How Long Does Red Light Therapy Take to Work?

Some things in life take patience and dedication. From losing weight, to mastering a new skill, to breaking a habit, there are many activities that don’t have immediate results, and this can be discouraging to many people. This is particularly true in our current era of immediate gratification, where you can get your Amazon delivery in less than a day, and we’re sold quick fixes in the form of miracle supplements and fad diets.

It’s safe to say that, like any health and wellness approach that’s worth its salt, you likely won’t see immediate results from red light therapy. This can lead people to slack off on treatments or quit them altogether out of the erroneous belief that it’s simply not working. To avoid this, it’s best to know what you’re in for ahead of time and plan accordingly. Here’s a quick primer on how long it takes for red light therapy to work and what to expect from your treatment. 

Enjoy full-body Red and NIR light coverage with the Rouge Ultimate
The Rouge Ultimate is perfect for at-home treatments. Also popular for salons, spas, training rooms, yoga rooms, and gym locker rooms. Experience full-body coverage from the tip of your toes to the top of your head, no matter how big and tall you may be.

What are people saying? From a Rouge customer: This light has given me more pain relief than any medication I’ve tried. It has truly changed my life! I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after no doctor or specialist could find a reason for my chronic pain. I use a pain diary and since using the light, most days are 2-4 on the pain scale, occasionally higher. Before most days were 5-7 and frequently 8-9. It took a little while to figure out the right distance and dose time.

It May Take Up to 4  Months to See Results From Red Light Therapy

It helps to think of red light therapy as exercise for your cells. Much like with weightlifting for your muscles and cardio for your heart and lungs, red light therapy strengthens your cells’ ability to produce energy (how exactly does it do this? This article explains the process in detail). You certainly wouldn’t expect significant changes to your physique after one or two trips to the gym. Similarly, you must go easy on your cells: it’s a gradual process. 

However, just as each individual responds to exercise in their own unique way, some people may see faster results than others. Eventually, however, changes will come if you’re willing to persevere. No one goes to the gym every day for three months without seeing some changes. The problem is that so many give up before this point. 

Consistency Is Your Greatest Ally for Seeing Red Light Therapy Results

To see results, make sure you’re using your device the minimum recommended 3-5 times per week. Sessions should generally be between 10-20 minutes long. While the more frequent the sessions the better (every day is ideal), increasing the length of individual sessions has not been shown to increase efficacy. For a more detailed overview of how often you should use red light therapy, check out this blog post.

Making dinner, working out, helping with homework, preparing lunch, doing laundry - the list of things you have to do in a day - not even counting a full days’ work - is exhaustive (and exhausting!) We realize it can be difficult to incorporate yet another 20-minute activity into your day, particularly one that involves mainly being still with blackout goggles on. It’s well worth it, though. Plus, it’s a great way to incorporate self-care into your day. And you don’t have to let it stop you from multitasking - we’ve compiled a list of things you can do during your red light therapy treatments to maximize your time

Take Steps to Track Your Progress

If you’ll allow us to revisit the gym metaphor, you’ll likely start noticing results based on how your clothes fit, what the scale reads, how many reps you can do, or how long you can last on the treadmill. Even then, you may not notice your progress until there’s a major difference, or until other people start noticing. 

With red light therapy, you may actually be improving for a time before you see an obvious difference, as changes can be incremental. One way to help you determine if your treatments are effective is to keep a log of your progress. It can be in the form of before-and-after photos for physical improvements such as weight loss or skin firming, for example.

For more hidden issues such as chronic pain or sleep disturbances, you might consider keeping a health journal in which you record how you feel (for example, level of pain) as well as various factors that may affect your treatment. Reading your entries may reveal changes you were unaware of, and it could also help you determine the treatment schedule that works best for you (for instance, some people find sleep issues are better treated in the morning rather than the evening, and vice versa).

What Happens When You Do Achieve the Desired Results?

Your pain is all but gone; your eyesight has improved; your skin is firmer and younger looking: now what? Should you maintain the same schedule? Or can you stop treatments altogether? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. 

