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The Science of Red LED Light Therapy: Proven Benefits

The benefits of red LED light therapy are famous for skin conditions, pain relief, and aging. Seek guidance from a professional to use it safely and effectively. Follow recommended guidelines and incorporate them into a regular self-care routine for best results.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBMT), uses the power of light to stimulate energy production and healing within cells. Unlike many one-size-fits-all approaches to therapy, red light therapy is a highly customizable and personalized treatment. This dose-dependent procedure improves your body’s response with every session. A consistent treatment schedule provides the best results.

How Often to Use RLT

Many patients wonder how often they should use a red light therapy bed. The answer is – it depends. Some people require frequent sessions, while others can get by with treatment now and then. Most get good results with a 15-minute session, 3-5 times weekly for several months. The frequency you use a red light therapy bed also depends on the severity of the condition you want to treat, your age and overall health, and your sensitivity to light.

Because everyone is different, starting slow and attending frequent sessions is wiser. You may want to start with a 10-minute session every other day for the first week. If you experience temporary redness or tightness, decrease your therapy time. If you do not experience redness or tightness, you can extend your daily therapy time to 15 to 20 minutes.

Healing occurs at the cellular level, and cells require time to heal and regenerate. Red light therapy starts to work immediately, and the results only get better with each session. Improvement for long-term problems is usually noticeable after 8 to 12 weeks of consistent use.

Maintaining RLT Results

As with other treatments, the results of red light therapy are long-lasting, but they are not always permanent. This is especially true for skin conditions, as new skin cells replace old treated skin cells rather quickly. Using red light therapy and other treatments for a long time provides better results, but patients are sometimes reluctant to comply with long-term treatment plans.

Healthcare providers can often help clients stick to a treatment plan by combining red light therapy with other treatments. Getting two or more treatments in each visit allows clients to save valuable time and enjoy better results. Clients are also encouraged by the fact that red light therapy is safe – because it does not harm the skin or the underlying tissue, there is virtually no risk of overdoing it. What’s more, drug-free treatment rarely has any side effects.

Red LED Light Therapy Benefits for Specific Conditions:

General skin care and anti-aging therapy

If you use red LED light therapy to improve your skin tone, minimize the visible signs of aging, and heal sun damage, you can expect to undergo red light therapy in 10- to 20-minute sessions, 3 to 5 times each week, for one to four months.

Red LED light therapy benefits include increasing the production and density of collagen, a protein that is the main building block for skin, hair, muscles, and connective tissue. Collagen also provides the elasticity that keeps skin from sagging. Improving the production and density of collagen with red light therapy eliminates fine lines and wrinkles and clears up other skin issues.

Early red LED light therapy benefits help to improve skin tone and overall health; maintenance therapy using shorter and less frequent red light therapy sessions ensures long-lasting results.


Keep Learning: How to Prepare Your Skin for Red Light Therapy


Muscle healing

Exercise can cause sore muscles, especially if you are not used to working out. Lifting something heavy or performing high-intensity activities can cause microscopic tears in your muscles. When your muscles repair themselves, they get more extensive and more robust. In some cases, serious muscle injury can occur after excessively strenuous exercise.

Red light therapy immediately before exercise can precondition your muscles and prevent significant injury. You can also bathe your muscles in red light for 10 to 20 minutes after exercising to accelerate recovery. Using a maintenance program of light therapy before and after routine exercise can optimize the effects of your workout.

Hair growth

Combining red light and near-infrared light for 10 to 20 minutes, three to five times a week, can stimulate hair follicles to reduce hair loss. After one to four months, you can reduce the sessions to one to four times weekly to maintain hair growth.

Arthritis and joint pain

A 15-minute red light therapy session twice a day can help alleviate joint pain and arthritis. Depending on your pain level, you may continue with twice-daily sessions to treat severe chronic pain or undergo shorter, less frequent sessions for minor pain.

Chronic skin disorders

Red LED light therapy can treat rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other chronic skin conditions. The treatment can also reduce the appearance of skin wounds, stretch marks, and mild scars. Sessions should last 10 to 20 minutes, occur thrice a week, and continue for one to four months. Maintenance programs can help keep chronic skin conditions and deeper scars under control.

For more information about the red LED light therapy benefits, consult your healthcare professional, trainer, therapist, or provider.

Related topics:

Red Light Therapy for Hair Growth: A Comprehensive Guide

Pros and Cons of Red Light Therapy

What is LED Light Therapy?


This article was originally published September 14, 2021, and was last updated August 14, 2023.

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