Top 10 Myths About Red Light Therapy

use red light therapy to relieve stress
4 Min Read

Although red light therapy has been used in medicine for thousands of years, it is just now becoming a mainstream solution for those looking to support their wellness and health goals. With its new emergence, a lot of myths about red light therapy have emerged. So, it’s no wonder why there is some confusion when it comes to what red light therapy device to buy.

1. Red light therapy is a gimmick and is not supported by any medical science or clinical studies

Not only has red light therapy been used in medicine throughout human history, it is backed by over 7,000 peer-reviewed clinical studies conducted by esteemed professors and clinicians at top universities, hospitals, and clinics across the country. These studies have revealed numerous legitimate applications red light therapy can play in medicine as an adjunctive treatment option for patients, but also in everyday life to support general health and wellness.

2. Red light therapy uses chemicals and drugs

Red light therapy is a chemical-free, drug-free solution to your health goals! Red light therapy takes advantage of the natural interaction between certain wavelengths of light energy and our cells. In fact, our cells have evolved to use red and near-infrared light from the Sun to produce energy and survive.

3. The FDA does not recognize red light therapy as an effective treatment option

For decades, the FDA has recognized the role of red light in relieving pain and inflammation. Today, the FDA has 5 product codes specifically assigned to red light devices that come to market for pain, inflammation, acne, wrinkle reduction, and hair growth.

4. All light is equal

In red light therapy, the only factor that matters is the type of light. Based on the research that’s been conducted so far, we know that there are two main components of red light therapy that matter most:

  • the type of light,or wavelength of light
  • the “dose” of light is comprised of the product of three primary factors: energy output, time and distance.

When considering what type of red light device is best for you, it’s important to make sure the company has already dosed the light for you, so that you don’t receive a suboptimal effect of the therapy.

5. The more, the better

A red light therapy session does not have a maximum time limit!
When it comes to red light therapy, more is not better; more precise is better.
Why is this?
The benefit of red light therapy follows a ‘biphasic dose response curve’, which means that too little or too much light is not as good as a moderate amount of light, or “dose” of light.
Achieving the optimal depends on the product of three factors: energy output, distance, and time. To achieve optimal results from red light therapy, a proper dose of light is delivered for a precise amount of time – not too long, and not too short.

6. Full-body red light therapy is as effective as targeted, local red light therapy

Following the same ‘biphasic dose response curve’ defined above, the moderate, or “right”, dose of light significantly differs between different health goals (pain relief, acne reduction, wrinkle reduction, hair growth).

Even for pain, the type and dose of light needed to relieve knee pain is vastly different than that for foot pain or even back pain. More specifically, using a dose of light on the whole body using a red light panel is not as effective as dosing light precisely to target specific areas of the body. Delivering the same type and dose of light to the whole body only guarantees that your treatment will not be optimal in some areas.

7. Red light therapy can cause sunburn

Sunburns are a type of tissue damage that is caused by ultraviolet (UV) light. Red light therapy contains red and near-infrared wavelengths which are unable to inflict the type of cellular damage that causes sunburn. In fact, research shows that red and near-infrared light can repair UV-induced damage!

8. Red light works through clothing

Although a small amount of light can penetrate through clothing, we recommend that all sessions be performed on bare skin. The calculations that govern Sunflower’s automated light sessions are operating on the assumption that you are pointing the device at bare, exposed, skin. As a result, we cannot guarantee that Sunflower will provide the expected benefits of red light therapy if it’s used through clothing.

9. When administering red light therapy, it is completely safe to stare directly into the LEDs

Although LED-based red light therapy does not typically pose significant risks that would lead to vision damage, infrared and red light can temporarily affect color perception and vision. As such, it is best to avoid looking into the light source during a red light therapy session. Close your eyes during the session, or better yet, wear protective eyewear designed to block out red and infrared wavelengths of light.

10. The cost of a red light therapy device is a good way to tell how effective it is

Although it is true that the inexpensive red light therapy products are likely gimmicky and of low quality, just because a red light product is very expensive, does not mean that it guarantees efficacy or even manufacturing quality. In fact, there are hundreds of gimmicky red light therapy products on the market now that cost tens of thousands of dollars.

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