The written article is based on a summary of existing literature on the topic of infrared saunas. The article is for educational purposes and the information provided below cannot be taken as a promise to help with acute health problems or diseases. 37 references back the claims in the article. All references are numbered. You can access the text of the reference by clicking on the number.
In recent years, the surge in the popularity of red LED lights has caused quite a stir globally. However, despite being one part of red light therapy, red LED light itself is different and is often misunderstood or misinterpreted due to its distinct name, features and benefits.
To help you navigate this intriguing topic, we've crafted an informative blog post that delves into the specifics of red LED light, including its unique benefits and how it distinguishes itself from red light therapy.
There's a lot to learn and understand, so let's clear up any confusion.
This blog post forms part of our enlightening series on chromotherapy, which examines the biological effects of all visible colours of light. We invite you to explore our other blogs to further your knowledge on this fascinating topic:
So, without further ado, let's dive into the world of red LED light. We'll start at the beginning, with some essential definitions.
What Is Light Therapy? And What Is Red Light Therapy?
Time to delve into the realm of LED light therapy, focusing particularly on red light therapy. Red light therapy is a subset of the broader spectrum of light therapies, sharing the stage with other methods like infrared saunas and tanning beds.
In modern times, LEDs have become the primary tool for delivering red light therapy in consumer products. Clearlight® Saunas, known for promoting wellness, is an excellent example of this innovative approach.
With add-on therapy devices and a commitment to customer satisfaction, they truly embody the future of wellness therapies. Let's probe deeper into the nuances of red light therapy.
What Is Red LED Light Therapy? And How Does It Relate To Low-Level Laser Therapy And Red LED Light?
Let's begin with a bit of history.
For many years, lasers were the primary tool used in red light therapy (1; 2; 3). Applying a laser to an injury or an aching joint or tendon would accelerate the healing process. This is where the name Low-Level Laser Therapy came from, because red light therapy was previously applied through the use of lasers.
However, since the turn of the millennium, the cost of LEDs has significantly dropped.
So, you have LEDs that emit blue light, green light, or red light.
Within the realm of red light therapy, LEDs are employed to produce both red and near-infrared light.
While lasers continue to be used in medical settings, they are less relevant to this discussion as they aren't easily accessible for consumer use.
In contrast, red LED light differs from red light therapy in that it solely utilises red light, with no near-infrared involved.
Despite their similar names, the two therapies are distinct.
We incorporate these red LED lights into our chromotherapy, which is now a standard feature in all our infrared saunas offered by Clearlight® Saunas.
Now, let's delve into the benefits of red LED lights:
Benefits Of Red LED Light And Near-Infrared Light Treatment
So, what exactly does red LED light treatment bring to the table? Fascinatingly, the impact of the red light extends far beyond just skin deep.
It permeates the human body, eliciting biological changes within. One key area of influence is your cells, where red light can enhance energy production through several mechanisms (4; 5; 6).
This boost in energy output is due to the light's interaction with your mitochondria - the power plants of your cell. The end product - fuel - which are utilised by your cells, but light also enables your cells to ramp up their energy production.
Additionally, red LED light has a profound impact on inflammation throughout the body (7; 8; 9; 10.
High levels of inflammation correlate with many modern diseases (heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes), and also with reduced energy production. By curtailing inflammation, energy production surges.
This energy production enhancement, courtesy of red LED light, significantly benefits overall health. Here's a snapshot of the advantages offered by red LED light ((11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18: 19: 20; 21; 22; 23; 24: 25)::
Accelerated wound healing
Improved hair growth and mitigation of hair loss
Reduction in skin roughness by boosting collagen and elastin production
Enhanced energy levels
Increased muscle mass and greater fat loss
Lowered overall disease risk
Better mood with diminished risk of depression and anxiety
Improved cognitive function
Strengthened joint health
This is only a brief overview of the effects of red LED light therapy.
Currently, there are between 1,500-2,000+ studies published on red LED therapy (26), focusing solely on red LED light, and not the inclusion of near-infrared light.
Astonishingly, over 85% of these studies report positive outcomes, providing substantial scientific evidence for the benefits of red LED light.
Intrigued? Let's explore how Clearlight seamlessly integrates this revolutionary red LED light into its products:
Red LED Light Chromotherapy
At Clearlight®, we're thrilled to provide both standard and medical-grade chromotherapy featuring red LED light.
We also offer our Red Light Therapy Tower within our infrared saunas, it's important to note that its effects differ from those of red LED lights.
Both chromotherapy options are designed to work seamlessly within our infrared saunas and can be utilised concurrently during your sauna sessions. This means you won't have to carve out additional time from your busy schedule to benefit from these therapies.
Now, let's delve deeper into these exciting chromotherapy options and the wavelengths you can pair alongside red LED light:
Our medical-grade chromotherapy utilises a triad of lights, each measured in "nm".
The chromotherapy system integrated into our saunas employs 660nm for red light, 540nm for green light, and 405nm for blue light.
