Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss

Red Light Therapy (RLT) is a non-invasive, non-thermal approach to disorders requiring reduction of pain and inflammation and stimulation of healing and tissue regeneration. Within the last decade, RLT started to be investigated as an option treatment for weight loss, cellulite reduction, and improvement of blood lipid profile. The studies suggest that Red Light Therapy may also aid autologous fat transfer procedures by enhancing the viability of adipocytes. However, the underlying mechanism of action for such effects still seems unclear. Therefore, more research is needed to fully understand the efficacy and proposed mechanism of action of Red Light Therapy for weight loss.


weight lossResearch shows that RLT may promote the photoactivation of cytochrome c oxidase in hypertrophic adipocytes. Which, in turn, affects intracellular secondary cascades. It results in the formation of transitory pores within the adipocytes’ membrane. Newly formed pores release intracellular lipids, which are further metabolized. The secondary cascades involved may include but are not limited to the activation of cytosolic lipase and nitric oxide. Although studies so far are showing very encouraging results, more studies are needed to fully outline the cellular and systemic effects of RLT and determine optimal treatment protocols.

Side effects

Specialists are considering Photobiomodulation devices such as a Red Light Therapy bed to be safe when used correctly.


Non-invasive weight loss is a growing area of esthetic medicine. Many patients may prefer less-invasive procedures because of fewer side effects and shorter recovery times. Increasingly, RLT has emerged as a new modality for non-invasive body contouring in the past decade.

Randomized subjects undergo treatment with the Red Light Therapy device or sham therapy in one double-blind study. During a 2-week treatment phase, each subject received three weekly treatment sessions 2-3 days apart. During each session, the front and back of the hips, thighs, and waist were exposed to the light for 15 minutes (30 minutes total). Nineteen subjects in the RLT group decreased one or more stages on the Nurnberger-Muller grading scale (55.88%) versus three subjects (8.82%) in the sham-treated group. Two RLT-treated subjects achieved 2-stage improvements on the Nurnberger-Muller Scale at the 2-week study endpoint, and four did at the 6-week follow-up evaluation versus none of the sham-treated subjects at either time. Subjects treated with RLT significantly decreased combined baseline thigh circumference at the 2-week study endpoint and 6-week follow-up evaluation versus no change for sham-treated. Red Light Therapy treated subjects also showed significant decreases in mean baseline body weight, BMI, and percent BSA affected by cellulite versus no difference for any parameter among sham-treated people. Most RLT-treated subjects (62.1%) were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the improvement in cellulite they received versus 25.8% of sham-treated subjects. There were no reports of adverse events.

Source: A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial evaluating the ability of low-level laser therapy to improve the appearance of cellulite

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Red Light Therapy sessions do I need for weight loss?

Available studies suggest that you must make at least six RLT sessions for optimal results.

How does Red Light Therapy for weight loss work?

The suggestion is that RLT works on weight loss by promoting the photoactivation of cytochrome c oxidase in hypertrophic adipocytes.

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