Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Athletes

Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Athletes

In the world of sports and fitness, athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and active individuals are constantly seeking innovative methods to enhance their performance, support recovery, and promote overall health.

One such emerging therapy gaining traction among athletes is red light therapy, a non-invasive technology that offers numerous health-supporting benefits for both professional and recreational athletes

Red light therapy for athletes, also known as photobiomodulation, uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular activity, providing a range of benefits that can enhance athletic performance, support recovery, and promote overall well-being.

Read on as we go over the benefits of red light therapy for athletes and explore how to effectively incorporate this cutting-edge technology into your fitness routines.

We will answer some frequently asked questions, including:


  • What is red light therapy good for?

  • Can you use red light therapy for promoting injury recovery?

  • Should you use red light therapy before or after a workout?

  • What is the best red light therapy device for athletes?

Understanding Red Light Therapy for Athletes

The life of an athlete often pushes the human body and mind to its limits. The drive to improve performance and outlast the competition requires resilience, grit, and a capacity to rebound.

Yet all that intense effort inevitably leads to fatigued muscles, risk of injuries, and exhaustion. This is where active recovery is essential, not just for the next event but for an athlete's long-term health.

Proactively supporting the body’s natural ability to recoup, rest, and recover is a crucial component in sustaining elite fitness. That's precisely where innovative devices and supplements like red light therapy, Humic & Fulvic Acid, and Algae Oil DHA can play a vital role in an athlete's training and recovery regimen.

Red light technology leverages specific wavelengths of visible red light (625nm & 660nm in the case of Ascent Nutrition’s Red Light Therapy Wristband) to stimulate a biological response at the cellular level. The photons of light are absorbed by photoreceptors on the mitochondria (aka., the powerhouse of the cell), where they stimulate the production of ATP and promote other cellular processes.

The ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the energy currency of the cell, meaning cells (and by extension the body) get energy from these molecules. And considering muscle cells have more mitochondria than other types of cells, supporting the optimal function of these organelles and promoting the production of ATP using red light therapy is crucial for an athlete’s performance and recovery.

Red light also positively impacts athletic performance through mechanisms such as supporting a healthy inflammatory response, promoting healthy blood circulation, and supporting the body’s natural free radical scavenging function.

What is Red Light Therapy Good For? Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Athletes

As an athlete, you are constantly striving for peak performance, pushing your body to its limits, and overcoming physical challenges. One innovative treatment that can support your athletic goals is red light therapy.

Research shows that red light therapy can help support sleep quality, healthy blood circulation, muscle recovery, and many aspects of sports performance.

Here are some of the benefits of red light therapy for athletes:

Support a Healthy Inflammatory Response

Engaging in intense workouts, training, and regular competitions places significant physiological stress on the body. The mechanical stress and muscle contractions cause minor muscle fiber tears, collagen breakdown, and cell damage.

While some inflammation is a necessary part of the muscle rebuilding process, excessive inflammation can impair performance and delay recovery. Acute inflammation after strenuous exercise contributes to the pain, loss of function, and stiffness felt in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Regular use of a red light therapy device can support healthy inflammatory responses to allow athletes to recover healthily between workouts [1].

The photons of light activate photoreceptors on the mitochondria which trigger signaling cascades that support a healthy inflammatory response that can be especially beneficial for athletes and for supporting recovery.

Muscle Recovery

In addition to supporting a healthy inflammatory response, red light therapy may also be used for enhancing recovery and muscle tissue repair.

Intense physical activity puts stress on the muscles, leading to soreness and fatigue. Red light therapy can support healthy muscle recovery by stimulating cellular activity, specifically the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the mitochondria [2] [3].

By promoting ATP production, red light therapy stimulates a cascade of metabolic effects that support the ability of muscle cells to repair effectively after intense mechanical and metabolic stresses from exercise.

