Why need use red light therapy?

Benefits of red light therapy

Although red light therapy (RLT), or in other words photobiomodulation (PBM), is a well-studied and documented topic (there are over 121,000 studies on it on PubMed.gov), it has only recently achieved noteworthy status thanks to today’s technological advances.

PBM uses a low-level laser that irradiates tissue with red and near-infrared (NIR) light. The light penetrates deep into the tissue and affects the mitochondria there, increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), whose role is to provide energy for numerous biochemical reactions. As a result, it stimulates faster production of collagen, vascular structures, DNA, RNA, and other materials necessary for various processes in the body.

To all this, phototherapy uses non-thermal, non-invasive light to achieve a therapeutic result. This means that it is a painless, drug-free, natural procedure, after which no recovery time is required. Therefore, it has no serious consequences or contraindications.

Due to its effectiveness and safety, photobiomodulation is actively used for various medical and cosmetic purposes.

Noticeable results of PBM efficacy achieved concerning:

  • reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and increased collagen density in the intradermal tissue [1]
  • treatment of inflammatory diseases, especially acne [2]
  • wound healing and scar prevention [3]
  • stimulation of hair growth in both men and women [4, 5]
  • aid in weight loss in overweight people [6, 7]
  • reducing the appearance of cellulite [8, 9]
  • оrelief of pain (lower back pain [10, 11], neuropathy [12, 15, 20], osteoarthritis [13, 14] etc.)
  • improvement of sleep and depressed mood [16, 17, 18, 19]

The main application of photobiomodulation is tissue repair, pain, and inflammation relief.

However, it is important to understand that red light therapy is not a one-time treatment. The treatment period is prescribed individually for each case. In some cases, treatment lasts one to three months with several weekly sessions (e.g., for temporary pain relief, wound healing, or seasonal mood disorders), and in some cases, continuous maintenance therapy may be needed to maintain results (e.g., to combat wrinkles or chronic pain).


[1] Alexander Wunsch and Karsten Matuschka.Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.Feb 2014.93-100.

[2] Goldberg DJ, Russell BA. Combination blue (415 nm) and red (633 nm) LED phototherapy in the treatment of mild to severe acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2006 Jun;8(2):71-5. doi: 10.1080/14764170600735912. PMID: 16766484

[3] Barolet D, Boucher A. Prophylactic low-level light therapy for the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids: a case series. Lasers Surg Med. 2010 Aug;42(6):597-601. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20952. PMID: 20662038.

[4] Lanzafame RJ, Blanche RR, Bodian AB, Chiacchierini RP, Fernandez-Obregon A, Kazmirek ER. The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males. Lasers Surg Med. 2013 Oct;45(8):487-95. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22173. Erratum in: Lasers Surg Med. 2014 Apr;46(4):373. PMID: 24078483.

[5] Jimenez JJ, Wikramanayake TC, Bergfeld W, Hordinsky M, Hickman JG, Hamblin MR, Schachner LA. Efficacy and safety of a low-level laser device in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss: a multicenter, randomized, sham device-controlled, double-blind study. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2014 Apr;15(2):115-27. doi: 10.1007/s40257-013-0060-6. PMID: 24474647; PMCID: PMC3986893.

[6] Jackson RF, Dedo DD, Roche GC, Turok DI, Maloney RJ. Low-level laser therapy as a non-invasive approach for body contouring: a randomized, controlled study. Lasers Surg Med. 2009 Dec;41(10):799-809. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20855. PMID: 20014253.

[7] Jackson RF, Stern FA, Neira R, Ortiz-Neira CL, Maloney J. Application of low-level laser therapy for noninvasive body contouring. Lasers Surg Med. 2012 Mar;44(3):211-7. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22007. Epub 2012 Feb 23. Erratum in: Lasers Surg Med. 2012 Sep;44(7):597. PMID: 22362380.

[8] da Silveira Campos RM, Dâmaso AR, Masquio DCL, Duarte FO, Sene-Fiorese M, Aquino AE Jr, Savioli FA, Quintiliano PCL, Kravchychyn ACP, Guimarães LI, Tock L, Oyama LM, Boldarine VT, Bagnato VS, Parizotto NA. The effects of exercise training associated with low-level laser therapy on biomarkers of adipose tissue transdifferentiation in obese women. Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Aug;33(6):1245-1254. doi: 10.1007/s10103-018-2465-1. Epub 2018 Feb 23. PMID: 29473115.

