The Effect of Red Light Therapy on Brain Waves

The Effect of Red Light Therapy on Brain Waves

Humans possess frequencies known as brain waves that dictate our daily activities and affect our overall well-being. These frequencies, which range from low to high, aid us in resting and recovering while asleep, and in staying conscious and attentive when required. In this article, we discuss the various types of brain waves and how the application of red light is helpful in enhancing brain wave stimulation.

The ABCs of Brain Waves

The brain and nervous system of the human body apply frequencies known as brain waves to identify our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Such brain waves are electrical impulses which run between cells referred to as neurons. These cells are key to the brain and nervous system and function as couriers that transport data to various regions. Each type of neuron has its own specific function. Motor neurons, for instance, send messages from the brain to the muscles, allowing for movement. On the other hand, sensory neurons detect light, sound, smell, flavor, pressure, and heat, and afterward transmit messages to the brain to analyze.

Types of Brain Waves.

The frequency of our brain waves varies with what we are doing, feeling, and thinking, and is measured in Hertz (Hz) cycles per second. If lower-speed brain waves become predominant, we may feel drained, slow, or relaxed. On the other hand, higher speed brain waves make us feel energized and alert. 

Below we will explore the effects of each frequency range on the body when they are dominant. 

Infra-Low Waves (less than 0.5 Hz)

Infra-low brain waves originate from higher cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, very little is understood regarding these waves. Due to their slow nature, it is hard to find or quantify them. It is assumed, though, that they are involved in the timing of the brain and ensuring network function.

Delta Waves (0.5 and 3.5 Hz)

When a person's deep sleep reaches stages 3 and 4, delta waves become the primary rhythm. As these waves intensify, our consciousness of the physical world fades away, allowing us to access the data stored in our subconscious. Delta waves are the most prominent in infants under the age of one.

Theta Waves (4 to 8 Hz)

Theta waves are often associated with deep sleep or meditation. These states are seen as a gateway to understanding, recollection, and intuition. During the theta state, we become withdrawn from the outside environment and become focused internally. We usually only experience this brief period when we are waking up or dozing off. Dreaming also happens while in this state.

Alpha Waves (8 to12 Hz)

Alpha waves have frequencies between 8 and 12 Hz, reaching their peak at 10 Hz. These waves are thought to originate in the white matter of the brain, which serves as the connection between all areas. Alpha waves provide mental resourcefulness, aid in mental coordination, and can induce a feeling of relaxation and healing.

Beta Waves (12 to 30 Hz)

When we are actively participating in a task, beta waves are most prominent. In this state, our eyes are open and our senses are heightened, allowing us to be receptive to outside information and ready for making decisions, solving problems, and forming opinions.

Gamma Waves (above 30 Hz)

Every section of the brain contains gamma waves. We rely on these waves for the simultaneous processing of information. Moreover, it has been observed that a strong memory is linked to well-regulated gamma waves.

How Does Red Light Therapy Promote Brain Wave Stimulation?

According to a study that was conducted in 2021 to explore the effect of 10 Hz of pulsed near-infrared light on the human brain by means of an electroencephalography  (EEG) analysis, the results revealed a significant positive effect on alpha and theta waves. Moreover, higher dosages (or frequencies) had an effect on beta and gamma waves that are related to alertness, whereas lower dosages (or frequencies) impacted alpha and theta waves that are linked to relaxation and sleep. These discoveries showed positive outcomes in the medical field, aiding sleep-related issues and optimizing our attention span when learning.

As a general rule, it is important to consider the irradiance level of your device for red light brain therapy. The last thing you want is to hope for results when using a device that is not penetrating as deep as you want. “Irradiance” is defined as the power density of light emitted over a given area of its target. If it is too low, it will affect the level of cellular penetration, and it will be unlikely that it will penetrate your skull.

Therefore, for red light brain therapy, the higher the irradiance/power density numbers, the better.


Red Light Therapy can benefit a healthy brain and an injured brain, and can even treat some mental health conditions. RedShift devices provide enhanced recovery from daily activities and are uniquely designed to produce more alpha waves,  healing throughout the body and promoting a sense of calm and resourcefulness.

We hope you found this article informative and look forward to sharing more discoveries!

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