Red Light Therapy Pros & Cons: My FREE Week of Wellness
The year 2022 is just getting started, and while I hadn’t originally planned to make January my month of wellness and weight loss, I kind of stumbled into the most amazing discovery that has taken me on my journey to feeling physically and mentally great. First off, every busy woman needs to invest in their wellness to stay at peak performance. And we all know balance is key to living the happy life we all strive for. Well, I’m telling you, I struck serious gold here. I recently had the most luxurious week of wellness and recovery all for FREE thanks to Seattle Sun Tan.
Pacific Northwesterners, Seattle Sun Tan is located in over 30 locations all over the PNW!
During this free week with them, I discovered the power of infrared and red light therapy. I also discovered a BONUS fat loss system that I’ll get into later. Read on for all the deets on red light therapy pros and cons.
What’s the Hype All About?
Over the last few months, I’ve heard several instances of using infrared saunas and red light therapy services. The most notable was in one of John Lee Dumas’ podcast episodes from Entrepreneurs on Fire. He interviewed one entrepreneur on different health strategies and their benefits. While JLD mentioned getting one of the $800 at-home infrared sauna systems, I wanted to try something that required a little less commitment since I was going in as a newbie. I’ve heard other active gym people like my boyfriend swear by using the sauna post-gym sessions, but being the avid Orangetheorist that I am (*a term I use for people like myself who love going to Orangetheory gym classes), I didn’t have the luxury of having a sauna to use for free at the gym.
Regardless, after the third time hearing red light therapy come up, I had to see what the hype was about. Not to mention, my body was in the most excruciating pain the day after my first Orangetheory class coming back from a 2-week holiday break…major ouch. I was in dire need of anything that would make the pain stop.
The Options Are Literally Endless…
With a simple google search of infrared and red light services, I found a ton of spas and tanning salons offering deals. But after deep research, I found that Seattle Sun Tan was the only one who offered one free week of red light services. After the free week, they offer a low monthly membership price. This includes unlimited use for $20 the first month (as part of a promo) and $60 a month going forward.
Seeing prices as high as $200 to use these services at high-end spas, of course I went with the free and more affordable option! I will add that I typically do not cheap out on my health and wellness. My unlimited Orangetheory gym membership costs a whopping $189 a month but is SO worth every penny. (Stay tuned for a separate blog on why I love them so much). But when it comes to new trending technology that has benefits seeming way too good to be true, I’m less likely to lean towards the expensive side. I simply had to give it a try to uncover the actual red light therapy pros and cons for myself.
Seattle Sun Tan’s Light Therapy Services
The Seattle San Tan free week for new clients comes with the following unlimited services. They are all 100% UV and chemical free and FDA approved:
- The Infrared Sauna Wellness Pod (uses infrared to penetrate the body more directly instead of warming the air around you; soothes aching muscles and pain, increases flexibility, speeds the body’s healing process, and burns serious calories!)
- Anti-Aging Red Light Body Therapy Bed (looks like a tanning bed but uses red light with heat; smooth skin complexion by boosting collagen production, reduce visible signs of aging, reduce inflammation, and speed the body’s healing process)
- LED Photofacials, including Anti-Aging Red Light and Anti-Acne Blue Light (red light facial does the same as above body therapy; blue light destroys acne-causing bacteria, prevents future breakouts, heals existing breakouts, and reduces visible signs of aging)
- LED Body Sculpting (reduces unwanted inches by burning fat in stubborn areas; reduces visible signs of aging, stimulates circulation, and reduces inflammation)
Infrared sauna wellness pod
The infrared sauna wellness pod, first off, is an absolute dream. And as far as red light therapy pros and cons go, I have a lot more praise for this service than complaints. To use the pod, you lie down in it and pull down the cover. Your head is left out and there are two holes for your hands to control the system.
5 Programs to Meet Your Needs
The wellness pod comes with the option for five different programs, including Power Nap, Relax, Wellness, Fitness, and Weight Management (the latter reaching 190 degrees). You can use each program for up to 35 minutes. Each one allows you to control the heat setting, which ranges from low all the way to hi-hyperthermic.
Perks That Beat A Traditional Sauna
I typically used the Wellness and Weight Management programs – the first for after a hardcore gym session and the latter for days where I do less intense workouts. Pro: One of my favorite features is the built-in massager that can also be controlled during the program. You can set it for legs or back and the range goes from low to maximum intensity.
A feature that I didn’t think I would need, but ended up loving, was the face fan. Once the pod gets hot enough, the heat tends to pour out to your face. Thi is when opening those two fans on either side of your head is critical. Con: If you having a day where you can’t handle too much heat, you may find that the fan isn’t enough to cool your face down. But you still have the option to turn down the overall heat level or shorten your time in the pod.
Lastly, the pod comes with two arm bands so you can exercise and do bicep curls while inside.
