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Red Light Therapy FAQ: Your Questions Answered By Our Experts (Updated 2024)

Red Light Therapy FAQ: Your Questions Answered By Our Experts (Updated 2024)

Take a few minutes browsing the Peak athletics, and you’ll notice we got plenty of red light therapy devices. Red light therapy isn’t just another trend that comes and goes in the biohacking world.

Ever since the early 1900s when Dr. Niels Finsen won a Nobel Prize for healing scars left in patients from smallpox with red light, this technology has been increasing in popularity.

Despite its history, there’s still a lot of confusion and misinformation around red light therapy.

So, here at the Peak Athletics, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 most common questions about red light therapy so you can fully understand what it’s all about. Enjoy!

These are some of people's most common questions about red light therapy.

What's Red Light Therapy?

In short, red light therapy is a treatment method that uses light at specific wavelengths (i.e. red or near infra-red) to achieve a wide range of benefits. These range from improving skin health, reducing scars and alleviating pain, easing inflammation, improving muscle recovery among many others.

Other than that, red light is similar to infrared light (more about that later) except it’s visible to the naked eye. There are different devices that delivery red light therapy, including full-body panels, lamps and wearable devices. The specific wavelength and power output of the light varies depending on the device.

Bottom line with red light therapy:

Red light therapy is considered non-invasive and safe with minimal side effects. It comes with a range of benefits and you can enjoy red light through different devices.

red light in the knee

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy works on a cellular level, where the red or near-infrared light waves are absorbed by the mitochondria. Mitochondria1 are the responsible for producing energy in our cells, like a powerhouse of the cells.

Similar to photosynthesis, when the cells are stimulated are stimulated by concentrated red or near-infrared light, this stimulates the production of ATP, which is used by the cells for energy2. So in short, if your cells receive the red light, they’re able to function better and more efficiently. Think of it like giving spinach to Popeye.

This increase in cellular energy production is believed to lead to a range of health benefits, including improved skin health, pain relief, muscle recovery, mood enhancement, and improved sleep quality. Red light therapy has also been shown to reduce inflammation, which is a common underlying factor in many health conditions.

Why Red Light Therapy?

There’s been a ton of research that supports red light therapy provides a range of health benefits, which include but aren’t limited to: pain relief, healing scars, better sleep quality, more energy, improved mood, improved hair growth, healthier skin, muscle recovery and much more.

Unlike many conventional treatments, red light therapy is gentle, safe, and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Whether you're looking to address specific health issues or simply enhance your overall quality of life, red light therapy provides a versatile and effective solution with minimal risk of side effects.

Because of these benefits and its few side effects, red light therapy has gained popularity as a recovery technique and it’s a great addition to the routine you’re already using.

How Often Should You Use Red Light Therapy?

In a nutshell, red light therapy is generally safe, non-invasive and has minimal side effects.

To see the full effects of red light therapy consistency is key. But, the optimal amount of red light therapy varies depending on the individual, whatever you want to treat and the device you’re using.

Here are some general guidelines to consider when using red light therapy:

1.Start with low intensity: If you are new to red light therapy, it's important to start with low intensity and gradually increase the time and intensity of your sessions. This will help you adjust to the therapy and reduce the risk of side effects.

2. Follow manufacturer instructions: Each device is different and that’s why it’s important to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

The instructions will include things like recommended duration and frequency of sessions. Don’t skip this step!

3. Avoid overexposure: You may ask, can you have too much of a good thing? Yes, you can get too much of a good thing.

Overexposure to red light therapy can increase the risk of side effects such as skin irritation, eye damage, and fatigue.

So, follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for the duration, intensity and frequency of your sessions.

As always, at the Peak Athletics, we recommend if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking any medications, consult with your doctor before starting red light therapy. And if something doesn’t feel right, or you experience discomfort or any side effect, please stop using red light therapy immediately.

How Long Should You Use Red Light Therapy?

A regular session of red light therapy should last somewhere between 5 to 20 minutes. This will depend on the device you’re using and the specific treatment you’re seeking.

Although clinical trials and research have found red light therapy safe, there’s no reason to do sessions any longer than that (remember, there can be too much of a good thing).

You won’t really see any more benefits beyond the recommended time limits. Simply because there’s only so much light your cells will be able to take in at a given time.

With that said, we also recommend you wait at least 8 hours between each session.

When To Use Red Light Therapy?

