A Guide to Red Light Therapy

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red Light Therapy is the treatment of human tissue with specific red and near infrared wavelengths of light at certain concentrations to induce therapeutic benefits.  

First discovered in the early 1900’s, Red Light was then studied by NASA scientists in a research project examining the effects of different light wavelengths on plants and humans with astonishing results. This research has been furthered by teams of doctors and scientists who have since published over three thousand scientific papers on the benefits, efficacy and different applications of Red Light Therapy.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe? 

Yes. Not only are there thousands of peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Red Light Therapy; 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.

Notably, the wavelengths in our Red Light Therapy Lights are not like the wavelengths in a tanning bed and thus do not have any of the harmful UV wavelengths that are associated with skin cancer. And as the wavelengths do not produce heat, and our lamps only emit a gentle warmth that is soothing and enjoyable and it is safe to touch the surface of our lamps

How does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy has been featured in more than 3000 scientific studies; thereby the fact that it is effective has been quite well established. It is difficult to measure the biochemical processes that unfold on the cellular level; however there are universally accepted standing hypotheses on how red light affects the human body.  

The scientific community postulates that the process involves a reaction by the body to these specific wavelengths of light. Since near infrared and red light wavelengths can be found in the sun; our bodies are inherently receptive to these beneficial wavelengths. 

With red light therapy; the therapeutic process begins in the mitochondria. In the modern world, we are exposed to so many things that cause cellular stress, from radiation, free radicals, ph imbalances, injuries etc. An overabundant byproduct of this oxidative stress is Nitric Oxide (NO)  which, to the detriment of the cells, binds with an enzyme called Cytochrome C Oxidase in the mitochondria. The fundamental pathway of action by red light lies in the decoupling of this bond through a mild stress influence on these organelles. This process frees up the Cytochrome C oxidase to optimally produce ATP, the energy that all powers all living cells. 

The benefits of this are significant, but they don’t stop there; the release of Nitric Oxide is also very advantageous, as NO acts as a natural vasodilator, relaxing the walls of the blood vessels and allowing more blood to flow which in turn can help speed up healing and help reduce inflammation. There are many cascading and beneficial spinoff effects that take place as a result of these core processes which is why red light therapy has been associated with so many positive health outcomes.  

Human cells are densely packed with mitochondria, and good cellular respiration is fundamental to good health. One medical hypothesis holds that the degradation in the quality of the mitochondria through the over-accumulation of free radicals, can actually speed up the aging process. This may be one of the reasons that the use of red and NIR wavelengths on human tissue are so closely tied to anti-aging benefits.

How red light therapy works

What Does Red Light Therapy Potentially Help With?

The many reported benefits of Red Light Therapy include but are not limited to:

  • Improved Sleep
  • Cognitive and mental health 
  • Improved Appearance of Skin
  • Athletic performance 
  • Weight loss support
  • Hormone health and libido improvement
How to use Rouge's Red Light Therapy Panels
  • We recommend starting slow with shorter sessions at a greater distance.
  • Be conservative on initial dosage when working on more sensitive areas.
  • Adding up all the areas you will treat, do not exceed 120 joules of exposure per session, which is approximately 15-20 minutes of total exposure at close range.
  • These guidelines are valid for all Rouge red light therapy products.
Minimum of 3 times per week, ideally once daily. If more than once per day is required, sessions should be at least 6 hours apart.
Distance from light:
The closer you are, the shorter your session will be and you will cover a smaller surface area. If you stand further away, you will be able to cover a larger area but more time will be required. Remember that we need to give the treatment area a certain amount of energy, as we move away from the light the energy available to your body diminishes rapidly.
For skin issues:
Skin requires 3 to 15 joules of red light (660nm) per session which you can achieve by following these guidelines:
  • 6” (15 cm) from the light for 30 seconds to 2.5 minutes
  • 12” (30 cm) from the light for 1 minute to 3.5 minutes
  • 18” (45 cm) from the light for 1.5 minutes to 5 minutes
  • 24” (60 cm) from the light for 2 minutes to 7 minutes
  • 36” (90 cm) from the light for 3 minutes to 14 minutes
Note: If you are using red light for anti-aging or general skin health purposes, then you should stand between 12 and 36 inches from the light. For more specific therapeutic or medical uses like treating wounds, scars, sores or other skin disorders or to stimulate hair growth then you should stand closer, between 6 and 12 inches for maximum effectiveness.
For deeper issues:
For treating deeper issues, like muscle, brain, bones, tendons, glands, fat, joints, fat, etc., we need between 10 and 40 joules of near infrared light (850nm). In this case we will always want to be close to the light. Here are guidelines to follow:
  • 6” (15 cm) from the light for 2 minutes to 7 minutes
  • 12” (30 cm) from the light for 5 minutes to 10 minutes
Some Examples of how light is used in Healthcare

Sometimes red light is met with skepticism, as the idea of something so simple as a light being shined on your body conferring so many positive results seems too good to be true. However there are other areas of healthcare that use red and near infrared light and have a well established track record and enjoy complete acceptance in the medical community. Take pulse oximeters for example; which use the blood’s ability to absorb wavelengths of red and near infrared light depending on its oxygenation levels in order to measure the levels of oxygen saturation in the body. Although this is for a different purpose, it does demonstrate the existence of light-utilizing technology and the body’s interaction with light energy medicine. There are many different examples of how light is used elsewhere in medicine and has proven to be a valuable and powerful tool. 

Where can I try Red Light Therapy

We encourage anyone who is curious about red light therapy to research the many peer-reviewed studies, listen to testimonials from healthcare professionals, home users, and professional athletes and perhaps find a local gym, spa or healthcare practitioner who has a redlight therapy device in their practice. 

Whether you are interested in trying a small panel to see if red light therapy is the right fit for you, or one of our full body solutions - check out our family of products for yourself and feel free to call or email us if you have any questions!

We have many more articles on Red Light Therapy, you can find them here:
Rouge Canada Red Light Therapy Blog (