Fat Loss & Red Light Therapy - Everything You Need To Know
There is no magic pill or holy grail diet trend that will lead to long-lasting healthy weight loss. Practicing portion control, eating fresh, nutrient-dense food, managing stress levels, and staying physically active is the fail-safe way to achieving, and more importantly, sustaining a healthy body weight.
Of course, this prescribed weight loss method is a lot easier said than done — but what if something could help move your progress bar alongside your healthy diet and weight loss exercise program?
Red light therapy or low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has become the latest trend in the natural wellness space for its long list of health benefits — one of them includes supporting fat loss.
In this article, we'll dive into everything you need to know about red light therapy, including how it works for weight loss goals and how you can use it at home.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy sometimes goes by the name photobiomodulation, which essentially uses specific light wavelengths to manipulate the human body at a cellular level.
Our bodies instinctively respond to light.
After all, the circadian rhythm, a.k.a, the body's master clock that controls functions, including our sleep-wake cycle, hunger, and hormonal cycles, is extremely sensitive to light.
Just as the blue light spectrum from the sun's rays improves our mental alertness, mood, and increases our energy, different wavelengths have varying effects on the body.
Red light therapy combines two wavelengths, red light (660 nm) and near-infrared light (850 nm). These light waves have a biochemical effect on the cells' mitochondria, where the cell's energy is created.
Improving the cell's energy production results in the increase of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). With a higher ATP output, the cells function more efficiently and are better equipped to repair cell damage.
How Does Red Light Therapy For Weight Loss Work?
Without committing to healthier lifestyle changes, red light therapy on its own won't be enough to produce dramatic before and after weight loss progress photos. However, it may help in supporting your weight loss journey overall.
Here are some ways research has supported low-level light therapy for body contouring, alongside healthy diet and exercise.
Red Light Therapy Supports Healthy Inflammatory Response
Body fat is important for maintaining optimal human function. Without healthy levels of body fat, we become susceptible to disease and starvation. However, an excess build-up of fat has been linked to low-grade chronic inflammation, which puts you at a greater risk of degenerative diseases .
When inflammation is present, it can be difficult to shed weight no matter how disciplined you are with your eating and exercise habits because this low-grade inflammation can lead to insulin and leptin resistance. These are the hormones that control our body's ability to convert food into ready-to-use energy and our hunger levels, respectively.
When you can reduce inflammation in the body, you're able to shed excess fat.
Red light therapy supports a healthy inflammatory response in the body by improving the mitochondria's ATP production, which the cells are better able to perform at a higher level .
Additionally, photobiomodulation reduces oxidative stress in cells and tissues that leads to chronic inflammation. Red light therapy can reduce oxidative stress markers, minimizing the damage to the surrounding tissues from inflammation .
Improves Stress Levels
We all know that high levels of stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. The problem is that stress isn't always noticed. It creeps up, building more significant and difficult to reverse consequences on our emotional, mental, and physical health.
Cortisol is the main stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands (above the kidneys) that elicits the fight-or-flight response in response to threats. However, modern threats aren't always as obvious as a hungry tiger these days. Modern stressors look like work deadlines, bad relationships, financial troubles, and health problems.
When we don't have a good grasp of our stress levels, our bodies become used to the overexposure of cortisol, which acts as a hunger stimulant .
This is why "comfort food" is often a go-to answer to stressful situations.
Red light therapy machines emit a warm and relaxing glow that's been said to improve the state of mind. Red and near-infrared wavelengths have been found effective in treating depression and mood disorders thanks to their ability to penetrate deep into the body's tissues. Also making them ideal for light therapy to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
One study found that participants improved their depression scores after 1 hour of light therapy treatment .
Supports Healthy Thyroid Function
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that plays a major role in our basal metabolism, body temperature regulation, and growth. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is unable to produce enough hormones to regulate cell functions .
People suffering from hypothyroidism exhibit fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fluid retention, weight gain — and this is only the short list of symptoms.
When the neck — where the thyroid gland lives — is exposed to red light therapy, inflammation surrounding the gland decreases, and it's better able to perform its job to regulate hormone and metabolic function .
If you believe your weight gain is due to thyroid gland dysfunction, you should seek advice from your licensed medical practitioner to get more support for this condition.
Improve Your Workout Recovery
A huge component of healthy weight loss is committing to a regular exercise regimen.
The problem is that whether you're a high-level athlete or just starting on your fitness journey, pushing your muscles past their threshold will result in muscle soreness.