Overall, I love this pod and try to use it daily for the full 35 minutes. Pro: Each session burns an average of 250 calories for me. Entering your weight at the beginning of a session will help the machine estimate your burned calories! Pro: While I love this pod mostly for its warm cocoon-like nature (especially in winter), it helps me recover faster from intense workouts. No more waddling around the house in pain because of squat day at the gym! Can I get an amen?
Anti-aging Red light therapy bed
I tried the anti-aging red light body therapy bed twice and was left feeling neutral when it comes to pros vs. cons. Con: The first time, it got a little too hot for my skin towards the end of the 20-minute session. And without the added comfort of a massager like the infrared sauna wellness pod, it left me disappointed at first. Plus, it was recommended I use this before the infrared sauna, and I found I couldn’t enjoy the sauna wellness pod because I was already too hot from a red light session.
Shorter Time With Prep Spray is the Key to Success Here
The second time I used it was better. I ended up doing a shorter 12-minute session. This involves adding the salon’s prep spray so that the red light penetrates the skin faster, resulting in less time needed in the bed. The short version was perfect for me since I was able to get out before the bed overheats.
Benefits to Consider
Pro: The one benefit I actually use the red light bed for is to smooth skin complexion post LED body-sculpting sessions (more on that below). As far as the benefit of inducing collagen production, this isn’t a huge driving factor for me to use red light therapy since I have several amazing collagen products I use daily and absolutely LOVE. Want to know my go-to collagen line? Subscribe to my email list for all my beauty and health secrets!
LED Photofacials and body sculpting
I did try both LED facials and have used them consistently, but only because they are included in the same set-up for using the LED Body Sculpting system, which I LOVE. When it comes to red light therapy pros and cons, the LED facials are pretty meh… And the body sculpting actually started with more cons until I learned how to best use it.
The rooms for both of these include a standard massage chair with the photofacial system hovering over the chair. The MyLipo body sculpting equipment sits on a table next to it. The facials were simply a bonus, and I’m not sure I’ve seen any immediate benefits from using them. I did, however, have immediate benefits from the body sculpting system.
How to Use the LED Body Sculpting Machine
I used the body sculpting on my tummy, my obliques and back, and my upper thighs over four sessions within one week. The program is set for only 25 minutes. You place the pads light-down on your “problem areas,” where it tends to be harder to lose stubborn fat. After about ten minutes, the pads start to warm up pretty fast, which felt great for me.
Pro: The best thing I loved is that you literally get to sit there and do absolutely nothing while the pads go to work zapping away your fat cells. Not to mention the massage chair feels great and does its thing as the photofacial system lights up your face. It’s easy, relaxing, and a great way to unwind and end the day. After your session, you stand on the vibration machine for 10-20 minutes. This breaks up the fat cells to help your body remove them later.
Body sculpting aftereffects – the good, the bad, and the Awesome
The aftereffects of the LED body sculpting were where I saw the most immediate results, resulting in the most red light therapy pros vs. cons that you’ll want to consider. Con: After the first session, I did feel a little uneasy the next day. I had placed the body sculpting pads too high on my stomach right under my boobs during the first session. The next day, it made that area feel really tight and slightly hard to breathe. It wasn’t concerning enough to call a doctor, especially since after Googling the actual crap out of LED body sculpting and the MyLipo machine I literally couldn’t find any negative testimonials. I did however find a lot of complaints about Cool Sculpting, which, instead of using heat, freezes fat cells.
It Got Ugly Before It got Pretty…
Con?? (I mean, technically this could be a pro too): The weird thing I noticed that same day was that I couldn’t eat the huge amounts of food that I normally would. When I ordered takeout and tried to stuff myself, it made it harder almost to breathe. This contributed to a lot more Googling (i.e. can you die from body sculpting? Is it normal to have breathing issues from LED body sculpting? Etc.) But also, should I actually have been stuffing myself like a gluttonous pig? Probably not. Much like a shocking collar hurts a misbehaved dog (not that I use shock collars or even own a dog LOL), it was probably a great thing in disguise that the body sculpting literally punished me for eating way too much. The next day, I felt back to normal, and especially good after my infrared sauna wellness pod session.
Redeemed After the Second Appointment
Since the day after that, I already had another body sculpting appointment booked, I decided I would go back and if I wasn’t feeling up for it, I could just settle for a photofacial with the massage chair. I ended up doing the body sculpting again. This time I put the pads only on my lower tummy, my obliques and back, and my thighs.
Pro: This time, there was no issue with breathing the next day. AND I immediately felt my hunger decrease that same day! I practically forgot to eat for about 8 hours after that session until my hunger hit me that night. And I am not the type of girl who ever forgets to eat. No seriously, my boyfriend always says I eat more than any girl he’s ever known. But it’s true, I love food, especially pizza. But I also decided I want to lose ten pounds so I need help loving food a little less, you know?
