How Much Does Red Light Therapy Cost?
Several thousand studies and clinical trials have confirmed that red light therapy can successfully treat a wide variety of conditions and disorders.
Often, people receive red light treatments at wellness clinics, a dermatologist’s office, a chiropractor’s office, spa, or fitness center. Depending on the condition being treated several weekly sessions for periods of at least a month are often required, and many conditions benefit from ongoing maintenance treatment. Over time, this gets expensive, which can make the cost of red light therapy prohibitive for many people.
But that does not mean you have to forego this incredible treatment method. On the contrary, by purchasing your own red light device and self-treating at home, you could save a lot of money … and probably even enjoy the treatment more.
In this article we’ll explore the benefits of red light, treatment protocols for common conditions, and how you can save money and get (and keep) great results in the comfort of your own home, with no side-effects and no trying to fit it into your schedule.
How and Why Red Light Therapy Works
If you’re already familiar with red light therapy and how it works, or you don’t feel like deep-diving into the details right now, you can skip this section. Suffice it to say that red light therapy works at the cellular level, and therefore needs time to deliver the best results.
Red light therapy, which is also known as photobiomodulation or low-level light therapy (LLLT), works by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes at the cellular level. It uses LED bulbs to shine concentrated red and near-infrared (NIR) light onto bare skin. The light photons soak into tissues in and beneath the skin, and stimulate energy-producing “organelles” known as mitochondria inside cells. This leads to a ripple effect throughout the body that has innumerable and widespread health benefits.
Safe and natural red light therapy is based on the ancient knowledge of the sun’s healing properties. Scientists have long known that various wavelengths of light present in sunlight have certain specific effects on the human body. Blue light, for example, is energizing, which is why the use of blue light-emitting devices in the evening can contribute to insomnia. In contrast, green light has a soothing, calming effect on the body, and has been found to reduce the pain of migraine headaches.
Wavelengths of light are measured in nanometers (nm), and the longer wavelengths are, the deeper they penetrate into the body. Of the visible light wavelengths, research has shown that red light (630nm to 660 nm) and NIR light (810nm to 850nm) have the most scientifically validated benefits for the human body.
One of the most important aspects of red light is that unlike many medications or treatments, it doesn’t just treat (or mask) symptoms. It works at the cellular level to address the root cause of the condition(s) being treated, which makes it a long-term solution.
Thousands of studies conducted over the past three decades have confirmed the efficacy of red light therapy. Although it should not be considered a cure for any condition, there have been innumerable reports of people who’ve seen relief and remission of symptoms after being treated with it. Best of all, you get great results without any painful invasive procedures, discomfort, or potentially harmful drugs.
Red Light Boosts Energy and Reduced Inflammation
Over the years, scientists have made many important discoveries about red light therapy and its ability to promote healing. Two of the most profound findings have been around red light’s effect on mitochondria, which boosts cellular energy; and its ability to heal inflammation.
This is profound because research has also shown that mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic inflammation are primary causes and/or contributing factors to a number of conditions and diseases. Moreover, mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the development of severe chronic inflammatory disorders.
Mitochondrial dysfunction refers to low-energy cells that are so weak they are barely surviving. These cells are highly vulnerable to infection, are slow to heal, and are not able to replicate successfully. Also, mitochondrial dysfunction hinders cell signaling, which interferes with cells’ ability to detect and respond to what’s going on around them.
Proper signaling helps cells to collectively carry out tasks they couldn’t do on their own. For example, wound healing depends on information that tells newly formed cells where to position themselves to restore the correct structure of damaged skin, muscle, connective tissue, or bone. A dysfunctional cell that doesn’t have the energy to communicate effectively with its neighbors and perform its tasks will weaken the body's ability to function.
Red light therapy reverses mitochondrial dysfunction by boosting energy production in cells within the treated area. At the same time, it reduces chronic inflammation. Although research has shown numerous benefits for health and wellbeing as a result of red light therapy, these two effects alone are key to enhancing cells’ ability to optimally perform their functions.
Since cells are continually renewing, both existing and new cells need to be supported on an ongoing basis.
Use Red Light Therapy for a Wide Range of Applications
In this section we’ll cover the most popular uses for red light therapy, and more importantly, how often you should apply red light for best results.
