Rouge vs the Competition: A Buyer's guide to choosing the best red light therapy panel
The G3 version update!
Buying a Red Light Therapy Panel is a serious decision. Not only are there many things you must consider, the sheer amount of information available online can be overwhelming.
When making your decision, you want to ensure that you are getting the best value for your dollar. At times, it can be a daunting task and you can feel like you need to go get a degree in engineering as well as biochemistry.
We are here to help break it down and cut through the hype and clutter and focus on the most important factors outlined below.
What’s all the hype about wavelengths?
Red light therapy has been studied extensively and one can conclude from the majority of studies that wavelengths within the 600nm and 800nm remain among the most popular.
In a well-known meta-analysis peer reviewed article co-authored by Dr. Hamblin goes on to say “is well accepted that red light (630 to 670 nm) or near-infrared light (780 to 940 nm) will have positive effects” meaning that these entire ranges are beneficial.
So the claim made by some of our competitors that only their specific wavelengths or combination of them are effective is not at all supported. In fact they often disparage the very lights they sell, as they offer several lines of products, some which feature the exact combination of wavelengths they dismiss as ineffective, furthermore - most of their positive reviews are from previous models that featured the "ineffective" wavelengths.
So before jumping on the trend bandwagon, it is important to see if that trend even makes sense!
Let's paint the whole picture:
Lately, some companies have come out with the claim that their spectral ouput is by far the best and that anything else is inferior and ineffective.
Let's examine this closely and we will find that this claim is fundamentally flawed as it misses the fact that LEDs by their very nature emit a whole range of wavelengths - always peaking at one - but include a very substantial percentage from neighboring wavelengths.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE COMPETITOR’S CLAIMS:
When a competitor claims that their LEDs peak at various wavelengths on their panel, does this mean that they have a newly designed LED that can now peak at multiple wavelengths simultaneously? The answer is a resounding no. They have not invented anything new.
Why? Because by nature, each chip in an LED can only peak at one wavelength at a time.
So how are they adding all these amazing wavelengths that nobody else managed to?
Simple, they threw a very small number of LEDs into the mix that peak at these wavelengths - scattered randomly and on the panel.
What? This is the big secret cutting edge innovation? Simply put, yes.
As you may guess, this strategy flies in the face of best practices.
Why is this not an optimal way to deliver light therapy? In order to harness red light therapy benefits we have to shine the light directly onto the part of the body that we want to treat. In the thousands of studies conducted on red light, not a single study has observed the efficacy of distributing LEDs in such a manner. Although light therapy can benefit the body even when directed on another area that is meaningfully connected to the area being treated, the focus of the light onto a specific body part is always a very important consideration in the study design and is never left to chance.
One such panel has randomly scattered over its face:
2 LEDs producing 480 nm
5 LEDs dedicated to 810nm
5 LEDs producing 830nm
10 LEDs producing 630nm
Translation: Even if they do have any benefits, they are limited to very low doses in very small areas.
At Rouge, our panels are designed with the proven strategy of spacing red and NIR wavelengths closely side by side with the overlapping beam angle that delivers powerful and consistent blanket of combined light energy. Our strategy is backed by research and not trends.
There has been a lot of confusion on how red light therapy products' irradiance or power is measured and it is important to gain some insight on understanding. There are roughly two types of instrumentation that have been widely used:
- Sophisticated lab instrumentation
- Inexpensive handheld solar meters
Almost every red light brand uses data obtained through the use of handheld solar meters in reporting their product's irradiance data.
In the last year or so, some very thorough and methodical researchers and such as Andrew Latour (an engineer) and Alex Fergus (fitness expert) have begun to shed more light about these readings. We appreciate very much their education and efforts to bring red light therapy onto the next level of uniform data reporting and standards.
The emergence of this data as well as some mixture of debating back and forth has created a much needed mission to begin transitioning from solar meter reading based reporting. This we feel is going to be accelerated by a much anticipated publication which we hope is coming out soon, written by one of the top researchers in the field.
While we do use the solar meter measurements as they help our customers compare us to the competition, we also had our most popular panel tested by an independent light lab, whose report we are more than happy to share with customers.
The rough formulation seems to be that the solar power meters measure red and NIR wavelengths at about twice the intensity of the readings gained from using lab instrumentation. There are some variations that may occur as the readings can differ across the panel and be higher or lower depending on which wavelength they are under when the reading was taken.
It is important therefore, to take these readings into context when comparing panels from one company to another. The question to always ask is; what type of instrumentation was used to get these readings? If it was a third party independent lab that can easily be looked up online and verified, those readings most likely will be lower as they represent readings from different instrumentation.
Ironically one competitor claims on their website that lower irradiance is an advantage, as too much light energy is not optimal. We would point out that this does not make a weaker panel a better product, as simply increasing the distance between the user and the panel, adds more coverage. In the case of this concern, a dimming function in order to fne-tune the amount of light that is received by the user is available on all four of our panels.
We are happy to provide our customers with both sets of data, as we have had our main product tested at the The Light Lab Interantional Allentown PA and the reports can be seen below. Our panel tested among the highest for irradiance and produced a broad range of wavelengths, and we are excited for the emergence of further data, which will confirm that our products rank among the highest for both quality and clinical strength.
Here are our lab reports. Please keep in mind that irradiance data taken with lab instrumentation should only be compared with data from this or another reputable testing lab when comparing products.
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