Is It Really Worth It to Choose Red Light Therapy At Home Over Professional Sessions? You Betcha!
Who doesn’t love a spa day, squeezing in a mani-pedi on their lunch break, or having a month’s worth of stress massaged out of their muscles? Let’s face it, we all enjoy a little pampering, especially when it comes with health or beauty benefits. That’s why so many of us are willing to splurge a little (or a lot) on cosmetic or therapeutic treatments.
Red light therapy is a rising star in the health and beauty industry, with a growing number of spas and clinics adding the treatment to their arsenal of services. This is hardly surprising; there is an astounding body of research supporting red light therapy as an effective treatment for a variety of issues, including skin rejuvenation, wound and scar healing, fat loss, muscle gain and athletic performance, pain relief, and many others. Plus, there are virtually no risks or side effects associated with the treatment.
(For an overview of red light therapy’s long list of benefits as well as how the treatment works, this article is a good start.)
Is red light therapy worth the splurge? Absolutely. Are you overpaying for professional red light therapy treatment? Possibly. Here’s why red light therapy at home is the best solution for your mind, body, and bank account!
How Much Does Red Light Therapy Cost?
We called around to various spas and clinics across Canada and the US, and what we found was eye-opening.
It turns out that the pricing for professional red light therapy treatment is wildly inconsistent. One clinic in Montreal, for instance, charges $65 for a 40-minute session, while another charges $199 for 30 minutes. A spa in LA offers a single session treating the face, neck and chest for $500, while another across town offers full-body treatment for $30/session. In New York, a doctor’s office on the Upper East Side offers sessions for $275 a pop, while a spa in Midtown charges $499 for 10 sessions.
We did find two establishments in Chicago offering unlimited treatment for a low monthly fee ($30/month at a tanning salon and $49/month at a spa), which might seem like a great deal. However, both places use fluorescent tube lights instead of LEDs, which don’t actually provide therapeutic benefits. (To learn more about why LEDs are crucial for effective red light therapy, check out this article).
What Factors Affect the Cost of Pro Red Light Therapy Sessions?
So what’s the deal? It’s obvious that some classic pricing strategies are at play here. An upmarket spa in a more affluent part of town will almost always charge more for services than a business serving a more cost-conscious market. And clinics offering the treatment as a medical procedure will often charge a higher price, especially if it might be covered by insurance. Finally, some establishments might use laser devices rather than the more common LED units, which target tissues with a more concentrated beam of light, allowing them to charge a premium for a rarer type of procedure.
Fun fact: Red light therapy started out in laser form. It was originally called low-level laser therapy, because the power density of the laser was low compared to other lasers. This is what gives red light therapy its unique therapeutic properties. It also means that a similar irradiance can be produced using LEDs, which are much less expensive to manufacture than lasers.
While there is some debate as to whether lasers offer a more powerful treatment than LEDs, the main benefit of using an LED device is the ability to treat a much larger surface area at a given time, and thus a wider variety of issues. Plus, these devices don’t require a trained technician to operate.
Here’s the catch: when it comes to LED red light therapy, quality in-home devices perform as well as those found in professional settings. Note that the key word here is ‘quality’, meaning devices that have been independently tested to show that they meet the requirements for effective therapeutic treatment (you can see results for the Rouge Pro as well as how it stacks up to the competition here). The devices you might find in a clinic or spa may simply be designed differently: in-home panels are made to be discreet and compact while the pros might want something mounted on a flexible arm, for instance. Or they may simply be larger in size, like a bed or a sauna. But many places actually use the very same devices you yourself can purchase for in-home use.
So by now we’ve probably convinced you to stay away from the high-end LA spas. Comparatively, $30/session doesn’t seem too bad for all the benefits you’ll be getting. But before you book, let’s compare it with red light therapy at home.
The Financial Benefits of Red Light Therapy At Home
Any red light therapy expert will tell you that the key to effective treatment is frequent, consistent sessions of a short duration. Unfortunately, you can’t pack a week’s worth of treatment into one session; that’s simply not how it works. While there’s no official consensus on how often you should administer treatment, and for how long, the general rule of thumb among those in the know is 10-20 minute sessions, minimum three times a week. It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that those spa treatments will add up pretty darn quickly.
Let’s compare the price of Rouge’s most popular model, the Rouge Pro, to the lowest price we found, $30/session. Heck, let’s say you got a deal: $300 for a bulk purchase of 12 sessions. Let’s estimate you have the time to go three times per week. Your $300 will be gone in a month.
Short digression: we also noticed that many establishments offering professional red light therapy claim that results can be obtained in a certain number of sessions, usually six, 10 or 12. While both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggest that some results may be achieved in a handful of sessions, many people (or issues) require up to four months of consistent use to see improvements (it’s comparable to starting a fitness or weight loss regimen: it often takes several weeks of dedication before seeing any changes). And unless the underlying cause of the issue is resolved (as in a healed wound), you’ll likely need to continue treatment to maintain results.
Now say, instead, you purchased the Rouge Pro, designed for half-body coverage, for the current price of $1,099.99USD. That’s roughly the same amount as 4 months of professional sessions (remember, we’re talking the lowest end of the price spectrum). The difference is that now you a lifetime of unlimited treatment ahead of you. And because your device is always at arms reach, instead of getting in three sessions a week, you can easily get, say, six. This means you’re actually getting two months worth of treatment—worth $600 at our hypothetical spa or clinic—in just one month.
And, let’s be realistic, there are very few people who will go for a professional red light therapy session three days a week for months on end. Not only is it financially draining, who’s got the time to spend an hour or more traveling and sitting in the waiting room for a thirty minute treatment, several times a week? You might opt to go once a week instead, but then you likely won’t see results. And when you don’t see results, you start to question whether red light therapy is worth spending your hard-earned cash on. And thus, your red light therapy journey is over before it even began.
With in-home red light therapy, your session lasts as long as your device is switched on and not a second more. In fact, you can get a session in before your morning coffee is even done brewing (and, trust us, there’s no better way to start the day). You can do it between loads of laundry or while dinner is simmering on the stove; while doing yoga or meditating. The point is that red light therapy at home can integrate seamlessly into even the busiest of lives.
A personal red light therapy device is an investment, it’s true. But red light therapy itself is an investment. As we’ve already mentioned, it requires consistent use, and long-lasting results require maintenance.
As many red light therapy users will attest, once you start seeing results, you won’t want to stop (and if you’re anything like us, you’ll talk about it to anyone who will listen). For those whose lives have been changed for the better, red light therapy becomes an integral part of daily living, one that lasts a lifetime.
So, you could pay $30/session (or $500!) to use someone else’s red light therapy machine, or you could invest in your own, equally powerful and effective device that will serve you for years to come.
Shop the Rouge collection of red light therapy devices today—your body and your bank account will thank you!