Red Light & Near Infrared (NIR) Therapy – Your Complete Treatment Guide

Ralph Montague Red Light Therapy Bed Pointing

Table of Content

 

1. What is Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy?

2. Benefits of Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy?

3. What Type of Red Light & NIR Device is Best to Use?

4. How Much Does Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy Cost?

5. Can You Have a Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy at Home?

6. Who Can’t Have Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy?

7. Safety & Dangers of Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy.

8. Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy

 

What is Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy?

 

Red light is literally that, a red light. It’s that simple! A beautiful bright red light that you can see. The key aspect of this type of light is the wavelength or nanometers (NM) it is. Red light is from 630 nm to 660 nm.

The other key light that goes hand in hand with red light therapy, is near infrared light, this you can’t see, and this operates at nanometers of 810 to 850 NM. Near infrared light or NIR for short operates on the invisible spectrum of light.

Next, it’s also good to clear up a few interchangeable terms used to describe red light therapy such as the popular photo biomodulation (PBM) or the more historical use that’s less popular now is low-level light therapy (LLLT). However with LLLT it’s actually a laser not red LED lights, so delivered slight different but the same end product i.e. red light!

One thing that always surprised me about red light therapy was just how much research has been done on the subject! I mean there are thousands and thousands of research papers, this is some serious levels of interest, work and study on one topic. However this levels of interest is hardly talked about in most people’s lives. Which I find quite strange why something so widely studied is so widely unknown!

Could it be that as it’s so effective certain companies with competing products to sell you have done their best to make it not well known and certainly not a mainstream therapy to help heal the body? Who knows however what I do know is that I use red light therapy twice a day and as they say the “proofs in the pudding…”

 

What’s the Difference Between Red Light & Near Infrared Light?

As mentioned above, one you can see and the other you can’t! No prizes for which one that is! A lot of the health benefits overlap though there are of course differences otherwise we would just use either red light or NIR and not both.

The key difference between red light and NIR is simply the depth that the light can penetrate into your body or put another way which body tissues can absorb the light photons from each type of light therapy. Therefore the higher the wavelength the deeper that type of light can penetrate or be absorbed into your body.

What’s similar with both red light and NIR is that neither cause heating of the body, which explains why you can buy a “far” infrared sauna and not buy a “near” infrared sauna! As it wouldn’t heat you up otherwise.

 

Benefits of Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy?

 

There are just so many benefits to red light therapy and like all of my favorite wellness and longevity therapies (Sauna, Cryo chamber, Ozone Sauna, IV Ozone Therapy, HBOT chamber and PEMF) they all help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and increase your levels of energy, though do it in different ways e.g. red light uses light, HBOT uses oxygen and sauna uses heat. Though all sources of energy to the human body.

There is over 10,000 research papers on the huge and varied benefits of red light therapy, enough said!

Now that the science is over (and yes, I have deliberately kept it super brief as if like me, you care mainly about results we can let others go into the science!), lets go into a bit more detail into the main benefits for you, therefore reason people regularly use red light therapy are:

1. Anti-aging.

2. Pain relief (reducing inflammation).

3. Wound Healing.

4. Hair growth.

5. Increased Energy.

 

Anti-Aging

This was the main reason I got interested in red light and NIR therapy in the first place. We had a chain of regional anti-aging clinics and were always on the lookout for exciting new therapies for our clients and red light therapy was certainly that!

However, it was only with my own realisation that I would be 40 in a few years, that really gave me the kick up the back side to get moving on the red light therapy!

Red light therapy improves the production of your fibroblasts, which are very important in the quality and youthfulness of your skin. It’s the fibroblasts that produce that lovely molecule called collagen, that’s so key to a full and youthful face. Think of collagen as one of the support foundations of your face, like the bone and muscles underneath. The fibroblasts also produce your elastin which is key as to, you guessed it, your skin’s elasticity.

What does all this wonderful stuff mean to you and how you look? Well in a nutshell, it will reduce lines and wrinkles, plump your skin and what I notice from myself and others it gives your skin a beautiful radiant glow.

 

Pain Relief & Inflammation Reduction

Typically focused on chronic pain aka inflammatory based conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia as it speeds up the healing process and increases blood flow to problematic areas. The energy of a cell is critical to its health and red light gives your cells plenty of energy that for sure!

