What is Red Light Therapy? Essential Information

What is Red Light Therapy? Essential Information


Red light therapy is a natural treatment method for healing and enhanced wellness, discovered by NASA and verified by numerous clinical research trials. 

Treatment involves shining therapeutic wavelengths of light onto the skin via LEDs. As the light absorbs into the skin, it provides healing at a cellular level by stimulating the mitochonria.

This painless and non-invasive treatment is used for a variety of cosmetic and medical conditions, such as tissue repair, pain relief, and the reduction of inflammation. 

In the following sections, we provide key information about red light therapy published by medical researchers to help potential users decide whether this affordable, home treatment may be right for them.


What Is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a therapeutic treatment in which the surface of the skin is exposed to R+ and NIR+ wavelengths that energize the mitochondria to stimulate better health.

The delivery methods for red light therapy vary widely, including beds, panels, wands, masks, belts, and more. Optimal treatment generally results from maximum skin exposure to intense wavelengths and for 15-20 minutes per day.

The high preference for maximum skin exposure is why PlatinumLED chose to focus specifically on RLT panels as a treatment delivery method.  

For red light therapy to actually work, the light emitted from the device needs to be calibrated to specific therapeutic wavelengths, which is to say that ordinary red light bulbs would have no benefit. 

In the case of PlatinumLED, which has won Best RLT Panel of 2024 in some estimations, the most benefitial wavelengths integrated include 480nm, 630nm, 660, 810nm, 830nm, 850nm, and 1060nm.    

Red light therapy is safe to use due to its being non-invasive, and the light does not generate heat in the cells. Red and NIR light photons have clinically proven positive effects on the body’s tissues, and no adverse side effects have been reported.

Check out this video review to see how the BIOMAX Series panels measure up against the other top red light therapy panels on the market:




How Red Light Therapy Works

Inside cells are tiny organelles called mitochondria, which are responsible for producing cellular fuel known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Sometimes, for a multitude of reasons (aging, illness, lifestyle, etc.) the mitochondria may not be able to produce enough ATP. 

When that happens, cells struggle to survive, rather than being able to function optimally or effectively repair or regenerate themselves. This mitochondrial dysfunction, as it is known, can snowball, as depleted cells in one bodily system cause a ripple effect in other systems. Mitochondrial dysfunction is considered to be at the heart of most major diseases and disorders. 



Red light therapy triggers a reaction that helps reverse this downward spiral. Light-sensitive molecules are especially responsive to red and NIR light photons. This interaction excites the mitochondria and stimulates ATP production

Energized cells perform better, repair themselves more efficiently, and replace themselves faster. As old, damaged cells are replaced, healthy new cells emerge. This is one of the reasons that red light treatments are so popular for improving skin complexion and speeding up wound healing.


The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

There are numerous potential benefits of seeking RLT treatment.


Skin Rejuvenation

With consistent use, red light therapy has anti-aging properties

In one study involving 128 participants, researchers tested RLT's effectiveness in treating aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin roughness.

The test group enjoyed significant improvements in skin feeling, appearance, and intradermal collagen density. This study led to patient satisfaction and the support of these researchers. 


Increased Collagen and Elastin Production

RLT treatment stimulates collagen synthesis and helps promote the optimal organization of collagen proteins. This is most noticeable on delicate facial skin, where users report seeing significantly reduced fine lines and wrinkles after one to four months of regular use.

Intradermal collagen density increase is essential for reducing crepey skin and regaining firm youthful skin.

Red and NIR light treatments also promote the synthesis of elastin, the protein that gives skin its youthful elasticity, treating stretch marks as well. 


Acne and Facial Blemish Treatment

Aside from the red light wavelenghts, PlatinumLED panels include traces of blue light that resonate at 480nm. This treats the surface of the skin and can help clear up acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

In a study involving 81 patients who suffered from atopic dermatitis, 830nm treatment effectively decreased itching and skin eruptions. These researchers used lower-power laser therapy than what is found in the much more powerful PlatinumLED red light therapy devices.


