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Acne treatment UK: Does light therapy really work?


People react differently to the presence of acne on their face and body, but it often results in poor self-image, depression anxiety and many times permanent physical scarring of the skin.

 A 2001 experiment from Queens Medical Center in Nottingham, UK found that acne was prevalent in 50% of adolescents and had “considerable impact on emotional health in this age group.” But does light therapy really work or is it just a craze? Here are the news and updates about the Acne UK Treatment

Acne is one of the most common dermatological disorders encountered in everyday practice. It is routinely treated with a variety of systemic and topical medications; however, factors such as antibiotic resistance, patient needs for faster results, and adverse effects associated with some medications have led researchers to search out alternative therapies.

Newer technologies have recently emerged to doctors in their treatment of acne patients. A variety of light sources and lasers have been shown to be useful as therapy for a variety of conditions including moderate to severe acne. Light sources including intense pulsed lights and blue light are becoming regular in addition to routine medical management in order to enhance the therapeutic response in these patients.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) may change many of the acne paradigms as its place in the therapeutic armamentarium becomes cemented in the treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory acne, with increasing numbers of clinical studies around the world demonstrating the adequacy of using external photosensitizers like methyl aminolevulinate or 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) in combination with light (PDT) in this patient group.

The use of these techniques may have different clinical results and outcomes in different skin types and, in particular, in patients with non-Caucasian, ethnic pigmented skin; however, the experience with these devices in Latin America is limited because the cost of both the photosensitizers and technologies are prohibitive.

Some Protocols for Light Acne Treatment in the UK

Based on the idea that light therapy and PDT appears to be the next frontier in acne treatment. In the UK, three devices have either been approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for light-based treatment of acne: the clear light blue-light therapy, which uses a noncoherent light source (405–420 nm), the cool touch Nd:YAG laser (1,320 nm), and the Smoothbeam diode laser (1,450 nm).

Mild Acne

To treat mild acne that has not responded well to topical or medical therapy, the use of clear light therapy device, a noncoherent light source (405–420 nm), or some device emitting blue light is recommended because it is perhaps the safest and most convenient procedure.

Moderate Acne

For moderate acne, any one of the three devices approved by the FDA is an option. If the patient has any acne scarring, the lasers are probably better because they may improve the scarring. If the patient has a darker complexion, blue light is better because such patients run the risk of pigmentation changes from the cryogen spray used with lasers.

Severe Acne

Severe acne probably requires laser treatment because the lasers may go deeper and damage sebaceous glands. Cystic acne needs isotretinoin, however, and even the lasers probably do not penetrate deep enough to be of use.

Acne treatment UK: Blue and red lights

Blue light does not have the same physiological effects as red light, and in fact, has some effects which oppose red light.

To be clear, blue light is necessary and vital to our health because blue light entering our eyes feeds into our circadian rhythm/clock in the brain, which regulates numerous hormones and neurotransmitters, and many vital functions. So I am not saying that blue light is bad— to the contrary, we need blue light to be healthy (especially blue light entering our eyes). There are also some other potential uses of blue light like whitening teeth or treating acne.

But blue light directly on the skin, or on wound/injury sites, muscle tissue (or anything where one might use red light) is a bad idea. The blue light isn’t doing anything beneficial in that case, and may even be detracting from the benefits of red light. In the case of anti-aging treatments on the skin specifically, it is almost guaranteed to be counter-productive, as blue light can actually damage skin cells.

Moreover, we all spend huge amounts of time indoors under fluorescent or LED indoor lamps that have tons of blue light. Our personal devices like phones, computers, iPads, etc. also emit a lot of blue light.

So most of us are being bathed in blue light all the time while being massively deficient in red. Again, blue light does not stimulate the same physiological benefits as red light.


A large proportion, almost 90% of teenagers suffer from this “illness”, which may cause severe aesthetic and psychological problems. Additionally, improper treatment may leave behind permanent scars. Acne or blackheads, commonly called pimples, form when the opening of the sebaceous glands in the skin becomes blocked for some reason, which leads to the proliferation of bacteria and eventually to inflammation. Pimples usually emerge during adolescence in response to a combination of factors, such as hormonal changes, inherited predisposition, and environmental effects.