 

Muscle Recovery

Great for sports stars and those very active as the red light can reduce stiffness, pain and even muscle spasms. In this context it’s often referred to as photobiomodulation. The light energy restores cell function, stimulate blood flow and generally rejuvenate your cells. Which of course, in turn help you heal faster and reduce stiffness and pain.

There is also a study that linked red light therapy after weight training to increased muscles gains and of course faster recovery, dye to a reduced level of oxidative stress.

 

Would Healing

I personally would go in a HBOT chamber for this however that’s not to say this hasn’t been extensively proven to help. In fact both would be a great option! It works by increasing the cells’ energy i.e. ATP production and increased fibroblast production. Yes for the same reasons it help your skin to look younger, it helps your skin to heal!

 

Hair Growth

And yes, this has actually been scientifically proven and not just a few people’s experience! The type of hair loss most commonly experienced is male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. Again the red light therapy works its magic by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation to the scalp. With the blood flow, of course increased oxygen and nutrients are brought with it, all helping to fuel the regrowth of very welcomed hair!

 

Increased Energy

I left this one to last as most people don’t value this attribute and as everything is energy and I mean EVERYTHING, it’s ironically the most important of all the benefits. Though ironically all the above that it’s improving mainly come down to its ability to increase energy!

It’s all about the ATP increased production in our mitochondria that fuels our cells and therefore our energy. When human body cells drop drops below a certain energy level, around -20 millivolts (mV), chronic disease occurs. So by boosting the cell energy, we keep our bodies cells where they should be, at -20 to -25 millivolts, being full of energy and healthy.

 

What Type of Red Light & NIR Device is Best to Use?

 

If you are looking at red light therapy from a perspective to go somewhere for a treatment as opposed to investing in one for your home, then this section becomes very simple for you.

For those of you wanting red light therapy at home, then there is a much larger range of things to consider of which I have created a very comprehensive “Buyers Guide to Red Light Therapy”, which you can get your free copy at the bottom of this page.

If you are going somewhere such as a longevity clinic or wellness centre and paying to have this treatment you want the best device possible, as the treatment price will not vary that much but the quality of the red light device will!

The three key aspects to consider when choosing the best red light therapy device for you, are:

1. Wavelength of light.

2. Power of light.

3. Size of light.

 

Wavelength of The Red & NIR Light

We discussed the range of wavelengths at the start of the treatment guide, referring to them as nanometres or NMs. Referring back to above, your chosen red light therapy bed needs to have the right wavelength for red light and NIR which is between 600nm, the starting point of red light upto 1,200nm the end point for NIR. Then within these ranges you have further nuances.

If we split these into red light and NIR to simplify this. So for specific red light wavelengths, one of the best ranges is 620nm to 670nm and if like me you are looking to boost your energy levels via increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, which is the energy source that powers our bodies. The typical wavelength being 660 nm for red light, is great for this (and arguably the best).

Then for NIR it’s a bit more interesting as there are a few specific wavelengths that are very beneficial however the most popular NIR wavelength is 850nm. With 810 nm becoming more popular in recent years.

In a nutshell if it has 660 nm red light and 850 nm NIR, then you are onto a winner. Also having red light at 630 nm and NIR at 810 nm as well, is nice to have and of course you would rather have it than not however it’s not needed as you will get huge benefits from 660 nm and 850 nm alone.

This aspect is rather simple as most red light therapy beds in all fairness operate on these levels for both red light and NIR light. However its worth confirming to be on the safe side before booking your red light therapy.

 

Power of The Red & NIR Light

Then the power of light or its irradiance, is the amount of light being emitted from the red light therapy device. The more powerful the light, the more light photons being emitted and in turn the more energy or red light your body’s cells can absorb.

In order for you to get any benefit from red light therapy the device you are using needs to be upto the job and it’s a fair assumption to think that if you are paying money for a treatment at some longevity clinic then its upto the job. However, don’t always assume that, as sometimes the venue may not know themselves what they are buying or in fact are trying to save money, as wellness centres are very expensive to set up!