Support Healthy Blood Circulation

Healthy blood circulation ensures that the muscles receive an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, essential for optimal functioning and repair. Additionally, it aids in the removal of waste products, such as lactic acid, which can accumulate during intense exercise and contribute to muscle fatigue and soreness.

Red light therapy may support healthy blood circulation by supporting vascular function and promoting tissue oxygenation [4]. It achieves this by stimulating the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator—meaning it helps relax and widen blood vessels, thereby promoting blood flow.

Enhanced oxygenation and blood flow provide active muscles the fuel they need during sustained effort and to delay fatigue while training.

Athletes can use red light therapy before workouts or competitions to prime muscles through enhanced blood flow. Healthy circulation can lead to several aspects of health being optimized for athletic performance, muscle recovery, endurance, risk of injury, and overall health.

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Promote Endurance

Endurance is a critical component of athletic performance, allowing athletes to maintain high levels of energy and stamina during training and competition.

Red light therapy can promote endurance, potentially supporting an athlete’s ability to exercise for longer periods of time and push through physical barriers they otherwise may not be able to [5].

The combination of healthy muscle recovery, healthy blood circulation, and a healthy inflammatory response support an athlete’s ability to exercise harder and more frequently when using red light therapy.

Red Light Therapy for Sleep

Sleep plays a critical role in athletic recovery and performance, as it is during this time that the body repairs and regenerates damaged muscle tissues.

Recovery from intense training requires quality sleep to allow the body to restore all the body systems that are taxed during waking hours. Red light therapy supports the natural sleep-wake cycle for optimal rest.

In a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, the researchers sought to understand the effects of red light therapy on sleep quality by surrounding a group of elite female basketball players with red light for 14 days [6].

When compared to a placebo, the findings suggested that red light therapy for athletes may support endurance performance, serum melatonin (i.e., the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles) levels, and overall sleep quality.

By promoting restorative sleep, athletes can recover more efficiently and maintain peak performance levels. Furthermore, quality sleep can contribute to other aspects of athletic performance, such as enhanced focus, healthy mood, and a healthy immune system, all of which are crucial for maintaining peak performance in everyone, especially athletes looking for peak performance.

Red Light Therapy for Injury Recovery

Injuries are an unfortunate part of sports and can significantly impact an athlete's performance and career. Using red light therapy for injury recovery can help you return to your sports or fitness activities sooner [7] [8] [9].

Red light therapy can support the body’s natural healing process by supporting a healthy inflammatory response, supporting healthy blood circulation, stimulating collagen production, and promoting energy production.

When to Use Red Light Therapy

Should you use red light therapy before and after a workout? Knowing the right time to use red light therapy can help athletes maximize its benefits and optimize their performance and recovery.

For optimal results, athletes can incorporate red light therapy sessions both before and after workouts.


  • Red Light Therapy Before Workout: Pre-workout sessions can help prime the muscles and promote energy levels. Using red light therapy before a workout can help prepare the muscles and tissues for the upcoming physical demands by supporting healthy blood circulation and promoting cellular energy production [10] [11]. This can promote endurance, help with muscle fatigue, and promote overall performance during the workout.

  • Red Light Therapy After Workout: Post-workout sessions can promote recovery and help with muscle soreness. Using red light therapy after a workout can support muscle recovery, support a healthy inflammatory response, and help with muscle soreness [2] [3]. This can support a healthy recovery process.

It is important to note that consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of red light therapy for athletes. Incorporating regular red light therapy sessions into your routine can lead to long-lasting benefits in performance, recovery, and overall athletic health.

Best Red Light Therapy Devices for Athletes

As an athlete, optimizing your performance and recovery is crucial for achieving your goals. Red light therapy devices can support your training by offering the numerous benefits discussed in this article.

By utilizing red light therapy in conjunction with a well-rounded exercise routine, athletes can experience improved results and support their overall health and well-being.

