The 7 Best LED Pain Relievers

Updated November 17, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

7 Best LED Pain Relievers
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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you prefer not to take the pharmacological route to managing issues with joints or muscles, try one of these LED pain relievers instead. Using a combination of wavelengths from the visible and infrared light spectrum, they can be effective for relieving many conditions, including arthritis, without the risk of potentially harmful side effects. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best led pain reliever on Amazon.

7. RadLites Infrared Therapy Pad

The RadLites Infrared Therapy Pad has 49 LEDs and is designed for deeper penetration than many of its competitors. It uses a combination of IR and red light to help reduce inflammation, stimulate cell growth, and increase circulation.
  • dimmer switch adjusts intensity
  • includes detailed use instructions
  • gets very hot during use
Brand RadLites
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

6. DPL FlexPad

The DPL FlexPad is an FDA-cleared device that promises relief from muscle strains and more using a combination of red and infrared lights. It comes in a convenient flexible design that can be wrapped around the affected area for focused and hands-free treatment.
  • can be mains or usb powered
  • velcro straps for secure attachment
  • a bit expensive for the quality
Brand LED Technologies
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Light Relief Infrared

Recommended by chiropractors, the Light Relief Infrared provides similar effects to many other units in the category, but for about half the price. It's compact and easy to use, and it comes with a convenient storage pouch.
  • elastic hand strap
  • four intensity settings
  • some units burn out quickly
Brand Light Relief
Model 90LR15LR01
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. TopLight Kernel

The TopLight Kernel uses a combination of visible red and infrared light which work together to penetrate deep into tissue to help assuage muscle and joint soreness and damage. It fits comfortably in the hand and is suitable for extended use.
  • contains 48 double-chip diodes
  • international voltage compatible
  • treatment head is replaceable
Brand toplight
Model NUVEPNSYS
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Figerm LASpot

The Figerm LASpot comes in a sleek wand design that's easy to hold to apply its focused treatment on nearly any area of the body, from the neck and shoulders to the knees and ankles. It features an LCD screen to set and monitor its intensity and timer.
  • usb rechargeable for convenience
  • safe for use on pets
  • may help reduce swelling
Brand FIGERM
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. LightStim LST-003

The LightStim LST-003 comes with an all-natural soothing cream formulated with essential oils and designed to be applied during treatments for enhanced effectiveness and added relaxation. It uses four different wavelengths of light to help your body heal.
  • sleek and ergonomic wand design
  • includes goggles and a carrying case
  • companion app guides treatment
Brand LightStim
Model LST-003
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Lumina TendLite

For an extremely portable solution, the Lumina TendLite is barely larger than a tube of lipstick and includes a rechargeable battery. It uses 660 nm light, the optimal wavelength for anti-inflammatory effects that avoids creeping into the potentially dangerous UV spectrum.
  • treatments take just 3 minutes
  • comes with protective glasses
  • backed by a 1-year warranty
Brand TENDLITE®
Model 204
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Can Light Therapy Really Reduce Pain?

Applying something as simple as an array of LED lights to a painful spot on the body and actually feeling relief may seem too good to be true. Hucksters and snake oil salesmen throughout history have made wild claims about the abilities of their products — often wild medical claims — that have left the majority of us extremely suspicious of their true intentions.

It would be easy to write off LED light therapy as just another hippy dippy holistic treatment that provides little more than a placebo effect to its users. If I’m being entirely honest, when I initially set out to research the topic, I expected to find a litany of articles debunking the claims made by manufacturers about LED efficacy. What I found was the opposite.

One study, for example, published through the National Institutes of Health, asked patients with at least six years spent suffering lower back pain to undergo LED treatment in the infrared spectrum for a treatment course of seven weeks. Twenty-one patients received the real therapy, while 18 others received placebo treatment (the devices in the placebo group still lit up, but did not produce infrared radiation).

Patients were asked to rate their pain at the beginning and end of each treatment, as well as provide an overall assessment of their pain on a scale of one to ten on the first day and the last. The placebo group started out with an average pain rating of 7.4, which fell to a six by the end of the study — a 19 percent decrease in pain. Clearly, the placebo effect was present.

The treatment group, however, began the study with an average pain rating of 6.9. By the end of seven weeks, that rating dropped to a solid three. That’s nearly a 57 percent decrease in pain, or three times the relief experienced by the placebo group.

How Does Light Battle Pain?

For chronic pain sufferers, LED therapy can be very effective. On the sites of more acute pain, such as a broken bone, it may not provide enough palpable relief to be worth the investment. Breaks and sprains can often create lingering pain towards the end of the healing process, however, and that might be an ideal time to apply some light.

How exactly light therapy can relieve pain is actually pretty interesting, and you probably already know the basics. Generally speaking, when you have an acute injury, it’s wise to apply ice on and off for the first 48 hours or so. This is to reduce inflammation by restricting blood flow. After that initial period, however, it’s often advisable to apply heat to the area in an effort to increase blood flow. During this stage, an increase in blood flow brings vital nutrients and other healing elements to the damaged tissue, speeding up your recovery and often reducing pain.

Now, if you’ve ever held your hand up to a powerful flashlight, you’ve probably noticed that some of the light actually penetrates your hand, usually around the thinner parts of the fingers. Certain wavelengths of light can travel through physical barriers better than others, though, and infrared light is especially capable of penetrating human tissue.

When a powerful enough source of infrared radiation is applied to the body, it can penetrate to the site of an old injury or a chronic pain and provide the same kind of relief that heat therapy does.

LEDs are particularly useful for this application because they can be tuned to emit pretty specific frequencies of light. They also have a tremendous shelf life, so they’re liable to be the last thing to break down over the many years you own and use your light therapy device.

Some models come with lights housed in wands and other configurations designed to let you target a very specific area. If you’re into the heat phase of a more acute injury, these are ideal, as they consolidate their diodes and increase the effectiveness on a smaller area of the body.

Other models target larger areas, spreading out the diodes inside wraps and other devices that make it easy to adhere the unit to the body. These are ideal for chronic muscle pains, as users can strap them on, fire them up, and let the healing commence. Ultimately, there’s no reason not to own both styles if you find the therapy effective.

A Brief History Of Energy Treatments

LED light therapy is a recent addition to a long line of practical healing applications of energy that reach back millennia. From as far back as the 28th century B.C.E., electric eels provided shock treatments to target pain. Lodestones were also popular for their magnetic properties, and offshoots of this treatment can still be seen in magnetic bracelets and insoles.

If you regularly go to the chiropractor, you may have been treated to some low-level electrical muscle stimulation. This can increase blood flow in an injured area, as well as stimulate muscles that are at risk of atrophy around a bad break or even a temporary or permanent paralysis.

Deciding to go down the route of LED light therapy likely means that you’re more open to other holistic means of treatment, and there are plenty of great options out there. To augment LED treatment, it’d be well worth investing in a few additional implements.

If space and budget are both concerns, a simple handheld massager can work wonders. They’re incredibly easy to use and their effectiveness is unquestionable. On the other end of the space and finance spectrum are inversion tables. Inversions are one of the healthiest groups of positions in yogic practice, good for everything from circulation to organ health. They can also be among the most difficult and dangerous positions for new or rusty practitioners. Inversion tables can bring you into an inverted state without the risk or the learning curve associated with yoga.



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Last updated on November 17, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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