Maybe you're reading about it because your gym recently acquired a red light therapy device. Or maybe you are looking for treatments in a spa or clinic on a regular basis for other problems and you want the benefits to extend to your fitness regime.
In these cases, yes, knowing when to apply red light therapy to meet your fitness goals may be beneficial. However, fitness goals for most people include both enhanced performance and faster recovery. Not only that, the greatest factor in determining the efficiency of red light therapy is not when you apply it, but how often
Red and near infrared light therapy, when applied prior to exercise, can improve efficiency and endurance,and can protect against muscle damage. This means longer and more powerful training sessions, with less pain afterwards. Pre-workout red light therapy also seems to be the most efficient for weight loss.
When applied after exercise, BPM light therapy is shown to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, accelerate muscle repair and recovery, and reduce healing time for injuries. This is especially helpful for those who are eager to get back to the gym (or field, court, yoga studio, mountain biketrack...) following an injury, or for whom pain and soreness is an obstacle to exercise more frequently.
“Pre-workout red light therapy also appears to be most effective for weight loss as well”
Several studies show that pre-exercise PBM treatment affects a large number of different functional/biochemical markers.
Pre-workout PBM therapy seems to play a significant antioxidant effect. Decrease oxidative stress induced by exercise and, therefore, improve sports performance and improve recovery after exercise.
A triple-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT) and a placebo-controlled cross-over trial were performed on high-level football players to evaluate the effects of PBM therapy applied before a progressive running test. Before and after the run, measurements of VO2 max and blood were taken to establish baseline muscle damage, and markers of inflammatory and oxidative stress were performed using accurate biochemical tests.
For the study, researchers used handheld PBM therapy devices like the Photizo Sport, and the probes were applied to total 9 different places on the body, three places in three of the quadriceps muscles.
Three places outside and inside the hamstring group, and a place inside and outside the gastrocnemius muscle.