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Justin Strahan

Does Red Light Therapy Work?

If you’re reading this article, you've probably already heard about the supposed benefits of light therapy. But you mighty still have one nagging question...

Does Red Light Therapy Really Work?  

NASA had this same question when it commissioned a company called QDI to conduct research on red light therapy in 1993. After it was proven that the technology could activate plant growth in space, contracts were awarded to investigate the medical application of light-emitting diodes (LEDs)with a special focus on how LED energy transfers to human cells.  

The research demonstrated the effective health benefits of a specific wavelength of red light: 660 nanometers (nm). What began as a way to limit the bone and muscle loss of astronauts has led to hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical studies documenting a wide variety of benefits. Even the FDA has approved light therapy for the treatment of joint pain and arthritis, reduction of wrinkles, and many other conditions.[1-6]

Beyond the clinical evidence, we’ve personally witnessed light therapy improve stretch marks, totally heal eczema that had persisted for years, and drastically improve muscle recovery after strenuous workouts. The real-life benefits of red light for improved health are overwhelming!

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

The human body needs light. Without sunlight, we would become dangerously deficient in vitamin Dnot to mention all the other physiological and emotional challenges we would face.  

Natural sunlight is a combination of the entire visible light spectrum (400-700 nm) as well as ultraviolet (UV; 300-400 nm) and infrared (700-1000 nm) light. Most people are well aware of the potential dangers of too much sunlight due to damaging UV rays. However, the body has specific positive responses to light in the 600-900 nm wavelength range, also called the “therapeutic window”.  

This light energy can pass through human tissue much easier than other wavelengths.  Specifically, light in the mid-600 nm and mid-800 nm range has been shown to provide optimal biological responses. This energy is absorbed by the body and stimulates adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the mode of chemical energy transportation at the cellular level. In other words, cells that receive this rejuvenating, anti-aging energy boost are able to perform their natural functions at a heightened level.  

Some of the documented benefits of light therapy include:

  • Improved skin tone and complexion[3]
  • Stimulated production of collagen and elastin[3]
  • Enhanced muscle recovery and athletic performance[4]
  • Reduced joint pain, inflammation, and arthritis[5]
  • Improved appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks[3]
  • Reduced acne, rosacea, and eczema[3]
  • Increased circulation[6]
  • Faster healing of wounds and injuries[6]

Unlike many other types of treatments, light therapy is completely safe, non-invasive, uses no chemicals, and has no harmful side effects. It simply harnesses the natural healing and rejuvenating benefits of a specific range of light and delivers this energy at a higher rate than the sunwithout harmful UV rays. It is a very relaxing and energizing experience that is quickly becoming a revolutionary treatment in numerous medical specialties due to its many applications and benefits.

How Long do You Have to Use Red Light Therapy to Experience the Benefits?

The amount of time needed to apply a clinically-relevant dose of energy depends on the intensity of the light used on a given treatment area. And the time required to get results also depends on the symptom or symptoms being treated. For example, you may get relief from pain and inflammation by the end of each session, while improvements in wrinkles and fine lines can take 8-12 weeks or longer.  

Do LEDs Make a Difference?

It comes down to the energy that different kinds of light bulbs emit, and how efficiently they do it.

Incandescent bulbs, the traditional light bulbs made famous by Thomas Edison in the late 19th century, are so inefficient that less than 5% of the energy is turned into light while the rest is lost as heat. The actual light output of a 100w incandescent bulb is about 1000 lumens, or roughly 10 lumens per watt. Fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, deliver about 65 lumens per watt. However, because of their 360-degree distribution of light, the net output is only 20-30 lumens per watt. In addition, they contain mercury, which makes them a real safety hazard if a bulb breaks.   

LEDs, on the other hand, are uniquely capable of delivering a specific wavelength of light at an efficiency of over 100 lumens per watt, with no UV rays or mercury to worry about. There are no fragile bulbs to break, and the average life of an LED is about 25 times that of incandescent bulbs and 2.5 times fluorescent bulbs. LEDs are the best way to deliver the specific wavelength and intensity of light in order to get the optimum cellular response and corresponding health benefits.

So Which Red Light Therapy Device Should You Choose? 

There are so many light therapy devices on the market that it can be confusing to know which one to buy. There are many factors to consider, but ultimately, the effectiveness of the device boils down to these key factors: the wavelength emitted, and the amount of energy delivered to the skin surface.  

How each light therapy device manages these two factorscalled “output intensity”determines how effective they areand affects how long a treatment session might last. Unfortunately, most light therapy devices don’t publish their output intensity, which makes it nearly impossible to determine how much energy is being delivered to the treatment area.

When companies are transparent with their data, the output intensity is typically measured at the surface of the skin. And the effective intensity of some devices at the skin is so low that a session time of over an hour would be required to get the best results. For most people, this simply isn’t practical.  

Therefore, it’s important to select a product with the optimum light intensity that results in a treatment time that is convenient and desirable. When we designed the Joovv, we refused to settle for anything less than the optimum wavelength of light along with unparalleled output. The Joovv is capable of delivering a clinically-relevant amount of red or near infrared light to your body in approximately 5-10 minutes.  

So Yes, Red Light Therapy Does Work!

The clinical and scientific evidence for red light therapy is realand it’s convincing. The key is to choose a light therapy device that delivers the right amount of light within an ideal range of wavelength. This will let you to experience the benefits of red light therapy in an easy and convenient way.  

And that’s exactly how we designed the Joovv Light. With Joovv, you can reap the rewards of light therapy in the convenience of your own home in less than 10 minutes per day. Check it out. We don't think you'll be disappointed!


[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.

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