Red Light Therapy for Fibromyalgia Pain Relief: Is This the Best Way to Treat Fibromyalgia?

Red light therapy presents itself as an innovative treatment aimed at treating fibromyalgia symptoms.

In this article, we dive into the world of red light therapy to understand how it can be part of your fibromyalgia management plan. We cut through the complex nature of how it works to deliver straightforward information on the potential benefits and how to incorporate it as part of a holistic management plan.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that's both complex and manifests as widespread chronic pain across the musculoskeletal system, alongside fatigue and cognitive challenges, often leading to sleep issues, memory problems, and emotional ups and downs.

The condition can be set off by a variety of triggers, such as physical injuries, surgeries, infections, or even stress but at its core, fibromyalgia is believed to be caused by central sensitization. This is a state where the central nervous system processes pain with increased sensitivity, making the body more prone to intense and persistent pain sensations typical of fibromyalgia.

How does red light therapy work?

Also known as photobiomodulation (photo-bio-modulation), red light therapy is a process that stimulates your cells. When your body absorbs red light, it kick-starts the mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside your cells. They ramp up energy production which helps your cells heal injuries more effectively and makes muscle tissue stronger1.

Here's how red light therapy can help treat fibromyalgia:

  • It can repair problems with mitochondria.
  • It increases the energy for cells, so they can repair themselves and work more efficiently.
  • It could also help ease the muscle and skeletal pain that comes with fibromyalgia.

One of the best things about red light therapy is that it's safe and doesn't hurt you:

  • There's no need for surgery or breaking the skin.
  • The treatment is completely pain-free.
  • It's safe for all skin types because it doesn't use UV rays, which can lead to skin cancer.
  • It doesn't produce heat, so there's no risk of burns.

Types of red light used in therapy

Red light therapy employs certain wavelengths from the red and near-infrared light spectrum, with a particular focus on wavelengths around 660 nanometers and 850 nanometers. These have been identified through scientific research as the most efficacious for the therapy's purposes2.

By penetrating deeply into the body's tissues, these wavelengths contribute to enhanced vascular health, bolstered immune responses, and improved neurological function.

What are the benefits of red light therapy?

Red light therapy offers a soothing effect that can reduce the pain that fibromyalgia patients often endure. It works by relaxing the muscle fibers, reducing spasms, and thereby increasing flexibility and decreasing pain. The process stimulates ATP production, which is vital for the body's healing mechanisms.

Red light therapy benefits extend beyond merely physical relief. Additional positive effects include:

  • improved sleep quality
  • reduced feelings of fatigue
  • enhanced mood and mental wellbeing
  • increased energy levels
  • improved cognitive function.

Clinical research has shown that patients receiving low-level laser therapy for fibromyalgia report significant symptom relief, including reductions in pain, fatigue, and stiffness3.

Mental health benefits

Red light therapy not only soothes the body but also cradles the mind. Those grappling with fibromyalgia have discovered that it offers a beacon of hope for emotional stability and mental clarity. The gentle caress of red light waves prompts the body to produce more melatonin, paving the way for a more restful slumber.

By modulating cytokine production, red light therapy can reduce inflammation in the brain, potentially leading to a more balanced mental state by normalizing the neurochemical activities in the central nervous system.

A 2016 study suggests that red light therapy has the potential to rebalance serotonin levels, which could alleviate depressive symptoms in fibromyalgia patients by diminishing oxidative stress within the brain4.

Side effects of red light therapy for fibromyalgia

While red light therapy is generally deemed safe, it's important to take certain precautions, such as using reputable equipment and following the guidelines provided by the manufacturers. Adherence to these guidelines helps to minimize the risk of potential negative reactions, which may include:

  • mild reddening of the skin
  • swelling in the treated area
  • itchy sensations
  • temporary rashes.

Knowledge is power

Receive free science-backed tips and advice to learn about your fibromyalgia and what can help.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

How to integrate red light therapy to treat fibromyalgia?

Integrating red light therapy into your fibromyalgia treatment plan should be done in consultation with a medical expert to identify the ideal device and to craft a treatment regimen that maximizes its effectiveness. Here are some tips on how to integrate it into your fibromyalgia management plan.

