Red light therapy (RLT) has increased in popularity in the past few years as an important part of a natural wellness routine.
To optimize your results, you’ll want to follow some guidelines. These will apply whether you are seeking treatment at a wellness center or home.
Read on to learn more about how to use red light therapy!
Red Light Therapy at Home
Until recently, red light therapy was only available in clinical settings. The first generation of red light therapy devices were basically the size of tanning beds and were therefore impractical and too expensive for most consumers as home devices.
However, in recent years, there has been massive growth in the red light therapy panel market. This has been good in that it has made RLT panels much more convenient and affordable. This has made it easier to make red light therapy a part of your daily routine. However, it has also resulted in the development of numerous devices that may not be as advertised.
Before making a purchase, it’s important to double-check that your RLT device actually provides therapeutic wavelengths. There are hundreds of new brands offering RLT devices now, some of which are as basic as simply projecting red-colored light.
The BIOMAX Series offers therapeutic wavelengths that mix together for optimal treatment. Included in these are 630nm, 660nm, 810nm, 830nm, and 850nm, and 1060nm, along with traces of blue at 480nm. These are scientifically validated to stimulate the mitochondria for optimal results.
Home red light treatment remains the most affordable and convenient way to get daily doses of mitochondria stimulation.
In the next section, we look more closely at home to use red light therapy devices.
How to Use a Red Light Therapy Device
The following guidelines apply whether you are taking red light treatments in a clinical setting or at home.
Be consistent: Consistency is the most important part of red light therapy. Think of it as “feeding” your cells every day.
You can take a red light treatment daily. Plan on at least 3-5 sessions per week until your condition clears up. Ongoing treatments may be necessary to prevent flare-ups of chronic conditions.
The need for consistency is one reason people prefer at-home treatments.
Treat clean, bare skin: The treatment area should be clean and free of any oils or lotions that could inhibit light absorption. This is why many people like to take the treatment immediately after showering. Clothing will block light, so make sure to apply the light to bare skin.
How to Use Red Light Therapy Panels
Consider proximity: Sit or stand 6-12” from the panel. The closer you are, the more intense the light but this will also decrease the treatment area. If you are using a smaller device such as a belt, mask, wand, or pad, you’ll need to reposition the device several times if you’re treating a larger area.
Timing: You can take a red light treatment any time of day, however it’s recommended you take the treatment a couple of hours before bed. While it feels soothing, the brightness of the device could actually energize you. Studies have shown that any kind of bright light before bed can energize you.
Wear light-blocking goggles during the treatment. Although the light won’t harm your eyes, it’s very intense and can cause eye strain.
How To Use Alternative RLT Devices
Although their effectiveness is in question, consumers may be interested in devices like red light therapy wands, masks, etc. to provide targeted treatment.
For the most part, the same treatment guidelines would apply to these devices. Wands may be used by holding the device near the area that the user intends to focus treatment on, although optimal treatment, even for targeted areas, usually takes place with maximum skin surface area exposure to RLT diodes.
With wands, some companies recommend circulating a very small device on different parts of the skin. These devices are similarly recommended to be used for 15-20 minutes per day.
There are also a few treatment recommendations for using masks. Before treatment, users should dry their faces. They should also not apply sunblock or have any other sort of topical product on the skin during treatment. Specific guidelines may vary depending on the device, but generally RLT masks are used for 10-20 minutes three to five times per week. However, users should also take a look at the specific guidelines provided by the manufacturer as well as checking with a doctor, if they have any doubts.
In the following section, we provide some additional guidance about what to avoid when using an RLT device.
Common Mistakes While Using RLT Devices
Most problems associated with red light therapy are related to overuse. Although going overboard with treatment is not recommended, the side effects of doing so are mild at most.
The main reason we have usage recommendations is simply because after 20 minutes of daily use, the returns are vastly diminishing. The cells are only capable of absorbing a finite amount of light photons at a time.
Overusing red light therapy can result in skin tightness or redness, but there are only minimal side effects.
The treatment works on a cellular level and tissue repair/regeneration happens on its own schedule that can be accelerated with red light therapy, but only to a certain degree.
Here are some things to avoid:
Inconsistency: Just as you wouldn’t work out once or twice a month and expect to gain strength, infrequent red light treatments aren’t as effective as regular sessions. A few minutes every day is more effective than a long session once in a while.
Don’t overdo it… but don’t do too little: Aim for 5-20 minute daily sessions (or 3-5 times a week). You can also do short sessions several times a day, such as before and after a workout.
