How red light therapy benefits arthritis: An overview

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage to break down, and rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints. As the inflammation and pain increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to live a normal life. Red light therapy has attracted attention to be an efficient treatment for arthritis, as it stimulates collagen production, activates stem cells and migration, and reduces inflammation, and inflammatory cytokines. We will review current studies on the topic and explain why red light therapy is effective for arthritis. If you are looking for a non-invasive treatment to ease your pain, this article on red light therapy arthritis is just right for you. 

  What causes arthritis?

Our joints can be damaged, strained, or worn out, and the most common joints where people tend to experience pain are the knees, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. The bones that make up our joints are covered by cartilage that keeps joint motion fluid and cushions bones against impact. Cartilage doesn’t contain blood vessels or nerves, which means that it doesn’t need nutrition support or waste removal. Instead, it relies on the movement of water from the synovial fluid into and out of it to nourish and clean it. This type of water is constantly drained into cartilage and driven out by physical movement. When this water transportation mechanism has problems, things can go downstream quickly. In some cases of early arthritis, it is actually an increased level of water in the cartilage that causes problems. When not enough water is being driven out of the cartilage, waste products are not removed, and the cartilage environment becomes toxic. This initiates a cascade of chemical reactions leading to cartilage degeneration. The causes of arthritis may vary, but generally include the following points:

  1) Joint cartilage wear and tear: Joint stress is a well-known cause of cartilage deterioration. 

2) Metabolic abnormalities: Many chemical substances in the body are out of balance, and metabolic disorders will cause some toxic medicals to form in joints, causing joint inflammation in rare cases. 

3) Infection (bacterial or viral): In most cases, it is an illness or infection that occurs in the synovial fluid and tissues of the joint. Viruses and bacteria can all be responsible for infection in these parts of the body, and it is possible for viruses and bacteria to move through the bloodstream and finally infect the joints. 

4) Autoimmune disease – the body mistakenly fights the cartilage tissues

5) Injury: It is more likely that arthritis will develop in the injured joint. 

The risk factors for arthritis include an inherited factor, obesity, age, and gender. 

Arthritis is basically the inflammation of joints, and if it is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as:

1) Joint damage: joint deformities, damage to nearby tendon, etc

2) Widespread inflammation: inflammation can spread to other parts of the body

3) Cardiovascular damage: It shows that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 

Why is RLT so efficient to treat arthritis?

Red LED light therapy has been long applied in arthritis treatment. Red light therapy arthritis-affected treatment has numerous successful examples in clinical trials. RLT has effective impacts on the relief of arthritis from the following points:

1) RLT stimulates collagen production: an important component of muscle and cartilage

Red light therapy collagen production ability is well documented and established in many studies. As the connective component in the musculoskeletal system, cartilage supports movement and protects the bones of joints. This tissue can be passively changed by disease, aging, genetics, injury, overuse, and other mistreatment. The cartilage defect is the core reason leading to more severe arthritis disorders. Traditionally, dietary collagen supplementation is already applied in treating arthritis. In the early stage of osteoarthritis, there is an observed measurement of collagen denaturation and collagen loss, which can be verified in this study. One study claimed that collagen augmentation can improve the quality of cartilage and its repair. 


2) RLT promotes stem cells to injuries

With the emerging speculation that stem cells can play a key role in healing injury and releasing arthritis, due to their ability to differentiate into various cell types depending on the environmental tissue. RLT shows impressive results regarding stem cell growth, maximizing the potential of stem cell implantation for medical needs. Therefore, RLT shows optimistic results to stimulate stem cells that repair injured tissues. One study has proven that RLT can stimulate mesenchymal stem cells in bone marrow, while another study showed evidence that RLT can promote stem cell migration to injuries. Besides RLT, stem cell therapy, which is the application of extraneous injection of stem cells, has been proven to have a direct impact on arthritis recovery, but such stem cell therapy faces several major challenges, according to the study. Based on the ability to stimulate stem cells and promote their migration, RLT is believed to be an alternative way of stem cell therapy to replicate stem cells for arthritis in a natural way. 

 3) RLT reduces inflammation

The inflammation-reducing property of RLT is likely due to its capability to enhance cell signaling and molecular flow in the cell. Red light therapy inflammation application has been used in many inflammation-related diseases, not solely in arthritis. Inflammation often happens at the injury or damaged tissue and results in pain feeling and delays the healing process. Disease like arthritis involves chronic pain — that is why RLT can help release pain and arthritis syndromes. Many studies confirmed the fact that RLT reduces inflammation and related mechanism, and this is one overall review. Another important piece of evidence in one review shows the action of LLLT of NIR in reducing swelling and inflammation in the case of musculoskeletal pain — The number of inflammatory cells has been shown to be reduced in the case of joints injected with protease and in the case of collagen-induced rheumatoid arthritis, both in the early and late stages according to the study.

