10 Most Common Questions About Red Light Therapy (Updated 2023)
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.
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. Mitochondria 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 energy. 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.
Because of these benefits and its few side effects, red light therapy has gained popularity as a biohacking 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 4 to 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 biohacking 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?
Research gives a resounding yes, as long as you follow directions and only use it in short bursts.
There are no reported negative side effects, it doesn’t cause skin damage, or anything else. It’s different from UV light, which can cause skin cancer because that’s high-energy light that causes damage to the cells and your DNA.
Red light is low energy and more tolerable. But, you should always consult with your doctor, dermatologist, or other medical professionals if you have any concerns or problems when using red light therapy.
Is Red Light Therapy The Same As Infrared?
Not really, but they are pretty close.
The biggest difference is that red light is part of the visible light spectrum so you can see it with your eyes. On the flip side, infrared is not visible, but we can typically feel it on our bodies as heat. Since infrared is a lower energy form of light, it has different benefits than visible red light.
You can also combine both, red light and infrared light and take your biohacking routine to the next level.
Want to notch up your biohacking routine? Combine both red and infrared light!
What Are 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 I Combine Red Light Therapy with Other Biohacking Techniques?
Absolutely, you can!
In fact, some of your biohacking techniques will work better when combined with red light therapy.
Whether you want to boost your recovery and performance, improve your sleep, or enhance your skin health, red light therapy pairs perfectly with ice baths and infrared saunas for example.
So, go ahead, give it a go! Experiment with different biohacking routines and find the one that works best for you.
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.