Red Light

Months ago I posted the video below on Instagram where I then talked about my personal red light device in the caption. Due to the amount of questions we received, I promised to do a follow up blog post in response - so here is my (all too delayed) Red Light post!

You may have seen LED facials floating around the internet recently (where it looks like someone is wearing a lit up mask resembling Hannibal Lector straight out of Silence of the Lambs). So much like infrared heat, red light has been popping up everywhere and is being hailed for it’s countless positive benefits in the beauty/medical world. I would say that the main reason red light is sought out is that it diminishes the look of fine lines and wrinkles in a non-evasive way. But although that’s a really positive side effect, it’s not the initial reason I purchased my red light device.

Before my muscle biopsy, I was having horrible muscle pain that over the counter pain medicine wasn’t making a dent in. I was complaining to my rheumatologist that the pain was getting in the way of me being able to function properly and he suggested I try red light to see if it helped take the edge off while we searched for the root of the cause.

I remember when he mentioned this, my mom (who was in the room with me) and I exchanged glances like “what on Earth is he talking about? Light to help?”. We were willing to try anything so right after the appointment we started researching red light and trying to find a suitable option for purchase. Soon after typing “red light” into Google, we were amazed by this simple treatment option that we had never heard mentioned before.

The one I purchased (and currently use) has red light + infrared heat and is marketed as a handheld beauty device. From what I can tell, the people seeking out red light treatment fall under two categories, the ones who want it for cosmetic reasons, and the ones who want it for pain management. I suppose I now lie under both categories because while mine was initially bought for pain, I must admit what I currently use it the most on is my face.

Red light therapy is pretty new to the U.S. but has been used in other countries for decades. It falls into the visible part of the light spectrum between 630-700 nm on the electromagnetic scale so it looks red. It treats the surface of the skin and just below (up to 8-10 millimeters under) which in some areas of the body can actually affect down to the nerve pathways and lymph. 

The mitochondrial function of cells are effected by the very specific wavelengths of red light and this has a variety of effects including:

  1. Increases collagen production (red light therapy triggers the body to actually produce more collagen which diminishes the look of wrinkles and fine lines)

  2. Increasing circulation, which helps reduce inflammation and pain and aids in detoxification

  3. Promotes the production of new cells (speedier wound healing and tissue repair)

  4. Reduces age spots/redness/sun damage

  5. Helps fade scars and stretch marks

  6. Lowering effects of oxidative stress/free radical damage

Red light is popping up more and more in the medical world and personally I love that this is such a non- invasive treatment for a variety of aliments with zero negative side effects. After taking so many prescriptions to treat everything under the sun, it’s amazing to hear about something as simple as light that can actually make a positive difference to your pain level. I have been really excited about this and of course I love the anti-aging effects because I geek out on skin care.

So what is my actual take on red light and would I recommend it to others?

The short answer is yes. I would recommend a hand held red light device for cosmetic purposes because the results are pretty immediate and it doesn’t take long to convince the user that it really works. However, for pain treatment, I would not suggested buying a small red light like I purchased because it is too time consuming to cover a much larger portion of your body than your face and neck. Instead, I would recommend looking into medical spas where they offer red light chambers so your whole body gets immersed in red light all at once. That way, you only have to to dedicate a 15-30 min period to the process..

I recently went to a spa to try a whole body red light chamber and instantly loved it. It soothed my muscles and I just felt better after I ended my first session. After doing some research online and talking to one of the spa owners, I would recommend going a couple times a week (if that’s possible) for the first few weeks, then continuing as needed from there on out. Don’t get me wrong, I still use my hand held device on specific parts of my body if I’m feeling pain, but a red light chamber is just more efficient.

red light
red light
  • Although not pictured, the personal red light device we recommend (and purchased since this post) is Joovv .

-Em