If you’re looking to shed some pounds, tone up trouble zones, and/or reduce the appearance of cellulite, infrared light therapy can help.
Studies show exposure to gentle and safe infrared light can help with weight loss and body contouring, helping you look lean, trim, and firm while melting away pesky fat.
Low-frequency infrared light has longer wavelengths than UV rays, making it safe and gentle on the skin. The treatment has been used widely for all kinds of health issues, from insomnia to hair loss. Still, its potential as a weight-loss aid was only discovered in 1998 when a liposuction surgeon noticed its unusual impact on fat cells.
While prescribing red light therapy to reduce a patient’s pain and inflammation (and speed their recovery time), the surgeon also discovered that red light caused fat cells to break down by dispersing the molecules or lipids within the cells.
In fact, the infrared treatment was so effective that almost 100% of the fat cells emptied their lipids after just six minutes of exposure to red light.
How does red light therapy work for weight loss?
Photonic red light therapy operates via a simple mechanism. When our bodies absorb light in the red and infrared range (600-1000nm), our cells respond by kicking into high gear.
Natural functions, such as how the body stores and processes fat, ramp up…often with noticeable improvements.
There are two main reasons why red light therapy effectively reduces cellulite and promotes weight loss. First, red light wavelengths act on the mitochondria in our cells in a positive way. Second, infrared light improves blood circulation.
Mitochondria play a crucial role in converting food, water, and oxygen into the energy that powers our cells. Red light wavelengths (660nm) trigger a copper enzyme in our cells, leading to more cellular energy being produced and glucose being used more efficiently. Ultimately, this means we burn more calories during the day, which is a catalyst for fat loss.
As mentioned, infrared light can also improve circulation – providing essential nutrients to the body more efficiently and helping decrease cellulite and other fatty deposits beneath the skin.
How do you use red light therapy for weight loss?
During red light treatment, the patient first lies down under the Low-Level Laser Light (LLLI) machine. Next, the lasers are positioned accordingly and go to work, sending targeted beams to penetrate the skin and the deeper layers of fat cells.
When it comes to LLLT technology, there are many options to choose from, with many red light devices on the market offering different types of light at different wavelengths.
Infrared therapies range from near-infrared (between 700 and 1400 nm) all the way up to far-infrared (3,000 – 100,000nm). Light nearest the low end of the spectrum will penetrate further into the skin, yet both near and far infrared are beneficial in different ways.
For targeted near-infrared treatment, consider the infrared body wrap – a flexible heating pad that uses large silicone pads to emit infrared light around the legs, arms, and torso.
There are also plenty of other home devices available on the market, which use the same technique and often work just as well. These come in many forms, including lamps, hanging panels, or handheld devices so that you can continue your weight loss efforts from the comfort of your own home.
As always, it’s important to do your homework and make sure you’re buying the best device for your needs. When researching red light therapy for weight loss at home, be careful to choose the right wavelength with the right amount of power. Wavelength and energy are vitally important when selecting a light therapy device.
Benefits of red light therapy for weight loss
Curious how infra-red light can help with weight loss and body toning? Here’s a list of potential benefits:
Many dieters often find their efforts derailed by nagging hunger that has them reaching for snacks throughout the day. Red light therapy can take the edge off by dampening your appetite and suppressing that urge to graze.
A 2012 study performed by the International Journal of Endocrinology looked at levels of hunger hormones first thing in the morning. Interestingly, the study found that while exposure to blue light after waking raised these hormones, red light had the opposite effect – decreasing our body’s hunger signals.
Improved body contouring
Besides the obvious (and noticeable!) benefit of weight loss, red light can help remove inches from bothersome trouble spots.
By directly targeting the parts of the body where fat accumulates, you can help firm, shape, and tone problem areas like the thighs, butt, and belly.
More fat-burning energy
Red light therapy infuses your cells with energy… energy that fuels your activity and ensures your metabolism is revved up and ready to go.
Having a high-functioning metabolism is especially important if you want to lose weight as it’s the mechanism burning through your fat cells to keep you lean and healthy.
Safe and non-invasive
Many medical treatments for weight loss (such as surgery and/or medications) all come with a degree of risk and a list of side effects.
Red light therapy provides a much-needed, natural and safe alternative. It’s pain-free, and patients can go about their day immediately afterward without worrying about taking time off to recover or rest.
Can be applied at home
As with many natural therapies, infrared treatment works best when done consistently. Fortunately, regular treatments aren’t hard to schedule when they can be done at home, in your own time, and in your own space.
Easy, convenient, and accessible with just one device, red light therapy can now be used by anyone, anywhere. You can get your therapy in while the baby naps, on the sofa with a good book, when talking on the phone, or even just watching TV!
Studies on red light therapy for weight loss
- According to a 2012 study in the International Journal of Endocrinology, light energy affects hunger, which could help prevent the build-up of extra fat before it begins. This study concluded that red light helped control levels of the hunger-related hormones leptin and ghrelin in sleep-deprived participants.
- In 2011, a study in the Journal of Obesity Surgery researched red light therapy for body contouring. The 2011 four-week trial performed light therapy at 635-680nm on participants, recording the impact on their waistline. On completion of the study, participants achieved a statistically significant reduction in waistline girth.
- A 2013 study, published in the same journal, found similar benefits using red light at 635nm to contour the hips, thighs, and waist. Participants recorded a mean loss of 2.99 inches from their overall body size over the course of the study, with their hips, thighs, and waist areas all shrinking.
- An ongoing study, begun in 2018, examines the effects of red light therapy on body contouring in more detail. This study hypothesizes that red LED light therapy using 650nm red light laser technology causes lipolysis (the breakdown of lipids) in subcutaneous fat and has potential as a non-surgical weight loss remedy.
Low light laser treatment naturally supports weight loss by improving cellular function and leaves your skin looking rejuvenated… with less dimpling, cellulite, and scarring.
Whether you’re looking to trim body fat, get down to your goal weight, or simply maintain weight loss, there’s a wealth of evidence to support using red light therapy as part of your health toolkit.