Red Light Therapy Pros and Cons: Your Guide to Making the Right Choice
When it comes to the treatment of various ailments and cosmetic issues, we’re being pulled in all directions. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, with every possible option available at your fingertips. What to believe? How do we filter the truly beneficial from the BS?
It therefore understandable that people can be cynical or distrustful of new fads for skin rejuvenation, or revolutionary new methods for pain relief. And while red light therapy might seem like another too-good-to-be-true trend, it’s actually the exception to this rather than the rule.
First, red light therapy has been around for longer than you think. The red light therapy device was developed in the 1960s when Hungarian physician Endre Mester accidentally discovered it helped accelerate wound healing and hair growth. The reason it wasn’t widely used was simply due to the slower development of affordable LED technology.
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Second, from the 1960s until now, there have been thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies supporting red light therapy as an effective treatment for a plethora of issues. This article is a good overview of the benefits of red light therapy and the research-based evidence behind them.
When choosing any treatment regimen, it’s important to ask yourself, do the benefits outweigh the risks? To help you determine whether it might be right for you, we’ve compiled a list of red light therapy pros and cons. As always, we recommend talking to your doctor before beginning any course of treatment.
The Pros of Red Light Therapy
It’s designed to treat a multitude of issues
Contrary to treatments that target a very specific condition, red light therapy works by boosting your body’s innate ability to heal itself. It does this by targeting the mitochondria of the cell, allowing them to produce energy more efficiently. This increase in energy at the cellular level leads to a more optimal functioning of your body’s organs and tissues, resulting in the improvement of a variety of issues. This article on red light therapy for pain provides a good explanation of the mechanisms through which it optimizes the body’s performance.
The following is a list of some of the issues red light therapy has been shown to successfully treat. Follow the links to see the exact benefits.
- Loose skin;
- Stretch marks;
- Wound and scar healing;
- Oral health;
- Pain and inflammation;
- Arthritis-related joint pain and stiffness;
- Immune health;
- Cognitive function;
- Mental health and depression;
- Vitamin D;
- Hair growth;
- Weight loss and body contouring;
- Muscle growth, athletic performance, and recovery;
- Hormone health and sex drive;
- Eye health;
- Sleep disturbances.
The way red light therapy interacts with the body allows it to treat a multitude of issues at the same time. In fact, many people who use red light therapy for a specific issue experience unexpected benefits in other areas, as well. Our friend, poker star Leo Margets, is one of them. Read her story here.
It has virtually no major risks or side effects
As previously mentioned, there are thousands of peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the effectiveness of red light therapy. While that alone is enough to get excited about, what really sets red light therapy apart from the crowd is its safety profile. In all the studies conducted on the treatment, the common thread was that the treatment produced no adverse effects.
The only minor side effects reported was mild temporary redness and tightness in the skin, and mild eye irritation, which can be prevented by using safety goggles.
A lack of risks and side effects is rare for any type of treatment. For this reason, red light therapy is being increasingly recognized by the medical community and by governmental bodies as a safe alternative to medication for the treatment of various issues.
Invasive treatments involve entering the body by cutting or puncturing the skin, or by inserting instruments into the body. While some of these procedures have a long recovery period (think surgery for back pain), many are in-and-out and require very little downtime (think fillers and Botox). However, any invasive procedure carries some risk, the most common being infection.
With red light therapy, the only thing penetrating your body is red and near-infrared light, so there is zero risk of infection, injury, or scarring. It’s also completely painless and there is no recovery time. Once your device switches off, you can get right on with your day.
It’s more accessible - and affordable - than ever
Until recently, the only red light therapy devices were monoliths that lived in upscale clinics and spas, and the price of a session certainly reflected that (and still does today). Recent advances in LED technology have made it possible to manufacture compact red light therapy devices that are just as powerful and effective as their industrial counterparts.
And, not to brag, but Rouge Red Light Therapy devices are the most powerful on the market today. Read about how Rouge stacks up to - and blows away - the competition here.
Devices are available in many different sizes and price points, as well, so you can tailor your purchase to your needs and your budget. And this one-time investment will potentially save you loads down the road, especially if you compare it to in-clinic red light therapy sessions and other more invasive procedures. For instance, many people use red light therapy to tighten and firm skin. The Rouge Tabletop provides a lifetime of treatment and costs less than a single syringe of filler.
There are even portable devices for those on the go, and you can choose whether you want red light, near-infrared light, or both.
The Cons of Red Light Therapy
Consistent use is necessary to see results
While we don’t necessarily see this as a downside, some people may find it difficult to commit to a schedule. But unless you’re getting the recommended minimum of 3-5 sessions per week at 10-20 minutes each, you’re not likely to see the results you’re looking for. Luckily, it’s now much easier and more affordable than ever to incorporate treatment into your schedule with a home device.
Plus, we’ve come up with a list of things you can do to maximize your time during sessions, so you don’t have to miss a beat.
Results aren’t 100% guaranteed
Every body is different and responds to treatment in its own way. Think of how some people gain muscle or lose fat easily while others don’t, even when on the same exercise and diet plan, or how the same chemo treatment can work wonders on one person and have little effect on another. As with any treatment, there’s no guarantee that red light therapy will be 100% effective at treating the issue you’re using it for. However, research indicates that there is a high likelihood that you’ll see an improvement. Plus, seeing that it can’t cause any harm, and that it may in fact lead to improvements in other areas, it’s worth trying out.
All Rouge devices come with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, so you can try it risk free.
There are no set guidelines for how often and how long to use red light therapy
Generally, experts recommend a frequency of 3-5 times a week and a duration of 10-20 minutes. However, this isn’t set in stone, and the general consensus in the scientific community is that more research is needed to determine the ideal treatment schedule.
Luckily, given that there is no such thing as too much red light therapy, you’re free to experiment as much as you like to find the regimen that works for you. We don’t recommend spending hours per day in front of your device, though. It may not be harmful, but there’s no evidence that it’s beneficial to go much beyond the recommended dosages (besides, who’s got the time?)
We hope this red light therapy pros and cons list has proved useful in helping demystify this so-called magic treatment you’ve been hearing about. As we like to say around here, it’s not magic, it’s science. For more info on how red light therapy can benefit you, and for tips and tricks on how to get the most of your device, visit our blog.
Ready to see what benefits are in store for you with an at-home red light therapy device? Shop Rouge Red Light Therapy panels today, or talk to one of our knowledgeable staff to see how you can use the power of your own body to improve your life.