How Non-Invasive Body Sculpting Makes You Less Hungry
I wasn’t sure how this process worked exactly, so I did do some research. Apparently, the more fat cells that are destroyed the less hungry you are. This explains why it’s so much harder for people who are overweight and obese to lose weight without options like liposuction or body sculpting because their bodies are literally working against them and making them crave food! I have experienced this first hand. Sometimes, I’ll go through phases where I’m eating a lot. This is when my stomach seems to stretch internally and makes me hungry more often. On the other hand, I’ve had days where I won’t eat much at all and it makes me less hungry over time. Here’s an article to read more on that yourself.
What Are Those Circles on My Back?!
Con: The only other issue I had with LED body sculpting is that after a few sessions I noticed there were faint imprints from where the body sculpting pads sit. This is the reason I started using the red light therapy bed post-sculpting sessions. Typically, this print only lasts a few hours after a session, but as I started more frequent use, I noticed it lasted longer (about a day or two), particularly on my obliques and back. It’s not too noticeable though and doesn’t seem to show up on my thighs or my stomach for whatever reason.
The Big picture & Overall Benefits
Overall, when it comes to red light therapy pros vs. cons, I found a lot more pros. It really just takes knowing how to use the systems and what works for your body and preference to eliminate most cons. Here are the top benefits I discovered below.
Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss
The body sculpting has been going great in helping decrease my food cravings, which I’m hoping to eventually turn into a bit of weight loss over time. Quick note on body weight: While I am literally the most in-shape I’ve ever been and have created a much more positive relationship with working out than I’ve had in the past, I definitely have put on weight since graduating college in 2019. And I know that has more to do with having a desk job for the first time and sitting all day. I never experienced the pandemic “laziness” people claimed to have develop. And it was because of the pandemic that I found more time to workout.
Eating healthy – and more importantly eating less – is what’s going to contribute to weight loss more than exercise though. For tips on that, check out my blog “How to Stick to a Diet: Swap Your Fad Diet for a Sustainable Lifestyle.”
The Most Hydrated You Will Ever Feel
I also love that all of the red light therapy services keep me super hydrated. This is because you have to constantly drink water and electrolytes to replenish everything you’re sweating out. I normally don’t drink enough water because I forget or I’m just not thirsty. But now I absolutely have to, so it makes it ten times easier for me to get my water intake.
That being said, I know when I’m well-hydrated, my entire facial complexion looks amazing without the lines I tend to get under my eyes. This does make it hard to tell now if the LED photofacials actually work or if I’m just well hydrated!
Easy to Incorporate into A Daily Routine
In the meantime, I plan to keep doing all sessions at least once or twice a week. The LED body sculpting is the only service that isn’t unlimited. It’s about 50% off its price of $55 a session with the Seattle Sun Tan red light membership. When it comes to the infrared sauna wellness pod, I’ll be doing this as much as it will fit into my schedule (4-5 times a week).
For most individuals, all of these services are safe (in my non-medical opinion) to use. If you’re concerned or use medication, definitely get a doctor’s approval on what is okay to try.
tips for getting the most out of your experience
- For all services…
- Hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE.
- Infrared sauna wellness pod…
- I’ve noticed I sweat more being fully nude rather than wearing a robe. Maybe it’s because of how much more direct the infrared light is on the skin that way. More sweat equals more detox, am I right?
- Red light therapy bed…
- Try doing a shorter session since the bed gets really hot on the back. And wear a gel the salon offers to get your most out of the experience in a shorter period.
- Don’t do both the red light bed and the infrared sauna one after the other unless you opt for shorter times in both, to prevent overheating.
- LED photofacials…
- Don’t forget to grab a pair of protective eye covers from the front desk. The lights are extremely bright, which can’t be good for your eyes.
- LED body sculpting…
- Don’t wear the pads high up on your stomac. You might feel a tightness in the chest and have a hard time breathing the next day like I did.
- Don’t eat at least 2 hours before and 1 hour after your session to get the full effects.
- Research whether body sculpting is for you – some research will say that if you’re overweight or obese, it helps to lose a few pounds before it can be effective.
- If you’re used to eating huge portions, don’t think you’ll be able to stuff yourself right after or the day after a session. Remember, your fat cells are shrinking so you’ll notice you get fuller more quickly!
- You may actually need to remind yourself to eat! I never thought I would be one of those people, but it’s true. I’ve found myself forgetting to eat for up to 8 hours sometime simply because I’m not hungry.
- Here’s a full list of tips for Before & After Care that I use as a guide.
If you’re not in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., there may not be a Seattle Sun Tan location near you. Do your own research on the best places to get the most bang for your buck in your state. And I’ll keep you guys updated on long term results over the next few months.
Cheers to finding your Zen in 2022!