Does Red Light Therapy Work?

You may have heard about red light therapy and its natural health benefits—but does red light therapy work, or is it too good to be true? The short answer is: yes, it actually works! In today’s post we will talk about the extensive amount of research that has been published over the last three decades on the effectiveness of red and near infrared light therapy. At Avanti Body in Vacaville, CA, we are passionate about the science of red light therapy and all that it can do for your health! 

The History of Red Light Therapy 

Red light therapy has been around for over 100 years. In 1903, physician Niels Ryberg Finsen won the Nobel Prize in Medicine after successfully treating lupus with concentrated light rays, which is now known as red light therapy. His work paved the way for future research and by the 1960s light therapy was being used in Eastern Europe for the treatment of chronic pain, arthritis, joint rehabilitation, and soft-tissue injuries. Red light therapy has been used in a clinical setting since the 1980s in Japan, China, Canada, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that it started getting more attention in the U.S. NASA scientists found that the intense light from red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helped promote growth and photosynthesis of plant cells. This enabled them to grow plants in space, which then prompted scientists to research the medical applications of red light therapy. NASA’s findings demonstrated significant health benefits from specific wavelengths of red light. Since that discovery, the medical community has been researching the use of red light therapy extensively. 

The Research 

In the last thirty years there have been hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical trials and laboratory studies conducted on light therapy, many of which have been published in major scientific and medical journals. Studies have shown that red light therapy is safe and effective for many different conditions. The FDA has approved red light therapy for the treatment of joint pain and the reduction of wrinkles, and it is currently exploring the wound-healing applications of red light therapy. 

To give you an idea of the research that is out there, here are just a few of the studies that have been published:

Skin and Aging 

  • This study found that light therapy using light emitting diodes (including red light therapy), is useful in treating various skin conditions, like acne, surgical wounds following plastic surgery, actinic keratosis, and certain skin cancers. 
  • A 2006 study showed that near infrared LED light “represents a novel, noninvasive, therapeutic intervention for the treatment of numerous diseases linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, including age-related macular degeneration, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Wound Healing

  • This 2004 study found that near infrared light therapy, along with hyperbaric oxygen, greatly enhances the body’s natural wound healing process and helps bring injured patients back to their normal level of functioning much more quickly. 


  • A 2017 study showed that photobiomodulation, or red and near infrared light therapy, has the ability to reduce inflammation, particularly in disorders of the joints, traumatic injuries, lung disorders, and in the brain.

Visit Avanti Body 

So as you can see, the answer to the question—does red light therapy work?—is yes! Red light therapy has a wealth of evidence-based research to back it up. And we barely skimmed the surface of the research. This is why we are so excited about red light therapy! If you have more questions about the research or the therapy itself, please give us a call at Avanti Body in Vacaville, CA today to set up an appointment. And see for yourself how red light therapy can change your life. 

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

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