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Red Light Therapy for Anxiety: Benefits and How It Works

Red Light Therapy for Anxiety: Benefits and How It Works

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions that affects millions of people worldwide. In fact, an estimated 4% of the global population suffers from anxiety disorders, which can cause feelings of worry, nervousness, fear, and panic. While there are various treatments and relaxation techniques available, some people may not find these methods effective or accessible. Therefore, they prefer exploring alternative and innovative options such as red light therapy, which has gained popularity in recent years. 

Red light therapy is a treatment technology that exposes the skin to red light wavelengths, which are believed to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. It is a non-invasive and painless treatment that can be used to address a wide range of health issues, including fatigue, anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and general well-being. 

If you’re experiencing excessive anxiety, it may be difficult to enjoy life to the fullest. While everything may seem meaningless and you’re less likely to value what is around you, then do not fret because you have come to the right place! In this article, we will explore the benefits of red light therapy for anxiety and provide you with a guide to choosing the best device to ease your symptoms. 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress that everyone experiences at one point or another. Many people worry about money, health, relationships, grades, among others. However, when it becomes excessive and symptoms become difficult to control, it can have a negative impact on your health. 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), anxiety is described as feelings of fear, worry, or unease that is persistent and interferes with daily activities. These feelings may not go away and can get worse over time. While anxiety can be beneficial in certain situations by increasing attention and focus, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder if there is a constant feeling of discomfort that affects relationships, performance at school or work and family obligations. It may also lead to depression, substance abuse and other mental health disorders. 

It’s not easy to identify the exact causes of anxiety, but there are a few common triggers that can affect almost everyone. Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be treated through therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. 

Classification and Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders with their own set of symptoms, all of which can be diagnosed using the DSM-5 criteria. Below are the three separate categories of anxiety disorders in the DSM-5:

  1. Anxiety Disorders: separation anxiety, disorders, selective mutism, specific phobia, social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania and excoriation disorder. 
  3. Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders: reactive attachment disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder and adjustment disorder.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Common Symptoms of Anxiety 

Anxiety symptoms can vary per individual and can range from mild to severe. One may experience physical and mental effects, as well as other difficulties in other areas in life. Symptoms may start during childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood. Below are some of the most common symptoms of anxiety to take note of: 

  • Excessive worrying
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Increased heart rate, palpitations, or irregular heartbeats
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Excessive sweating, especially in the palms, face, and armpits
  • Uncontrollable trembling or shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Lack of sleep, or not being able to sleep enough 
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Feeling depressed
  • Being prone to anger
  • Feeling tense and irritable
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems 
  • Constantly avoiding things, people, places, or situations that trigger anxiety 
  • Fear of dying

If you experience symptoms of anxiety, it is essential to seek help from a healthcare professional. While there are a variety of treatment options, red light therapy has emerged as a potential treatment to relieve symptoms. Additionally, more research is needed to fully understand its benefits, preliminary studies have shown promising results. 

How Does Red Light Therapy Help With Anxiety?

How Does Red Light Therapy Help With Anxiety

When human beings don’t receive enough natural light, it can affect every cell in the body. Humans are made to use sunlight for optimal health, but when it lacks it can cause anxiety and depression. This depletes the brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels, which can lead to disabling mood conditions. Therefore, red light therapy has become an alternative to natural light. 

Researchers believed that red light therapy was limited to physical benefits, however they later discovered that it had promising results in treating psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Parkinson’s disease, among other mental health conditions. 

With anxiety disorders having a major impact on society, you may be wondering, how can red light therapy help manage its symptoms? Red light therapy stimulates the production of ATP, the body’s main source of energy. This increase in energy can specifically:

  • Increase sluggish energy levels
  • Support a balanced mood
  • Improve mental clarity and confidence
  • Increase general positivity 
  • Increase calmness and relaxation
  • Reduces oxidative stress 
  • Harmonized circadian rhythms
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Improved neurogenesis and synaptogenesis

While red light therapy devices can offer these benefits to treat anxiety, its mechanisms of how it works are not yet fully understood and should be researched further. Therefore, this treatment can be considered but should not be considered a replacement for professional mental health support or other well established treatments. 