Reduced Inflammation

Consistent red light therapy treatment can reduce inflammation.

This, in turn, helps treat numerous other conditions that are caused by or worsened by chronic inflammation. 

Improved Circulation

Treatment increases blood circulation as well as lymph circulation in the skin tissue and beneath the skin, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the treatment area and removing waste and toxins. 

Faster Wound Healing

Due to the energy it delivers to the mitochondria, red light therapy treatment can speed up wound healing

The above study found that treatment increased fibroblast proliferation as well as collagen synthesis, and the formation of granulation tissue.

This showed that RLT was a new way to deliver light photons to the cells, whereas previously, doctors and medical researchers had just used lasers. 

This advanced LED treatment is now available affordably and conveniently in a consumer device that allows for home treatment. 

Scar Reduction

Red light therapy supports tissue regeneration. When used immediately after injury, red light shows great potential for reducing the growth and appearance of scars. If a scar has already formed, regular use of red light can gradually soften the scar and reduce its appearance as new, normal, healthy skin cells work their way to the surface.

In 2015 MDs Mamalis et al. discovered that treatment with 633 nm light has been shown to inhibit the migration of skin fibroblasts involved in skin fibrosis, which is excessive growth of scar tissue.  

Faster Recovery From Workouts or Injury

Red light therapy can be used to precondition muscle tissue before a workout to enhance performance and stimulate faster recovery of workout-stressed muscle tissue. A review of 46 studies involving 1,045 participants used red/NIR light to increase muscle mass and decrease inflammation

In fact, the benefits outlined in this review are significant, leading the review’s authors to question whether red light therapy offers an unfair advantage in athletic competition.

Weight Loss 

An exciting development in red and NIR light therapy is its potential to help you lose excess fat

A 2015 study by researchers from Brazil tested whether a combination of red light therapy and aerobic exercise could reduce obese women’s chances of developing heart disease. The researchers gave 62 women an exercise regimen. The participants were randomly assigned to receive red light therapy or a placebo for four months. At the conclusion of the study, the red light group had greater losses in waist circumference and other measures. 

How does red light therapy help with fat reduction? Research has shown that red and NIR light cause temporary perforations in fat cells that allow lipids to leak out; then, they are naturally expelled by the body. This shows potential for targeted fat reduction and body contouring. 

This does not mean, however, that red light therapy is a “miracle weight loss” approach – because there is no such thing. You can achieve the best results by combining LED light therapy with a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management techniques.

Hair Growth

Hair growth is one of the most popular uses for red light therapy because results have been promising. One study, for instance, found significantly greater hair counts in men with androgenetic alopecia (male- and female-pattern hair loss) who self-treated with 655 nm red light once daily for 16 weeks.

Red light stimulates the cells in dormant hair follicles and promotes two important hair growth phases in hair follicles: anagen (growth phase) and telogen (reentry from dormancy). At the same time, the treatment inhibits early transition to catagen (regression), keeping hair follicles in “production” mode longer.

Pain Relief

Whether you’re injured or are looking at treating rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis pain, red light therapy could help. 

A large, promising study on university athletes with a variety of injuries found faster return-to-play after 830 nm near-infrared LED treatment. 

In another double-blind study, elderly patients with degenerative knee osteoarthritis and similar pain levels were randomly split into groups receiving red light treatment, NIR light treatment, or a placebo. The patients self-applied the treatment to their knee for 15 minutes twice daily for 10 days.

After the 10-day treatment, pain had been reduced in the red and infrared groups by more than 50 percent. The red and infrared groups also experienced functional improvement after treatment, with no improvement in the placebo group. And, the red and infrared groups experienced longer intervals between the need for additional pain relief treatments.  


Red Light Therapy vs. Other Types of Light Therapy

Every visible and invisible wavelength of light has different effects on the body. Depending on your treatment goals, you may be tempted to use a combination of light therapies. But you do not need to do that, and here is why. 

