red light therapy

In an age where wellness innovations are continually evolving, one treatment gaining significant attention is red light therapy. Also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation (PBM), this non-invasive procedure involves exposure to low levels of red or near-infrared light. While the concept might sound futuristic, the application of red light therapy has roots dating back to ancient civilizations, albeit in less sophisticated forms. Today, it’s embraced by medical professionals, athletes, and beauty enthusiasts alike for its wide-ranging benefits.

Understanding Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy operates on the principle of photobiomodulation, a process where exposure to specific wavelengths of light triggers biological changes within cells. Unlike ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can damage the skin, red light therapy utilizes wavelengths between 630 and 850 nanometers, penetrating the skin without causing harm. This light energy is absorbed by cells, stimulating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule responsible for carrying energy within cells.

The Benefits Unveiled

  1. Skin Rejuvenation: One of the most recognized applications of red light therapy is in skincare. Research suggests that exposure to red light can enhance collagen production, reduce wrinkles, and improve skin tone and texture. Whether used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other skincare routines, red light therapy has shown promising results in combating signs of aging and promoting overall skin health.
  2. Pain Management: Chronic pain affects millions worldwide, often diminishing quality of life. Red light therapy has emerged as a non-pharmacological approach to pain management. By targeting inflamed tissues and stimulating cellular repair mechanisms, it can alleviate pain associated with conditions like arthritis, muscle strains, and fibromyalgia. Additionally, its analgesic properties make it a preferred choice for athletes seeking natural recovery solutions.
  3. Enhanced Athletic Performance and Recovery: Athletes are continually seeking methods to optimize performance and accelerate recovery. Red light therapy has gained traction in the sports community for its ability to enhance mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative stress. By improving cellular energy production and accelerating tissue repair, athletes can experience faster recovery times, reduced muscle soreness, and improved endurance.
  4. Mood Regulation: Light plays a crucial role in regulating circadian rhythms and mood.  When red light therapy is administered in the morning it can help synchronize the body’s internal clock, promoting wakefulness and improving mood. This makes it a valuable tool for individuals struggling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or experiencing disruptions in their sleep-wake cycle.
  5. Hair Growth: For those grappling with hair loss or thinning, red light therapy offers a non-invasive solution. Studies indicate that red light can stimulate hair follicles, promoting thicker, healthier hair growth. Whether used alone or in combination with other hair restoration treatments, red light therapy provides a safe and effective option for individuals seeking to address hair-related concerns.
  6. Wound Healing: The ability of red light therapy to accelerate tissue repair makes it particularly beneficial for wound healing. By increasing blood flow to the affected area and by promoting collagen synthesis, red light therapy can expedite the healing process for wounds, cuts, and surgical incisions. Red light therapy not only reduces recovery time but also minimizes the risk of complications such as infection.

Is Red Light Therapy Covered by Insurance?

Most insurance policies do not cover red light therapy. If a provider’s office (like dermatologists) offers the service, it may not be covered by your health insurance and you may have to pay out of pocket like you would at a spa or wellness center.

How Much Does Red Light Therapy Cost?

The average cost of in-clinic red light therapy sessions can vary. For instance, you might be seeking treatment from a doctor, aesthetician, dermatologist, or even a spa. According to our sources, the cost of a single 10- to 15-minute red light treatment could range from $25 to $200.

More advanced procedures such as red light laser treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing, tend to incur higher expenses. According to 2020 data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, ablative treatments average around $2,509, while non-ablative treatments average $1,445. It’s important to note that many conditions treated with red light therapy require multiple sessions, usually ranging from three to five times per week over a period of one to four months. For chronic conditions, ongoing maintenance sessions may be necessary, leading to accumulating costs over time.

Considering the potential expenses associated with ongoing clinic treatments, numerous individuals are opting for at-home red light therapy devices. These gadgets provide the convenience of self-administration, cutting out travel costs and time constraints linked with clinic appointments. However, using these devices means foregoing the guidance of healthcare professionals. Prices for at-home red light therapy devices can range from $20 – $6,000. There are several factors to look at when buying a red light therapy device. Make sure your device has what matters most to you. 


As our understanding of light therapy continues to evolve, so does the recognition of its therapeutic potential. From skincare and pain management to athletic performance enhancement and beyond, red light therapy offers a plethera of benefits with minimal risk or side effects. While further research is needed to fully illuminate how it works, the existing evidence underscores its value as a versatile tool for promoting health and wellness. Whether you’re seeking to rejuvenate your skin, alleviate pain, or enhance athletic performance, red light therapy stands poised to illuminate the path toward a healthier, more vibrant you.


ASLMS – Photobiomodulation
Cleveland Clinic – Red Light Therapy
Forbes Health – Red Light Therapy
Motus Specialist Physical Therapists – Red Light Therapy for Inflammation and Pain
Mirriam Webster – AnalgesicVital Red Light – Red light therapy for muscle recovery and athletic performance
Carbon World Health – Red Light Therapy Can Help Your Seasonal Affective Disorder
Start – Brightening Short Winter DaysEternal Hair & Esthetics – What Benefits Does Red Light Therapy Have?
Degree Wellness – Red Light Therapy For Healing Injuries, Wounds, Scars, and Burns 
Mawson Wellness & Weight Loss – Exploring the Benefits and Cost of Redlight Therapy

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