In order to prevent more significant blemishes and unsightly scars, acne treatment should start early.

Cleansing is very important: facial skin should be thoroughly cleaned in the morning and in the evening with lukewarm water and soap or a cleansing lotion.

Remove all powder or makeup before going to bed. Only non-irritating and nondrying facial care products should be used. Do not use strongly drying and irritating liquid soaps because they increase sebum production. In order to avoid the oiliness of the forehead, frequent hair washing is recommended. Topical treatments used in-home care may be sufficient for the mildest cases: in order to counteract a too thick stratum corneum, pimples should be treated with exfoliants, drying paste, or suspensions, usually applied in the evening. Pharmacological therapy may be used in addition to localized treatments.

Treatment: Treat the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a day.

Light therapy: The color green is recommended for the affected area, yellow for the liver and the spleen, and orange for the kidneys.

Light therapy is known as …


Light therapy is known as the treatment of a variety of diseases and a wide range of problems. Light therapy is known as polarized light therapy, which is a therapy that uses natural light waves that do not originate from a point light source vibrate in all directions. The vibration of the polarized light wave is unidirectional. Each polarized light (red, orange, blue, green,…) has a specific use and treat a specific part of the human body systems (skin, allergy, ears, teeth,…).

The following list of diseases and treatment indications were chosen from the recommendations published by various manufacturers and consumer companies, physicians, and therapeutic centers. Even though Light therapy has no side effects, there are certain illnesses and disorders where treatment must be applied under regular medical monitoring:

  • During the manic phase of bipolar disorder,
  • Implanted pacemaker,
  • Thrombocytosis (predisposition to thrombosis due to the increased number of thrombocytes),
  • Epilepsy,
  • During chemotherapy,
  • Treatment of surgical scars after cancer surgery,
  • Uncompensated hypertension.

It must be kept in mind (as emphasized in the description of specific diseases) that Light therapy is not a substitute for medical care and pharmacological treatment.

In general, acute problems will improve faster than chronic diseases.

In order to ensure the deepest possible penetration of the light, distributors recommend an approximately 1-inch distance from the skin during treatment. If the minimum amount of heat transferred by the lamp to the skin surface is uncomfortable (for example in treating burns, or during the treatment of infants or children), the distance should be increased.


The significance of treatment with the lamp is that since it has no side effects, it can be used for the treatment of infants. It accelerates healing, it is painless, and in many cases can be used while the infant is asleep.


Allergy is an overreaction of the body to substances that generate no response under normal conditions. These substances are called allergens. The binding of allergen to an antibody triggers tissue inflammation.

Generally speaking, allergies are an illness of the young, and unless chronic organic disorders are present (such as the narrowing of bronchi in asthma), symptoms usually become more moderate with advancing age. The symptoms of infantile or childhood allergic disease may shift as the child ages. For example, the symptoms of pediatric eczema and food allergies may clear up, or be replaced by other allergies such as hay fever and/or asthma. Diagnosis and proper treatment are very important because any childhood allergy can increase the risk of developing asthma.

Symptoms can vary greatly depending on which organ is the site of the allergic reaction. In all cases, the cause of the allergy should be clarified before commencing treatment. Since a predisposition to allergies can be inherited, and other factors also play a role in the development of allergic symptoms and allergic diseases, it is very important to take certain preventive steps in the case of high risk infants (a family history of allergies) in order to decrease the risk of the development of symptoms or disease. These precautions include:

1. Breastfeed your child as long as possible. (Studies have shown that 6 months of breastfeeding decreases risk.)

2. If you are unable to breastfeed, choose a so-called hypoallergenic formula.

3. Unless it is medically indicated, do not take any medication during breastfeeding.

4. Under the age of 1 year, your infant should not receive any foreign proteins such as cow’s milk.

5. Any new foods should be introduced gradually into your infant’s diet.

6. Do not smoke around your child.

7. The environment of your infant should be free of allergenic materials (e.g. dust and mold, etc.) and domestic pets (e.g. cats and dogs, etc.).

Treatment: According to the standard practice of the treatment of skin problems, the area to be treated should be cleaned first. Light therapy should be applied 2 to 3 times a day, illuminating the affected area for 4 minutes during each session. If your doctor prescribed a cream, it should be applied to the affected area before light therapy, and if the area is large the light should be moved back and forth over it.

