I have recently gone on a deep dive on red light therapy, as elicited by listening to your podcast. I am wondering if you are able to direct me to substantive studies existing on if the type of red light exposure needed to reap the benefits touted by the modality? I have not come up with much info on my end. Specifically, do LED (strand lights) vs “bulbs” vs pricey panels deliver similar results. Does this matter? Thanks!



Red light therapy and its effectiveness depend significantly on the type and intensity of light used. Here are key insights from the Huberman Lab podcast on various types of red light sources and their applications:

Types of Red Light Sources

  1. LEDs (Strand Lights) vs. Bulbs vs. Panels:
    • Red light panels are specific and often referred to in terms of their benefits, which include improving skin, wound healing, and biological tissues. Dr. Huberman personally uses a red light panel and finds it beneficial 1.
    • Inexpensive red light bulbs and strand lights, like Christmas or party lights, can also be used effectively for certain applications, such as reducing blue light exposure at night to aid in sleep 2.
    • More sophisticated red light panels, marketed by companies like Juve, are noted for having clinically proven wavelengths that are effective for a range of therapeutic uses. These panels are used at a recommended distance (typically about 18 inches) to ensure proper light exposure 3.

      Red Light Therapy

      Andrew discusses the benefits of red light therapy and the importance of using it early in the day. He also provides tips on how to create a red light source and emphasizes the importance of peer-reviewed studies.

      Huberman Lab

      Using Light (Sunlight, Blue Light & Red Light) to Optimize Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #68

Effectiveness and Considerations

  • Wavelength and Intensity: The effectiveness of red light therapy is contingent upon using the correct wavelengths (typically between 650 to 800 nm), which can permeate tissue to significant depths, therefore impacting cellular function positively 4.

  • Application Time: For best results, the exposure to red light should happen early in the day, within the first three hours of waking, to harness its full benefits 1.

  • Build vs. Buy: While many commercial products are available, constructing a DIY red light source by covering a bright flashlight with a filter that only allows specific long wavelengths to pass through, is also a feasible option 1.

The key takeaway is that the effectiveness of red light therapy hinges on the use of appropriate wavelengths, the quality and configuration of the light source, and the timing of exposure. While there is variability in how different types of red light sources might work, ensuring the right wavelength and intensity is more crucial than the form factor, be it LED strands, bulbs, or panels.