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Red Light Therapy Before or After Your Workout: Which is Better?

Red Light Therapy Before or After Your Workout: Which is Better? | Rouge

From carb-loading to protein shakes, athletes and fitness buffs are always on the lookout for ways to optimize their workouts, and ultimately, their results. And when it comes to nutrition and supplements, it’s not only important to track what you’re putting in your body, but when, as well. 

But can the same be said for red light therapy? In other words, is red light therapy more effective before a workout, or after? The answer, while not black and white, largely depends on your goals.

What Is Red Light Therapy?

Also commonly referred to as photobiomodulation and low-level laser therapy, red light therapy is a safe, non-invasive procedure that uses natural red and near-infrared light to stimulate cellular activity. 

These wavelengths are absorbed through the skin all the way to the mitochondria of the cell, where they produce a biochemical reaction leading to increased production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP acts like a vehicle, shuttling energy to where your body needs it. 

In addition, red light therapy reduces oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. This can lead to cell and tissue damage. Red light therapy stimulates antioxidant response within the cell, thereby reducing oxidative stress and limiting damage to muscles and other tissue.

Red light therapy has also been shown to increase circulation. Better blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients being transported throughout the body, as well as more efficient elimination of toxins and other waste.

Not only is it an effective treatment for a wide variety of issues affecting the entire body, it is also gentle, painless, has no known risks or side effects, and is safe to use every day. In fact, Rouge red light therapy panels are registered with the FDA as class II medical devices for the treatment of muscle spasms, muscle and joint aches, as well as pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

For a closer look at the inner workings of red light therapy, as well as its countless benefits, give this article a read.

What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Fitness?

The laundry list of ways in which red light therapy can enhance your fitness and weight loss results is exhaustive. In fact, scores of studies have found red light therapy to effectively:

  • Increase muscle mass;
  • Increase muscle strength;
  • Increase endurance;
  • Delay the onset of muscle fatigue during workouts;
  • Increase oxygen uptake and decrease shortness of breath;
  • Reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS);
  • Prevent exercise-induced muscle damage and reduce oxidative stress;
  • Speed up muscle recovery;
  • Promote quicker healing of injuries and shorter return to play;
  • Reduce pain and inflammation;
  • Reduce overall body fat;
  • Reduce circumference of target areas such as hips, thighs, and waist;
  • Diminish insulin resistance;
  • Improve sleep;
  • Enhance the effects of exercise on risks associated with excess weight (diabetes, heart disease, and stroke).

Check out our articles on fitness, weight loss, and obesity to explore in greater detail how red light therapy can be beneficial in these areas. 

Should You Use Red Light Therapy Before, During, Or After Your Workout?

There is no clear consensus amongst researchers regarding when is best to apply red light therapy to optimize your fitness results. In fact, there is little data on the effectiveness of the treatment when applied during exercise, as it is simply more impractical to study. Some evidence suggests that application of red light therapy during rest periods in your workout or between sets can improve performance and increase muscle fatigue resistance. However, it is not known whether the benefits are greater than with pre- or post-workout treatments. 

There is a wealth of research demonstrating the positive effects of red light therapy when applied both before or after exercise (see our blog post on fitness here for sources). Given that it’s a relatively new area of study, research to date has mainly focused on the effectiveness of red light therapy overall, rather than the nitty-gritty of when to apply it. As the body of knowledge becomes more refined, more detailed information will emerge. 

However, the science appears to point to some differences. 

Red light therapy, when applied before exercise, can improve performance and endurance, and can prevent muscle damage. This means longer, more powerful workouts, with less soreness afterwards. Pre-workout red light therapy also appears to be most effective for weight loss as well.

When applied after exercise, red light therapy is shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, to speed up muscle repair and recovery, and to reduce healing time for wounds and injuries. This is especially useful for those who can’t wait to get back to the gym (or field, court, yoga studio, mountain biking trail…) following an injury, or for whom pain and soreness is an obstacle to working out more frequently.

Get Maximum Fitness Benefits With Red Light Therapy At Home

Perhaps you’re reading this because your gym recently acquired a red light therapy machine. Or maybe you regularly seek treatments at a spa or clinic for other issues and you would like the benefits to extend to your fitness regimen. 

In these cases, yes, knowing when to apply red light therapy in order to achieve your fitness goals can be beneficial. However, most people’s fitness goals include both increased performance and speedier recovery. Not only that, the biggest factor in determining the effectiveness of red light therapy is not when you apply it, but how often

Frequency is key to reaping the full, head-to-toe benefits of red light therapy. And when you’re shelling out upwards of $100 per clinic session, the biggest change you might see is to your bank account. Also, many people prefer to work out at home - especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic - making the presence of red light therapy equipment in gyms moot. 