[9] Paolillo, F.R., Manoel, C.D., Lopes, L.A., & Bagnato, V. (2015). Phototherapy associated with mechanical stress for body-contouring and cellulite treatment. Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy, 12, 363.

[10] Hwang MH, Shin JH, Kim KS, Yoo CM, Jo GE, Kim JH, Choi H. Low-level light therapy modulates inflammatory mediators secreted by human annulus fibrosus cells during intervertebral disc degeneration in vitro. Photochem Photobiol. 2015 Mar-Apr;91(2):403-10. doi: 10.1111/php.12415. Epub 2015 Jan 26. PMID: 25557915.

[11] Gale GD, Rothbart PJ, Li Y. Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Pain Research & Management. 2006;11(3):193-196. DOI: 10.1155/2006/876920.

[12] Hu D, Zhu S, Potas JR. Red LED photobiomodulation reduces pain hypersensitivity and improves sensorimotor function following mild T10 hemicontusion spinal cord injury. J Neuroinflammation. 2016 Aug 26;13(1):200. doi: 10.1186/s12974-016-0679-3. PMID: 27561854; PMCID: PMC5000419.

[13] Clijsen R, Brunner A, Barbero M, Clarys P, Taeymans J. Effects of low-level laser therapy on pain in patients with musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2017 Aug;53(4):603-610. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.17.04432-X. Epub 2017 Jan 30. PMID: 28145397.

[14] Hegedus B, Viharos L, Gervain M, Gálfi M. The effect of low-level laser in knee osteoarthritis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Photomed Laser Surg. 2009 Aug;27(4):577-84. doi: 10.1089/pho.2008.2297. PMID: 19530911; PMCID: PMC2957068.

[15] Robinson CC, Klahr PDS, Stein C, Falavigna M, Sbruzzi G, Plentz RDM. Effects of monochromatic infrared phototherapy in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Braz J Phys Ther. 2017 Jul-Aug;21(4):233-243. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.05.008. Epub 2017 May 20. PMID: 28571697; PMCID: PMC5537484.

[16] Saltmarche AE, Naeser MA, Ho KF, Hamblin MR, Lim L. Significant Improvement in Cognition in Mild to Moderately Severe Dementia Cases Treated with Transcranial Plus Intranasal Photobiomodulation: Case Series Report. Photomed Laser Surg. 2017 Aug;35(8):432-441. doi: 10.1089/pho.2016.4227. Epub 2017 Feb 10. PMID: 28186867; PMCID: PMC5568598.

[17] Cassano P, Cusin C, Mischoulon D, Hamblin MR, De Taboada L, Pisoni A, Chang T, Yeung A, Ionescu DF, Petrie SR, Nierenberg AA, Fava M, Iosifescu DV. Near-Infrared Transcranial Radiation for Major Depressive Disorder: Proof of Concept Study. Psychiatry J. 2015;2015:352979. doi: 10.1155/2015/352979. Epub 2015 Aug 19. PMID: 26356811; PMCID: PMC4556873.

[18] Reeves GM, Nijjar GV, Langenberg P, Johnson MA, Khabazghazvini B, Sleemi A, Vaswani D, Lapidus M, Manalai P, Tariq M, Acharya M, Cabassa J, Snitker S, Postolache TT. Improvement in depression scores after 1 hour of light therapy treatment in patients with seasonal affective disorder. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012 Jan;200(1):51-5. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31823e56ca. PMID: 22210362; PMCID: PMC5336550.

[19] Shirani A, St Louis EK. Illuminating rationale and uses for light therapy. J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 Apr 15;5(2):155-63. PMID: 19968050; PMCID: PMC2670336.

[20] Micheli L, Cialdai F, Pacini A, Branca JJV, Morbidelli L, Ciccone V, Lucarini E, Ghelardini C, Monici M, Di Cesare Mannelli L. Effect of NIR laser therapy by MLS-MiS source against neuropathic pain in rats: in vivo and ex vivo analysis. Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 26;9(1):9297. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45469-5. PMID: 31243320; PMCID: PMC6594937.

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