Are you interested in red light therapy but want a device that’s wearable and great for travel? If that’s the case, you may be considering a red light therapy belt.
Do they work? Do they deliver the same results as larger red light therapy panels?
In the following sections we take a deeper dive into red light therapy belts and explore whether they actually work or are really just a fad.
What are RLT Belts?
Red light therapy belts are, self-explanatorily, belts tied around the waist and as such are another form of red light therapy device, although they can also be tied around other parts of the body.
RLT belts have LEDs that shine red and near infrared (NIR) light onto bare skin. Some belts give you the option of choosing either red light or NIR light, or a combination of both.
The belts are designed to be placed around the waist. They are primarily intended to treat the abdomen and low back.
Red light therapy belts are said to help with the following:
- Wound healing
- Tissue repair
- Weight loss
You can also place the belt anywhere on your body to treat a localized condition such as around your quads or knees to treat muscle soreness or joint pain.
Can Red Light Therapy Belts Help with Weight Loss?
One of the more popular benefits of red light therapy is that it may assist with weight loss when combined with a healthy lifestyle.
However, ideal treatment will come by using a far more intense red light therapy panel that can give you full body treatment in multiple wavelenghts.
Here are a few of the benefits of using red light therapy, although an RLT belt may not always be the best option.
Better Cellular Metabolism
RLT panel treatment energizes the mitochondria in your cells so that they function better. One of the main benefits of red light therapy is improved metabolism both at the cellular level and the body as a whole. A faster metabolism helps you shed excess fat naturally.
Red light therapy helps treat chronic inflammation that may be causing weight gain. There is a direct link between chronic inflammation and weight gain, and the two can make each other worse. Removing inflammation can help the body “reset” and function more normally.
Increased Muscle Mass
Red light also helps increase muscle mass. More muscle mass leads to a faster metabolism, and weight loss.
A reduction in cellulite is one of the benefits of light therapy. Red light is absorbed into fat cells, where it causes temporary perforations that allow lipids (fats) to leak out into the body cavity, where they are expelled.
The appearance of cellulite also comes from more collagen production which gives the skin a firmer texture that is less prone to dimpling.
Do red light belts have this effect?
You may experience some weight loss effects, but they won’t be as fast as you can expect with larger more powerful light therapy panels.
Wearable red light therapy devices are thin, which means the components can’t be as heavy duty or powerful as those found in panels. You may need to be patient to see results.
Red Light Therapy Belts: Further Research Conclusions
Red light therapy itself has been well studied over the past several decades with hundreds of studies revealing its numerous uses, although there is limited research on red light therapy belts.
In ony study, red light therapy belts were found to reduce pain in pregnant women. However, there is also limited research on whether it's a good idea to use red light therapy while pregnant.
Since many hormones are produced in the gut, an RLT belt can potentially help balance hormones while wearing it for weight loss. In fact, balanced hormones can contribute to naturally shedding excess weight.
You can also place the belt over your throat and treat the thyroid. Of course, treating any hormonal imbalance issues should be done under a doctor’s supervision.
At this point, rather than repurpose the device, it may make sense instead to use a red light therapy panel that can stimulate the mitochondria with full body treatment that could also have sympathetic benefits for the thyroid.
Here are some of the potential benefits of using a red light therapy belt (although little research exists at this point):
- Ease lower back pain
- Treat osteoarthritis pain
- Potential for weight loss
- Balance hormones
Other scientifically validated uses for red light therapy include hair regrowth, neuropathy pain, psoriasis, anti-aging, and acne. However, belts aren’t practical in these cases. They are best used for targeted applications.
How to Use RLT Belts
Belts are designed to be wrapped around the torso. They can also be placed almost anywhere on the body if you have a specific area you’d like to treat.
They are intended to be in contact with the skin. Be sure not to block the light with sunscreen, lotions, or clothing.
If the belt comes with a timer, set it for the desired time. Start with short 2-3 minute sessions and work up to a maximum of 20 minutes.
