Red Light Therapy: A New Hope For Treating Obesity

According to the World Health Organization, 13% of the world’s population is obese. The situation is significantly worse in the U.S., with 42% suffering from obesity, up from 30% at the turn of the century, according to the CDC. While there are numerous factors that shape obesity rates throughout the world, many of them intertwining, such as genetics, socioeconomic status, and urban infrastructure, to name a few, the fact remains that it’s an epidemic that is proving difficult to combat, both on the societal and the personal level.


Obesity is a risk factor for a number of diseases and conditions, from heart disease, to diabetes, to cancer, and researchers have recently determined obesity to significantly increase the risk of death from COVID-19 among men under 60.

The Struggle to Lose Weight Is Real

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you or a loved one is fighting obesity, and that none of this is news to you. While knowledge of the risks associated with obesity can be a strong motivator for those who want to live a healthier, longer life, we know that losing a large amount of weight is an unrelenting uphill battle for most, requiring constant willpower and dedication over a long period of time.


What if you had a safe, non-invasive, affordable tool to help assist you in reaching your weight loss goals, right in the comfort of your own home, without extra effort on your part? Red light therapy devices can offer just that.


Like many people wishing to lose weight, you might have been burned by gimmicks and fads before, so you may be thinking that this is too good to be true. The growing body of research on the wide-ranging benefits of red light therapy, however, says otherwise. Let’s take a look at how red light therapy can be the missing piece of the puzzle for effective weight loss.

From a Rouge customer: It's so nice to have a unit that can treat the whole body and be mounted to the wall with no bulky stand. I am quite pleased with this purchase and look forward to enjoying all of the benefits of red-light therapy in my own home. The panel shipped fast and arrived safe and sound.

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How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Your body uses adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, to transport energy throughout the body, to every cell from your head to your toes. ATP is produced in the mitochondria of the cell, but when the body is functioning suboptimally, ATP production wanes. Rouge red light therapy panels are equipped with LED lights in the red and near-infrared wavelength range. These wavelengths penetrate deep into your skin and into your cells, where they produce a biochemical reaction in the mitochondria to synthesize ATP more efficiently. Increased ATP production has a host of positive effects on the entire body, from pain management, to skin regeneration, to fitness and weight loss, to name but a few.  


Researchers don’t yet have a definite grasp on the mechanisms by which red light helps with weight loss, but one of the more promising theories is that when exposed to red and near-infrared light, fat cells release lipids into the bloodstream, where they can be eliminated or used by muscles as energy. [1]


For a more detailed explanation on how red light therapy works, check us out here.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

On top of having an ever-expanding body of research touting its wide-ranging benefits, red light therapy has no known harmful risks or side effects. In fact, Rouge Red Light Therapy devices are FDA-registered for the safe, non-invasive treatment and relief of muscle and joint aches, muscle spasms, and pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Promising Results of Red Light Therapy for Obesity

Recent studies have shown red light therapy to enhance the effects of exercise in obese women. Results showed not only a decrease in body fat and an increase in skeletal muscle mass, but also changes in metabolic flexibility, insulin resistance, and browning adiposity.

Red light therapy and metabolic flexibility

Metabolic flexibility is the body’s ability to store or burn energy depending on environmental and seasonal changes, and to easily switch from burning carbs to burning fat depending on what you consume. Obese people tend to have impaired metabolic flexibility, meaning that their bodies don’t adapt well to changes in diet.


Recent research has found that red light therapy applied after exercise significantly increased the effects of exercise training in obese women, and that these enhanced results promoted significant changes in participants’ metabolic flexibility profile. [2]


The implication of these findings is that red light therapy, rather than simply helping promote loss of fat, which could be gained again, might help restructure the metabolism of people undergoing weight loss treatment, leading to lasting changes.

Red light therapy and insulin resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of the body don’t respond properly to insulin. Insulin allows the cells to take in glucose to be used as energy or stored as fat. When this function is impaired, two things happen: glucose builds up in the blood, and more insulin is produced. This can lead to a host of problems such as lethargy, weight gain (particularly belly fat), high blood pressure, and more.


