Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss: Reality or Scam?

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about near infrared light therapy and red light therapy for weight loss or fat loss. Advocates claim that exposure to specific wavelengths of red or near infrared light can stimulate fat loss and aid in achieving a leaner physique. Some even say it could achieve spot fat reduction. However, it is crucial to separate reality from hype and evaluate the scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of near infrared and red light therapy for fat loss. Here, I will delve into the topic and explore the current understanding of infrared and red light therapy's role in fat loss.

Understanding Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy or photobiomodulation (PBM), utilizes specific wavelengths of red light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cellular activity. It is believed to enhance the function of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells, leading to increased energy production and various physiological effects. However, various research studies have found other effects as well.

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Fat Loss

Increased Fat Metabolism

Supporters of red light therapy for weight loss argue that exposure to red light can enhance fat metabolism and stimulate the breakdown of fat cells. They claim that red light therapy triggers a process called lipolysis, where stored fat is released and used as a source of energy. There is some evidence for this, but there isn't much research available to prove it completely. For example, there is one study on mice that found that mice on a high-fat diet had improved glucose metabolism and insulin function when given near infrared light therapy treatments. 

Improved Blood Circulation

Red light therapy is well known to promote blood circulation by increasing the formation of new capillaries. With a heat-producing bulb like our best-seller RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb, blood circulation is even better due to the addition of heat. It is suggested that improved blood flow can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to fat cells, potentially aiding in weight loss. While enhanced circulation can have positive effects on overall health, its direct impact on weight loss is not yet well-established.

Smoothing Cellulite and Improving Skin Appearance

Near infrared light therapy with a hot bulb is the gold standard for getting rid of cellulite. Smoother, healthier skin results from continued near infrared heat and the result improves shape and fat distribution. While most of us focus on actual fat loss, the reality is that smoothing out cellulite and improving skin texture makes it look like the area has less fat.  

Causing Fat Cells to Release Fat

Okay, so here's the strongest claim yet for red light therapy and fat loss: light therapy makes fat cells open up and release the fat inside them. Some of the scientific evidence suggests that it could be true. One study showed scanning electron microscope photos of lipids being released from fat cells before the cells were totally emulsified. But other studies could not replicate these results.

Something must be going on, though, because multiple studies have shown localized fat loss after using red or infrared light therapy. There have even been new liposuction techniques developed where light or laser exposure is used to improve results. We just aren't sure exactly how infrared or red light therapy works to remove fat.   

One experiment tested whether near infrared light therapy treatments would work for reducing unwanted abdominal fat. Two groups where monitored while one used infrared light and both groups exercised three times per week. The study concluded that infrared light therapy was effective for belly fat. 

Another study showed an average of 3.51 inches of fat reduction across each user's waist, hips and thighs after 2 weeks. Treatments were done three times per week and researchers confirmed that the fat did not just move to other places in the body. Yet another showed 5.17 inches of total fat loss where participants were told not to change their diet or exercise habits. (That last link has before and after photos that are quite interesting.)


While near infrared and red light therapy shows promise in various areas of health and wellness, its effectiveness for fat loss is yet to be well-established. Early evidence available suggests that targeted fat loss can be achieved with red or near infrared light therapy. It is important to remember, of course, that fat loss is a complex process influenced by multiple factors, including diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle habits. 

If you are interested in incorporating red or near infrared light therapy in to your health and fat loss journey, I would suggest trying the RubyLux NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb, used from three to seven times per week for 20-30 minutes per session. Another option would be the RubyLux All Red Size Large LED Bulb, used the same way. Although both would have good results, the heat of the NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb makes it a better option in this case. 

To really ramp-up your results, add the RubyLux Ultrasonic Mini to your routine. It emits targeted radio-frequency or ultrasonic waves and is painless. Conductive gel is required for use (not included). Radio-frequency and ultrasonic waves are known to cause fat to leach out of fat cells. Pairing this strategy with near infrared light therapy would be the fastest non-surgical way to remove unwanted fat in specific areas.