Light therapy: Illuminate the area of the spleen and liver with yellow light for 6 minutes each, and the thymus with a green light (in children).


This is a local allergic reaction. A small, itchy rash that does not rise above the skin surface, it is mostly caused by food or drug allergy or contact allergens (such as chemicals), but can also be triggered by inhaled allergens (such as pollen).

It is a very common allergic symptom. In rare cases, a chronic (long-lasting, frequently recurring) form occurs, and a thorough medical check-up and long-term monitoring might be required to identify the triggers. It is worth identifying and then eliminating the trigger.

Treatment: 2 to 3 times 10 minutes daily.

Light therapy: The color green, then orange is recommended.


Teething typically starts at the age of four months and lasts until about age 2.5 to 3 years. Light therapy helps reduce pain, promotes restful sleep, and alleviates the potential cold-like symptoms that accompany teething.

Treatment: 10 minutes, on the affected area. Twice daily.

Light therapy: Light therapy can be complemented with the color blue.


Middle ear infection

Frequent in children and infants, but also occurs in adults. In response to ear pain, small children frequently touch their ears, or the ears may be extremely sensitive to pressure. Hearing can deteriorate, moreover, neglected illness can lead to permanent hearing loss in children. See your doctor as soon as possible – do not wait until your child’s eardrum has to be lanced!

Otitis externa

A skin disease, inflammation of the external ear canal that is accompanied by severe pain, caused in most cases by water entering the ear canal. The child should be examined by a doctor in all cases because antibiotic treatment is often unavoidable. In such cases, the lamp should be used as a complementary treatment.

Treatment: As a complementary treatment, 6 to 8 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. The healthy ear should be treated too!

Light therapy: The color green alleviates inflammation of the ears, then orange strengthens the immune system.


Abdominal pain arises due to a variety of conditions. Always make sure that your child’s abdominal pain is not caused by serious illness! Newborns frequently experience abdominal discomfort due to swallowed air, and they have not yet learned how to get rid of wind produced during digestion. In addition to burping, these pains can be alleviated with polarized light, and the treatment also has a calming effect on the baby.

Treatment: Twice daily for 6 to 8 minutes on the abdominal area.

Light therapy: The color blue has a calming effect on children.


Light therapy can accelerate this illness running its course (used as a complementary treatment).

Treatment: The mucosa of the throat and the pharynx, the maxillary lymph nodes on the front side of the neck, the hili of the lungs on both sides of the sternum and the area under the shoulder blades, and the thymus in children, twice daily for 6 to 8 minutes.

Light therapy: The color green as an anti-inflammatory treatment, blue for lymph nodes.

When to use red light therapy?


Diseases and conditions affected by red light

The following is a list of diseases and conditions which scientific evidence shows can benefit from red light.  Some of these studies have been well-established through scientific reviews and meta-analysis and others are said to be controversial and more research may be necessary. 

However, keep in mind that just because something may be controversial doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s very likely that red light can benefit every single condition below and many more that aren’t in the list because they haven’t yet been studied.

Achilles Tendinitis Achilles Tendinopathy Acne
Addiction Exercise Performance and Recovery Osteoporosis (Bone Loss)
Amblyopia Fibromyalgia Pain
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Frozen Shoulder Periodontitis (Gum Disease)
Alzheimer’s Disease Glaucoma Postherpetic Neuralgia
Aphthous Ulcers Hair Loss (alopecia) Pressure Ulcer
Bell’s Palsy Hand-foot-and-mouth disease Radation Dermatitis
Bone Fractures Hypothyroidism Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Burn Scars Lichen Planus Restenosis
Burning Mouth Syndrome Low Back Pain Rheumatoid Arthritis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Lymphedema Shoulder Tendinopathy
Cellulite Maxillary Sinusitis Skin Aging
Chronic Joint Disorders Meniscal Pathology Sternotomy Incision Repair
Cognitive Enhancement Muscle Growth Stroke
Cold Sores (herpes labialis) Muscle Pain Sunburn Prevention
COPD Neck Pain Temporomandibular Disorders
Dental Implant Stability Neuropathic Foot Ulcer Tendinopathy
Dentin Hypersensitivity Nipple Pain (from Breastfeeding) Testosterone Deficiency
Depression Obesity Toenail Fungus
Diabetic Foot Ulcer Oral Mucositis Traumatic Brain Injury
Dry Mouth (xerostomy) Orthodontic Pain Venous Leg Ulcers
Dysmenorrhea Orthodontic Tooth Movement Vitiligo
Elbow Tendinopathy (Tennis Elbow) Osteoarthritis Wound Healing

Despite the immense number of scientific papers published on red light, there is still more to be learned and research at universities and other institutions continues to this day.

