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Five Factors To Consider When Choosing A Red Light Therapy Device

Red light therapy has been extensively studied for its promising results for wound healing, hair growth, hormone balance, sun damage, pain, and inflammation, to name a few. These potential benefits have allowed red light therapy at home to get traction in a market saturated with supplements, herbal extracts and tinctures, and alternative fitness equipment.

To get the most out of trying red light therapy at home, the right type of red light therapy device is necessary. What are the factors you have to consider when choosing a red light therapy at home? Let’s take a look.

1.   Irradiance

Irradiance is the amount of energy a specific part of your body receives over a set period while using the device. Think of it as the rate of energy delivered. This is perhaps the most defining factor to consider when considering red light therapy at home since higher irradiance can result in better results for less time.

The most used format to measure irradiance is mW/cm2 or milliwatts per square centimetre, i.e. 80 mW/cm2. However, just stating the irradiance measurement means nothing if the distance is not provided. Some red light therapy devices have a high mW/cm2 reading on the surface of the device, and not on the object exposed to it.

2.   Frequency

The range of frequency used in typical red light therapy devices is from 650 nm (a deep red, penetrates the skin and acts on mitochondria) to 850 nm (near-infrared, penetrates deeper into tissue). This range is standard in many red light therapy devices because most of the benefits surrounding red light therapy at home revolve around it.

Generally speaking, red light wavelengths penetrate the skin and promote collagen production as well as wound healing. Near-infrared light, on the other hand, can go deeper, which enables it to target deeper wounds, joint, or muscle pain.

Do note that while lower frequencies, such as with blue wavelengths, provide a more superficial penetration, it doesn’t mean they don’t work or have no therapeutic potential. These lower frequencies can also be used to treat skin issues such as acne and oil regulation.

3.   Treatment coverage area

Will the treatment be for the face or for the whole body? While many would go for smaller devices to treat wrinkles and stretch marks, others may opt for bigger if they want to maximize the use of red light therapy at home on muscle recovery, hair loss, hormone balance, and even joint pain.

If the budget allows it, it’s always a better idea to buy a red light therapy device with the maximum coverage as larger devices emit more light energy and better performance than smaller units. Larger devices also allow users to get direct access to a full-body red light therapy at home at a moment’s notice.

That isn’t to say smaller devices are poor investments. Some red light therapy devices are portable and let users take the device with them at work, at a friend or relative’s house, or abroad.

4.   Quality of the product

Quality is not something to overlook when it comes to tools, supplements, and devices designed for the human body.

As such, the rise of trying red light therapy at home made the market vulnerable to products that were produced for the sole purpose of cashing in on the trend. To prevent buying a fake or unsafe red light therapy device, always be on the lookout for standards or certificates that attest to the device’s authenticity and safety.

Standards to look out for include those relating to the safety of the parts used and those that refer to light calibration.

5.   Customer feedback

Last but not least, customer satisfaction and testimonials can offer a small window into how the red light therapy device in question works in real life. Some customers leave details when it comes to results, ease of use, actual light intensity, and whether the device is prone to damage or if it requires some investment in maintenance.

Customers will also let you know if the company offers customer-friendly returns and replacement procedures.

 

References:

  • Tafur J, Mills PJ. Low-intensity light therapy: exploring the role of redox mechanisms. Photomed Laser Surg. 2008;26(4):323–328. doi:10.1089/pho.2007.2184
  • de Freitas LF, Hamblin MR. Proposed Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation or Low-Level Light Therapy. IEEE J Sel Top Quantum Electron. 2016;22(3):7000417. doi:10.1109/JSTQE.2016.2561201
  • Ferraresi C, Kaippert B, Avci P, et al. Low-level laser (light) therapy increases mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP synthesis in C2C12 myotubes with a peak response at 3-6 h. Photochem Photobiol. 2015;91(2):411–416. doi:10.1111/php.12397
  • Hu D, Zhu S, Potas JR. Red LED photobiomodulation reduces pain hypersensitivity and improves sensorimotor function following mild T10 hemicontusion spinal cord injury. J Neuroinflammation. 2016;13(1):200. Published 2016 Aug 26. doi:10.1186/s12974-016-0679-3
  • Avci P, Gupta A, Sadasivam M, et al. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013;32(1):41–52.
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