It needs to have the right minimum power, and this is key. There are a two ways to measure this power output:

1. Wattage.

2. Irradiance or milliwatts per centimetre (mW/cm2).

Now it can get rather complicated when it comes to all the different variations with red light therapy power output, so I am to keep it simple and not get carried with complicated distance from the red light LEDS versus power figures. Though it is worth noting that obviously the further away you are from the red light LEDS the less power you are going to be getting.

Now this more relevant for red light panels, where you can choose how close or far away you are from the red light panel, and I will explain below. Whereas with a red light therapy beds, the distance is more automatically set by the nature of their design.

So let me explain the difference between your red light therapy options and devices by explaining the two types of red light therapy devices you will encounter to help you understand things better. The choices being presented to you at a wellness centre will consist of either:

1. Red light therapy panels.

2. Red light therapy bed.

 

Red Light Therapy Panels

These can vary in size from small and medium (very unlikely to be seen in a professional setting and more aimed at home users) upto large or extra large. The large panels are around 36 inches high by 12 inches wide with around 300 LEDS producing around 490 watts.

With the extra large panels that are 75” by 23” with over 1,100 LEDS with around 1,600 watts. Obviously, this will vary between manufacturers however it gives you a good understanding of what the good manufacturers are offering in the market place.

Often you will see the large panels combined together as typically 4 panels in order to double width and height. Which essentially makes them the same size as the extra large panels, that are more of a recent development within the red light therapy world.

Another key aspect when it comes to red light therapy panels, is that their effective width i.e. the treatment area, really only applies to the area of their LEDs and some panels have “empty space” between the end of the LEDs and the edge of the panel.

 

Red Light Therapy Beds

This is by far the best option for you in order to get the best treatment, in nearly all cases. Especially as you optimise your time, by treating your front and back at the same time i.e. not having to double up your time by turning over. However again not all red light therapy beds are equal. Using the same principles as above for the panels, as that key criteria doesn’t change, we are looking for a red light therapy bed with lots of LEDs, high quality LEDs and great power.

So the number of LEDs can range from a 3,000 upto 45,000. Now I feel it is very, very important to mention that just because a red light therapy bed or whole body photo biomodulation pod has the most LEDs that doesn’t make it the best. The world leading red light therapy bed is the Novothor, yet this “only” has 3,600 LEDs. However these LEDs will be of a far higher quality than the rest and the power of the red light bed is 2,700W so it just means that a lot of power is spread over less LEDs.

Then for the actual power itself, this figure can be hard to get from your wellness clinic and can be in different forms either total watts or irradiance. So like finding out the quality of the LEDs as opposed to the number, it can get confusing and overwhelming and no real way to find this out, without asking your provider who manufactures their red light therapy bed and then doing your own research before committing to a course of red light therapy with that clinic.

Where it gets really complicated and confusing is that the irradiance quoted by most manufacturers is not even accurate! There are a few different devices used to measure the irradiance, spectrophotometer also called a spectrometer are the most accurate however lots of manufacturers also use alternative ways of measuring. These will give very different figures. No prizes on which type of measuring devices gives the most powerful readings and what type of measuring devices the manufacturers use for their quotes!

Yes, I know it’s a minefield, the only way to know for sure is to have independent testing providers and sometimes they can get it wrong as well as have heard of instances of this happening as well.

 

Keep an Eye Out For Hybrids…

Then finally its worth mentioning the hybrid, which is very new in the red light therapy marketplace. This is a very large panel, that you lie on! So it’s neither a red light therapy bed in the traditional sense of things, nor is it a panel that you can stand in front of.

The downside to this is that you have to double your treatment time, so I would really strongly advise against using such a red light therapy device, as for the same price you can just do one 15 to 20 minutes session and you cover your entire body, as opposed to having to swap over and then lie on your front, now having to do 40 minutes!

 

How Much Does Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy Cost?

 

We have researched the entire UK Red Light therapy market place to get a detailed understanding of the current prices being charged in the UK, along with the regional differences of all the spas, clinics and wellness centres in the United Kingdom that offer a red light therapy bed treatments. We appreciate we may have missed the odd one, however they are usually picked up next time we update this list.