By blending these primary colours, you can achieve secondary hues. For instance, yellow light is produced by merging red and green, while purple or violet light is the result of combining red and blue.
Green and blue together yield orange. Furthermore, the intensity of each light output can be varied, offering both bright and subtle options.
Strategically positioned in the ceiling of the infrared sauna, just above the seating area, the chromotherapy system illuminates your eyes and head during your sauna sessions, thereby influencing your biology.
There are several ways in which chromotherapy can affect your biological functions.
Initially, the light enters your eyes, where different types of light have distinct impacts.
Blue light, for example, signals to your brain and body that it's daytime, promoting wakefulness. Thus, it's advisable to use blue light during the morning and afternoon, avoiding it before bedtime.
Conversely, red light chromotherapy exerts a soothing and healing effect on the brain and eyes, making it suitable for nighttime use.
Red light, in contrast, resonates with energy and enthusiasm.
Although comprehensive scientific studies on the effects of colours are still forthcoming, it's universally acknowledged that colours profoundly influence our lives.
You've likely observed how the colours used in interior design or architecture dramatically shape your perception of your surroundings.
Similarly, the colours of your clothing or accessories can significantly impact your mood and self-perception.
Likewise, numerous online sources discuss how individuals interpret the colour red. Red can symbolise attention or even danger in some contexts, as well as evoke feelings of passion, romance, and love.
It's also associated with the heart, risk-taking, and taking charge. However, it's important to note that colours can hold vastly different meanings for different people.
Despite this, the biological effects of red light, which have been scientifically established, are far from psychological. They directly impact your body, such as at the cellular level.
Here are a few examples of these effects:
Example 1: Red Light For Skin: Wrinkles, Wounds, Ulcers And More
In most studies, red light increases blood flow in the skin.
Blood flow typically decreases as you age, thereby leading to skin problems. Red light also impedes inflammation, which increases with age and makes your skin look puffier.
Other mechanisms by which red light works for the skin are enhancing collagen and elastin production.
Elastin makes your skin supple and elastic, as the name already implies, and collagen tightens your skin so it doesn’t sag.
Collagen and elastin levels in the skin also go down with age, which is then (partially) reversed when you apply red light over time.
Many different wavelengths of red have skin health benefits. The most essential wavelengths here are the 630nm and 660nm red wavelengths.
As a result, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and even hyperpigmentation are affected by red LED light for skin health.
The chromotherapy included in our saunas utilises this specific wavelength. Chromotherapy mainly affects your brain face, and part of your upper body. Secondly, let’s talk about another vital topic:
Example 2: Red Light For Face
The market has recently been flooded with a variety of red LED light devices specifically designed for facial use.
These range from specialised beauty products commanding prices in the thousands to LED face masks and laser devices priced at a few hundred pounds, and even LED panels tailored for the face.
Each of these products delivers a slightly unique light therapy experience.
While most harness the power of red LED lights, some also incorporate blue, violet, and near-infrared lights.
However, for optimal results, you'll want a device that projects red LED lights onto your face.
While the addition of blue, violet, and near-infrared lights is a nice touch, they're not absolutely essential. Why? Simply because red light reigns supreme when it comes to skincare benefits, especially for the face.
Users of facial light therapy often report experiencing less redness, a more slender face (as red LED light contributes to fat loss), diminished dark circles or bags around the eyes, firmer skin with fewer wrinkles, and an overall brighter complexion. Improvements in age spots and skin texture have also been noted.
Although the impact of red light on facial beauty isn't immediate, most users start to observe benefits after a few weeks of treatment.
Next, let's address some of the most commonly asked questions about red LED therapy:
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Red LED Light Frequently Asked Questions
Below, I will address some commonly asked questions that we often receive regarding our red LED light, a medical-grade chromotherapy device, and our red light therapy tower add-on.
Does Red LED Light Work?
Many people are sceptical originally and ask, “Does red LED therapy actually work”. And some of these results seem too good to be true in many cases. Of course, no promises can be made here as results vary from person to person. But overall, the results of red light have been excellent.
And, 2,000+ scientific studies published over the last few decades verify that red light actually works. These studies have investigated a wide array of different conditions, such as sports performance, sleep quality, hormonal health, inflammation, well-being (lower anxiety and depression risk), countering joint pain (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), and much more.
in short, yes, red LED light works and it works well.
Is It OK To Sleep With Red LEDs?
Yes, it’s OK to sleep with a red light, depending on the context. Many people use red LEDs at nighttime. The benefit is that the red LEDs don’t signal to your brain that it’s daytime.
Those red LEDs, contrary to blue LEDs, allow the melatonin levels in your brain to rise. The result is that you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep, and have higher sleep quality.
For red light, specifically, I recommend experimenting with it. Some people can have an intense red light on their skin an hour before bedtime and sleep fine. Others find the red light too stimulating and experience lower sleep quality.
