We were skeptical at first, but red light therapy bed products and similar devices offer tremendous science-backed benefits.
It turns out there are dozens, if not hundreds, of academic papers related to how red light therapy can improve injury recovery, sleep quality, and skin health.
In this post, we will explain what exactly red therapy is, how to use a red light therapy bed, and the best red light therapy beds and mats on the market today.
Let’s get into it!
Best Overall: LOVTRAVEL Large Mat
Best Quality: LifePro Infrared Dome
Best Value: Bestqool Mid-Size Therapy Mat
Most Portable: Comfytemp Pad
What Is Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation or low-level light therapy, involves exposing the body to red and near-infrared light for therapeutic benefits.
This therapy typically uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that emit light in the 600-900 nanometer wavelength range. Research indicates that this wavelength range has anti-inflammatory and tissue-healing effects.
When red and near-infrared light is absorbed by cells, it stimulates mitochondrial activity and ATP (energy) production, leading to beneficial cellular changes.
During treatment, red light is applied directly to the skin for a few minutes per session, typically several times per week.
The light can penetrate several centimeters deep into tissues.
Red light therapy devices are now widely available for at-home use.
While generally safe, potential side effects include headache and eye strain from improper use.
Overall, red light therapy is a promising treatment that may accelerate healing by improving cellular function.
Related: Best Light Therapy Glasses
Red Light Therapy Bed Benefits
Studies have shown that red light therapy can aid wound healing, reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and improve skin health.
It’s been explored as a treatment for conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendinopathies, chronic wounds, and wrinkles.
Improved Wound Healing
Multiple studies have found that red light can significantly accelerate the healing of wounds, burns, and skin damage.
A 2021 randomized controlled trial found that red light therapy decreased wound size in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
The light stimulates fibroblasts to increase collagen production and modulates immune cells involved in healing.
Red light is shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines like IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha.
A meta-analysis found red light therapy significantly reduced short-term pain and inflammation in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
This anti-inflammatory effect can help treat joint pain, inflammatory skin conditions, and muscle damage caused by overexertion.
By reducing inflammation and accelerating tissue repair, red light therapy can provide pain relief for arthritis, neuropathic pain, chronic low back pain, neck pain, and postoperative pain.
A 2020 study found that red light applied after total knee arthroplasty surgery significantly reduced postoperative pain levels.
Red light boosts collagen production in fibroblasts and can rejuvenate skin by smoothing wrinkles and reducing sun damage.
A 2014 study found that red light therapy improved skin complexion, pore size, and skin texture. It also helps with inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
How To Use Red Light Therapy Bed
Red light therapy beds deliver full body treatment by having the user lie underneath a canopy lined with red and near-infrared LEDs.
It’s recommended to consult your doctor before starting red light therapy, as light can interact with some medications.
During use, protect your eyes and thyroid by wearing provided safety goggles, as the wavelengths can damage eyes if exposed too long.
Remove any lotions, cosmetics, or oils before treatment, as these may hinder absorption.
Lie comfortably on your back in the center of the bed, often marked with stickers indicating the ideal area.
Set the recommended duration, usually 10-20 minutes, starting with shorter sessions.
Relax during treatment and avoid looking directly at the LEDs.
To see results, be consistent with at least 3 sessions per week.
Stay hydrated before and after use, as red light therapy may cause mild dehydration.
Notice any skin sensitivity changes and adjust session times accordingly, but some temporary redness is normal.
Effects are gradual and cumulative, so regular use is ideal. It may take 2-4 weeks of consistent treatment to notice improvements.
Best Red Light Therapy Bed
LifePro Infrared Dome
- Full-body 660nm red light bed coverage
- Alternative to expensive industrial sauna beds
- Doubles as an infrared sauna
Hwyadai Two-Sided Bed
- Convenient, full-body coverage for shorter sessions
- Unique, two-panel design
- 2,500+ high-powered red and infrared lights
LOVTRAVEL Large Mat
- Covers entire side of body (front/back)
- 3,840 medical red and 768 infrared lights
- Protective plastic layer for easy cleaning
Bestqool Red Light Therapy Lights
- Flexible light positioning for optimal coverage
- Dual wavelength red lights (660nm + 850nm)
- Lightweight and portable
Bestqool Mid-Size Therapy Mat
- Unique, mid-sized form factors targets large parts of body
- Good value for those who don't want a full mat/bed
- Includes 660nm and 850nm wavelengths
- Smaller size to target specific areas (joints, back, etc)
- Portable and easy to travel with
- 630nm, 660nm, and 850nm wavelenghts
Red Light Therapy Bed Safety Glasses
Before we wrap up, it’s important to use a pair of protective goggles or glasses when engaging in red light therapy sessions.
You really don’t need to break the bank on these.
Here’s a pair that filters out well beyond the wavelength range of red light and infrared light used in red light therapy devices.
What does a red light therapy bed do?
A red light therapy bed delivers therapeutic wavelengths of red and near-infrared light across the entire body. These light wavelengths have been shown to penetrate the top layers of the skin and offer healing benefits.
Do red light therapy beds really work?
Yes, peer-reviewed studies show red light therapy provides benefits like wound healing, skin rejuvenation, pain relief, and anti-inflammatory effects.
How long can you stay in red light therapy bed?
Recommended treatment times are typically 10-20 minutes per session. Limit use to manufacturer guidelines.
How often should you use a red light therapy bed?
Most providers recommend using a red light bed 3-5 times per week for optimal results.
Do you have to wear goggles in red light therapy bed?
Yes, safety glasses or goggles should be worn to protect your eyes from light damage and discomfort.
How long does it take to see results from a red light therapy bed?
Improvements may be noticed within 2-4 weeks of consistent use, but effects are gradual and cumulative.
Can you overdo red light therapy?
The suggested usage is 3-5 times per week, but no scientific studies have identified negative health effects from excessive red light exposure.
Who should not use red light therapy?
Those with light-sensitive conditions or on photosensitive medications should avoid red light therapy.
Is red light therapy FDA approved?
The FDA has cleared certain red light therapy devices for therapeutic use, but these regulations differ depending on the intended use.