Table of Contents
Red light and near-infrared light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, has been the subject of extensive research and has proven to be effective in treating a wide variety of health concerns including skin conditions (like eczema and rosacea), joint pain, chronic pain, healing wounds, increasing fertility, and many more. There are more than 3,000 peer-reviewed studies documenting the benefits of photobiomodulation 1.
Here are a few red light therapy benefits:
- Fight skin aging, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and cellulite and look 10 years younger
- Lose fat (nearly twice as with diet and exercise alone)
- Rid your body of chronic inflammation
- Fight the oxidative damage that drives aging
- Increase strength, endurance, and muscle mass
- Pain relief
- Combat hair loss by stimulating hair growth
- Build resilience to stress at the cellular level
- Speed up wound/injury healing
- Combat some autoimmune conditions and improve hormonal health
- Optimize your brain function and mood
- Overcome fatigue and improve energy levels
With such obvious benefits, it’s clear that red LED light therapy is an attractive option. Many companies are now manufacturing products for home use. You can find my guide on red light therapy home use here.
Choosing the Best Red Light Therapy Device
There are a wide variety of red light and near-infrared devices on the market. The most important factor to consider is the wavelength of light emitted. In order to penetrate to the cellular level to reach the mitochondria, light in the 630-660nm (red) and 850nm (near-infrared) have been shown to be the most effective.
The goal is to choose a red/NIR light therapy device that gives you spa-worthy treatments in your own home. Professional treatments can cost hundreds of dollars but a one-time investment can get you the same level of treatment. Many of the devices discussed here are the same devices being used in expensive anti-aging clinics. After the initial purchase of the device, it costs only pennies a day for the electricity it takes to power the device. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars by doing your own light treatments in the privacy of your own home.
In general, it is not recommended to get a small device as they are usually underpowered and less effective. However, if you are only treating a small part of the body there is one fairly decent product to consider.
Red Light Man
A small device from Red Light Man features LED light therapy technology that is 5-10 times more efficient per unit of light than traditional incandescent lighting. The patented reflector/lens used by Red Light Man reduces light loss by 30% and provides a more concentrated and intense beam than any other product on the market.
The Red Light Man is a 100 watt light with LEDs split between 610nm, 630nm, 660nm, and 680nm. It is also available in just 670nm, which will active cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondria more effectively than lower wavelengths of light like 610nm.
Keep in mind that the effective power density of therapeutic light is considerably lowered by the fact that some of the wavelengths, especially the 610nm, are outside of the optimal therapeutic wavelengths. For this reason, the 670nm option is recommended over the mixed wavelength selection.
Medium Sized Red Light and Near Infrared Devices
The devices in this category are optimal for the treatment of larger areas while remaining affordable. Since some of the benefits of red light and NIR light therapy come from irradiating the blood and lowering inflammation, larger lights are more effective at irradiating more of the blood at once.
These devices generally run upwards of $450 and deliver upwards of 120-300 watts of power. The treatment area is a larger area than the small targeted devices, including large muscle groups or a large portion of the torso.
The Red Rush360, available from RedTherapy.co, is the ultimate personal red light therapy device to help you feel better, look better, and perform at your best. The Red Rush360 comes with a door hanging hook and an extra-long 10’ power cord .
Dosing is important and the Red Rush360 comes with a patent-pending calibrated app for the perfect dose every time. Treating a muscle is different from treating skin and the Red Rush360 app, available for Android and iOS, solves the problem for you.
“Holy. Crap. RedRush is good… Like it’s freaky good. I was pretty skeptical trying it out but was left weirdly impressed by the results. I’ve now been consistently breaking my personal bests at the gym week after week. I cannot recommend it highly enough!” – Sylvia Ferrero – 2 x World Fitness Champion, Celebrity Trainer, Tri-Fit Hall of Famer
The Joovv Mini comes with substantial power and clinical-grade radiance which keeps treatment times short. It is designed in a modular manner, so you can get a single panel and then add more over time, building up to a full wall or more.The Joovv Mini
Ben Greenfield, voted America’s Top Personal Trainer, says, “After using Joovv for over two years, it’s the only light therapy device I’d ever recommend.”