Top 6 proven benefits of red light

Now that you’ve seen the long list of diseases and conditions that red light therapy can benefit, let’s go a little more in depth into some of them.

Here is my top 6 list of some of the most common ailments that can be effectively treated using red light therapy.

1. Heal Arthritis

Arthritis is a crippling ailment from which many people worldwide suffer.  An estimated 22.7% of US adults were diagnosed with some form of arthritis between the years 2013-2015.  That’s almost 55 million people who could benefit from an effective treatment for the condition.

Currently, there are dozens of different FDA-approved drugs for arthritis, all of which come with limited successes as well as their own set of potentially serious side effects. Red light therapy can effectively treat arthritis and have virtually no unwanted side effects.

2. Regrow Hair on a balding scalp

Hair loss (alopecia) is a very common disorder, affecting more than 50% of the worldwide population. In the United States, an estimated 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from some form of hair loss, and around 40% of men will have noticeable hair loss by the age of 35.

To date, there are only two FDA-approved synthetic drugs for hair loss available from your doctor: Propecia and Rogaine.  Both of these drugs have a less than 50% success rate, and the potential side effects of both drugs are severe.

3. Relieve Pain

America is a nation in pain, according to a 2015 study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.  How much pain?

Nearly 50 million American adults (11.2%) reported experiencing pain daily for the previous three months. Some of the most common pain medications that people reach for when they are feeling pain are Tylenol, Ibuprofen or other drugs classified as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS).

4. Eliminate Anxiety and Depression

Depression affects 121 million people worldwide, and that’s only the number of people officially diagnosed with it. The truth is we all experience depression at some point in our lives.

A 2017 study on the mental health status of Americans found that more people than ever are suffering from serious mental health disorders. That’s 8.3 million American adults suffering from serious psychological distress, including feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and restlessness.

5. Enhance Brain function

Nootropics also called smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, have undergone a dramatic spike in popularity in recent years and are being used by many people to enhance brain functions such as memory, creativity, and motivation.

The positive effects of red light on brain function are significant and well established scientifically.  In fact, light in the red spectrums could very well be the most powerful nootropics ever discovered.

6. Increase Testosterone

Throughout history, the essence of a man has been linked to his primary male hormone testosterone.  At around the age of 30, testosterone levels begin to decline and this can result in a number of negative changes to a man’s physical and mental health and wellbeing: Reduced sexual function, low energy levels, reduced muscle mass and increased fat, among others.

In 2013, a group of Korean researchers studied the impact of testicular exposure to red (670nm) and near-infrared (808nm) laser light.  The 30 male rats were split up into three groups:  a control group and two groups that were exposed to either the red or near-infrared light.  At the end of the 5-day trial, while untreated rats had no increase in testosterone, rats exposed to one 30-minute treatment of light therapy per day had significantly elevated testosterone levels.  “Serum T level was significantly increased in the 808nm wavelength group.  In the 670 nm wavelength group, serum T level was also significantly increased at the same intensity of 360 J/cm2/day,” concluded researchers.  

Red light healing & regeneration

The overall health of your body is dependent on its supply of energy.  That’s because every single critical process that takes place inside your body, from repair and regeneration to detoxification to immunity to the blinking of your eyes and the beating of your heart, all require energy to be successfully performed.

If you woke up one day and literally had no energy available, you wouldn’t rise up out of bed and eventually, you would die.  Likewise, a cell also requires energy for its survival.  And in fact, your body gets its energy from your individual cells.

Within cells are tiny energy-producing “power plants” called mitochondria, which are the source of the energy for your cells and for your body as a whole.

When mitochondria inside a cell have everything they need to produce energy efficiently, that cell is healthy.  And when the majority of your cells have everything the mitochondria within them need to produce energy efficiently, your body is healthy. 

