There seems to be a new technology for non-surgical fat removal available on the regular. The newest one to get FDA-clearance is red-light therapy that utilizes red light and near infrared light waves to reduce the number of subcutaneous fat cells, a process known as photonic lipolysis.

But does this non-invasive treatment work for weight loss?

Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have a straightforward “yes” or “no” answer. The fact is that our bodies work more optimally when they are in balance and part of that balance is making sure we get enough healthy light daily. If our body’s cells don’t get enough light, they make energy inefficiently. Even if a person eats well and exercises, if the body doesn’t get enough light, it can affect anything from our moods, sleep quality, inflammation levels, and even our weight. You would think getting enough light would be easy compared to other behaviors that contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. But the fact of the matter is that most Americans spend over 90 percent of their time indoors, that makes not being exposed to enough light a bigger health problem than most people realize.

What Is Red-Light Therapy?

Red-light therapy, which is sometimes also referred to as photobiomodulation or low-level laser therapy, is a novel, non-invasive treatment that delivers red and near infrared wavelengths to the skin and cells. Red-light therapy is not a laser, rather the treatments use light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver the light therapy to the body.

Unlike the other technologies above that destroy fat cells, the specialized lamp used in this treatment initiates selected fat cells to create small openings in the cell walls where some of the cell’s content is released into the body to be flushed through the lymphatic system that helps shrink them in size. Though this mechanism still requires more clinical research to be validated. One of the devices that is FDA cleared for red light therapy is UltraSlim.

Where Can Red-Light Therapy Be Used On The Body?

Red light therapy can be used to treat the abdomen, hips, or thighs. This non-invasive treatment takes roughly 30 minutes per treatment area and requires no downtime. Results are visible in a few hours after the treatment and continue to develop as the body metabolizes and flushes out the fat. Typically, 3 or more treatments are needed to see the desired results. Once the desired results are achieved, they can be maintained with diet and exercise. While red light therapy is considered safe with no determined side effects, individuals who are pregnant or have diminished liver function should avoid this treatment type.

Benefits Of Red-Light Therapy

Red and near-infrared light wavelengths have been shown by numerous peer-reviewed studies to stimulate the mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of cells and can optimize the cellular respiration process that makes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy that speeds up healing, increases cellular function, and lowers inflammation and pain.

Another benefit of red-light therapy that does have a direct correlation to weight loss is increased circulation, which has been linked to increased fat burning. The increase in fat burning happens in what is known as “brown fat”, which is a type of body fat that is activated when your body temperature drops and that helps maintain the body’s temperature by producing heat.


Achieving a healthy weight does not come from a trendy diet or fad exercise routine—it is a result of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. When it comes to weight and fat, which are complex issues to address, there is no easy answer since there are several factors that contribute to weight issues beyond diet and exercise.

Luckily, if your clients live a generally balanced lifestyle and still have stubborn fat pockets they would like to address, there are a variety of non-invasive technologies that offer solutions that offer affordable solutions that don’t require incisions or anesthesia, like red-light therapy