The BIO-300 by Platinum Therapy Lights
Platinum Therapy Lights claim to have double the power of its competitors. The smallest model they offer, the BIO-300, does have impressive power stats for the size.
Coming directly from Platinum Therapy Lights: “Clinical research suggests that red light wavelengths and near-infrared wavelengths work best delivered in tandem, delivering a greater range of benefits to the body’s cells and tissues. Our combination (R/NIR) models can be switched to provide only 660nm or 850nm at one time in addition to both being used at the same time. This provides added flexibility to the user as well as giving the option to select a panel that focuses only on one frequency according to your individual needs. Due to this versatile range of benefits and treatment options, the ‘combination red and near-infrared’ configuration is our most popular choice.”
Large Near-Infrared and Red Light Therapy Devices
Large red light therapy devices offer the type of full-body coverage of more “luxury” devices, such as tanning bed styles, but at a much more affordable price. The lights in this category run from $700 to $2,500 with several good options for under $1000.
While the full-body devices offer treatment to every inch of the body at once, the devices in this category provide all you need at a much more reasonable price. Several of the devices offer much more power than the medium-sized devices, from about 300 watts on the low end up to 600 watts.
This sort of power is a good thing. When combined with the ability to shine light on a much larger area of the body at once, this will dramatically increase the number of photons reaching your cells. The effects are stronger and the benefits are greater. This is especially true if you want to reach deeper tissues in larger areas of your body and for organ health, muscle gain, and fat loss.
The larger size reaching larger areas also means you can reduce the amount of time each treatment takes because you are hitting more of your body at once. This time efficiency equals out to more efficient energy usage.
Red Rush 720
The Red Rush720 is a powerful 720w is the most power-dense red light therapy device ever made. It comes with a patent-pending calibrated app for the perfect dosage every time.
Stefan Misiraca, Founder of Crossfit Gym, raves, “Red rush is my go-to recovery tool after my workouts. I can feel my joints mobilizing and muscles relaxing after 10min under the lights.”
Jenny Scholl of The Greatness Foundation calls it an eczema game-changer. “The RedRush has been a gamechanger for me and an integral part of my health and wellness routine. I’ve battled with eczema and acne all my life and have tried many remedies to avoid putting steroids or irritants on my skin. A few days of using the RedRush and there was a noticeable difference in the health of my skin and I experienced the added bonus of increased energy! I love how accessible it is and easy to move from the bathroom to the bedroom to the office to maximize efficiency and use. I also appreciate all the information that RedRush provides in the manual and on the app to ensure that I’m using it correctly for all my different needs. We’ve been able to use it in our home for topical skin uses, increased energy and overall wellness as well as easing muscle aches and pains. I highly recommend every home have one!”
The Joovv Solo is a substantially larger panel than the Joovv Mini, coming in at 8.75” x 36”. Like all products in the Joovv catalog, the Solo is designed to be modular, allowing users to add and connect additional panels to increase the overall size.Joovv Solo
Jordan K. raves on the Joovv website, “The Joovv is the absolute best light therapy device in existence. These people are dedicated to delivering a life-changing, health altering product, and are unwavering in their commitment to quality. I’ve experienced increased testosterone, anti-inflammatory benefits, general calmness, and quicker healing. Can’t say enough good things.”
The BIO-600 by Platinum Therapy Lights600
This powerful 600w device covers a maximum area of 108” x 82”. Available in red light, near-infrared light, or a combination.The BIO-600 by Platinum Therapy Lights
Users are satisfied with the results of the BIO-600, as Renee Clark attests, “We’ve only had these lights for a short time, but so far we’re super pleased with them. The light is very relaxing (great to use before bedtime) and we seem to recover from workouts faster since using these lights. Also, our skin is clearer and a sore that wouldn’t heal is almost healed up now. Your lights seem to be built heavy-duty and we like that there are a lot of individual lights in each panel for more skin exposure. We also noticed that your lights seem to be more powerful than a cheaper light we bought elsewhere prior to buying yours. Thank you!”