Choose the right device & provider

It's essential to choose the right tools and experts when you're considering red light therapy. Look for devices that are approved by the FDA and can emit red light in the 630-660 nanometer range, as well as near-infrared light between 810-850 nanometers. These specifications are important because they ensure the device is powerful enough to be effective2.

Before you decide on a device for home use, it's wise to talk to a healthcare professional. They have the knowledge to recommend the best type of device for your situation, whether that's a handheld unit you can move around with or a larger panel that treats your whole body at once.

How long should you use red light therapy?

Typically, start with a plan of ten sessions, once a week with each session lasting about 20 minutes long. This will give your body time to get used to the red light therapy and start feeling the good changes. After these ten weeks, it's a good idea to have a few more sessions every couple of months.

Combining red light with other treatments

Consider red light therapy as one piece of a larger puzzle in managing fibromyalgia. It's like using medicine to help your body while teaching your brain to understand pain differently.


Medication is a crucial element within a multifaceted approach to managing pain, intended to be used alongside educational, lifestyle, and psychological interventions.

Typical pharmaceutical options include:

  • common analgesics such as acetaminophen and naproxen for pain relief
  • antidepressant medications, for instance, sertraline and fluoxetine, to address mood and pain
  • specialized pain medications like Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
  • anticonvulsants, which have shown efficacy in nerve pain treatment, such as topiramate and carbamazepine.

Retraining your pain

Understanding pain management requires an acknowledgment that pain is more than a mere physical experience. It intertwines with your emotional health, thought patterns, and the environment around you.

The journey begins with identifying what aggravates your pain, such as particular stressors, negative thoughts, or certain actions. Recognizing these elements allows you to start altering them. Changes might include adjusting your diet, enhancing your sleep habits, incorporating more physical activity, or employing cognitive techniques that alter your brain's perception of these pain triggers. With time and persistent effort, it's possible to train your brain to process pain differently, reducing its severity and lessening its control over your life.

Stress management

While we cannot escape stress entirely, learning how to manage it can significantly enhance the quality of your life. Being skilled in stress management can help your body not to confuse normal sensations with pain. There are various effective strategies for reducing stress.

Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness meditation can help you develop healthier thinking, keep you focused on the present, and aid in relaxation. Also, talking to friends, a counselor, or joining a support group can give you a chance to express your feelings and find comfort and encouragement.

Movement & exercise

Regular movement and exercise are important for managing pain. It might seem hard at first, but it really helps. Exercise can make you feel happier, give you more energy, and help you sleep better. The key is to find activities you like and that are safe for you.

Starting with easy exercises, like stretching or walking, is a good idea. These can relax your muscles. As you get more flexible, you might hurt less. This can make you feel better overall.

Start with exercises that are easy on your body. Pay attention to how your body feels. Be nice to yourself and don't rush. Slowly getting stronger and more active is the best way to stay safe.

Sleep Quality

Quality sleep is key to managing fibromyalgia and reducing pain.

Many people with fibromyalgia find it hard to get deep sleep, which is crucial for the body to heal itself.

To improve your sleep and overall health, try these tips:

  • Aim for eight hours of sleep each night and keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • If you need a nap, keep it short so it won't interfere with your night's sleep.
  • Stay active during the day to help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  • Cut down on screen time before bed to help your mind unwind.
  • Make your bedroom dark and quiet to create a peaceful space for sleep.
  • Watch your caffeine intake, especially later in the day, as it can keep you awake.
  • Avoid big meals or alcohol before bedtime, as they can mess with your sleep.
  • Practice relaxation techniques daily to help improve your sleep and manage symptoms better.

More information

At MoreGoodDays®, our mission is to guide you in managing your fibromyalgia with expertise and care. We recognize the profound impact this condition can have on your daily life, and we are committed to providing you with accessible resources and strategies designed for ease of use and effectiveness. Our goal is to walk with you towards a life of greater well-being, despite the challenges posed by fibromyalgia.

Download our mobile app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This will grant you instant access to a selection of our resources and introduce you to the variety of support options available to you.