Don’t block the light: Clothing, sunscreen, and skin care products like makeup or moisturizers can block the light.
The wrong distance: unless you’re using a small device that’s intended to be in direct contact with your skin (like a mask or belt), sit about 6-12” from the device for maximum power but a smaller treatment area; and up to 36” away for maximum coverage but less intensity.
Dehydration: drinking enough water during the day is a good idea, and especially when you’re doing red light therapy since the water in hydrated cells helps enhance cellular metabolism.
Using the wrong device: small devices can be great at treating aging or arthritis in the hands, but they are ineffective at treating widespread conditions.
Expecting instant results: red light therapy works at the cellular level. Consistency and time are required to give your body time to heal. Give it time! Take progress pictures, but relax and enjoy the experience since optimal results could take several months to appear.
Expecting red light to do everything: the treatment is best when paired with other therapies and/or drugs. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about using red light as part of a treatment program.
Sleeping “with the lights on.” Do not sleep with your red light therapy device, whether it’s a full panel or a red light therapy mask. The light intensity can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.
Conditions You Can Treat with Red Light Therapy
For the past several decades, red light therapy has exploded in popularity, partly due to the many health conditions it can help treat.
One of the most powerful ways red light therapy can stimulate and support healing is by reducing inflammation. Reducing inflammation is the first step in managing pain, reducing skin redness, wound healing, and even reversing signs of aging.
Another way this all natural treatment supports health is by increasing energy production within the individual cells. Just like you can’t perform at your best when you’re feeling depleted, neither can your cells. Boosting energy production will have a beneficial ripple effect on the treatment area and beyond.
These two main benefits, along with increased blood circulation and increased collagen production, can help with a host of health conditions.
Wound healing: Accelerate wound healing with red light therapy. Its ability to promote tissue healing and regeneration can help heal surgical wounds, burns, cuts, abrasions, oral wounds, connective tissue damage, and even bone breaks.
Athletic performance, muscle recovery, and sports injuries: Regular red light treatments could lead to improvements in performance as well as faster muscle recovery. RLT can also speed up healing of sports injuries to get you back on your feet and playing your sport sooner.
Anti-aging and skin care: Perhaps best known for its anti-aging effects, red light therapy boosts collagen and elastin production and helps mitigate the effects of chronic inflammation and sun damage to improve skin texture and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Other Uses for Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy can be used before chemotherapy or radiation to help mitigate side effects of cancer treatment.
It can also be used to regrow hair, help you lose weight, and even improve brain health.
These are just a few of the conditions you can treat successfully with red light therapy.
The Learning Center has a wealth of information on conditions where red light therapy has been clinically proven to have beneficial effects.
It’s important to note that not every light therapy device is suitable for treating a variety of conditions. Large RLT devices are the ideal choice to treat full-body conditions. Devices that emit near infrared light as well as red light are necessary for deep-tissue treatments.
How Long Does RLT Take to Work?
Most conditions require more than one treatment. Most scientific studies on red light therapy used 3-5 treatments per week for several weeks, and show that improvements continued with consistent use.
How long red light treatment takes to work depends on the condition and its severity, as well as your overall health. You may experience immediate relief for some conditions, or you may need to wait several months while the treatment does its work behind the scenes.
The duration of the treatment also depends on the size and light energy output of the device you’re using. Large, powerful devices can yield faster results than small handheld devices.
Are there Side Effects of Red Light Therapy?
When used as directed, most people don’t experience any side effects. Some people may feel tightness and notice temporary redness in the treated area. This is likely due to increased blood flow to the area.
Red light therapy is painless, non-invasive. You may feel a mild warmth during treatment, but red light therapy will not cause burns because it does not contain ultraviolet (UV) light.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology stated: “We determined that phototherapy using LEDs is beneficial for a range of medical and aesthetic conditions encountered in the dermatology practice. This treatment displays an excellent safety profile.”
Do not use red light therapy without your doctor’s consent if you are pregnant or if you are taking any photosensitizing drugs like Tetracycline or Retin-A.
What about long-term safety? Most studies are short both in treatment times and study duration, but longer studies or those with follow-ups showed that even long-term use was free of adverse effects.
Red Light Therapy with the BIOMAX Series
For a medical-grade red light therapy device you can use in the comfort of home, look no further than the BIOMAX series. Several sizes give you plenty of options for treating your most pressing health concerns.
The BIOMAX RLT panels feature red, near infrared, and blue wavelengths to give you the most comprehensive treatment using scientifically validated wavelengths.