Since the treatment works on a cellular level, it’s better to do short, regular sessions daily or 3-5 times a week so that you “feed” your cells regularly with light.
You may feel a pleasant warmth while using the belt, but the light itself does not cause the tissues to heat up.
Possible Side Effects and Downsides to RLT Belts
Most of the issues that people have with red light therapy are due to overuse.
While RLT use is almost entirely free of side effects, some people could experience redness and tightness after a treatment session. Start slowly to make sure you aren’t sensitive to the treatment and gradually work up to longer sessions.
Beyond 20 minutes (in a single session), you’ll experience diminishing returns because your body can only absorb a certain amount of light at once. This is why shorter, regular sessions are more useful.
One of the downsides to battery-operated RLT belts is that as the battery wears down, the device won’t emit the same amount of light energy. Keep the batteries charged and do short treatments sessions for best results.
Red light therapy is often used to treat wounds. However, RLT belts are made to be in direct contact with the skin. You don’t want to place the device directly on an open wound. Holding the belt close can work, but that defeats the purpose of a wearable device.
Are Red Light Therapy Panels Preferable to RLT Belts?
In general, red light therapy panels will deliver better results than RLT belts.
Panels are larger, allowing you to treat your entire body in one session if you’d like. This can be useful for widespread skin conditions, chronic inflammation, or overall health.
Some panels such as the BIOMAX series also feature blue and far infrared wavelengths, which increase your treatment options. Blue light treats bacteria on the skin which is beneficial in treating acne or wounds.
If you travel often, want to bring a red light therapy device along, and you’re only treating a small area such as your low back, then an RLT belt is a practical choice. But if you want to keep up with anti-aging treatments or enjoy the benefits of hands-free no-contact treatment, a smaller panel such as the BIOMAX 300 could be a better choice.
Alternative Natural Health Strategies
As we’ve mentioned, you’ll get the best weight loss results if you combine red light therapy with a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some additional alternative ways to lose excess fat, without crazy diets, pills, or even feelings of deprivation.
One often-neglected element of weight loss is to drink plenty of water: not sodas, not juice, just plain water. You can give sparkling water a bit of flavor by adding a few drops of lemon or lime juice. Staying hydrated helps your metabolism work at its best and helps prevent “hunger” pangs (which are similar to thirst).
Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods
Hunger isn’t always what you think it is. It’s not always your body’s way of saying “more food please.” Often, it is your body’s way of asking for specific nutrients, not calories. Choose nutrient-dense foods like whole vegetables, organic meats, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and fruits rather than fruit juice.
Cut the Sugar
Americans eat an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugar each day according to the American Heart Association so this is the fastest and best way to jump-start weight loss. Sugar is empty calories. But worse, it promotes inflammation which can lead to weight gain. Once you get used to not having sugar, most processed foods will taste unbearably sweet and you’ll be on the road to choosing more nutrient-dense foods.
Eat Protein for Breakfast
Most Americans eat plenty of protein, but not when it matters. Many people eat a high-carb breakfast which leaves them hungry just a few hours later. Eating a high-protein breakfast will help slow the absorption of carbohydrates and keep you full longer.
If you must snack between meals, choose a handful of nuts or seeds. The high fat content will satisfy you and keep you from reaching for sugary snacks.
Avoid Emotional Eating
It’s too easy to overeat when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. Instead, distract yourself with a pleasurable activity like a hobby.
Red Light Therapy with the BIOMAX Series
While RLT belts have their place, you will get better and faster results with a panel. Panels give you more treatment versatility from targeted applications to whole-body wellness.
The BIOMAX series panels come in four sizes. They are modular, which allows you to link up to four panels together to increase light energy output and treatment area.
And, BIOMAX panels feature a much broader array of beneficial light wavelengths than belts. This array is designed to give you the most comprehensive treatment options from skin concerns to deep-tissue healing.