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Can Red Light Therapy Help You Lose fat?

Can Red Light Therapy Help You Lose fat? | Rouge

It’s an all-too-common complaint: you spend hours upon hours at the gym, you’ve done more situps and crunches than you can count, and you know you’ve got a 6-pack; it’s just hiding under a stubborn layer of fat.

Losing fat is one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of getting in shape, and sometimes even the healthiest of lifestyles can’t seem to eliminate problem spots and cellulite. 

Red light therapy is gaining traction in the weight loss and fitness industries as a safe and effective way to help lose fat and manage weight, with hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing incredibly promising results. 

Before we get into just how red light therapy can help you in your quest to burn fat and shed pounds, let’s first take a look at some of the more traditional - and sometimes questionable - fat loss methods and their effectiveness.

Traditional and Trendy Fat Reduction Methods: Do They Work, and Are They Safe?

Pressure to be fit and thin is nothing new, although the age of social media - and the editing apps and filters that come with it - has increased that pressure exponentially, causing many people to resort to extreme measures to achieve their ideal physique. 

Diet and exercise

A combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise is far and away the best way to control your weight, build muscle, and reduce fat. The simplest way to lose fat is by expending more energy than you consume, and while this is pretty effective for reducing fat throughout the body, so-called problem areas can be quite resistant. This often leads people to turn to more invasive fat reduction procedures.

Surgery

Many people may undergo gastric bypass surgery to promote overall weight loss. Others may choose to go under the knife to remove excess hip, thigh, and belly fat. Others still may opt for implants or injections to enhance areas they find not shapely enough. There are myriad procedures available to alter one’s body shape, and while they have become both safer and more accessible over time, they still come with significant risks and side effects, as well as with a hefty price tag, especially for what is often a temporary solution.

Fat-burning teas and supplements

Many social media influencers are paid large sums of money to promote so-called fat-burning teas, shakes, and supplements, with the promise that they will help melt the pounds off and give you the same enviable figure as them. Unfortunately, these products are at best ineffective, full of filler with a few vitamins tossed in, and at worst dangerous, with laxatives being the active ingredient. Still, people spend billions a year on these products hoping for a miracle. 

It’s safe to say that there are no miracles when it comes to fat reduction and weight loss. However, red light therapy, while a relatively new player in the game, is quickly gaining momentum in the health and fitness world as a safe, non-invasive treatment that, when paired with a healthy, active lifestyle, can help you lose more fat, reduce more cellulite, and achieve a more contoured physique than with diet and exercise alone. 

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy uses near-infrared and red light to penetrate through the skin all the way to the cell, where it acts upon the mitochondrion, the organelle within the cell that produces chemical energy, or adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is basically the body’s energy currency, the vehicle that transports it from your head to your toes. Exposure to red and NIR light produces a biochemical reaction within the mitochondria, allowing it to use oxygen more efficiently to produce ATP. 

For a more in-depth look at how red light therapy works and its various benefits for everything from weight loss to pain relief, and more, check out this helpful guide.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work for Fat Reduction?

The science is not one hundred percent clear regarding why red light therapy is effective for weight loss, fat reduction, and body contouring, but the most promising explanation is that fat cells targeted by red and NIR light release lipids into the bloodstream, allowing them to be evacuated, or making them available for muscles to use as energy. 

Red light therapy also helps increase muscle mass, and decreases post-exercise recovery time, and it can also promote better sleep, all of which can have a significant effect on weight loss. 

Risks and Side Effects of Red Light Therapy

One consistent finding in all the research on the benefits of red light therapy is that there are virtually no risks or harmful side effects to the treatment, and that it is considered to be safe and non-invasive. In fact, Rouge’s red light therapy devices are registered with the FDA as class II medical devices for treating a host of conditions, including pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, muscle and joint aches, as well as muscle spasms. 

Red Light Therapy for Target Fat Loss: What Does the Research Tell us?

There is a growing body of evidence that not only can red light therapy significantly help with fat loss throughout the body, it is also effective for spot reduction (targeting fat in specific areas), which has previously been disregarded as a myth. Let’s take a look at some of what the research is demonstrating.

Red light therapy for belly fat and waist circumference

The research, while relatively new, is already showing strong support for red light therapy as a safe and effective method to reduce waist circumference, at least in the short term. In fact, some researchers observed as much as a 2 centimeter difference in waist circumference in healthy men and women following a 4 week treatment period. Subsequent studies seem to support these findings, with results showing a ~1 inch difference in waist girth over 2 weeks of treatment [1] [2] [3].

Red light therapy for thigh and hip circumference

Similar results have been achieved in studies targeting hips and thighs, with participants losing inches from their hips and thighs in as little as two weeks of repeated red light therapy treatment [3] [4]

Further, evidence appears to suggest that these results are not simply due to a redistribution of fluid or fat to other areas in the body. In fact, researchers recorded an overall loss of body fat in participants, even in areas not targeted by treatments [5].

Red light therapy for body contouring

Recent research appears to challenge the widely-accepted notion that body contouring, or spot fat reduction, is unachievable, and that one can only lose fat in a general, whole-body manner. This is promising news for those who struggle with notorious problem areas such as the waist, hips, and thighs, especially considering the alternative often consists of invasive cosmetic procedures or other painful and potentially dangerous body-sculpting measures, such as waist training.

Red light therapy for cellulite

There is an endless array of topical products and massaging devices aimed at reducing the appearance of cellulite. While many products list ingredients that have been clinically shown to temporarily smooth dimpled skin, such as retinol and caffeine, the reality is that many of them don’t contain enough of said ingredients to be effective, and if they do, they’re often prohibitively expensive. Plus, consistent application over several months is often needed to see results [6].

Red light therapy, on the other hand, has shown promising results with regards to improving the appearance of cellulite in a much shorter period of time (participants saw significant results after only 2 weeks of treatment), both as a stand-alone therapy, and in combination with vibration therapy [7] [8]

While current research shows very promising short-term results, more research is needed to determine whether these results have long-lasting effects. 

The good news is that with consistent use of an at-home red light therapy device, even if the results are simply short-term, you can easily replicate them over and over at no additional cost after the initial purchase of your device. In short, your Rouge Red Light Therapy device could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. And, not only is it effective for fat loss and weight management, it has countless other benefits as well, so you can live your best, and healthiest, life. 

Check out Rouge’s family of red light therapy devices to find the one that’s right for you!