On the Move More Podcast, Dr. Scott Jablonka, Carolina Movement Doc, breaks down his general understanding of the red light therapy. He pulls from his twelve years of experience in the fitness industry. A quick side note, Dr. Jablonka is now running Carolina Movement Doc full time! So if you haven’t yet, check out his website, he may be able to help you get ahead and stay ahead of pain!

There seem to be numerous advantages to red light therapy. Red light therapy is rapidly gaining popularity in the fitness world. Many enthusiasts are using it before or after workouts to improve their results. But what does red light therapy do to your body? Let’s find out!

Red light therapy helps bring out more energy in your body by working on the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cells in your body. This means cells can do their work way better and, thus, it can help improve performance and endurance in workouts. Since it also has rejuvenating properties, it can help prevent muscle damage if used before workouts.

It has also been linked to better weight loss journeys. It’s only normal to be skeptical of this “magical” light. So let’s take a look at how it works to see if it’s worth a shot.

What does red light therapy do to your body?

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy works by emitting low-wavelength light or red LED light into your body. The cells inside your body then absorb this light and their energy increases. These waves penetrate the skin and the mitochondria absorb them the mitochondria. This increases their energy level and thus makes them work more efficiently, producing more energy.

Once the red light reaches the mitochondria, it encourages the production of Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP. ATP is basically like the energy unit in your body. An increase in ATP is very beneficial to the body.

The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, and by targeting this part of the cell, you are directly helping the cell work better. Through absorption, red light therapy creates friction and heat inside the body. This energizes cells and increases their activity, which in turn results in faster cell reproduction.


Cell reproduction helps to heal the body and has many other benefits. Plus, muscle cells usually contain more mitochondria compared to other kinds of cells. This is because muscle cells require more energy to work. So red light therapy works especially well in muscle cells.

Not only that, but red-light therapy also affects fat cells and causes them to release lipids into the bloodstream, which are then absorbed by muscle cells to burn as energy. As a result, it aids in burning fat while also stimulating muscle growth and improving energy levels throughout the body.

As a result, when you use red light treatment, you are exposing your body to a certain wavelength of waves that stimulate the cells and improve your health and fitness. This allows you to achieve better outcomes from your workout sessions over a long period.

What Does Red Light Therapy Do To Your Body?

While this is still a relatively new technology, experts suggest that red light therapy can help treat mental diseases, aid in weight loss, treat muscle pain and fatigue, and is great for fitness and overall health. It also helps in delaying aging signs, so it’s also a favorite among skincare enthusiasts.

Let’s dive a little deeper into how it can aid your fitness journey.

Increased Energy And Stamina

Woman and man showing off muscles

A 2016 research found that exposure to red light therapy can help increase muscle mass in training. Another study found that over time, using red light therapy can also increase the maximal load during exercise and also reduce fatigue. Many other studies imply that using red light therapy can greatly improve your workout results.

Red light therapy energizes the cells, which causes them to produce more energy. This means you’ll have greater energy and stamina with each workout. This also means you’ll be able to exercise for longer lengths of time and on a more regular basis.

Not only does it help with stamina, but it can also help you increase muscle mass and strength, which increases endurance. Regular sessions before a workout can also help prevent muscle damage.

Relief From Fatigue And Pain

Red light therapy is thought to rejuvenate the cells, and, therefore, the body. It promotes faster healing and, thus your muscles can recover much more quickly after an intense HIIT session, for instance. Even during a workout, you will feel less tired and worn out.

Many fitness enthusiasts are often taken aback by how much rest they require after a workout. You have to give your body enough time to rest, before over-exerting yourself. This can often limit certain people, like athletes or trainers, who can’t wait to get back to the gym, and losing precious time before a big event is a big deal for them.

Since red light therapy can help heal your muscles faster, over prolonged exposure, your body will need less and less time to recover from a workout and less time to rest. You will notice that you feel more energized and don’t feel as tired as before.

There have been several studies that show that red light therapy used either before or after a workout can prevent muscle damage and cause a decrease in blood lactate, creatine kinase, and C-reactive protein levels. There is also a decrease in delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

Especially if you take regular red light therapy sessions after your workout, it can reduce oxidative stress and also help with inflammation in the muscles. You will also take a much shorter time healing from any injuries and be able to get back to the gym as soon as possible.

Weight Loss

Person getting onto a scale

Energy production can burn up the fat in your body. Since red light therapy increases energy in the cells, it is especially beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight.

This also means that you will experience better results with exercise if you are working out to prevent diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, which are directly linked to weight. Red light therapy can also help to fight insulin resistance and inflammation, which are both concerns for people with obesity. Thus, it can greatly aid obese people.

Not only is red light therapy useful in overall weight loss, but it is also known to reduce the circumference of areas where you target the therapy. This can be great to get rid of those tricky areas where you accumulate a lot of fat.

How Many Red Light Therapy Sessions Do You Need To See Results?

To see results, just like most fitness regimens, you will need to use it consistently for several months. While each person is different, how long you might need to see results will depend on your goals and your body type. But as a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you take a 15-minute session at least 3-5 times every week for a few months.

As long as you stick consistently to this routine, you will notice the difference yourself. You will feel more energized throughout the day and have more effective workouts. But do keep in mind that red light therapy is meant to be used to aid your workouts and get you better results from them. It does not mean it’s an alternative to working out in any way.

What Are The Side Effects Of Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is usually very safe, with little to no side effects. Since red light is non-invasive and non-toxic, it’s generally considered to be much safer than other alternative treatments out there. However, if you misuse red light therapy, it can cause certain types of skin damage or cause skin sensitivity issues.

Most of the side effects of using red light therapy occur on the skin. If you have any skin conditions or light sensitivity issues, then refrain from using it or consult your dermatologist before attempting any sessions. The reactions that do occur are usually mild and go away within a few weeks.

More adverse effects come from the misuse of the product. Often, using red light therapy at home for more than 15 minutes and leaving it on for long periods can cause burns, blisters, or redness in the skin. You should also be careful about protecting your eyes.

Others have reported getting burns from faulty wires or corrosion of the devices. So make sure when you are getting therapy that it’s from a trusted source with the right equipment. If you take treatments at home, then do your research before buying any equipment, and don’t leave the therapy light on for extended periods.


Now that you’ve learned what does red light therapy does to your body, you can book your session without any stress. It offers a lot of benefits both before and after a workout, and it benefits your skin as well. Plus, it’s relatively safe with little to no risk of side effects. So make sure to try it out!

For more tips and tricks about fitness and health, tune in to the Move More Podcast with Dr. Scott Jablonka and follow him on Instagram @carolina_movement_doc to get daily updates about fitness.