Portable red light therapy devices are an excellent choice for athletes looking to experience the benefits of red light therapy at home or on the go. These compact red light therapy products are easy to carry, allowing you to seamlessly incorporate the technology into your daily routine, even while performing other activities.

If you’re an athlete looking to invest in high-quality red light therapy products, Ascent Nutrition’s Red Light Therapy Wristband is an excellent choice. This is America’s first portable and wearable red light device.

Red Light Therapy Review

This wearable device is designed to support a healthy inflammatory response, healthy exercise recovery, cardiovascular function, mitochondrial health, healthy-looking skin, and healthy stress response, among other benefits.

Its hands-free, lightweight design makes it easy to incorporate red light therapy before or after workouts, ensuring you can reap the benefits and enhance your athletic performance


  1. Hamblin, M. R. (2017). Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS biophysics, 4(3), 337:

  2. Antonialli, F. C., De Marchi, T., Tomazoni, S. S., Vanin, A. A., dos Santos Grandinetti, V., de Paiva, P. R. V., ... & Leal-Junior, E. C. P. (2014). Phototherapy in skeletal muscle performance and recovery after exercise: effect of combination of super-pulsed laser and light-emitting diodes. Lasers in medical science, 29, 1967-1976:

  3. Fisher, S. R., Rigby, J. H., Mettler, J. A., & McCurdy, K. W. (2019). The effectiveness of photobiomodulation therapy versus cryotherapy for skeletal muscle recovery: a critically appraised topic. Journal of sport rehabilitation, 28(5), 526-531:

  4. Weihrauch, D., Keszler, A., Lindemer, B., Krolikowski, J., & Lohr, N. L. (2021). Red light stimulates vasodilation through extracellular vesicle trafficking. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 220, 112212:

  5. Miranda, E. F., Tomazoni, S. S., de Paiva, P. R. V., Pinto, H. D., Smith, D., Santos, L. A., ... & Leal-Junior, E. C. P. (2018). When is the best moment to apply photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) when associated to a treadmill endurance-training program? A randomized, triple-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lasers in Medical Science, 33, 719-727:

  6. Zhao, J., Tian, Y., Nie, J., Xu, J., & Liu, D. (2012). Red light and the sleep quality and endurance performance of Chinese female basketball players. Journal of athletic training, 47(6), 673-678:

  7. Ferraresi, C., Hamblin, M. R., & Parizotto, N. A. (2012). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on muscle tissue: performance, fatigue and repair benefited by the power of light: Low-Level-Laser (Licht)-Therapie an Muskelgewebe–Möglichkeiten zur Verbesserung der Leistungsfähigkeit und zur Behandlung von Muskelermüdung und Muskelverletzungen. Photonics & lasers in medicine, 1(4), 267-286:

  8. Foley, J., Vasily, D. B., Bradle, J., Rudio, C., & Calderhead, R. G. (2016). 830 nm light-emitting diode (led) phototherapy significantly reduced return-to-play in injured university athletes: a pilot study. Laser therapy, 25(1), 35-42:

  9. Bjordal, J. M., Lopes-Martins, R. A. B., & Iversen, V. V. (2006). A randomised, placebo controlled trial of low level laser therapy for activated Achilles tendinitis with microdialysis measurement of peritendinous prostaglandin E2 concentrations. British journal of sports medicine, 40(1), 76-80:

  10. Baroni, B. M., Leal Junior, E. C. P., De Marchi, T., Lopes, A. L., Salvador, M., & Vaz, M. A. (2010). Low level laser therapy before eccentric exercise reduces muscle damage markers in humans. European journal of applied physiology, 110, 789-796:

  11. Vanin, A. A., Miranda, E. F., Machado, C. S. M., de Paiva, P. R. V., Albuquerque-Pontes, G. M., Casalechi, H. L., ... & Leal-Junior, E. C. P. (2016). What is the best moment to apply phototherapy when associated to a strength training program? A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial: phototherapy in association to strength training. Lasers in medical science, 31, 1555-1564:

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