Please be aware that we have only included red light therapy “beds” and not the red light therapy “masks” or also very popular the red light therapy “face” panels like Dermalux, as these are only doing the face. For the same price and often less for the face treatment, you can get your WHOLE body treated! To me this real does not stack up, pay more for just your face when missing out of the huge benefits for your body.

 

Price Range of UK Red Light Therapy Bed Sessions

Prices for a red light therapy bed session, range from £30 to £60 nationwide, outside of the Greater London region.

Typically in the north west around Manchester and Liverpool the price is around £30. Then for the midlands, in Birmingham its around £40 per HBOT session.

Central London and Greater London, the price for a red light therapy bed session ranges from £40 to £80, with an average price of £55 for a one off treatment. Please also note that with booking in packages or courses of red light therapy, the price comes down significantly.

The in Scotland the average red light therapy bed session is £40.

 

Block Bookings of 20 to 25 Red Light Therapy Sessions

The key aspect of red light therapy is that the best benefits are gained from an ongoing regular practice, like you would maintain a great diet, great exercise and great sleep habits. It’s no different when it comes to red light therapy.

So unlike HBOT or Ozone Sauna where this initial boost is key, by having an initial 25 to 35 sessions, followed by, either an ongoing maintenance package of once a week or month, or simply just done every year in blocks of 25 to 35, spread over a few months having it a few times a week.

I don’t recommend this type of treatment protocol for red light therapy. Instead by far the best option for you is to make it a habit whether that’s as low as one session a week or the optimum levels of three 20 minute sessions a week.

With this in mind, when booking your red light therapy sessions, ask what incentives the provider can offer you to sign up for this level of commitment with them.

 

Monthly Retainer or Subscription Model Pricing

Consider setting up a direct debit with your wellness centre or longevity clinic whereby you are having one to three red light therapy sessions every week for a set price that’s simply paid for every month by direct debit, this way you are incentivised to keep going every week as you are paying!

To give you an idea of my red light therapy protocol, I have 15 minute sessions every morning at least four times a week. It’s worth noting that once I have done my 60 minutes of red light for the week, I am not that religious on the 5th or 6th sessions for that week!

In addition to my face and body, I also do a secondary session of red light therapy for my brain! So again at least four times a week, I will lie on my back with a book under my head (which is amazing for spine alignment with us folk sitting at desks all day long writing guides like this!) and my skull three to six inches from my red light panel, in order for the near infrared (NIR) light to penetrate my skull and feed my brain with energy!

The secondary effects of this are great skin on my scalp and boosting hair growth!

 

Can You Have a Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy at Home?

 

Yes, and in fact most buyers of red light therapy equipment do!

As mentioned above in the section what type of red light device is best to use, you need to ask this question yourself, which is best for you and your needs. Obviously, budget will come into this. This is also why some people will go to clinics for their red light therapy as it means they can do this for a lot less than the initial capital outlay of having their own red light therapy device at home.

Long term of course having one at home for your own regular personal use is far superior as red light therapy is a treatment that you benefit from having multiple times a weeks, just like exercise and other wellness treatment and therapies. Same reason why I have 6 to 8 sauna sessions a week (20 mins each session) as opposed to treating it as a one off treatment.

Next of course is the convenience, as we all know that if something is very easy and simple to do, we are much more likely to do it! Think 30 second walk into the room downstairs versus having to get changed, showered, then leaving the house in the heavy rain and wind (even dark), driving for 30 minutes, finding a parking space to get to a clinic then having to do all that again to get back home!

Aside from the convenience and getting the best results from regular and consistent use, it will also likely work out cheaper in the long run for you as if you think paying £40 three times a week, will cost you £160 per week, £640 per month, thought I am sure you will be able to get a package deal if having it regular at a clinic for around £300 to £400 per month. Even at this discounted price it’s going to cost you around £4,000 per annum or £40,000 per decade and you could have had a red light therapy bed at home for that. Or after just over a year an extra large panel.

Once you have decided that it just makes so much more sense to invest in your own red light therapy device, the next two questions that are very much interlinked are:

1. How much space do you have?

2. How much can you afford?

Why these are so interlinked is that the bigger the red light equipment, as you have guessed, the more expensive it is and often though not always, the better it is!

If you have plenty of space and a budget over £25,000 then it’s a simple answer. Your best option is a red light therapy bed.

