Red Light Therapy for Migraines: A Promising Treatment Option

Red Light Therapy for Migraines: A Promising Treatment Option

Experiencing migraines can be debilitating, with pain, nausea, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound, making even basic tasks challenging. Although medications may not be universally effective and can come with unwanted side effects, there is a promising non-invasive alternative for alleviating the frequency and severity of migraines: red light therapy.

It is important to note that people with migraines are generally sensitive to light. Hence, an invisible light, such as low-level red light, maybe a viable migraine first aid. Red light therapy, or low-level light therapy, uses red and near-infrared light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cellular repair. Research has shown that this type of therapy can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation, which are two key components of migraines. A study by Luana Mazzacoratti Loeb et al. (2018) found that low-level light therapy reduced the pain caused by chronic migraines, decreased the duration of migraines, and the intake of medication.  

One of the benefits of red light therapy is that it is a safe and non-invasive treatment option. Unlike medications, there are no known side effects associated with red light therapy. It is also easy to use and can be done in your home with a red light therapy device. While more research is needed to understand the benefits of red light therapy for migraines fully, it is a promising alternative for those who are looking for a natural and effective way to manage their symptoms.

Scientific Studies Supporting Red Light Therapy for Migraines

Red light therapy has been studied for its effectiveness in treating migraines. Soheila Mokmeli et al. (2006) performed a double-blind study on 30 adults suffering from common migraines. Using LLLT, the results revealed that it was able to help in reducing the pain from the migraine, duration, and medication consumption. 

A growing body of research indicates that red light therapy may be a safe and effective alternative to medication in treating headaches and migraines. As mentioned in an article by Rouge.Care, red light therapy has been found to increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in the body. These benefits can help alleviate the symptoms of migraines and headaches.

A study also stated that overexciting the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) causes migraines. Stimulating the SPG using photobiomodulation or low-level light therapy decreases excitation. It might help lessen both the pain and frequency of migraines by slowing down the nerve signals related to pain. In some instances, people who have Temporomandibular dysfunction syndrome (TMD) also suffer from migraines, which can be considered one of the symptoms of TMD. With that, treating TMD with red light therapy was able to help reduce the symptoms of TMD, including migraines. Although this needs to be studied further, there is potential for this. 

Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Migraines

If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating the pain can be. Red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-level red light to reduce pain and inflammation. Here are some of the benefits of red light therapy for migraines:

1. Reduces Pain

Red light therapy has been shown to reduce pain caused by migraines. A study found that patients who received red light therapy experienced a 46% reduction in symptoms after four weeks of treatment. The effects were sustained for an average of five months.

2. Decreases Inflammation

Inflammation is a common cause of migraines. Red light therapy has been shown to decrease inflammation in the body, which can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

3. Non-Invasive

Red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment, meaning no needles or surgery is involved. This makes it a safer and less painful alternative to other migraine treatments.

4. No Side Effects

Unlike medications used to treat migraines, red light therapy has no known side effects. This means you can receive treatment without worrying about negative side effects.

5. Affordable

Red light therapy is an affordable treatment option for migraines. While the cost of a single session can vary depending on the provider, it is generally less expensive than other migraine treatments.

Potential Side Effects of Red Light Therapy

While red light therapy is generally considered safe, there are some potential side effects to be aware of.

Eye Damage

One of the most significant concerns with red light therapy is the potential for eye damage. Direct exposure to red light can damage the retina and lead to vision problems. It is important always to wear protective eyewear when undergoing red light therapy treatments.

Skin Irritation

Some people may experience skin irritation after undergoing red light therapy treatments. This can manifest as redness, itching, or a rash. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider.


While red light therapy can be an effective treatment for migraines, it is possible that it could actually trigger headaches in some people. If you experience headaches after undergoing red light therapy treatments, speak with your healthcare provider to determine if it is a side effect of the treatment.

Interference with Medications

Red light therapy can interfere with certain medications, including those used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis. If you are taking any medications, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before undergoing red light therapy treatments to determine if there could be any potential interactions.

Here are some redlight devices we recommend

Choosing the Right Red Light Therapy Device

When it comes to choosing the right red light therapy device for migraines, there are a few factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:


An essential aspect to ponder is the device’s wavelength. Devices for red light therapy usually operate within the 600-700 nanometers (nm) range for surface tissues and 800-900 nm for deeper tissues. When addressing migraines, considering a device employing red and infrared wavelengths is advisable, given the latter’s enhanced penetration into tissues.


The power of the device is another important consideration. Look for a device that has a power output of at least 100 milliwatts (mW) per square centimeter (cm²) of treatment area. This will ensure that you are getting an effective dose of light.

Treatment Area

Consider the size of the treatment area when choosing a device. Some devices are designed for small areas, such as the face, while others can cover larger areas like the back or legs. Make sure the device you choose is appropriate for the area you want to treat.

Type of Device

Red light therapy devices come in a variety of forms, including handheld devices, panels, and full-body systems. Handheld devices are convenient for targeting specific areas, while panels and full-body systems are better for treating larger areas or the whole body.


Red light therapy devices can range from under $50 to over $1,000. Consider your budget when choosing a device, but remember that a higher price doesn’t always mean a better product. Look for a device with the features you need at a price you can afford.

Here are some redlight devices we recommend


In conclusion, for those who endure the debilitating effects of migraines, exploring alternative treatments like red light therapy may offer relief. Red light therapy, a non-invasive approach, has shown promise in reducing both the frequency and intensity of migraines. Scientific studies support its efficacy, revealing notable pain reduction, duration, and medication consumption.

The benefits of red light therapy for migraines include pain reduction, inflammation decrease, non-invasiveness, absence of known side effects, and affordability compared to other treatments. However, being aware of potential side effects such as eye damage, skin irritation, headaches, and medication interference is crucial.

Choosing the right device is essential when considering red light therapy for migraines. Factors to consider include the wavelength, power, treatment area, type of device, and price. While red light therapy presents a promising avenue for migraine management, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure its suitability and safety, especially for individuals with existing medical conditions or those taking medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does red light therapy help with migraines?

Red light therapy proves effective in diminishing the occurrence and severity of migraines. This therapy operates by stimulating ATP production, thereby lessening inflammation and fostering the healing process. Additionally, red light therapy aids in boosting blood flow to the affected region, contributing to the reduction of pain and discomfort.

What is the best color light for migraine relief?

Research indicates that green light might offer the most effective relief for migraines. This color has a calming impact on the brain and can contribute to diminishing migraine intensity. Nevertheless, red light therapy has also shown effectiveness in reducing both the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Is red light therapy safe for use on the head?

Yes, red light therapy is safe for use on the head. However, it is important to use caution when using this therapy near the eyes. You should wear protective eyewear when using red light therapy on the head.

What is photobiomodulation therapy and can it help with migraines?

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBM) employs light to stimulate healing and alleviate pain. It has proven effectiveness in diminishing the frequency and intensity of migraines. This therapy operates by stimulating ATP production, a process that contributes to reducing inflammation and promoting the healing of affected areas.

Are there any colors of light that are not safe for migraine sufferers?

Some colors of light can trigger migraines in some people. Blue light, for example, triggers migraines in some individuals. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before using any type of light therapy for migraines, especially if you have a history of light sensitivity or migraines triggered by light.

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Disclaimer: Last update on 2024-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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