For most conditions, it’s recommended that you jump-start the healing process with three to five sessions per week, each lasting 10 to 20 minutes, for an initial one- to four-month period.
Depending on the condition, you could start to see results within three weeks. During this period of time cells will be energized, inflammation will be reduced, healthy new cells will begin forming, newly formed capillaries will carry oxygen and nutrients to tissues, and collagen and elastin production will increase.
Once you start to see improvement, you may want to continue the therapy for an additional two to three weeks to make sure acute conditions like muscle strains are fully healed.
For chronic conditions, ongoing sessions one to two times per week will help you maintain and enhance the results you achieved during your initial treatment.
For more details about how often to use red light therapy, visit the PlatinumLED blog.
As the outer barrier between you and the environment, your skin takes a beating. It is damaged by environmental factors such as overexposure to sunlight, pollution, and pathogens; internal factors like poor nutrition; and by chronic stress, which affects nearly everyone at some point. These and other factors can damage telomeres, which are the caps at the ends of DNA strands that protect chromosomes. Damage to telomeres leads to premature cell death and accelerated aging.
No topical skin-care products address skin health at the cellular level. Red light therapy does, without the risk of side-effects. You may see firmer skin and fewer fine lines and wrinkles as quickly as three weeks, but it is ongoing maintenance that can reverse the clock.
Psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other chronic skin conditions are currently considered incurable. Treating chronic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction as well as improving the health of newly formed skin cells can push these disorders into remission.
Maintain regular red light sessions indefinitely to prevent the conditions from coming back. Because the therapy is painless and pleasurable, it can easily become a regular part of your daily self-care routine—without the cost and hassle of professional office visits.
Hair loss is a frustrating, often embarrassing condition that involves the inability to replace lost hair due to hair follicles going dormant. While this can occur for many reasons, invigorating these tube-like formations where hair forms can stimulate new hair growth.
Red light penetrates the skin and increases blood flow to the hair follicles. It also stimulates energy production in cells and the production of collagen, which acts as an antioxidant that helps protect hair follicles from oxidative stress.
Ongoing therapy will gradually regrow hair and can help prevent abnormal hair loss over time. As dermatologist Mark S. Nestor writes in a January 2020 article published in Practical Dermatology: “Clinicians and patients are just beginning to understand that LLLT can help retain hair that would otherwise be lost as well as grow new hair.”
Elite athletes and weekend warriors alike are embracing red light therapy as a way to promote faster recovery from exercise or injury, avoid delayed-onset muscle soreness, and enjoy better physical performance.
The synergistic combination of increased blood flow, reduced inflammation, and improved cellular functioning helps the muscles perform at their peak and bounce back quicker after intense exercise or injury.
For treating acute conditions like muscle pulls, apply the therapy until the pain and inflammation are relieved. As a preventive measure, LED light therapy before exercise on an ongoing basis can maintain optimal muscle functioning and prevent injury.
Nervous System Health
One of the most promising applications for red light therapy is treating disorders of the nervous system, such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This debilitating condition responds well to red light therapy, which promotes nerve health and sets up the optimal conditions for damaged nerves to reconnect. In an interview published online, noted photobiomodulation expert Dr. Michael Hamblin, who is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, states: “If you put the light on the head, it can help to remodel the brain pathways.”
Nerve cells don't all regenerate at once, so an ongoing treatment protocol is usually necessary for long-term success.
Low Back Pain
Acute or chronic low back pain affects millions of adults. As with other conditions, red light therapy treats the underlying cause of chronic pain: the inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction. It also helps the body heal from acute back pain due to awkward lifting or other injury.
A short-term treatment may be sufficient to relieve the pain of an acute injury. If you have chronic low back pain, you may experience significant relief within a few weeks and your back will continue to feel better with consistent use.
Once you resume normal activities, using red light before exercise or strenuous activity can precondition your lower back muscles to reduce the chances of recurring injury.
Red light reduces arthritis inflammation to help slow or potentially reverse the degeneration of the joints. It also increases collagen production to help joints stay supple, and increases blood flow for better waste disposal and nutrient delivery. Several studies show that red light eases osteoarthritis pain and it’s a safe therapy for long-term treatment.