Luckily, at-home red light therapy panels are becoming more compact, more powerful, and more affordable. A small investment with a huge payoff, your personal red light therapy device could be the key to unlocking your fitness potential. And with the ability to use it, before, during, and after your workout at a similar cost to powering a lamp, you can get maximum benefits in all aspects of fitness. 

Ready to take your fitness, athletic performance, or weight loss to the next level with red light therapy? Rouge’s family of red light therapy panels has everything your body needs to succeed. From full body devices for maximum coverage, to pocket-sized panels for treatment on the go, there’s a device for every body, and every budget. Find the one that’s right for you!

Can Red Light Therapy Give Your Immune System a Boost?

Can Red Light Therapy Give Your Immune System a Boost? | Rouge

Do your friends seem to sail through flu season unaffected while you constantly get sick? Then maybe you need to consider boosting your immune system.

We tend to pay more attention to the health of our immune system during the winter, when colds and flu are all around us. But the truth is, our immune system continually works hard to defend us all year long from infection and disease.

How the Immune System Works

Your immune system protects your body from infectious germs. Through highly complex and adaptive processes, a healthy immune system is always at work, shielding you from infections by identifying and destroying unfriendly microorganisms. Your immune system also helps you build immunity so that when you encounter certain invading germs again, you can fight them more effectively the next time around, often without even getting sick at all.

How to Optimize the Immune System

There is no single pill or supplement you can take that will optimize your immune system. However, implementing these healthy lifestyle habits can help to improve your immunity for life.

Go for a walk: Being inactive can not only leave you feeling sluggish, but it can also make your immune system sluggish. Exercise, on the other hand, helps boost immunity.

Eat a healthy diet: Proper nutrition is needed for your immune system to work well. An unhealthy diet can lead to weight gain, but even worse, it can leave you more susceptible to a number of health problems that can also drag your immune system down.

Get enough sleep: Poor sleeping habits may not only leave you feeling exhausted during the day, but will also leave you vulnerable to illnesses, including colds, flu, and other infections.

Practice stress management: When your body is under on-going stress, you are more vulnerable to everything from the common cold to major diseases.

Establish relationships: Research has shown that people with close friendships and strong support systems tend to be healthier than those who do not.

Include red light therapy: Much like a plant, the human body reacts positively to light. When light energy hits your skin, the energy is absorbed, providing your body with a cascade of benefits.

What is Red Light Therapy?  

Red light therapy is a natural, non-invasive technique that has the ability to promote the body’s own immune responses. The use of light therapy is classified as photobiomodulation; it is a safe and effective procedure that uses red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which diffuse wavelengths through a person’s skin. Commonly referred to as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), biostimulation (BIOS), or photonic stimulation, red light therapy has shown significant potential in improving our overall health and well-being in a number of ways.

For more information on red light therapy and how it can improve your health, take a look here.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Low-level light at various wavelengths penetrates tissue to different depths, which stimulate beneficial changes at the cellular level. It is a gentle, non-invasive, and painless therapy with no known side-effects.

Studies conducted on red light therapy have shown it can be used as a beneficial, drug-free approach in the treatment of a number of medical and cosmetic conditions in the area of neurology, physical rehabilitation, and dermatology.

Light Therapy Boosts Your Immune System

There are countless home remedies and over-the-counter medications that claim to boost your immune system, but one approach that has proven to be notably effective is the use of photobiomodulation, or red light therapy. Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between photobiomodulation and a healthier immune system.  

Light therapy has been proven to support the optimum operation of the immune system. Primarily, red light therapy energizes your body as a whole. Your body then disperses that energy in the most efficient way, to keep itself healthy and in balance. The positive effects of red light therapy on the immune system include:

Promoting ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) production. Mitochondria convert food molecules into energy in the form of ATP. But red light boosts this performance, allowing cells to function optimally, replicate successfully, and fight any infections.

Stimulating angiogenesis. Creating more capillaries improves blood flow throughout the body, which helps to bring nutrients to cells and remove cell-damaging and potentially toxic waste.  

Improved thyroid health. The thyroid hormones, specifically T(3) and T(4), are modulators of the immune response. Hypo and hyperthyroid disorders negatively affect the activity of macrophages, leukocytes, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes; restoring normal thyroid activity will positively affect the activity of these immune cells.

Stimulation of the lymphatic system, which is imperative for a strong immune system. 

Stem cell activation, which are then mobilized to become active in the immune system response.

Increased melatonin production, which encourages more restful sleep.

Better moods. Depression, anxiety, and stress have all been linked to low immune responses.

You may not be conscious of it, but our body has an unbelievable capacity to heal itself. It is one of the most essential functions, right up there with regulating blood pressure and digesting our food. From recovering after a fall or injury to dealing with bacteria, viruses and toxins, we have an indispensable, built-in system designed to defend and repair ourselves.