Really, you can use red light therapy when you like as part of your recovery and performance routine. However, it’s especially effective if you’re dealing with issues such as skin conditions like acne, wrinkles, fine lines; joint or muscle pain, hair loss, poor sleep, inflammation, scars, stretch marks, eye fatigue, poor vision, general recovery, and a host of other problems.

In short, there’s no bad time to use red light therapy so use it as you see fit!

Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

Yes, red light therapy is generally considered safe when used as directed. Unlike some other forms of light therapy, such as ultraviolet (UV) therapy, red light therapy does not emit harmful radiation that can damage the skin or eyes. The wavelengths of light used in red light therapy are non-ionizing3, meaning they do not carry enough energy to cause cellular damage or mutation.

Additionally, red light therapy is non-invasive and does not involve the use of drugs or chemicals, making it a low-risk treatment option for a wide range of individuals. It is well-tolerated by most people and typically does not cause any significant adverse reactions.

However, as with any medical or wellness treatment, it's essential to follow proper usage guidelines and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns.

While rare, some individuals may experience minor side effects such as temporary skin irritation or eye discomfort, especially if the treatment is not administered correctly.

woman using red light in neck

Is Red Light Therapy The Same As Infrared?

Not really, but they are pretty close.

Both therapies utilise specific wavelengths of light to penetrate the skin and provide various health benefits, but they operate within different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Red light therapy typically uses wavelengths of light in the visible red spectrum, ranging from approximately 630 to 700 nanometers (nm). These wavelengths are readily absorbed by the skin and tissues, where they stimulate cellular activity and promote healing.

In contrast, infrared therapy utilises wavelengths of light that are longer than those used in red light therapy, typically in the near-infrared spectrum. These wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body, reaching tissues and organs at a greater depth. Infrared therapy is often used to generate heat within the body and promote relaxation, detoxification, and pain relief.

They target different depths within the body and may produce distinct physiological responses. Some devices on the market combine both red and near-infrared wavelengths like the FlexBeam to provide a broader range of benefits. This allows users to enjoy the advantages of both therapies in a single treatment session.

Ultimately, whether you choose red light therapy, infrared therapy, or a combination of both will depend on your specific health and recovery goals and preferences. 

What Is Red Light Therapy Best For? The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

There are several benefits that come from red light therapy, which include:

These are just a few of the proven benefits. There are still studies and tests that are delving into the wide range of amazing benefits of red light therapy, so we’re learning more about it every day.

Can Red Light Therapy Cause Hair Loss?

Red light therapy doesn't cause hair loss; in fact, it's quite the opposite. This treatment is actually used to stimulate hair growth9 and improve the health of your hair. It works by boosting blood circulation in the scalp and encouraging the production of new hair follicles.

So, if you're looking to combat hair loss or thinning hair, red light therapy might be a great option for you.

Can Red Light Therapy Damage Eyes?

When used correctly, red light therapy is generally safe for your eyes. However, it's essential to avoid staring directly into the light source, as this could cause eye strain or discomfort.

While red light therapy isn't harmful to your eyes, it's always a good idea to be cautious and protect them during treatment.

Will Red Light Therapy Tighten Skin?

Yes, red light therapy can help tighten and firm your skin. It does this by stimulating the production of collagen4, which is a protein that gives your skin its elasticity and youthful appearance. As collagen levels increase, your skin becomes firmer, smoother, and more radiant.

If you're looking to reduce wrinkles or tighten sagging skin, red light therapy might be just what you need.

What is red light therapy for pain?

Red light therapy is commonly used as a non-invasive treatment for pain relief. It works by reducing inflammation, improving blood circulation, and stimulating cellular repair processes in the body.

This can help alleviate various types of pain12, including muscle soreness, joint pain, and chronic conditions like arthritis. Many people find red light therapy to be a soothing and effective way to manage pain without the need for medication.

man with red light therapy in shoulder

Can I Combine Red Light Therapy with Other Recovery Techniques?

Yes, you can definitely combine red light therapy with other recovery techniques to enhance your overall wellness routine. In fact, integrating red light therapy with complementary therapies like infrared sauna sessions, ice baths, or compression therapy can create a synergistic effect that maximises the benefits of each treatment.

