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Actions of Red Light and Near Infrared Light Therapy on the Body


4 min read

Jul 2



In alternative medicine, red light and near-infrared (NIR) light therapy have garnered significant attention. These non-invasive treatments promise a range of health benefits, from skin rejuvenation to pain relief. But how exactly do these therapies work? Let’s delve into red light and NIR light therapy and their profound effects on the body.

What is Red Light and Near Infrared Light Therapy?

Red light therapy (RLT) and near-infrared light therapy involve the application of low-level wavelengths of light to the skin. Red light typically falls within the 600-700 nanometer (nm) range, while near-infrared light is in the 700-1200 nm range. These wavelengths can penetrate the skin to different depths, influencing various biological processes.

My Experience

I had my first experience with light therapy recently when I went to the Chiropractor after tripping and falling in the garden and cracking a few ribs. I felt like I had officially experienced my first “old lady” type incident with this freak accident, but I wasn’t about to go running to mainstream medicine.

After my first light therapy session, I could tell an immediate difference! I was hardly in any pain at all when I walked out of the clinic, whereas when I walked into the clinic, I could literally barely breathe for the stabbing pain alongside a constant dull ache.

This is the machine I used at the clinic. Pic from

The pain would return after I slept at night (we need a new mattress something fierce), but with each therapy session, the pain was diminished. I received 3 sessions at the clinic (3 days in a row) before the clinic closed for a 4-day period, and then I decided I would see if there was an at-home version. Of course there was! But, do they work? I took a chance and bought an “el cheapo” from Amazon. For $30, it was a chance worth taking, and I’m glad I did! It worked! Don’t tell the Chiro, but it enabled me to cancel my appointment on their next open day. 🤫 Of course, there are legit differences and if you have access to a more powerful option, go for it, but otherwise, know there’s still benefits to the “el cheapos.”

This is the one I ordered. Click the pic to order yours.

Now that I’ve tried it and know it works, I’ll be using it on Mina, our rescue horse! Stay tuned for Adventures of Mina. 🐴

Cellular Energy Boost: Mitochondrial Enhancement

One of the most significant actions of red and NIR light therapy is its impact on the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. The light absorbed by the mitochondria enhances their function, leading to increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the primary energy currency of the cell, fueling numerous cellular processes. By boosting ATP production, red and NIR light therapy promotes cellular repair and regeneration, aiding in tissue healing and reducing inflammation.

Skin Rejuvenation: Collagen Production and Anti-Aging

Red light therapy is particularly renowned for its skin benefits. It stimulates the production of collagen, a vital protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. Increased collagen production helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars, resulting in smoother, more youthful-looking skin. Additionally, red light can enhance blood circulation in the skin, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen, which further supports skin health and repair.

Pain Relief and Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Both red and NIR light have potent anti-inflammatory properties. They help reduce inflammation by modulating the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory mediators. This makes light therapy an effective treatment for conditions like arthritis, muscle strains, and joint pain. The increased ATP production also aids in faster recovery from injuries and reduces pain perception by promoting cellular repair.

Cognitive Benefits: Brain Health and Function

Emerging research suggests that NIR light therapy may have neuroprotective effects. The near-infrared light can penetrate the skull and improve mitochondrial function in brain cells. This enhanced cellular energy can support cognitive function, improve memory, and potentially slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effects of NIR light can reduce brain inflammation, which is linked to cognitive decline.

Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

Red and NIR light therapy have shown promising results in accelerating wound healing and tissue repair. The enhanced cellular energy and improved blood circulation promote faster healing of wounds, cuts, and burns. This makes light therapy a valuable tool in medical settings, particularly for patients with chronic wounds or those recovering from surgery.

Equine Recovery and Performance

Red and NIR light therapy are not just beneficial for humans; they also offer significant advantages for horses. Equine athletes, like their human counterparts, experience muscle strain, joint issues, and other performance-related injuries. Light therapy can enhance recovery and performance in horses through several mechanisms:

- Muscle Recovery: By boosting ATP production and improving mitochondrial function, red and NIR light therapy helps in faster muscle recovery, reducing soreness and fatigue after strenuous activities. This allows horses to train harder and recover more quickly, improving overall performance.

- Joint Health: Horses often suffer from joint issues due to the high-impact nature of their activities. Red and NIR light therapy can reduce inflammation in joints, alleviate pain, and promote the repair of cartilage and other connective tissues, leading to better joint health and mobility.

- Wound Healing: Equine athletes are prone to cuts, abrasions, and other injuries. Light therapy accelerates the healing process by enhancing blood circulation and promoting cellular repair, ensuring that wounds heal faster and with less risk of infection.

- General Well-being: Regular use of red and NIR light therapy can improve a horse's overall well-being by reducing stress, enhancing immune function, and promoting better health, which can lead to improved performance and longevity.


Red light and near-infrared light therapy offer a myriad of benefits by harnessing the power of light to enhance cellular function and promote healing. From boosting skin health and reducing inflammation to accelerating muscle recovery and supporting brain function, these therapies provide a non-invasive, natural approach to improving overall well-being. As research continues to unfold, the potential applications of red and NIR light therapy are likely to expand, solidifying their place in the future of health and wellness. But honestly, I don’t need to see their studies to know it works! I’m grateful for the opportunity to try it out first-hand so that I may help others from my experience.


4 min read

Jul 2



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