You don’t want to use intense red light at nighttime, though - you can use red light as background lighting during the night.
What Does Red LED Light Do For Skin?
As stated before, red light has massive benefits for the skin. First, red light increases collagen and elastin production in the skin. Collagen makes your skin firm and tight and elastin makes it more elastic—the combination of elastin and collagen results in more youthful skin.
Many people state that they look much younger after using a red light or that friends and family have made such comments. Fortunately, there are also dozens if not hundreds of scientific studies showing that red LED light for the skin works. And, many medical light therapy applications use red LEDs and other LEDs such as blue light for skin improvement. Combining different light colours has the best effects, even though red light already has potent skin health effects.
Can Red LED Lights Be Used As Red Light Therapy?
Red LED lights and red light therapy are two different things. Red LED lights emit red light only, and in red light therapy, there’s a combination of red and near-infrared light.
The only similarity here is that both therapies are based on LEDs. So that’s where the confusion comes in. You won’t get the full benefits of red light therapy by using red LEDs only, as the former also includes near-infrared benefits.
Nevertheless, red lights only - such as with LEDs - still have massive health effects.
What Does Red Light Do For Your Face?
The face is one of the most frequent reasons people purchase a red LED light device. And, for the face, there are ample benefits of red LED therapy. Examples here are less fine lines and wrinkles. A decrease in circles around the eyes is another benefit. You may also see increases in brightness of the skin and reductions in redness.
Nowadays, there are specialised masks that you wear offering red light for face therapy. Using chromotherapy in your sauna is one way to have fewer wrinkles, redness, fine lines, and dark circles without wearing a mask.
So, yes, red light for the face works, but it’s better to focus on a full-body approach so that all your bodily tissues benefit.
Can I Use Red Light On My Face Everyday?
Yes, you can use red light on your face every day. In fact, for the best results, you’ll want to use red light at least four to five times per week.
The results are also cumulative. So, the more frequently you use red therapy, the better the results will be, especially over a longer time. However, it's best if you take one or two days off per week from red therapy for the best results.
Also, for the easiest results, just make red therapy part of your daily routine. For instance, if you’ve got a sauna routine, you can just use chromotherapy in there and get red light exposure on your face.
How Often Should You Use Red Light On Your Face?
Use red therapy on your face five to six days per week for the best results. Both more frequent and less frequent sessions generally lead to inferior results.
Also, for skin health benefits, you don’t want an exposure that’s too intense. Intense red light is excellent for treating deeper tissues but leads to an overload of more superficial tissues, such as the skin.
You can envision overdosing on a red light as doing too much exercise. While some exercise is good, more is not always better. If you exercise for four hours a day, seven days a week, your health eventually suffers.
Does Red Light Skin Really Work?
Absolutely, red light works. We’ve talked about the thousands of red light studies and the anecdotal evidence of people whose lives were changed by it.
The only downside here is that for skin health benefits, you’ll generally have to use more frequent treatments over a few weeks. For other benefits, such as muscle recovery or pain, many people experience results after just one session.
After about four to six sessions per week, many people experience the skin health benefits of red light after around two weeks. So, experiment, and you’ll likely experience benefits!
What Do Doctors Say About Red LED Therapy?
More and more, the medical establishment is warming up to the effects of red LED therapy. Many people are simply unaware of red light effects, even in the medical industry.
And yet, some trendsetting physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, anaesthetists, and other fields have started implementing red light into their practice.
What Are Red LED Light Pros And Cons?
The red light pros are straightforward: the therapy is generally non-invasive unless lasers are used.
So, with LEDs, you can easily apply red light to the skin and get benefits.
Also, the benefit is that red light works for many applications, as mentioned earlier.
There are some red light cons, though.
First up, in rare cases, side effects occur. People with (chronic) health conditions, for instance, may feel tired after a red LED light treatment - in that case, it’s wise to lower the exposure time.
Secondly, if you’ve got cancer, you have to talk to your physician before using red light, as it may increase blood flow and impact the spread of cancer to other tissues.
In the case of cancer, some experts believe that red light can potentially increase the spread throughout the body (36; 37). Opinions are starting to slowly shift on this topic, though, but to ensure safety, consult your doctor before using a red light directly on a (suspected) tumour.
Upgrade Your Sauna Experience With Red Chromotherapy
Hopefully, you found the exploration into the red light therapy revolution with red LED light as enlightening and enjoyable as we did!
It's clear to see that this therapy has near-universal benefits for a variety of health situations.
Much like regular exercise or adhering to a healthy diet, it has the potential to enhance your overall health in numerous ways.
We're genuinely thrilled about this emerging trend.
Those who are already harnessing the power of red LED lights for therapeutic purposes are truly pioneers in the health industry.
If you're among them, consider yourself fortunate. We fully anticipate that this therapy will become increasingly mainstream in society in the years and decades to come, promoting wellness and customer satisfaction on a broad scale.