Red and near-infrared wavelengths are more easily absorbed by the parts of cells that respond to light energy, especially deeper in the body. Longer wavelengths are important. If light can’t absorb into the tissue to reach the cells, it won’t have any benefits.


Ultraviolet (UV) Light Therapy 

UV light is seen as “bad” wavelengths that are a leading cause of skin aging and contributor to skin cancer.

  • When applied by a medical professional, UV rays can be useful for treating a variety of chronic skin conditions. But …
  • Along with being much safer than UV wavelengths, red and NIR light have successfully reduced flare-ups of psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.

Blue Light Therapy

Blue light is commonly used to kill acne-causing bacteria.

A popular approach among acne sufferers is to use blue and red light together to support collagen production and reduce inflammation.

Green and Yellow Light Therapy

Green and yellow (amber) light is often used to tone down redness in the skin and reduce skin roughness. This is another use for low-level light therapy (using these two wavelengths).

  • While green and amber light can have some effect, the benefits are unfortunately limited because of their short wavelengths, with a very shallow absorption depth. 
  • Red light absorbs deeper than green and yellow light because its wavelengths are much longer; thus, it can stimulate chromophores, which are light-absorbing molecules within cells. 

Because of red light’s cell-stimulating and anti-inflammatory effects, it can help reduce redness. NIR light absorbs into the layers beneath the skin where it can address the inflammation that could be contributing to facial redness.

  • Combining a red and near-infrared light treatment can address various skin-deep and deep-tissue relief at different depths.


Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy

The term “red light therapy” can mean using red wavelengths from 620 to 660 nm or NIR wavelengths from 810 to 850 nm, or both.

  • Red wavelengths absorb into the outer layers of the skin, while NIR wavelengths can penetrate deeper into the body, including joints and bones. 
  • “Infrared light therapy” typically refers to near-infrared wavelengths in the low 800 nm range.
  • Longer infrared wavelengths, such as those found in infrared saunas, should be used with caution, since overuse can potentially cause thermal damage to sensitive cells in the eye and testicles. Shorter NIR wavelengths delivered by a non-thermal LED light do not have a significant heating effect on the cells, which makes near-infrared light treatment much safer.

How Long Does Red Light Therapy Take to Work?

As beneficial as red light therapy is, it should not be considered a miracle treatment for any condition. Whether benefits are skin-deep or deeper in the body, they often take time to manifest because red light therapy works at the cellular level. Cells need time to repair themselves or replicate, and for the effects of millions of cells working together to result in improvement. 

Consistency is key to seeing results. You may see some results very quickly, but the full effects may not be visible for three to six months of daily use.

We recommend taking “before” and “after” photos to monitor your progress.

Once you’ve achieved the results you want, you can continue with less frequent treatments to maintain your results.  


The Side Effects of Red Light Therapy

Scientists have found that red light therapy is free of side effects when used as directed, including using protective eyewear and not overdoing the treatment times. In every study we've reviewed, patient satisfaction has been very high.

The Best Red Light Therapy Devices for At-Home Use

Red light therapy devices found at high-end clinics, spas, and gyms are the very same devices you can purchase from PlatinumLED Therapy Lights. These are industry-leading devices with several key components:

  1. The highest irradiance (remember: light energy power) of any panels in their power class.
  2. A patent-pending combination of five of the most therapeutic red/NIR wavelengths in a ratio that delivers optimal results; and
  3. A medical-grade FDA-cleared device

These criteria naturally weed out most of the products on the market. 

You will get much more value with high-powered panels that can treat your body literally from head to toe.

A Natural and Easy Way to Greater Well-Being

To recap, red light therapy is a natural, non-invasive treatment that stimulates a host of beneficial biological effects in the body. It is used for anti-aging, pain relief, muscle performance and recovery, skin health, and so much more.

Take a closer look at the best red light therapy devices on the consumer market for affordable, at-home treatment. 

The SaunaMAX Pro provides red light therapy treatment in your home sauna and uses all the same technology as the BIOMAX Series, with added features of heat resistance and waterproofing for in-sauna use. 




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