The substances needed for efficient energy production can be called nutrients, almost all of which can be obtained through dietary means.  The one nutrient which is essential for efficient energy production that cannot be obtained through diet is red light.  

How Does Red light therapy Work?


The next important question to answer is “how the heck does red light actually cause these effects?

We know how UV light affects us, for example, it works primarily by interacting with our skin and stimulating the production of vitamin D. We also know how blue light enters our eyes and feeds back into the circadian clock in our brain (in the suprachiasmatic nucleus) to regulate our 24-hour biological rhythm, including the complex array of hormones and neurotransmitters that are regulated by this circadian clock in our brain.

Red light has been shown in research to affect all of the following compounds and pathways:

Molecular Mechanisms:

  • Retrograde mitochondrial signaling: This is a key factor where mitochondria in the cells communicate with the nucleus of the cell about what is going on, thus affecting what genes get expressed in the DNA-containing nucleus of our cells.
  • Cytochrome c oxidase: This is a photoreceptor located on mitochondria in our cells that “accepts” light photons and then triggers events in the mitochondria.
  • Adenosine triphosphate (ATP): This is cellular energy produced by mitochondria. One of the more notable findings from many studies is that exposure to red light increases levels of ATP production.
  • Light-sensitive ion channels: There are channels in our cells that control the flow of various ions (e.g. calcium, potassium, sodium, etc.). Some of these are affected by light and then are involved with triggering further events in the cell or between cells.
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS): These are also commonly called “free radicals.” While commonly associated with bad things (e.g. cell damage, oxidation, etc.), they also play vital roles in our bodies as signaling molecules. For example, ROS are produced from physical exercise and signal many of the positive adaptations that our body makes to exercise.
  • Nitric oxide (NO): It is known that NO levels rise after red light exposure. NO is well known by most people for its role in blood vessel dilation, but it also acts in many other signaling pathways.
  • Cyclic AMP: This is involved with opposing inflammatory pathways, among other functions in the cell.
  • Calcium: Red light can affect calcium levels in the cell, which in turn act as a signal for numerous cellular processes.
  • RANKL: A protein involved in bone regeneration/remodeling.
  • Nuclear factor kappa B: This is a signaling compound that regulates many genes involved in inflammation and cell survival to stressors.
  • Akt/GSK3b/b-catenin pathway: This pathway relates to cell survival and apoptosis (programmed cell death).
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor: A protein involved in cellular adaptation to low oxygen levels.
  • ERK/FOXM1: Involved in regulating cell division.
  • Akt/mTOR/CyclinD1 pathway: Involved in cell growth signaling.
  • PPARy: Involved in the inflammatory response.
  • RUNX2: Involved in bone cell differentiation.
  • Transforming growth factor: Stimulator of collagen production (e.g. in the skin).
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor: Involved in angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels.
  • Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines: Many pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and mediators have been shown to have their levels altered by red light exposure.
  • Hepatocyte growth factor: Involved in liver cell health.
  • Heat-shock proteins: Involved in inflammation, wound healing, and cellular survival against many types of stressors (e.g. exercise, sauna/heat stress, etc.).
  • Basic fibroblast growth factor and keratinocyte growth factor: Involved in the wound healing process.
  • Melatonin: Interestingly, red light therapy has been shown to increase the “extra-pineal” production of melatonin outside of the pineal gland. Melatonin is much more than just a sleep-inducing hormone as most people know it, melatonin has critical roles in protecting the mitochondria from damage and supporting glutathione levels, which is one of our body’s most powerful and important antioxidants and detoxifying compounds. Some researchers have suggested that this increased melatonin may be a significant factor in the effects of red light.
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: Involved in neuron/brain cell growth and regeneration.

