Red Light Therapy: What Is It & Why Is It Important

Red Light Therapy: What Is It & Why Is It Important

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Red light therapy is a popular treatment for skin, recovery, inflammation, joint pain, and a lot more. Professional athletes use it, and so do medical doctors, estheticians, chiropractors, and natural health practitioners. So what exactly is red light therapy? How does it work? And why is red light therapy important?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and explain how wavelengths of red light can have a positive impact on health and wellness. 

What is Red Light Therapy and How Does it Work?

Red light therapy is a simple way to add healthy light to your daily life, and improve your health and wellness. It’s a simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers wavelengths of red and near infrared (NIR) light to your skin and cells. A quality in-home device like a Joovv uses LEDs to shine red and near infrared light on your body during a treatment session. These are the types of light wavelengths your body needs from natural sunlight, but without the heat or UV rays that cause sun damage.

Red light therapy only takes a few minutes per day. With a Joovv device, a 10-minute session per treatment area is recommended. Red light therapy is also super easy: all you have to do is sit or stand in front of the device and your body & cells take in the light.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy works by improving cellular health and energy production across the body. To get into the details, we have to go under the microscope and look at how wavelengths of red and near infrared light have a positive effect on human physiology. Check out our Science Page for a peek inside the cell during a red light therapy session.

In simplest terms, our body and cells need healthy light every day to make energy and perform. But most people don’t get enough light as the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors. [1] Red light therapy supplements our natural sunlight intake in the comfort of our homes, so we can get the healthy light we need every day, in any weather, for optimal health and physical function. 

What are Wavelengths of Red Light?

Wavelengths of red light fall in the 620 and 750 nanometer range on the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes  visible and invisible light that comes to earth from the sun. [2,3,4] Check out this post to learn more about the basics of light, wavelengths, colors, energy, and how different colors affect human biology. 

Best frequencies of red light: Looking for the best red light frequency for red light therapy treatments? Quality red light therapy devices use safe, clinically-proven wavelengths of light: red light in the mid-600 nanometer range, and near infrared light in the mid-800s nm range. [2,3] Due to advancements in LED technology, Joovv is able to isolate these specific wavelengths of red light and NIR light that have been the most widely studied and tested. 

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy has many potential benefits, like healing and recovery, healthy skin, inflammation management, improved sleep, and reduced joint and muscle pain. These benefits, and many others, are backed by a large amount of peer-reviewed clinical research. Over the last twenty years, medical researchers have conducted hundreds of peer-reviewed trials and studies on the impact of red and near infrared light for human health. The clinical consensus is that red and NIR light treatments are safe and well-tolerated, with minimal side effects and a wide range of potential health benefits.

Here’s a look at some of the core benefits 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.” [5] Read more details about inflammation, strain, and light therapy here.

Improved blood flow: Red light therapy can significantly increase blood circulation following treatment sessions. This indicates tissues are receiving more oxygen and other nutrients that are important for healing. At the same time, light helps the body and circulatory system rid itself of toxic byproducts. [6] Learn more about circulation 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 grow and strengthen through a process of tearing and repairing. Red light therapy helps your body and muscles 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. [7,8,9]

Unlike bright blue light, frequencies of red light are less intense and don’t interfere with your brain’s perception of light and the time of day. Red light can be a better lighting option at night because it’s more soothing and can help you transition more naturally to sleep. Joovv designed Ambient mode especially to support sleep and circadian rhythms. Learn more about circadian rhythms and light here.

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

How to Use Red Light Therapy

Over the past decade, red light treatments have become a lot more popular with both professionals and consumers. 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: More and more MDs 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. 

A professional red light therapy provider can lend expertise and show you the optimal way to do a treatment. The downside to the commercial route is cost. It is much more expensive to do red light therapy at clinics than at home. It’s also harder to maintain consistency, which is crucial for effective red light therapy. That’s why many people choose to purchase an in-home red light therapy system they can use every day, without extra costs or a commute. 

At-home red light therapy options: With an in-home system like Joovv, you pay a one-time cost of buying the device and then have unlimited access to private, convenient red light therapy sessions. With Joovv’s patented modular system, you can pick from 7 coverage options ranging from small to full-body coverage. In addition to therapeutic red and NIR light, each configuration, or kit,  includes illumination options, like Ambient Mode, which uses lower-intensity light to give your sleep an added boost at night while avoiding bright blue light. To learn more about Joovv’s modular system, check out this helpful guide. 

Red Light Therapy is Safe and Effective

Red light therapy is a simple, effective treatment with a wide range of wellness benefits, like cellular health, recovery, sleep, skin health, and inflammation management. Red light therapy is widely used in clinical and at-home settings, and the science of red light is backed by hundreds of peer-reviewed studies. The best red light wavelengths are in the mid-600s nm range, so make sure your treatment devices use these frequencies.


Sources and references:

[1] Klepeis NE, Nelson WC, Ott WR, et al. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology. 2001 May.

[2]  Elert, Glenn. "The Electromagnetic Spectrum, The Physics Hypertextbook."

[3]  Kumar, Narinder. 2008. Comprehensive Physics XII. Laxmi Publications. 

[4]  Laufer, Gabriel. 1996. Introduction to Optics and Lasers in Engineering

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

[6]  Mak MC, Cheing GL. Immediate effects of monochromatic infrared energy on microcirculation in healthy subjects. Photomed Laser Surg. 2012 Apr;30(4):193-9.

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

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

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