You might not feel the effects of your workout until a day later, but often, your muscles will feel very sore and uncomfortable, making day-to-day activities challenging and getting back into the gym even more grueling.
Red light therapy supports delayed onset muscle soreness by improving cellular repair. When we exercise, we're creating microscopic tears in the muscle fibers that then need to get rebuilt even stronger to withstand the level of stress you put them under. This is how you build strength and endurance in those muscles.
Low-level light therapy after your workouts can give the mitochondria a boost to improve cellular repair and reduces inflammation, diminishing the sensation of soreness and pain . Becoming more efficient in your workout recovery means you can back into the gym faster and maintain a regular exercise regimen.
Using Red Light Therapy At Home
While there are many amazing benefits to trying red light therapy for your weight loss journey, one of the biggest downsides is the cost of red light therapy sessions at your local wellness center, which can be anywhere from $100 – $600 per treatment.
Red light therapy also works best when taken regularly, making visiting a clinic for treatment a very expensive cost.
Compact, at-home red light therapy devices make getting the benefits of red and near-infrared light waves more convenient and affordable.
These devices are more than just red-colored light bulbs. They're heat-less LED lights that emit therapeutic lightwave frequencies to deliver their benefits into the skin.
KOZE Red Light Therapy Devices
When investing in a red / NIR light device to support your weight loss goals, we recommend the KOZE X series. It's our largest and most powerful red and near-infrared therapy unit, housing 1500 watts of power and 300 LEDs that emits red and NIR wavelengths.
The KOZE X is ideal for half and full-body treatments, with the adaptability to create modular whole-body setups at home or at your clinic with additional pannels. This covers a larger area of your body to support muscle recovery and improve your metabolism.
The device's power density is critical to receiving the benefits to supporting your fat loss journey alongside a healthy diet, managing stress levels, and exercise. The KOZE X large body panels deliver 670 nm (red light) and 850 nm (near-infrared light) waves at an optical irradiance of >120 mW/cm2 and EMF emission at 0.0μT at 4 inches.
These panels are clinic-grade but user-friendly, and much more affordable in the long-term.
We recommend wearing eye protection when using the KOZE light and that you stand 6-12 inches away from the light. The ideal time per treatment area is anywhere between 10–20 minutes daily.
If you're new to red light therapy, start slow and build up to daily use and monitor how you're feeling after each treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Low Light Therapy And Fat Loss
Red light therapy demonstrates the potential to support weight loss goals in addition to adopting a healthy diet that nourishes fuels you with energy in your active lifestyle.
We'll answer some of the frequently asked questions about light therapy for fat loss right here.
Are At-Home Red Light Therapy Devices Safe?
Red light therapy devices use LED or "light-emitting diode" technologies that are completely different from harmful UV wavelengths. LEDs can emit longer wavelengths, including red and near-infrared waves that do not damage the skin but rather benefit from it.
LED lights also do not emit heat, so you don't have to worry about your device potentially becoming a fire hazard in your home. When used correctly, at-home red light therapy devices are safe and effective.
Can Red Light Therapy Get Rid Of Cellulite?
Cellulite is not technically a medical issue. However, many people dislike the look of dimpled skin on their buttocks, hips, thighs, stomach, or upper arms. And it's notoriously difficult to get rid of.
One study suggests that red light and NIR therapy to be effective in the treatment of cellulite alongside treadmill training twice a week for 45 minutes over the span of 3 months .
Will The Fat Stay Off?
Fat is stored energy, and once the body uses it, the fat cells are gone.
Like with any weight loss regimen, fat won't come back unless you're adopting lifestyle habits that lead to the build-up of fat cells. As long you're staying on top of your healthy eating plan and regular exercise, using a red light device can help you lose weight and keep it off.
The Takeaway: Red Light Therapy And Fat Loss
Red light and NIR treatments are a non-invasive and safe way to lose weight alongside a healthy weight loss program. Studies show that red light and NIR wavelengths penetrate deep into the skin at a cellular level to improve cellular function by increasing energy output, supporting a healthy inflammatory response, and reducing the damaging effects of oxidative stress.
If you're looking for a device that supports fat reduction, red light therapy has been shown to provide a host of benefits to our overall health along with mood regulation, improving skin complexion, speeding sports performance recovery, and weight loss.
KOZE offers Red Light/ NIR devices that are used in both professional and at-home settings. They're available in different sizes depending on how you want to take advantage of red light treatments and they're classified as Class 2 Medical Devices by the FDA.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of red light therapy for your health, you can find more articles like this on our blog or shop our products now.