  • Infrared Sauna: Pairing red light therapy with sessions in an infrared sauna can amplify the benefits of both treatments. While the sauna helps to detoxify your body and promote relaxation, red light therapy can penetrate deep into your tissues to stimulate cellular repair and reduce inflammation. Together, they can promote faster recovery, improve circulation, and enhance overall detoxification.
  • Ice Baths: After intense physical activity or exercise, immersing yourself in an ice bath can help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. By combining ice baths with red light therapy, you can further accelerate the recovery process. The cold therapy constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling, while the red light penetrates the skin to promote healing and repair at a cellular level.
  • Compression Therapy: Compression garments, such as sleeves, socks or massage chairs, are often used to improve circulation and reduce swelling in muscles and joints. When used in conjunction with red light therapy, compression therapy can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues while aiding in the removal of metabolic waste products. This combination can speed up recovery, reduce muscle fatigue, and improve overall performance.
  • Stretching and Mobility Exercises: Incorporating stretching and mobility exercises into your routine alongside red light therapy can further support muscle recovery and flexibility. Red light therapy can help alleviate muscle tightness and improve joint function, making it easier to perform stretching exercises effectively. This combination can promote better range of motion, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance athletic performance.

By combining red light therapy with other recovery techniques like infrared sauna sessions, ice baths, compression therapy, and stretching exercises, you can create a comprehensive recovery routine that addresses multiple aspects of recovery and promotes overall health and well-being.

As always, it's essential to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment regimen.

These are most questions about red light therapy we see crop up time and time again. We hope this FAQ demystifies some of the confusion around red light therapy. If you’re ready to see how red light can help your body and mind, then be sure to check out our red light therapy devices collection where we’ve handpicked some of the best equipment and pieces available on the market.

Explore Our Collection of Red Light Therapy Devices:

Ready to try red light therapy and reap its benefits? Explore our selection of red light therapy devices crafted to boost muscle recovery and improve overall wellness.

Whether you're an athlete, fitness lover, or simply want to upgrade your recovery routine, we've got you covered. From compact handheld gadgets to full-body panels, our range offers something for everyone.

Each device is chosen with care to ensure top-notch quality, effectiveness, and user-friendliness. And with our speedy delivery service, you'll have your device in no time, right at your doorstep.

Don't let muscle aches and tiredness slow you down. Start your journey to better recovery and performance today with our red light therapy devices.


1. The role of mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics in ageing and disease. M.D. Brand, A.L. Orr, I.V. Perevoshchikova, and C.L. Quinlan

2. Near-infrared light increases ATP, extends lifespan and improves mobility in aged Drosophila melanogaster, Rana Begum, Karin Calaza, Jaimie Hoh Kam, Thomas E. Salt, Chris Hogg, and Glen Jeffery

3. Biological effects and medical applications of infrared radiation, Shang-Ru Tsai, PhD and Michael R Hamblin, PhD

4. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Alexander Wunschcor responding author and Karsten Matuschka

5. Effects of red light on sleep and mood in healthy subjects and individuals with insomnia disorder. Rong Pan 1, Guimei Zhang 2, Fangyi Deng 2, Weifeng Lin 3, Jiyang Pan

6. The Influence of Red Light Exposure at Night on Circadian Metabolism and Physiology in Sprague–Dawley Rats, Robert T Dauchy

7. Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial
George D Gale, MBBS FRCA FRCPC DAAPM,1 Peter J Rothbart, MD FRCPC,1 and Ye Li2 

8. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation, Michael R Hamblin 

9. The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males, Raymond J Lanzafame 1, Raymond R Blanche, Adam B Bodian, Richard P Chiacchierini, Adolfo Fernandez-Obregon, Eric R Kazmirek

10. Near Infrared (NIR) Light Therapy of Eye Diseases: A Review
Qin Zhu, Shuyuan Xiao, Zhijuan Hua, Dongmei Yang, Min Hu, Ying-Ting Zhu, and Hua Zhong

11. Low-Level Laser Therapy for Fat Layer Reduction: A Comprehensive Review, Pinar Avci, MD, Theodore T. Nyame, MD, Gaurav K. Gupta, MD, PhD, Magesh Sadasivam, MTech, and Michael R. Hamblin

12. Effects of Linear-Polarized Near-Infrared Light Irradiation on Chronic Pain. Dong Huang,1Yong-Hong Gu,2Qin Liao,1Xue-Bin Yan,1Shai-Hong Zhu,3and Chang-Qing Gao

Further Reading:

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