Studies Supporting Red Light Therapy for Anxiety 

  • Schiffer et al. (2009) conducted a study on 10 patients with major depression and anxiety. The participants were given near infrared light therapy with remarkably positive results, showing potential psychological benefits after a single treatment.
  • Cassano et al. (2018) conducted a study with a team of mental health researchers testing the effects of “transcranial near-infrared light therapy,” a natural light shined on a person’s head. After eight weeks of treatment, people with depression responded well. Red light therapy also showed properties of antidepressants in patients with major depressive disorder.
  • The Journal of Psychiatric Research published a study that showed how red light therapy may be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The study involved 24 patients who received 12 sessions of red light therapy over a period of 5 weeks. Results showed a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, with no adverse effects. 
  • A 2019 pilot study of 12 patients with major depressive disorder and anxiety found that red light therapy applied to the forehead twice a week for four weeks resulted in significant reductions of scores in both depression and anxiety, as well as improvements in sleep quality and cognitive function. 
  • Maiello et al. (2019) did a randomized controlled trial of 40 patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) found that redlight therapy applied to the forehead and chest once a week for eight weeks significantly reduced anxiety symptoms and improved quality of life compared to sham treatment. 

Best Red Light Therapy Devices for Anxiety

If you’re looking for a natural and non-invasive way to manage your anxiety, red light therapy devices may be worth considering. However, selecting the right device means understanding different factors such as wavelength, power output and safety features. Whether you’re looking for a handheld device or a full-body panel, we have compiled a list of the best red light therapy devices for anxiety based on effectiveness, ease of use, and customer reviews.

ROMISA Red Light Therapy Belt

ROMISA Red Light Therapy Belt - Infrared Light Therapy Vibration Rechargeable 660nm&850nm Red Light Therapy Device for Body Massage for Back Shoulder Waist Muscle Pain Relief for Cordless Use
  • Advanced Recovery and Therapy - Transform your recovery with ROMISA red light therapy belt, blending vibration massage, 660nm red light, and 850nm near-infrared light. The 660nm red light enhances skin appearance, promotes collagen, and speeds up wound healing. The 850nm near-infrared light reaches deep into bones, tissues, organs, and joints, fostering muscle recovery, reducing inflammation, and relieving joint pain.
  • Customizable Massage Features - Enjoy a three-level vibration and heat therapy for deep tissue massage, effectively alleviating waist pain and post-exercise soreness. Featuring five heating zones, it provides comprehensive warmth for enhanced recovery.
  • Cordless and Rechargeable - Free yourself from the constraints of cords with power controller. The infrared light therapy belt features a magnetic power controller with a substantial 5000mAh battery with USB-C rechargeability, provides about 2 hours of cordless operation.

Are you in need of an all-in-one solution for pain relief and relaxation? If so, then look no further because The ROMISA Red Light Therapy Belt may be exactly what you’re looking for!

ProsCons
Dual wavelengths for comprehensive therapy. 

Customizable massage modes for deep tissue massage.

Cordless and rechargeable for hassle-free use.
May not fit all body types comfortably.

Some users may find the vibration too intense.

Not ideal for those looking for a full-body therapy device.

This product is designed to enhance your well-being and elevate your everyday comfort. It offers a range of benefits including dual wavelengths of 660 nm and 850 nm for comprehensive therapy, customized massage modes, and a cordless and rechargeable design. It effectively helps with skin rejuvenation, collagen boost, accelerated healing, deep tissue penetration, muscle recovery and joint pain relief. 

The ROMISA Red Light Therapy Belt offers great benefits, but it also has a few drawbacks such as discomfort on some body types and an intense vibration that not everyone can handle. This belt may also not be suitable for those who are looking for a full-body therapy device, although many people find it a great choice for specific areas such as the skin, muscles, and joints. 

Rhmip Red-Light-LED-Therapy-Panel

Red-Light-LED-Therapy-Panel - Infrared Red Light Therapy Lamp Device for Body,LED 660nm and Near Infrared 850nm Light Combo
  • SCIENTIFIC RED LIGHT THERAPY COMBINATION: Deep red 660 and near infrared 850nm is the best combination wavelength for therapy for face and skin.The red light LED therapy panel can helps to improve skin problems.
  • IMPROVE SKIN:The 660nm deep red light can stimulate cell repair and deep skin beauty care, while the 850nm near-infrared light penetrates deep into the skin to eliminate wrinkles.Therefore, it speeds up the metabolism of cells and the circulation of blood in the capillaries, diminishes freckles and red blood streaks, and has an effect that can't be ignored against aging.
  • HIGH POWERED HOME USE: Red light therapy used to be limited to expensive salons and clinics but now thanks to high powered, energy efficient and affordable red light LED therapy device, all the benefits of red light therapy can now be achieved at home in just minutes a day. Perfect solution for daily home therapy applications.