The Full Stack by Red Light Rising
This giant device is the flagship product for Red Light Rising. With 600w power and featuring 200 LEDs, it is available in a standard stack configuration or in a custom configuration.
Red Light Rising explains, “This is our most powerful light therapy device, and one of the most powerful available on the market, shortening required treatment times and allowing full penetration deep into your tissues and muscles with closer application. We have chosen the specific wavelengths of light which have the highest proven absorption for your body and skin.”
Full Body Near-Infrared and Red Light Therapy Devices
Full body devices are available to treat the entire front or back of the body at once. While this feature can help reduce the time to treat the whole body, it does come with the caveat of an increased price.
Joovv Full Body
Joovv offers two great full body red and NIR light therapy devices. The DUO measures in at 8.75” x 72” and features 300 LEDs. The QUAD is a giant 17.5” x 72” and has 600 LEDs. But if that is not enough, both models feature the Joovv modular design so they can be expanded.
For the luxury-minded, there are ultra-high-end options for red and NIR light therapy. Joovv offers a massive panel for $5,995 that would probably be large enough to treat two people at once. Many options are available for over $15,000 and can run in excess of $100,000. To be honest, the benefits of the ultra-high-end devices are not that much greater than other, less expensive full-body devices. But if you really want to impress your friends, here are a few options:
Ultra High-End Near-Infrared and Red Light Therapy Options
Mitogen Red Light Bed
Boasting 10,000 LEDs with a mix of 660nm and 850nm light, the Mitogen Red Light Bed immerses your body in red and NIR light.
Happy customers like Mark testify, “After a week of using the MitoGen, I feel energized, the quality of my sleep has improved and also my mental alertness. Residual pain from exercise has decreased and I feel better equipped to tackle the stress of a high-pressure work environment.”
A company known for manufacturing laser devices, NovoThor offers a bed that delivers 630nm, 660nm, and 850nm. It is generally an option for a professional medical facility, but it is available to the public. NovoThor is committed to treating and managing pain without the use of NSAIDs or opioids and providing life-changing results for their customers.
Top Light for Use on the Brain
When shopping for a device for use on the brain, it is important to look for pure near-infrared. Red light alone is mostly ineffective at penetrating the skull. There are intranasal devices available but at this time it is not clear how effective this method is for actually treating the brain.
While devices exist that are specifically designed for use on the brain, such as the VieLight Neuro, there are panels that are also effective for use on the head. The Red Rush360 and devices from Platinum Lights have exclusive near-infrared lights that are effective in penetrating the skull while still being useful in treating other parts of the body. Keep in mind that devices designed to fit on top of your head are less useful to treat other parts of the body.
The VieLight Neuro is designed to have multiple contacts on the skull with connection points that penetrate the hair. While there are no studies to compare the effectiveness with LEDs, there is research supporting the use of this product with treating dementia.
Animal Treatment Devices
The health benefits of red light and near-infrared light therapy extend beyond human use. Companies such as “Gospel” offer solutions for treating horses and dogs. With regular 15-minute treatments, animals can experience the same health benefits with increased energy and speed up the healing process.
According to the Gospel website, “Having been both horse and dog owners, we understand the importance of making the most of time and money. Our Light Therapy pads are available in four sizes and are designed to be used all over the horse’s or dog’s body. Unlike other light therapy products, our Light Therapy pads flex both ways, top to bottom and side to side, this makes it easy to wrap around the hoof, the ankle, knee, suspensory or hock. You can leave it flat and place it on the shoulder, neck, back or poll.”
The Choice is Yours
When it comes to selecting a red light or near-infrared light therapy option, it really depends on your intended uses, your budget, and your time concerns. If you happen to have a million dollars laying around, you can build a room with red and NIR light panels covering all four walls and invite your friends over for weekly treatment parties. But if you are just wanting to treat a skin blemish on your arm, there are much smaller and affordable options for targeting such areas.
For more information on the benefits behind red light therapy – Check out my podcast with Dr. Hamblin, ” The Science on Red Light Therapy Benefits.”