Depending on the severity of your arthritis, you may want to consider maintenance red light therapy three or more times weekly after initial symptoms have eased.
It may seem far-fetched that red light can actually help “melt” fat, but it does—literally. Red light causes fat cells to leak their contents (lipids, or fat) which are then flushed from the system.
The fat loss effects of red light were demonstrated in a 2002 study, during which a team of medical researchers observed that, “After 4 minutes of laser exposure, 80 percent of the fat was released from the [fat] cells; at 6 minutes of laser exposure, 99 percent of the fat was released.”
While that study used low-level lasers specifically, the medical field has since moved almost completely to using LED lights. Compared to lasers, LEDs provide the same therapeutic benefits without any danger or burn risk.
While fat loss can be fast and dramatic when using light therapy, you’ll get the best results from a maintenance program that helps the body stay in a fat-burning mode.
This is a very short list of the many effects red light has on the body. For more ways this all-natural therapy can enhance your health, visit the PlatinumLED blog.
Cost of Red Light Therapy in a Clinic
When you go to a clinic to treat a chronic skin condition, low back pain, or muscle strains, you may be shocked at the long-term cost of red light therapy.
Depending on where you go (aesthetician, doctor’s office, spa, dermatologist, physical therapist, etc.) a single 10- to 15-minute red light treatment could range from $25 to $200. In some instances this includes complementary treatments such as microneedling, facials, or massage, but not always.
As mentioned earlier, your initial treatments could be anywhere from three to five times per week for a period of one to four months. For chronic conditions, add maintenance sessions one to two times per week indefinitely.
When you add up the time commitment, commuting expenses, and the therapy itself, you’ll see that this is not a feasible long-term solution for most people.
Thankfully, there’s a great option: treating yourself at home using a high-quality LED panel.
Cost of Red Light Therapy When You Own a Panel
LED therapy doesn’t necessarily have to involve commuting to a clinic several times a week. But before you go out and grab an inexpensive handheld red light wand from Amazon, learn some facts about the various devices.
If you want results like you would get from a healthcare professional, you’ll want to invest in a red light device that has high light energy output and the right wavelengths.
The initial investment in a high-quality LED device may be smaller than you think.
- PlatinumLED’s most affordable and compact BIO 300 panel, which allows you the choice of red (660nm), near-infrared (850nm) or a combination of the two wavelengths, is just $369. If you were to get in-clinic treatments at $25/session, it would pay for itself in just under 15 sessions … or about a month’s worth of red light therapy.
- Our most powerful full-body panel on the market, the BIOMAX 900 panel, gives you a five-wavelength patented spectrum of red and NIR light for the most synergistic approach to red light therapy. At $1,149, this panel pays for itself in just 46 sessions. If you’re treating a chronic condition or want to experience full-body benefits, this is a small but mighty investment in your wellbeing.
The bottom line: Over the long term, high-quality LED devices will pay for themselves many times over.
What to Expect During a Treatment: Professional vs. Home
Getting red light treatments at home or at a clinic are virtually the same even if the devices are different.
Prepping for in-clinic sessions involves removing all skin care products like lotions and makeup, commuting to the facility, the whole “I’m here for my appointment” process, setting aside at least 20 minutes for the treatment, and then more commuting. Multiply that by three to five sessions per week and the time commitment alone is significant.
At the clinic, your provider will ask you to undress for a full-body treatment, or remove clothing from a small area if you’re getting spot-treatment. You will be asked to wear protective goggles during the session; if you are using red light for eye health (which is highly effective), this should be done or supervised closely by an ophthalmologist.
Prepping for at-home sessions is the same, except … no commute, no waiting, no appointment process, no hassles. Since you’re in the comfort of your own home, you can feel comfortable undressing for a full-body treatment, and you can listen to the music you enjoy as you bask in the soft red glow of the LED device.
At-Home Treatments: Affordability + Outstanding Results
While some conditions should be treated by a healthcare professional, you can take over your treatments at home using a quality high-output LED panel that delivers clinical-level light energy.
And if you just want to look and feel younger, red light is the perfect way to achieve the vitality of youth in the comfort of your own home.
For more info on using red light at home, check out this blog post titled, “The Complete Guide to Using Red Light Therapy at Home.”