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Does red light therapy really help rheumatoid arthritis?

Are you or a loved one suffering from rheumatoid arthritis? This debilitating condition affects millions of people worldwide, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Emerging research shows that red light therapy can control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and improve quality of life.

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red light therapy is innovative treatment uses low-level red light to penetrate the skin and stimulate healing in the body’s tissues. But does it really work for rheumatoid arthritis? Let’s take a closer look at the science.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder affecting over 1.2 million adults in the U.S. alone. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, a thin membrane lining the joints. This triggers chronic inflammation that leads to:

– Joint pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness
– Loss of joint function and restricted mobility
– Fatigue, fever, and malaise

The joints most impacted by rheumatoid arthritis are those of the hands, wrists, feet, knees, and ankles. Symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time if the inflammation goes unchecked. While there is no cure, the goal of treatment is to relieve pain and slow the progression of joint damage.

The Limitations of Traditional Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

The most common medical treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen provide pain relief but can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers with long-term use.
  • Steroids – Corticosteroids such as prednisone reduce inflammation quickly but have side effects like weight gain, bone loss, and high blood pressure.
  • DMARDs – Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs slow disease progression but suppress the immune system.
  • Biologics – Specialty drugs target parts of the immune system but increase the risk of infections.
  • Surgery – Joint replacement surgery may provide relief but involves significant risks and recovery time.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Does Red Light Therapy Really Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

How Red Light Therapy Can Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis

Red light therapy provides a drug-free, non-invasive way to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. It delivers concentrated wavelengths of visible red and infrared light. When absorbed by the cells, this light has two therapeutic effects:

  • Increasing cellular energy production and blood flow
  • Reducing inflammatory cytokines

This powerful combination works to relieve pain, reduce stiffness, improve mobility, and allow the body to self-repair damaged joints and tissues.

The Proven Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Red Light

Extensive medical research has documented red light’s ability to reduce inflammation. The specific wavelengths of light penetrate tissue and are readily absorbed by cells. This stimulates healing responses including:

  • – Increasing microcirculation to bring oxygen and clear debris
  • – Ramping up ATP energy production inside cells
  • – Accelerating healing time by 150 – 200%
  • – Reducing oxidative stress
  • – Promoting collagen production and tissue repair

These anti-inflammatory effects make red light therapy highly beneficial for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Scientific Research Supports Red Light for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

Multiple studies have examined the impacts of red light therapy on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the most promising results include:

– A randomized controlled trial in 2000 found that red light therapy for rheumatoid arthritis was beneficial, with red light therapy reducing rheumatoid arthritis pain by 70%, as well as reducing the duration of morning stiffness and increasing hand dexterity.[1]

– A study published in Lasers Med Sci in 2013 showed that red light therapy can reduce the inflammatory response in both early and late progressive stages of rheumatoid arthritis.[2]

– A 2014 study found that red light therapy reduced the presence of IL-20, an important cytokine in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting that red light therapy may be useful for rheumatoid arthritis treatment.[3]

Scientific Research Supports Red Light for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

The Benefits of Red Light for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

In addition to proven anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, red light therapy offers rheumatoid arthritis patients these advantages:

  • No Side Effects – Red light is completely external and non-toxic with no adverse reactions.
  • Synergy – May reduce dependency on medications and enhance effects of other therapies.
  • Quick Sessions – Daily treatment typically ranges 10-30 minutes.
  • Lasting Relief – Provides sustained improvement versus temporary fixes.
  • Convenience – Most red light therapy devices are small and portable, so you can easily take them with you wherever you go.
  • Cost – While red light therapy devices can be a bit pricey upfront, they are often a much more affordable long-term option compared to ongoing medication or physical therapy costs.

Safety Considerations

Red light therapy is generally considered to be safe, but there are some safety considerations to keep in mind.

First, it is important to use a red light therapy device that has been FDA-approved for use in humans. Second, it is important to use the device according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Third, it is important to avoid looking directly into the red light therapy device.


If you are looking for a safe and effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, red light therapy may be a good option for you. With its proven effectiveness, safety, and ease of use, it’s no wonder more and more people are turning to this innovative treatment option. Don’t let rheumatoid arthritis hold you back – try red light therapy today and start feeling better tomorrow.


[1]L Brosseau, V Welch, et al. Low level laser therapy (classes I, II and III) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD002049.

[2]Ana Carolina Araruna Alves, Paulo de Tarso Camillo de Carvalho, et al. Low-level laser therapy in different stages of rheumatoid arthritis: a histological study. Lasers Med Sci. 2013 Feb;28(2):529-36. 

[3]Asayo Imaoka, Lin Zhang, et al. Reduction of IL-20 Expression in Rheumatoid Arthritis by Linear Polarized Infrared Light Irradiation. Laser Ther. 2014 Jul 1; 23(2): 109–114.

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