is safe and conforms with all of the applicable medical device standards like Joovv products. Learn more about the Joovv difference on this page.

If you want to find out which Joovv is best for you, take this quiz. Remember to consult a qualified health professional if you have specific questions regarding red light therapy.



Sources and References

[1] Randa Zein, Wayne Selting, Michael R. Hamblin, et al. Review of light parameters and photobiomodulation efficacy: dive into complexity. SPIE Digital. 2018 Dec 11.  

[2] Nazish Rafique, Lubna Ibrahim Al-Asoom, Ahmed Abdulrahman Alsunni, Farhat Nadeem Saudagar, Latifah Almulhim, Gaeda Alkaltham. Effects of Mobile Use on Subjective Sleep Quality. Nat Sci Sleep. 2020 Jun 23.

[3] Hamblin M. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics. 2017 May.

[4] Di Hu, Marc van Zeyl, Krisztina Valter, Jason R Potas, et al. Sex, but not skin tone affects penetration of red-light (660 nm) through sites susceptible to sports injury in lean live and cadaveric tissues. Journal of Biophotonics. 2019 July 12. 


[5] Marek Jankowski, Mariusz Gawrych, Urszula Adamska, Jakub Ciescinski, Zbigniew Serafin, Rafal Czajkowski, et al. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) does not reduce subcutaneous adipose tissue by local adipocyte injury but rather by modulation of systemic lipid metabolism. Lasers in Medical Science. 2016 July 6. 

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