There is nothing better than The Rhmip Red-Light-LED-Therapy-Panel if you are in need of an affordable and effective solution to improve your skin while reducing anxiety! 

ProsCons
Scientific combination of deep red 660nm and near-infrared 850nm wavelengths for improved skin and cell repair. 

High-powered, energy-efficient, and affordable device for home red light therapy.

Lightweight and easy-to-use panel that can be placed anywhere around the home. 
Unit is blindingly bright, which requires protective glasses and caution, especially around children and pets.

Some users may not notice any improvement in inflammation or anxiety reduction.

The product may not be durable for long-term use.

This product has become a top option for those who are looking for an affordable and convenient solution for improving skin and reducing anxiety at the comfort of your own home. The device offers a combination of deep red 660nm and near-infrared 850nm wavelengths that provides the best therapy for face and skin, helping to improve skin problems and stimulate cell repair. 

One of the biggest features of this high-powered, energy-efficient, and affordable device allows you to reap the benefits at home in just minutes a day. The lightweight and easy-to-use panel can also be hung or placed independently around the home, making it a perfect solution for daily home therapy applications. 

However, The Rhmip Red-Light-LED-Therapy-Panel can be blindingly bright, therefore you will need to wear protective glasses and use it with caution, especially around children and pets. Some users have also reported little to no improvement in inflammation or anxiety reduction. Additionally, this device may not be durable for long-term use. 

Holsn Red Light Device Infrared Light Therapy

Grehge vice Infrared Light Tharepy, Red Light Device for Bodypain Relief, Joint, Muscle & Tissue 14 * 650nm + 3 * 808nm
  • UPGRADED HAND-HELD RED LIGHT DEVICE: 14pcs x 650nm and 3pcs x 808nm. More lights have been added to increase the efficiency of use.
  • CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN MODE: 5/10/15/20 minute timer. Energy levels for L1, L2, L3, L4. Long Press and hold the On/Off button to turn it on. NOTE: The three beams of 808NM are invisible.
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: With a streamlined design and extremely light weight of 0.48 lbs, this device is safe and portable when you are at home or traveling.

Ready to use a device that is on-the-go to relieve your symptoms of anxiety? If the answer is yes, then be sure to consider The Holsn Red Light Device Infrared Light Therapy

ProsCons
Lightweight and portable, making it easy to use at home or on the go.

Customizable timer and energy levels to meet your needs. 
 
Ergonomic and safe design.

Can be used to care for pets.  
Cannot be used while charging, therefore it requires a 2-3 hour charge before use.

The three beams of 808nm are invisible, which may be confusing for some users.

Not be suitable for individuals with severe anxiety or chronic pain.

An upgraded hand-held device that offers customizable modes such as a timer and energy levels. It features an ergonomic and lightweight design, making it suitable and safe for both home and on-the-go use. Another unique feature of this device is that it can be used to care for your pets and furry friends to give it the quality of life they truly deserve. 

A downside to The Holsn Red Light Device Infrared Light Therapy is that it cannot be used while charging. Therefore, it’s recommended to charge 2-3 hours before using it. It also has three invisible beams of 808nm, which may be confusing for some users. Additionally, this device is not suitable for those suffering from severe anxiety or chronic pain. 

Headot Red Light Therapy Wrap Belt 

Headot Red Light Therapy Wrap Belt for Body, Men and Women Gift,100 LEDs,5Gears 9Timers Remote Control, 660nm&850nm Infrared Light Therapy for Back, Waist, Muscle Pain Relief
  • 【How Does this Work?】: HEADOT infared red light therapy belt has 200pc 660nm chips,and 100pc 850nm chips.the 660nm (Visible red light) will affect with epidermis& dermis stimulate collagen production, which gives skin its structure, strength and elasticity.850nm (invisible)penetrates into deeper tissue, leading to benefits like increased muscle recovery and decreased joint pain.
  • 【3 Function Mode】:Connect a power bank, Press” on/off” on remote 3sec to start, press to alter between 660nm light on,850nm light on, and both on. Each mode work for different conditions.
  • 【5 Intensity Gears, 9 Timers】: Press “PWM+ -“to alter light intensity, P1-P5 is from low to high. Auto power off Setting. You can chose: 10mins, 20mins,30mins….90mins timers

Everyone experiences anxiety at one point or another. With that being said, you may be looking for a way to relieve your symptoms and overall health in a non-invasive way. If so, consider trying The Headot Red Light Therapy Wrap Belt for your needs. 