But we don’t generally think of engaging our healing abilities when we are sick. We just presume it failed us, and that the best option is to attack the condition, most often with medication or, in more serious cases, surgery. Most of us are not even aware that there are alternative, more natural ways to respond to health and illness concerns. I admittedly wasn’t until I started using red light therapy for neck and shoulder pain. Not only did it work more effectively than the pain medication I was taking, but it also improved my health in a myriad of other ways.

Are you ready to invest in Red Light Therapy and support your optimal immune function? Take a look at Rouge’s family of red light therapy devices which are available in an assortment of sizes and price points. Red light therapy can greatly enhance your health and quality of life in just minutes a day.

3 Gyms That Offer Red Light Therapy…. But Are They Better Than a Home Device?

3 Gyms That Offer Red Light Therapy…. But Are They Better Than a Home Device? | Rouge

Red light therapy is quickly finding its way into the spotlight in the health and fitness world. This is no fluke, as the body of research demonstrating its effectiveness in enhancing athletic performance and weight loss continues to grow. However, until recently, the only places to get treatment were high end spas and specialty clinics. Thankfully, as they say, the times, they’re a-changin’. As red light therapy becomes more accessible, many gyms across the country have begun offering the service to their members. Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness, and Club Fitness have all stepped up their game with in-house red light therapy machines to help their members enhance their gym experience - and their results. The big question is: how do they compare to at-home red light therapy devices?

Should You Choose a Gym With a Red Light Therapy Machine?

Choosing a gym can be daunting, especially if you’re new to working out. And with so many gyms offering a near-endless list of classes, programs, and extras, just choosing a membership is enough to make you break out in a sweat. Saunas, for instance, are great for relaxing your muscles after a tough workout. And tanning beds can help define your muscles. But are they worth the extra money?

Red light therapy, on the other hand, is a no-brainer. It offers countless benefits for health and fitness, including improved performance and endurance, increased muscle mass, and quicker recovery. It has also been shown to be effective for weight loss, body contouring, and cellulite. Check out our articles on red light therapy for fitness and weight loss for a more in-depth look at how it works. 

And the benefits don’t stop there. Red light therapy is well-documented for being an effective treatment for skin issues and wrinkles, pain and inflammation, hair loss, cognitive health, and a host of other issues and conditions. It’s like a full-body tune-up in a few short minutes.

For a detailed rundown on the full list of benefits, as well as just how red light therapy works, check out this article

Now that we’ve established that red light therapy is worth joining a gym for, let’s take a look at 3 popular fitness chains that offer it. 

Red Light Therapy At Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is one of the largest fitness club franchises on, well, the planet. It has over 2,000 clubs across the US, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Australia. 

A great gym for beginners, Planet Fitness touts itself as a “judgment free zone” that is welcoming to average users. It also offers low-cost memberships, starting at just $10/month. This classic membership gives you access to all workout equipment at your home club. For $22.99/month, you can get a black card membership, which gives you unlimited access to all amenities at any Planet Fitness worldwide. Perks include guest privileges, discounts on drinks and apparel, travel deals, and free gear. It also gives you access to massage chairs, tanning beds, and of course, red light therapy. 

Called Total Body Enhancement, the machine resembles an upright tanning bed, but with a red glow instead of UV. (And unlike UV light, red light is not harmful in any way. In fact, there are no significant risks or side effects to red light exposure.) It also features a vibrating footplate which is said to stimulate muscles and increase circulation. 

Planet Fitness recommends 12-minute sessions after your workout, as often as you’d like (except leaving 24 hours between sessions). Our opinion is that while it is a relaxing experience after a workout, and can promote quicker muscle repair and reduced inflammation, using it before a workout is beneficial as well for muscle growth and improved athletic performance and endurance. 

Red Light Therapy At Crunch Fitness

Crunch Fitness started out as a tiny gym in a basement studio in New York City where a small but diverse group of people could safely workout without fear of judgment or discrimination. It has now grown into a large chain with over 300 locations across the US, Canada, and Australia. 

Throughout its expansion, it has maintained its dedication to welcoming people from all walks of life, with a focus on positivity, inclusivity, and fun. To quote from their website, “Differences are encouraged. Quirks are welcomed”. Busy parents are welcome, too: they also offer babysitting services as an add-on to your membership.

On top of regular cardio and weight equipment, they also offer a variety of creative group classes, as well as personal training and nutrition coaching. Their membership prices range from $9.95/month for their base plan, to $29.95/month for the Peak Results plan. You get by far the most bang for your buck with this plan. It includes guest privileges, group, spin, and HIIT classes, live online workouts, and access to hydromassage, tanning facilities, and Infrared saunas. 