We don’t recommend stopping treatment, unless your issue is completely resolved, for instance, a wound that’s healed completely without scarring. For chronic or aesthetic issues, once you’ve achieved the results you’re looking for, you may go into the maintenance phase of treatment. This means you can go down to 2-3 sessions per week, or whatever you feel comfortable with. If your symptoms start to reappear, simply ramp up treatment once again. For optimal and sustained health benefits, however, we recommend making daily or near-daily treatments a permanent part of your routine. 

Red Light Therapy At Home Is Your Best Option for Optimal Effectiveness

The bottom line is that if you don’t see improvements within the first few sessions, or even within the first few weeks, don’t sweat it. This might be easier said than done, however, if you’ve opted for red light therapy treatment in a professional setting. With each individual session costing upwards of $100, you may start to feel some financial strain, and, well, red light therapy can help with a lot of things, but it can’t fix your bank account. 

Given that results can take some time, and that frequent sessions is the key to seeing results at all, your best bet is to invest in a personal red light therapy device. Not only will you save time with the convenience of having access to treatment in your own home, you’ll save loads of money on treatment. In fact, a Rouge Red Light Therapy panel costs as little as a handful of visits to the clinic or spa.

Don’t know which device is best for your needs? Check out our guide to choosing a red light therapy device here, or shop the Rouge family of red light therapy devices here

Some roads to better health are longer than others, and some are slower at getting there. But all journeys begin with a single step. Get started today!


  • My brother had DVT in right leg lost muscle can’t move leg will this red light therapy help his leg
    Rouge replied:
    Hi there, Sorry to hear that your brother has had such a terrible thing happen to his leg. While of course we cannot make medical claims and promise that it will help, there is a good chance that there will be a benefit with it for him. Red light therapy increases the output of nitric oxide from the mitochondria which acts as a vasodilator and improves blood flow, while simultaneously allowing more oxygen into the cell by decoupling the mito from the NO, so all of these mechanisms on the cellular level could translate into a benefit for him.

    MArtann Guerrero’s
  • Hello,
    I was just diagnosed with macular degeneration. What would you recommend to slow the disease? Thank you.
    Rouge replied:
    Hi Dee, sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I would like to recommend using any of our smaller targeted panels The Nano would be perfect because it can go 100% red light therapy, which is the wavelength that is associated with eye health. Feel free to check out our blog post all about eye health on our website. We wish you the best of luck!

  • Hello, I have been using my red light therapy bed for going on 4 months now. I acquired very loose skin after having COVID and I lost a lot of weight. I see no change in my skin. I have been using my bed faithfully every day! Is it time to give up?
    Rouge replied:
    That is a tough question. With skin, the changes can be very subtle. Additionally we are not familiar with the type of bed you are using, so it is very hard to say. I would recommend that you read our blog post entitled “10 Mistakes You Might Be Making Using Red Light Therapy At Home”.

    Lynn Caffarelli
  • Hello I was wondering if you could recommend a good at home red light therapy unit
    Rouge replied:
    Hi Tracy, thank you for your comment. We would love to assist you in
    choosing the best red light panel that fits your needs. Feel free to reach
    out to our customer service team to answer any specific questions you may
    have regarding our products. To find our products, just click on the SHOP
    at the top of this page. We have small panels for targeted treatment as
    well as full-body panels. The Rouge Tabletop model may be the best option
    to start out. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you!

    Tracy Goldman
  • I have been using my red light therapy bed everyday for the last two months for wrinkled skin I got after losing weight real fast due to Covid but I see no difference in my skin. Am I wasting my time??

    Rouge replied:
    Hi there,
    No not at all. Red light therapy takes time to work and with loose skin,
    while there are of course some limits as to how much it can tighten it,
    skin cells take anywhere between 28 and 40 days to simply regenerate.
    Therefore, you will not see improvements until the new cells form, and it
    may take even longer – depending on the individual circumstances. Don’t
    give up, keep using it!

    Lynn Caffarelli

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