ProsCons
Easy-to-use wrap belt with three function modes and five intensity gears to choose from.

9 customizable timers to fit your therapy needs.

Promotes collagen growth to reduce wrinkles and shrink pores.
May take some time to see results.

The LED area should not be bent, and the device should be kept away from high temperatures, water, and oil.

Not a substitute for professional medical treatment.

If you’re looking for a safe and effective way to relieve anxiety, the Headot Red Light Therapy Wrap Belt is definitely worth considering. It features three function modes and five intensity gears to choose from. It also has 9 timers that can be customized to fit your therapy sessions and needs. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use it as directed. Additionally, it promotes collagen growth to reduce wrinkles and shrink pores for a flawless look. 

With regular use, you may start to notice a reduction in anxiety and an improvement in your overall health, although results may take time to notice. Additionally, the LED area should not be bent, and the device should be kept away from high temperatures, water, and oil. Take note, this device should not replace professional medical treatment. 

LOVTRAVEL New 2560pcs LED 660nm Red Light Therapy Mat 

LOVTRAVEL New 2560pcs LED 660nm Red Light Therapy Mat Sleep Bag 850nm Near Infrared Light Therapy Devices Large Pads for Whole Full Body Pain Relief
11 Reviews
LOVTRAVEL New 2560pcs LED 660nm Red Light Therapy Mat Sleep Bag 850nm Near Infrared Light Therapy Devices Large Pads for Whole Full Body Pain Relief
  • 60 Days Refund Policy & 1 Year Full Warranty - If you are not satisfied with the LOVTRAVEL red and infrared light therapy device at any time within 60 days, please return within 60 days and get a full refund. Although most people benefit greatly from our red light therapy, no one therapy is suitable for everyone. Therefore, we offer an extended 60-day refund period.
  • 2 pieces large 70.9" x 31.5" treatment area mats and powerful 200W LED lights, makes treatment time dramatically shorter. Each mat has a total 2835 pcs medical red and deep penetrating infrared lights, penetrate deeply in the tissues. The red and infrared light therapy system is wearable and consists of a 67.26" x 26.64" flexible pad embedded with an alternating array of 1280pcs red light (660 nm ) and 2560pcs invisible infrared lights(850 nm).
  • [5 Levels Adjustable Brightness] - 5 levels of brightness can be adjusted through the controller, you can choose the appropriate brightness according to your individual needs and treatment area.

The LOVTRAVEL New 2560pcs LED 660nm Red Light Therapy Mat is a device worth considering if you struggle with symptoms of anxiety. 

ProsCons
Comes with a 60-day refund policy and 1-year full warranty.

Comes with two large 70.9″ x 31.5″ treatment area mats and powerful 200W LED lights for efficient therapy. 

Wearable and flexible pad embedded with an alternating array of 1280pcs red light (660 nm) and 2560pcs invisible infrared lights (850 nm).
Not suitable for everyone, as no one therapy is right for everyone.

Can be heavy, weighing 22.7 pounds.

May take up space, so ensure you have enough room for it. 

This product is a promising option for those who are looking for anxiety relief. The mat features a large treatment area, powerful LED lights, and a wearable and flexible design. It comes with a  60-day refund policy and 1-year full warranty, so you can rest assured that you’re making a risk-free purchase. 

Despite its positive results, its effectiveness may vary as no one therapy is right for everyone. Additionally, the mat can be heavy for some users, weighing in at 22.7 pounds. It’s also big in size, therefore it is best to ensure you have enough room to place the product in. 