Cellular Mechanisms:

  • Cytoprotection: Various studies have shown that red light can help protect cells from dying after being exposed to various toxins (e.g. methanol, cyanide, etc.). It appears to have a cell-protective effect in some instances.
  • Inflammation: One of the most important cellular mechanisms that red light have is their effect on inflammation pathways. It appears to do this through inhibition of inflammatory prostaglandin PGE2 production and expression of COX-1 and COX-2, as well as inhibition of the NF-kB pathway. The net effect: Reduced inflammation.
  • Migration: Some types of cells (e.g. tenocytes in tendons or melanocytes in the skin) need to actually move to get to the location they’re needed. Some research has shown that red light can stimulate this.
  • Proliferation: Some types of cells (e.g. skin cells, bone cells, cells that line blood vessels, etc.) have been shown to grow and replicate faster with exposure to red light.
  • Stem Cells: Stem cells are apparently even more sensitive to red light. Red light has been shown to positively affect growth, movement, and viability of stem cells. This may be relevant to both stem cells already present in our body, as well as in the context of stem cell therapy.
  • Protein Synthesis: Red light can also stimulate cells (e.g. skin cells, bone cells, etc.) to produce more proteins (e.g. collagen).

Tissue Mechanisms:

  • Brain: Red light has been shown to benefit brain function as well. Studies have shown improvements in cognitive performance and memory, improved functioning after traumatic brain injury, improved mood, as well as improvements in certain neurological diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease). The improvements in mitochondrial function, reduction in inflammation, and increased Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) likely all play a role in enhancing neuron health.
  • Nerve (Pain): Some studies have shown that red light can dull pain due to blocking conduction at nerve fibers. Anti-inflammatory actions, as well as blocking of substance P, likely play a role in this effect.
  • Muscles: Numerous studies have shown that red light affects muscle performance, recovery from exercise, and adaptations (i.e. enhanced strength, endurance, muscle growth, fat loss) to exercise.
  • Skin: Numerous beneficial effects on skin wrinkling and laxity, cellulite, collagen production and other aspects of skin health have been found. Anti-aging of the skin is one of the most common uses for the red light.
  • Healing (Bones, Tendons, and Wounds): Numerous studies have shown that red light can stimulate and accelerate the healing of numerous types of injuries from tendon/muscle/ligament tears to bone fractures, and skin wounds. This is likely by affecting local growth factors involved in cellular repair, as well as effects on the inflammatory processes.
  • Hair: Red light is also used in the context of hair regrowth, and numerous studies have shown it to be effective for this purpose. This is likely due to local blood vessel dilation and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Fat: The exact mechanisms of how this happens are still debated among researchers, but numerous studies have shown that red light can stimulate the release of fatty contents from fat cells, and ultimately, lead to body fat loss.

Here is the difference between Red and Infrared light


What is light?

Light is a form of energy. This energy is called electromagnetic energy because it is made up of changing electric and magnetic fields. When the majority of people talk about light, they generally mean light that can be seen by humans. However, there are many other kinds of light that humans cannot see. Together, all the different types of light make up the electromagnetic spectrum. The tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum that humans can see is called the visible light spectrum.

Just as waves in water ripple out from their source, light can be thought of as a wave that spreads out in all directions from a light source, such as the Sun or a light bulb. The light gets dimmer as it moves farther away from the source.

Light waves travel or radiate along straight lines is called rays. Rays can be seen when sunlight shines through a small gap between clouds. This process is called radiation.

What is Red Light?

Shine light through a prism and it will fragment into all the colors that makeup the visible spectrum of light, including green, blue, purple, yellow, orange and red. Red light is a form of radiation that’s visible to the human eye, and which we have collectively agreed to call red.

Most wavelengths of light, such as ultraviolet, blue or green light, don’t penetrate the skin deeply at all and are instead absorbed by the surface layers of skin.  Conversely, red light easily penetrates skin, which makes it useful therapeutically for reaching cells and tissues deeper inside the body.

The Cell Phone Flashlight Experiment

To witness the unique ability of red light to penetrate deeply into body tissues, here is an interesting experiment you can try which I learned from Finnish health researcher Vladimir Heiskanen in his comprehensive paper on red and infrared light therapy.

Simply take out your mobile phone and load the flashlight application.  Next, hold the tip of your finger directly against the light and look at your finger.  What do you see? Although your mobile phone flashlight emits blue, green and red light – only the red light penetrates all the way through your finger.  Look at the red glow!

Red light ranges in wavelength from about 620-700 nanometers (nm). The following is a diagram of both visible and invisible wavelengths electromagnetic radiation and the colors they create as perceived by the human eye.

What is Infrared Light?