4) RLT encourages lymphatic flow and blood flow

The increase in blood flow is conspicuously beneficial for transferring nutrients and oxygen around injured areas. Meanwhile, the fact that the pathways leading to joint inflammation and damage in arthritis have been well established in murine models, has implications for the relation between lymphatic modulation and arthritis, as analyzed in the study of targeting lymphatic function as a novel intervention for arthritis. The findings in murine models of arthritis coupled with image findings in patients with RA strongly implicate the event of the synovial lymphatic system as the cause behind arthritis exacerbation. The study concluded that an intervention for RA that enhances lymphatic drainage from affected joints has therapeutic potential. Along these lines, RLT has a proven ability to increase lymphatic mobility and cause manual lymphatic drainage, as in the research Conservative Treatment of Lymphedema: the state of art. 

Furthermore, as we discussed in the article “The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy — Bestqool”, another pathological reason that RLT can increase blood flow is an increase in nitric oxide (NO). While RLT can trigger an increase in NO, the endothelium of blood vessels uses NO to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, resulting in vasodilation and increasing blood flow, according to Wikipedia. 

RLT exceptionally stimulates blood circulation and the lymphatic system, thereby alleviating pain and encouraging faster healing or enhancing muscle and cartilage structure. This is also the evidence to explain positive results from arthritis treatments in numerous clinical trials. 

How can I get benefits from RLT for arthritis?

When applying RLT, it is important to determine the parameters of the light source for your medical conditions. Though both red and near infrared light therapy have anti-inflammatory effect, healing arthritis requires a deeper penetration into joints and cartilage tissue. Generally, it is recommended to apply the wavelengths with the best penetration ability within the optical window: the combination of red (at around 660 nm) and NIR (850 nm). For the early stage of arthritis, you may get pain relief or other reductions of symptoms in a few weeks, while for the late degenerative stage, you need long-term treatment before the collagen-stimulating process takes part in cartilage formation. 

For treatment purposes, it is commonly applicable in medical practice to receive not less than 90 joules in total dosage during each treatment session. Because different devices have different specifications, consult with your specialist or follow instructions before beginning a RLT trial. A distance may require you to avoid direct contact with the skin, and the actual irradiation on the target area and duration will be affected. 

One clinical trial in 2013 revealed that the group of patients with knee osteoarthritis, after applying light irradiation of 48 joules/cm2 for 60 seconds (at 850 nm), two times per week over a period of four weeks, showed significant improvements in all assessment parameters, including pain intensity and knee function. 

There are numerous clinical trials in which RLT has been proven effective for arthritis. Most studies agree with using wavelengths in range from 790 nm to 900 nm, with an output around 50 mW.

A 1992 study concluded that low-level light therapy is effective in relieving pain and disability in degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee. The red light therapy pain relief in active group after the treatment was observed more than 50% improvement in all scoring methods.

A survey in 2013 by Arthritis Res Ther found a significant reduction in inflammatory cells in fluid from synovial washing with light power levels at 50 mW and 100 mW, from 808 nm wavelength, but a bigger reduction in macrophages and other inflammatory cytokines such as ILs and TNF-α at 50 mW. 

A study in 2017 observed that subjects in the group with irradiation of a total dose of 12 joules per point in the area of 8 points experienced significant pain reduction and the improvement of cartilage thickness in a skin contact method.

How to choose a RLT product right for you arthritis conditions?

Are you sure that RLT is right for your arthritis conditions? If you do, in current complicating market of RLT, indeed it is very difficult to make a best choice for your purchase. With most of products claimed to have unmatched quality, edge-cutting technology and leading safety, such perplexity of description surely confuses you. No worries, to choose a right product is but from following criteria:

1) Safety standards and requirements

2) Quality components and therapeutic capability

3) User-friendly design

4) Warranty

The Bestqool Differences

Bestqool red light thearpy has successfully addressed to the above issues. 

We have applied the extensive knowledge and research into the design and manufacture of products to provide best red light therapy experience for you. All of Bestqool products is able to focus on the most effective and therapeutic narrow range of wavelength, with an efficient and adequate output intensity. All of our RLT products are tested manually by professional devices, trully equipped with the industry-leading quality and best therapeutic intensity. 


For different sizes of lesion area and locations, we provide different product design for user-friendly usage. You can choose a versatile panel for arthritis conditions and other synptoms. But we also provide wand and belt for target treatment. For some location of arthritis lesion, like knees and shoulders, which can be challenging to touch, a RLT belt is a good option and it is more flexible and convenient for movement. All our products are able to reach the highest performance in industry, even for RLT belt, which is usually limited by belt design and lack of cooling system, our RLT belt is tested manually to reach the output irradiation at around 48mW/cm^2. Only with an adequate irradiation can your effective treatment be possible. The details of significance of irradiation can be referred to in the article “The Ultimate Guide of Red Light Therapy”. Do other products truly provide the irradiation as they claimed? We cannot fabricate the answer out of nowhere, but we can only make sure the quality and trustworthiness of our products. 


As for safety standards and certifications, you can free of doubts, because all our products are FDA-registered and CTL-certified, with meeting the highest electrical performance and safety standards in industry. specifically all our products are secured by EMFs-free technology. Surely with our products you can enjoy a high quality red light therapy at home as in hospitals or clinical centers. 

To ensure your treatment effectiveness and worth of money, we also provide a three-year warranty, which is much longer than other companies. Because we have confidence and faithfulness in our products, we reduce your risk of purchase to the minimum and bear the cost of accidence for our customers. So you can truly trust us. 

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