Astarexin Red Light Therapy Lamp

Red Light Therapy Lamp, Infrared Light Therapy with Stand - 660nm Redlight and 850nm Near Infrared Light Device for Body Pain Relief Skin Care
  • HOME LIGHT THERAPY PANEL LAMP: Say goodbye to expansive & time consuming light therapy in salons, Astarexin red light therapy for body has 660nm red lights and 850nm near-infrared led red lights, features with 4 adjustable brightness levels, each level has steady luminance and pulse modes to meet different red light therapy needs for body pain relief, one-set-of-device solution to various needs according to your practical usages.
  • INFRARED HEAT TO LOOSEN UP BODY: the 850nm near-infrared led red light (non-visible near infrared light) penetrate and cause thermal effects to increase tissue temperature, promote blood circulation, enhance metabolism, improve cell vitality.
  • ENERGISE YOUR CELLS AND RECOVER EASIER: the 660nm red light (visible red light) can reach deeply into the skin so that it stimulates repairing cellular and increasing circulation, which has been proved by tons of scientific studies, you are gonna enjoy the benefits by using this red light therapy device.

Do you worry and stress too much? While this is common among several people, we may have the perfect solution for you! The Astarexin Red Light Therapy Lamp is worth considering to help manage symptoms of anxiety. 

ProsCons
The 660nm red light therapy stimulates cellular repair and increase circulation.

The 850nm near-infrared led red light promotes blood circulation and enhances metabolism.

Lightweight and easy to move around for convenience. 
Some users reported that the stand is not sturdy.

Effectiveness may vary. 

The price may be high for some users.

This red light therapy lamp features 660nm red light therapy that helps stimulate cellular repair and increase circulation to reduce anxiety symptoms. The 850nm near-infrared led red light can promote blood circulation and enhance metabolism, which may also help reduce further symptoms. 

The Astarexin Red Light Therapy Lamp is lightweight sand easy to move around, making it convenient to use in different locations. It comes with a stand and hang-up accessories, which allows you to have sessions at home without any space limit. However, some users have reported that the stand may not be sturdy. Its effectiveness may also vary and its price point may be too high compared to other devices on the market. 

Buying Guide

When it comes to buying a red light therapy device for anxiety, there are a few key features to consider. Knowing more about each device and scientific backing can give you the power to make an informed purchase. Therefore, below are a few factors to keep in mind:

Light Intensity

The intensity of the light is an important factor to consider, therefore it is recommended to choose a device with at least 600-700 nanometers, as this is the range that has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms.

Size and Portability

If you intend to use your device at home, consider choosing a product that is larger in size. However, if you want to use it on-the-go, a smaller and more portable device may be a better option. 

Treatment Time

When choosing a device, consider your daily schedule and needs. You may opt for a device that has a treatment of at least 10-15 minutes, as this is the minimum amount of time needed to see results.

Safety Features

Make sure the device you choose has safety features such as automatic shut-off and eye protection. This will ensure that you can use the device safely and prevent any harm to your eyes or skin. 

Price

Consider your budget before purchasing a device. While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest option on the market, keep in mind that a higher-priced device may offer you more features and durability. Be sure to do your research and remember that the cheapest option may not offer the best quality.

FAQs

What are the benefits of red light therapy for mental health?

Red light therapy has shown a significant amount of mental health benefits. This includes reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others. It may also improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and reduce fatigue.

Can red light therapy help with seasonal depression (SAD)?

Yes, red light therapy can be effective in treating seasonal depression. It has been found to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression, particularly during the winter months when exposure to natural sunlight is limited.

Is there a specific color of light that is most effective for treating anxiety?

Different colors of lights feature different effects on the body, but red light therapy is generally considered to be the most effective in treating mental health conditions including anxiety. 

Are there any risks or individuals who should avoid using red light therapy?

Red light therapy is generally considered safe with little to no side effects. However, it is not recommended for individuals with certain medical conditions such as epilepsy or thyroid problems. It should also be avoided by pregnant women or individuals with sensitive skin. 

How does red light therapy compare to other treatments for anxiety and depression?

Red light therapy is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment option to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, it may not be as effective as other treatments such as medication or therapy, especially for severe cases. Therefore, it is best to use as a complementary treatment. 

What do reviews suggest about the effectiveness of infrared red light therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

There is limited research on the effectiveness of infrared red light therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, some studies have found it to be effective in reducing OCD symptoms including compulsive behaviors and intrusive thoughts. More research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits for this mental illness. 

Disclaimer: Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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