Infrared light is so named because it is found close to the red end of the spectrum. It is part of the invisible light spectrum.

Infrared light, or infrared radiation, is created when the atoms and molecules in an object move. The higher the temperature, the faster they move, producing more infrared light. Very hot objects, such as hot coals, may not give off light that can be seen, but they give off infrared radiation that can be felt as heat. Even very cold objects, such as ice cubes, give off some infrared radiation.

Every time we feel heat from the sun on our skin or the warmth of a campfire we are experiencing infrared light. The human eye is limited to seeing wavelengths of light ranging between 400-700 nanometers, and anything below or above that, such as infrared light, remains invisible or light-pink.  Interestingly, although invisible to the human eye, the human body can feel parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that cannot be seen, such as infrared.

The infrared spectrum ranges from 700nm – 1mm (10,000nm) and is actually divided up into near-infrared, middle-infrared, and far-infrared.

There are many conflicting opinions as to where near, middle and far-infrareds begin and end.  The following wavelengths are from a paper written by Hong Kong scientist Cheah Kok Wai called The Fundamentals of Far-Infrared:

Near-Infrared (also called Infrared-A or IR-A) = 700nm – 1400nm

Mid-Infrared (also called Infrared-B or IR-B) = 1,400nm – 3,000nm

Far-Infrared (also called Infrared-C or IR-C) = 3,000nm – 1mm

The span of infrared light most applicable for healing is infrared, which ranges from 700nm to about 1400nm.

Red and Infrared Radiation

Most people are aware that sunlight is a rich source of UVB radiation, which stimulates the production of vitamin D and protects us from numerous ailments such as autoimmune disorders, various types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

What most people aren’t aware of is the other significant source of therapeutic radiation the sun offers us:  Light emitted in the red and infrared ends of the spectrum.

While an excess of ultraviolet light can cause sunburn, red and infrared light protect the skin from sunburn.  Without red/infrared light to balance out ultraviolet exposure, ultraviolet light becomes more damaging more quickly.

Red vs. Infrared Light

The physiological effects of red and infrared light in the body occur in similar ways.  For therapeutic applications, the primary difference between the two is that infrared light penetrates more deeply into the body than red light, meaning its healing energy can access and benefit cells that red light cannot.

While red light is often used for superficial applications like skin treatments, for example acne, infrared light can be used for both the skin and to reach tissues residing deeper within the body.

The wavelengths of red and infrared light shown to be the most therapeutic in scientific research are as follows:

Red light therapeutic range: 620-700nm
Infrared light therapeutic range: 700-1000nm.

Even within these effective ranges of red and infrared light, some wavelengths have been found to be more or less beneficial than others. 

Many light therapy devices today emit multiple wavelengths of either red or infrared light and some even combine both red and infrared wavelengths into a single device. 

For certain skin conditions, some evidence suggests red light might be more beneficial than infrared light.  For all practical purposes, infrared light or a combination of red and infrared light is probably ideal. 

You should use a light therapy device that has both red and infrared LEDs so you will receive the best of both worlds; a 50/50 application of visible red and invisible infrared light.  You will love watching the room light up with red light during treatment, which is one of the reasons you will prefer a combination device over solely infrared light.

What is Red Light Therapy?


Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a form of therapy that delivers energy to cells by applying a range of visible and invisible wavelengths of light.  Other names for red light therapy include low-level laser therapy (LLLT), low intensity light therapy (LILT), phototherapy, photobiostimulation, biostimulation (BIOS), photobiomodulation, photonic stimulation, among others. 

Red light therapy is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment for acne, muscle and joint pain, arthritis, compromised blood circulation and for reversing hair loss. When you explore the 50,000+ scientific and clinical studies conducted on red light therapy to date, you’ll find that no matter which disease a person has, they can probably benefit enormously from red and near-infrared light.

Red light therapy has been proven effective for a wide range of conditions including anti-aging, pain relief, cognitive enhancement, fat reduction, smoking cessation, wound healing, increasing bone density, increasing testosterone, reducing anxiety and depression, building muscle, healing acne, preventing hair loss & hair regrowth, and many more indications that we will soon explore in complete detail.