Insulin resistance is commonly associated with obesity, in a chicken-or-the-egg sort of way, where one aggravates the other. Research suggests that red light therapy, again used in conjunction with exercise, had a significant effect on insulin resistance in obese women. [2]


Thus, not only can red light therapy increase fat loss by lowering insulin resistance, it can also help maintain higher energy levels (decreased lethargy), and help prevent weight gain.

Red light therapy and brown adipose tissue

Brown adipose tissue, or brown fat, is the fat that is activated by cold weather to break down blood sugar and fat molecules to produce heat. Most of our fat, however, is white fat, which hoards extra energy. Obesity is basically an overaccumulation of white fat.


Brown fat has captured the attention of researchers in recent years for its potential to aid in the treatment of obesity and other metabolic diseases. A recent study analyzed the potential implications of red light therapy on browning adiposity in obese women, in other words the transformation of white fat to brown fat. Results showed significant positive changes in several biomarkers associated with browning adiposity processes. [3]

Red Light Therapy for Treating Obesity in Women and Men

Most of the studies on red light therapy and obesity have female participants, so you might be wondering what the implications are for men. While many of these studies will have to be replicated to include men, there is a high likelihood that many of the findings will prove applicable to men as well.


Numerous other studies, however, have been conducted showing myriad other benefits of red light therapy on weight loss in both men and women. Among other things, red light therapy treatment has been shown to increase muscle mass as well as endurance during exercise, to improve sleep, and to reduce fat cells, among other things. [4] [5] [6] [1]


For a full overview of the many, many benefits of red light therapy, check out this helpful primer.

Affordable Weight Loss Assistance In Your Own Home

For people struggling with obesity, hitting the gym can be the most intimidating thing in the world. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, YouTube, and social media, there is an abundance of at-home weight loss and exercise programs, many of which require no equipment at all. Not only does this make weight loss more palatable to some, it’s also more affordable than a gym membership and a trainer.


By the same token, red light therapy, which was once only available in industrial-sized machines and relegated to pricey spas and specialized clinics, is now accessible to all. Rouge Red Light Therapy’s personal panels come in a variety of sizes and price points so you can choose the device that best suits your weight loss goals. And the best part? There’s no need to leave the house to reap the innumerable benefits of red light therapy. Just a short session a few times a week while watching TV, doing yoga, reading, or meditating - whatever makes you comfortable - is all it takes to give your weight loss efforts a significant boost.


Get the details on each of Rouge’s red light therapy panels here, and take the first steps to a healthier life.


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.




[1] Avci P, Nyame TT, Gupta GK, Sadasivam M, Hamblin MR. Low-level laser therapy for fat layer reduction: a comprehensive review. Lasers Surg Med. 2013;45(6):349-357.


[2] Sene-Fiorese M, Duarte FO, de Aquino Junior AE, et al. The potential of phototherapy to reduce body fat, insulin resistance and "metabolic inflexibility" related to obesity in women undergoing weight loss treatment. Lasers Surg Med. 2015;47(8):634-642.


[3] da Silveira Campos RM, Dâmaso AR, Masquio DCL, et al. The effects of exercise training associated with low-level laser therapy on biomarkers of adipose tissue transdifferentiation in obese women. Lasers Med Sci. 2018;33(6):1245-1254.


[4] Ferraresi C, Huang YY, Hamblin MR. Photobiomodulation in human muscle tissue: an advantage in sports performance?. J Biophotonics. 2016;9(11-12):1273-1299.


[5] Lanferdini FJ, Bini RR, Baroni BM, Klein KD, Carpes FP, Vaz MA. Improvement of Performance and Reduction of Fatigue With Low-Level Laser Therapy in Competitive Cyclists. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018;13(1):14-22.


[6] Zhao J, Tian Y, Nie J, Xu J, Liu D. Red light and the sleep quality and endurance performance of Chinese female basketball players. J Athl Train. 2012;47(6):673-678.

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