If you have some space but not the 92” by 45” plus the ample space either side for access for a whole body photo biomodulation bed, then your best option is an extra large panel as these can be leant against a wall or fixed to the wall, taking up very little space except that of the wall area as they protrude barely a few inches from the wall. These start off from around £5,000.

Then finally if you really are tight on space, then a large red light panel (around 36 inches by 12 inches) would be your best option. It is also what I have, though this was as when I bought mine, I didn’t know any better otherwise I would have bought either a red light therapy bed as had the space, though I knew I was moving soon, so for that reason would have bought an extra large red light panel. That being said this is the reason I am writing such a comprehensive treatment guide for you on red light therapy as these are the things I wish I knew many years ago so that I would have bought what was best for me and not what was all I knew!

 

Who Can’t Have Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy?

 

This is a tough one as its so safe, I am not sure there is anyone who couldn’t have it, that being said like everything in life I am sure there is someone!

If people are under the influence of external factors such as medication that increases their sensitivity to sunlight such as lithium or isotretinoin, then perhaps they should avoid it. However the fact they have to avoid sunlight one of the most healing forms of energy known to man kind says more about the medication than this beautiful and natural therapy.

 

Safety & Dangers of Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy.

 

So we are going to really struggle to find issues and dangers with red light therapy as it’s just so safe. However, like everything in life you can have too much of a good thing!

The only issues really would be the device being made faulty, the device becoming faulty having been used for many, many years, falling asleep while having red light therapy and not setting a timer, though all the red light therapy panels and beds I have used, have a built in timer so we really are clutching at straws here on “trying” to find a safety issue with red light therapy.

That’s it folks in a nutshell, probably the most pointless thing I have written on this very comprehensive website of mine, trying to find an issue with red light therapy!

 

Red Light & Near Infrared Therapy FAQs.

 

1. What is an Red Light Therapy?

A beautiful bright red light that you can see. The key aspect of this type of light is the wavelength or nanometers (NM) it is. Red light is from 630 nm to 660 nm.

 

2. How Long is a Red Light Therapy Treatment?

Typically the best duration for a red light therapy session is 20 minutes, though of course allow time to undress, relax afterwards if needs be and get changed once again.

 

3. What Are The Health Benefits For You Having Red Light Therapy?

Detoxifies your body, boosts your immune system, pain management, improves mental performance, increased energy, helps reduce the effects of chronic inflammatory diseases such as dementia, MS and arthritis, reduces skin issues such as acne, psoriasis and eczema, stress release, boost your sleep quality, helps with joint pain.

 

4. Will I Need To Take Time Off Work After My Treatment?

No. You can go back to work straight after your Red Light Therapy session.

 

5. Can You Use Your Red Light Therapy Every Day?

Absolutely! However three 20 minute sessions a week is more than enough!

 

6. How Do I Prepare For an Red Light Therapy?

You don’t have to; you simply get undressed and lie there!

 

7. How Many Red Light Therapy Sessions Is Best For You?

Like with cryotherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy which are all amazing for reducing inflammation and living longer, red light therapy is best thought of as a regular habit and part of your general maintenance program for yourself.

It’s worth remember that you will have a lifetime of inflammation and damage built up within your body! Think 40 years, 50 years or even 80 years of cumulative damage. For this reason, don’t expect miracles after just one or two Red Light Therapy sessions, though you will start to see great results by maintaining your new healthy habit.

 

8. Is Red Light Therapy Safe?

Very, in fact one of the safest wellness and longevity treatments available other than eating, walking or sleeping!

 

9. Who Can’t Have Red Light Therapy?

Very few people, those on light sensitive medications such as lithium and isotretinoin.

 

10. When Will I Feel Beter After Red Light Therapy?

Most people will feel great straight afterwards, with both a sense of relaxed calmness along with your skin feeling amazing, plus more vitality.

 

11. What Do I Wear During My Red Light Therapy Session?

Very little, either going naked or with the smallest swim wear you have to allow the light to treat as much exposed skin as possible.

 

12. How Do You Feel When in The Red Light Therapy?

Peaceful and relaxed.

 

Would You Like to Have Your Own Red Light Therapy Bed?

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