Red light therapy is used to treat a range of problems, including shoulder pain, endocrine problems, dysmenorrhea, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, depression, impotence, and frigidity. Other uses of monochromatic red light therapy is to treat the acupoints of the ear as well as points elsewhere on the body and also headaches (applying the light across the brow), arthritis, allergies, sore throats, sinus problems, stress reduction, and wound healing.

Red Light

Many of us have had the experience of choosing different colored clothes to wear when in different moods, or having a change in mood when entering a red or orange colored room. None of us are indifferent to color, we all have our preferences. However, colors and colored light can do a lot more: they affect our state of mind and the physiological processes of our bodies, and thus our state of health.

This is beautifully illustrated by the phenomenon of the rainbow. All the colors possess unique frequencies and electromagnetic energies, and therefore different colors have different physiological effects. Therefore, the basis of color therapy includes (in addition to the reaction of the body to colors and their psychological effects) the physiological responses to the frequency and energy of colored light.

Colors of the spectrum
800–650 nm
462–400 THz
1,91–1,65 eV
640–590 nm
513–462 THz
2,12–1,91 eV
580–550 nm
522–513 THz
2,16–2,12 eV
530–490 nm
612–522 THz
2,53–2,16 eV
480–440 nm
714–612 THz
2,95–2,53 eV
430–390 nm
789–714 THz
3,26–2,95 eV

Naturally, the effects mentioned above are not solely due to light therapy, and objects or even foods can also be and indeed are part of color therapy.

Red light is the first color of the visible spectrum. The color red is close on the spectrum to the infrared waves, that is, heat waves, and therefore they have similar effect. Considered a stimulating color, red is the color of the root chakra, found at the level of the tail-bone, between the anus and the genitalia. It governs the adrenal glands, the spine, the bones, nails, and all body parts that are solid. It affects the hormonal function of the adrenal glands directly, and its assigned hormones are adrenaline and noradrenaline.

The color red increases circulation, has stimulating and invigorating effects, accelerates wound healing is beneficial in anemia, and increases adrenaline production. Due to its stimulating effects, it is very effective for underactive conditions such as poor bowel function, weak muscles, erectile dysfunction, or poor peripheral circulation, and it increases the production of red blood cells. However, it is not recommended for patients with hypertension, heart disease, or epilepsy. It is also contraindicated following surgery due to its anticoagulant effect.

There is mounting evidence that different colors of light have different effects on the body. The red light stimulates also the sympathetic nervous system, while white and blue light stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Earlier experiments revealed that certain colors stimulate hormone production, while other colors inhibit it. Specific colors can also have an effect on specific diseases. It was noted that symptoms of acute eruptive diseases such as smallpox and measles were relieved when patients were put in a room with red windows. Melancholia also recovered after a few hours in such rooms.

Light Therapy

The most appropriate name for light therapy is probably “photoluminescence”. So extensive has the research been in this area, and so varied the researchers, that it has been called by several names. Among these are hemo-irradiation, photopheresis, photochemotherapy, photobiological therapy, photo-oxidation, ultraviolet blood irradiation, photon pump, and photodynamic therapy. These names are instructive in themselves, giving some idea of the scope and diversity of light therapy research in the past.

The word photoluminescence sounds mysterious and hi-tech, but it is an extremely simple, painless, and safe means of treating a patient. “Photo” refers to light, and “luminescence” refers to emission of light. Although this article deals primarily with the ultraviolet portion of the energy spectrum, other energies, from x-ray through infrared, and perhaps beyond, can be applied to the treatment of disease. Starting with UV light, we are opening a veritable cornucopia of therapeutic possibilities using the electromagnetic forces that surround us.

Ultraviolet light has been used in disinfection for many years and is, in fact, still used for that purpose. Any contaminated object, whether it be surgical instruments, bedding, room air, the human skin, or body fluids such as blood, can be cleansed rapidly of viruses and bacteria.

This killing of infectious organisms is a useful quality of ultraviolet light, but it is not as important as another capability of this remarkable part of the energy spectrum: the stimulation of the immune system and various enzyme systems.

When a small quantity of blood is treated through light therapy, an astounding thing happens. Through some mechanism that is not completely understood, the body’s defenses are organized rapidly to destroy all invading organisms, whether viral, fungal, or bacterial. The immune system comes to life and rapidly brings the body back to a state of balance.