Red Light Therapy FAQ

Red light therapy FAQ or frequently asked questions provides insight into red light therapy devices that are reviewed elsewhere on this site. Also, use red light therapy buyers guide to find best one for your needs.

First and foremost, red light therapy benefits and near infrared light therapy benefits have been known for centuries. In fact, even NASA used infrared therapy to help astronauts. So, it’s no surprise that red light therapy for skin provides pain relief, increases blood flow, wound healing, to name a few of the benefits.

What is red light therapy for skin?

Now, red light therapy for skin is a therapy that exposes you to low levels of red or near-infrared light. While you can see red light, infrared light is a type of energy that your eyes can’t see. However, your body can feel both red and infrared light as heat.

How does red light therapy work?

Now, when red light reaches a part of your cells called mitochondria, chromophores, within the mitochondria, absorb red and infrared light photons, and convert it into energy. By the way, mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells, responsible for making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s form of energy, and increasing the consumption of oxygen.

How does red light therapy helps the skin?

Most of all, in red light therapy for skin, the red light energy is absorbed by the skin. It is then used by the cells to build new proteins such as collagen and elastin, and assist with cellular regeneration. Also, this process is thought to help heal wounds by cells repairing themselves and become healthier. As a result, skin and muscle tissue heal. By the way, to avoid hurting or burning the skin, red light therapy for skin uses very low levels of heat.

And, for convenience, you can use this red light therapy at home.

How does red light therapy help the sick and the stressed?

First, when we are stressed or ill, mitochondria begin to produce excess nitric oxide. However, nitric oxide interferes with the consumption of oxygen within the cell, leading to oxidative stress, and ultimately, stopping the production of ATP, the cell’s source of fuel. As a result, cells may die.

By the way, red light therapy benefits include protecting the cell from the damage that nitric oxide can cause. In fact, the disruptive potential of nitric oxide is minimized by the absorption of red light photons. Also, this absorption allows the cell to continue effectively utilize oxygen and create ATP. In addition, only red light therapy can reach all the way into cell’s mitochondria to stimulate healing and regeneration, improving appearance, performance, and overall well-being.

How does near infrared light work?

Now, near infrared light sits just above the visible light spectrum, with wavelengths ranging from 700 nm to over 1,100 nm. Similar to red light, not all wavelengths within this range are equally effective with respect to healing. However, wavelengths between 800-880 nm appear to offer the greatest therapeutic benefits.

Incidentally, the body absorbs near infrared light in the same way as the visible red light, via chromophores in our cells.

How does near infrared light help?

Having absorbed near infrared light, a range of healing metabolic processes are stimulated, promoting healing and regeneration.

However, there is one significant difference between red and near infrared light. Near infrared light is able to penetrate deeper into the body’s tissue, because its wavelengths are longer. As a result, near infrared light is able to more successfully target deep wounds, muscle, or joint pain.

How do red light devices differ?

Red light therapy devices differentiate themselves by their purpose. For example, a small portable device covers a small area of your body and is best for localized relief. On the other hand, red light lamps cover broader areas of your body for treatment. In addition, lamps differentiate themselves in the ways they can be used. For example, a red light bulb in a bulb holder is best used while you are laying down or possibly sitting. Meanwhile a larger red light device can be used while you are sitting or standing.

Who needs red light therapy devices?

Now, these devices are helpful if you need relief from the conditions listed below. Moreover, you can use this red light therapy at home.


Back pain

Bronchial congestion


Cervical pain

Chronic or acute pain

Dementia - In fact, a study showed that this therapy helped dementia patients improve their memories, sleep better, and get angry less often.

Hair loss - Another study found that androgenetic alopecia patients grew thicker hair. By the way, andogenetic alopecia is a genetic disorder that causes hair loss.


Joint pain in the legs, back, knees, shoulders, and elbows

Leg strain

Lumbar muscle strain

Osteoarthritis - A study found that red and infrared light therapy cut osteoarthritis-related pain by more than 50%.

Muscle pain

Muscle spasms

Musculoskeletal disorders -  Research shows that adults with different musculoskeletal disorders could have their pain effectively reduced by Red Light Therapy. Furthermore, researchers note that those who stick to recommended dosage seem to increase the therapy's effectiveness. 

Rheumatoid arthritis


Sore muscles - Indeed, a 2013 study demonstrated that LED red light therapy reduced sore muscles and strength loss after an eccentric exercise bout.

Sports injuries


Stiff muscles



Tendinitis - A very small study found that red light therapy lessens inflammation and pain in people with Achilles tendinitis.

Wounds - Research shows that red light therapy may help heal wounds by:

First, stimulating formation of new blood vessels.
Second, boosting production of collagen in the skin.
Also, increasing fibroblasts in the skin
Finally, reducing inflammation in the cells

Wrinkles - Finally, research showed that this therapy may smooth your skin, help with wrinkles,  acne scars, burns, and signs of UV sun damage