An infrared sauna is a sort of combination of a traditional dry sauna and a red light therapy machine. It has the soothing Nordic look of a sauna, but it uses red light to generate heat, rather than rocks warmed by a heater. While traditional saunas are used to draw toxins from the body through sweating, infrared saunas are designed to irradiate your skin with light at a certain wavelength. This wavelength stimulates energy production within your cells, leading to a wide range of benefits.

Red Light Therapy At Club Fitness

Club Fitness started out as a local gym in St. Louis, Missouri in 1983. It has since grown to include more than 20 locations across Missouri and Illinois. Priding itself on #liftinglocal, Club Fitness is also a strong advocate for inclusivity and accessibility. 

Their base membership is a bit pricier at $22.99/month, but it includes access to all Club Fitness locations, as well as group classes and tanning. Their platinum membership costs $49.99/month and offers all the perks. This includes discounts on retail items, access to the women’s training, pulse, and cycle studios, guest passes, hydromassage, and red light therapy. 

They offer a great middle-of-the-road option as well, with their premium plan. For $29.99/month, you have access to many of the benefits of the platinum membership, including red light therapy. 

Similar to the body enhancement machine at Planet Fitness, but without the vibrating plate, Club Fitness’ red light therapy machine is a walk-in capsule with red light emanating from 360 degrees. 10-minute sessions are all you need to enjoy the innumerable benefits of red light therapy treatments.

What if you love your gym but it doesn’t offer red light therapy? What if there are no fitness centers near you that offer it? Or what if you’re one of millions of people who choose to work out at home?

The good news is that red light therapy is even more accessible than ever, with a slew of personal devices hitting the market. But just how beneficial is it to invest in an at-home device?

Is a Personal Red Light Therapy Device Right For You?

While red light therapy machines are a fantastic addition to any fitness center, it does come with some inconveniences. 

First, as evidenced above, you usually have to purchase a premium membership to have access. This extra expenditure adds up at the end of the year, especially if you don’t want all the other perks. Some gyms may offer on-demand sessions. However, given that it’s recommended to use red light therapy almost daily to fully experience the benefits, this would quickly become prohibitively expensive.

Second, each gym is usually equipped with a single machine, which could result in wait lists. Most people have busy lives and don’t have time to wait an extra 20 minutes after their workout for a turn in the infrared sauna. 

Third, the Internet and social media have changed the landscape of health and fitness. It is easier than ever to get an effective workout at home, even with no equipment. So while red light therapy machines are great for gyms, a major portion of the fitness enthusiast population is still without access. 

Another factor throwing a wrench into people’s fitness regimens is COVID-19. Many fitness facilities are reopening after a few months of lockdown. However, while some people can’t wait to hit the treadmill or the squat rack once again, others are reluctant to return to the gym. It is, after all, a place where people are touching everything, and breathing heavily to boot. Not only is using the gym a potential health risk, the necessity to wipe down all equipment between uses may result in longer wait times for all machines, including red light therapy. 

Rouge red light therapy devices offer a simple and affordable solution to all these issues. Our panels come in a variety of sizes and price points, so you can find the perfect device to suit your needs. 

If you’re looking for brute strength to match your own, the Rouge Ultimate panel ticks all the boxes. The largest and most powerful of the pack, it’s large enough to cover every inch of your body in one session. 

The Rouge Pro, at half-body size, packs a punch, but in slightly a smaller package, so you can move it around to where you need it with ease.

The Rouge Essential is like the mama bear of the family, meaning it’s juuuuuuust right for many people. Great for larger targeted areas, it combines power and affordability perfectly.

If you’re dealing with a localized pain issue, or if you want to improve the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes on your face, the Rouge Tabletop is ideal. You can simply have it on while you’re working, reading, having dinner, or any other activity where you’re sitting relatively still.

Finally, for those who are always on the move, whether travelling for business or pleasure, there’s the Rouge Mini. No bigger than a paperback book, this wireless device allows you to keep your busy lifestyle without ever having to skip a day. 

The biggest benefit to a personal red light therapy device - besides enhancing your fitness results - is that your entire household can use it. And for years, too: all of Rouge’s devices come with a 3-year warranty. 

With your at-home device, you can go ahead and get the bare-bones gym membership. Or you can stick to a yoga mat and Youtube. In other words, Rouge red light therapy allows you to choose your own path to fitness. 

Disclaimer: The information published by Rouge Red Light Therapy is intended to be educational, and is not to be taken as medical advice. We take great care in ensuring the information provided is accurate and sourced from trusted scientific journals and peer-reviewed clinical studies. 

Our red light therapy devices are registered with the FDA as class-II medical devices indicated for the relief of muscle spasms, minor muscle and joint aches, as well as pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. However, the use of our devices or the application of any information obtained on this site is at your own risk, and we encourage you to consult your physician or medical professional before beginning red light therapy treatment.