Red Light Therapy: Pros and Cons

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What are the pros and cons of red light therapy treatments? In this article, we’ll break down the upsides and downsides of using red light therapy with an at-home LED device like a Joovv. We’ll also cover the benefit areas of red light therapy, how it works, and what it’s used for. 

What is Red Light Therapy and How Does it Work?

Red light therapy is a simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers wavelengths of red and near infrared (NIR) light to your skin and cells. A quality in-home medical device like a Joovv uses LEDs to shine these light wavelengths on your body. Red light therapy only takes a few minutes per day, and with a Joovv device, a 10-minute treatment session per area is recommended. Red light therapy is also easy: all you have to do is sit or stand in front of the device and let your cells take in the therapeutic light.

Red light therapy works by improving cellular health and energy production across the body. Check out our Science Page for a peek inside the cell during a red light therapy session.

Pros and Cons of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy has a lot of benefits. Here are some of the major pros:

  • Wide range of health benefits: Red light therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for skin health & rejuvenation, joint pain & inflammation relief, improved circulation, enhanced sleep, better fitness & recovery, and more. To see all the potential benefits click here.
  • Safe with few side effects or risks: The clinical consensus on red light therapy is that it’s safe and well-tolerated by patients of all types, with almost no risks or side effects.*
  • Available for convenient in-home use: Joovv has designed and engineered the world’s first full-body red light therapy devices that you can use in your home every day. This saves time and money versus going to a commercial red light therapy provider, and it increases potential effectiveness because consistent treatment is more accessible.
  • Short, simple treatments: Red light therapy treatments are non-invasive. They’re also quick and easy to do in your home. All you have to do is sit or stand in the light and let your cells and skin absorb the therapeutic wavelengths. Joovv recommends 10-minute treatments per area on the body.

Cons of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is safe and effective for in-home use. But there are a few cons and considerations when choosing a red light therapy product:

  • Lack of standardization: One con of red light therapy devices is that there isn’t yet enough standardization in the field about which wavelengths and colors produce optimal results. Joovv is a science-first company that relies on clinical research. The body of clinical evidence shows red and near infrared wavelengths are most effective for human health. Unfortunately, there are many cut-rate red light therapy brands out there that use unproven wavelengths and don’t properly test or certify their products for human use.
  • Lack of transparency and honesty: Unfortunately, many light therapy companies don’t believe in transparency and honesty. Too many brands are sourcing already designed grow lights intended for plant growth and slapping their logo on it. You will notice that a lot of these devices all look the same outside of the device branding. Joovv invested in their own tooling and engineering and partnered with one of the world’s leading manufacturers. When looking for a health product like Joovv you shouldn’t accept anything else.  
  • Photosensitivity concerns for some people: People with photosensitivity concerns should consult a trusted healthcare provider before using a therapy light. You should also ask your healthcare provider about interactions between light therapy and any medications you’re taking that may increase the risk of photosensitivity.

What Does Red Light Therapy Help With?

What are the health benefits of red light therapy? Hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical trials and studies have shown that red light therapy treatments are safe and effective for a wide range of health concerns. Here’s a look at some of the core benefits and applications of red light therapy:

Enhanced cellular function: In conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, light therapy treatments can have systemic benefits because they work by improving cellular health across the entire body. One major effect is an increase in ATP energy production, which powers your body. Learn more about cellular function, mitochondria, ATP energy, and light therapy here.

Inflammation management: Light therapy treatments help your body’s natural inflammation process as you recover from illness or injury. Dr. Michael Hamblin is one of the world’s leading photomedicine researchers, and believes light therapy produces an “overall reduction in inflammation.” [1] Read more details about inflammation, strain, and light therapy here.

Skin health and beauty: Red light is a popular tool for skin care because of red light therapy’s blood flow and inflammation benefits. Taking in healthy red light is crucial for skin cells, skin rejuvenation, and healing. Learn more about skin health and light therapy here.

Recovery and performance: Muscle cells require a great deal of energy, and strengthen through a process of tearing and repairing. Red light therapy helps your body produce and use energy more efficiently. Joovv’s unique Recovery+ mode is designed to optimize the body’s natural recovery process. Learn more about recovery, performance, and light therapy here and see the pro athletes and teams using Joovv here.

Sleep optimization: Red light therapy is popular with people trying to optimize their sleep and circadian rhythm. Bright blue light at night can knock your sleep cycle out of whack, but red light is a lower-intensity alternative that can help support longer, more restful sleep. [2,3,4] Unlike bright blue light, frequencies of red light are less intense and don’t interfere with your brain’s perception of light during specific times of the day. This can help you transition to sleep more naturally. Learn more about circadian rhythms and light here.

You can learn more details about other health benefits of red light therapy here.

When and How to Use a Red Light Therapy Device

Today, you can use red light therapy in your home with a quality system like a Joovv. You can also find red light therapy at a wide range of clinics and businesses. Here’s a look at where and how you can use red light therapy today:

Commercial red light therapy options: If you’re willing to pay for red light therapy treatments on a per-visit or subscription basis, there are many businesses and clinics that offer LED sessions. Here are a few of the most common commercial locations for red light therapy:

  • Spas and salons: Many skin care businesses offer red light therapy for skin rejuvenation and beauty treatments. 
  • Medical doctors and physical therapists: More and more MDs and PTs are incorporating red light therapy into their practices.
  • Gyms and trainers: Red light therapy is a popular modality in the fitness community, especially for recovery and healing benefits. 
  • Chiropractors: Many chiropractors offer red light therapy sessions on a pay-per-visit basis. 

At-home red light therapy is best: Red light therapy is most effective when you’re consistent with treatments. For the best results, you should use a light therapy device every day, or at least 5 times a week. It only takes around 10 minutes per treatment. Many people use red light therapy before or after workouts for its muscle health and recovery benefits. Others use red light therapy as a lighting source in the evenings to cut down on bright blue light and help their bodies transition more naturally to sleep

Using an LED red light therapy device like Joovv is simple. They can be mounted on doors or walls, and floor stands can be used to secure the panels of LEDs that shine red and NIR light on the body. All you have to do is sit or stand in the light for a few minutes each day. Problem areas, like sore joints or skin conditions, may benefit from more frequent treatments.

Conclusion: There are Many Pros to Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a popular at-home treatment because it’s quick and easy to use. The biggest upside to red light therapy is the wide range of benefits you can see with consistent use. Another major pro is the lack of significant risks and side effects associated with red light therapy treatments. 

 

*To see a list of precautionary warnings and contraindications click here.


Sources and References:


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


[2] Sheppard A and Wolffsohn J. “Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration.” BMJ Open Ophthalmology. 2018 April.

[3] Jung C, Khalsa S, et al. Acute Effects of Bright Light Exposure on Cortisol Levels. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2010 Jun.

[4] Harvard Health. Blue light has a dark side.