How Long and Often Should I Red Light For?
If you're new to red LED light therapy, you may be wondering exactly how long and how often you should use it to get the best results out of your red light device.
The truth is there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to red light therapy. The dosage and length of therapy will depend on each individual and the condition you would like to treat.
In this article, we are going to offer you some guidelines on how to use red light therapy in order to achieve the maximum therapeutic benefits.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Let's start from scratch. What exactly is red light therapy and what are its benefits?
Red light therapy goes by many names, including photobiomodulation, low-level laser therapy, low-level light therapy, red LED light therapy, and red and near-infrared light therapy. It consists of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that release photonic energy in the visible light spectrum (red light) and invisible light spectrum (near-infrared light) in order to produce a wide range of health benefits.
Wavelengths of red light range between 630 to 700 nanometers (nm), while near-infrared wavelengths are longer, starting from 700 and going all the way to 2,500 nm.
What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy?
The benefits of red light are focused on the surface of the skin, such as accelerating wound healing, improving skin issues, chronic skin conditions and skin tone, reducing fine lines, sun damage and visible signs of aging.
On the other hand, near-infrared wavelengths penetrate beyond the surface of the skin, resulting in increased blood flow, improved cellular function, pain relief, collagen production, hair growth, etc.
Easy Guide To Red Light Therapy Treatment At Home
The length of your red and near-infrared light treatment sessions depends on the type of device that you are using, the condition and the size of the area that you want to treat. It is also important to keep your overall health and skin sensitivity in mind when determining the perfect dosage and length of your sessions.
Red light therapy treatment can be applied through a safe, portable, easy-to-use device that you can use in the comfort of your own home. The way these portable devices work is different than how red light therapy bed works. While a bed can only target your full body, with a portable device you can choose a specific area of the body to target.
It is generally recommended to start red light therapy treatments conservatively with 3 to 5 applications a week, for approximately 1 to 10 minutes per treated area to allow your body to slowly adjust to the light. In time, you can increase your treatment schedule to a maximum 20 minutes of daily use for each area under treatment.
What to Consider When It Comes to Your Red Light Therapy Device
The next step is to consider two things: irradiance and energy density of your device. Irradiance (also known as power density) refers to the power your body receives, and it is expressed in megawatts per square centimeter (mW/cm2). Energy density stands for the dose of the light your body receives, and it is expressed in joules per square centimeter (J/cm2).
For illustration purposes, we will take a look at how three different types of Infraredi at-home premium devices compare in these aspects: Flex Mini, Flex Mid, and Flex Max. Flex Mini is the smallest and lightest and is used for targeted treatment; Flex Mid is used for half body and Flex Max for full body treatment.
All three emit wavelengths from 630 to 850 nm, which is the most optimal range for maximum healing effects.
All three feature irradiance over 212 mW/cm2, considerably higher than most red light products that usually range from 30-133 mW/cm2. That means you can reduce your therapy time or use them from a distance without losing any of the healing benefits.
All three also share the same energy density: 60 J/cm2. In general, treatment of skin conditions requires approximately 5 to 15 J/cm2 per session of a treated area, which means that with these specific devices you can also reduce your therapy time or use them from a distance.
So, the main difference between these three specific devices is their size and the size of the area they are intended to treat.
How Long is a Red Light Therapy Session?
When it comes to anti-aging and general skin health purposes, position your red light therapy device approximately 30-45 cm away from your body, set treatment dose to 660 nm, and use it for approximately 1-5 minutes per area. If you move it 60-90 cm away from your body, you can use it for approximately 5-10 minutes per area.
If you have sensitive skin, start with shorter red light therapy sessions and work your way up until you can determine what works best for your skin and your body.
If you are using red light therapy for wound healing, skin wounds, hair loss, mild scars, stretch marks, you should bring your device closer to you - approximately 15 to 30 cm away - and use it from 30 seconds up to 3 minutes per treated area.
For issues beyond the surface of the skin, such as chronic pain, muscle injury, blood circulation, joint pain, and connective tissue, set your device around 15 to 30 cm away from you, and use it for 2 to 10 minutes per treated area. Always follow this simple sure: the closer your device, the shorter the treatment time.
How Long Should You Use Red Light Therapy for?
How long you should use red light therapy depends on your body's responsiveness to red light therapy, your device, how often you use it, and the condition you are using it for.
One study found that participants saw beneficial effects of their therapy after 15 weeks of sessions conducted twice a week. In this case, the researchers set irradiance between 6-23 mW/cm2, energy density at around 9 J/cm2, and treatment dose in the 570-850 nm range.
In general, red light may alleviate pain and offer improved skin health in a matter of a week with daily use. Deep-seated issues should show signs of improvement within a few weeks of daily use.
Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
Red light therapy is a safe, effective, and non-invasive alternative to other therapy treatments. It does not involve the harmful ultraviolet light found in natural sunlight, which means that it cannot cause sunburn, any thermal injuries, or increase your risk of skin cancer. It has no negative side effects and causes no adverse reactions.
Here are some more tips for using red light therapy: Consult with your doctor or health care professional before starting treatments. Apply red light therapy directly on your skin rather through your clothing. Make sure you use the correct settings for the condition you want to treat. Do not wear sunscreen or makeup as they may block some of the light. Stay hydrated.
So, if you are looking for ways to improve your health without harmful chemicals or invasive treatments, red light therapy may be perfect for you.