Infrared Light Therapy For Wound Management

  • Georgia Awcock Master of Science - MS, Epidemiology, The University of Edinburgh, UK

Managing wounds and wound healing has been and continues to be a challenge for both healthcare providers and patients. Advances in technology with Infrared Light Therapy have brought an exciting potential for new non-invasive treatment, with results in published literature looking promising. 

Management of wounds and wound healing has been a challenge for decades. With various factors causing delays in the stages of wound healing, complications are increased, causing issues in patient recovery.
In recent years, advancements in light therapy for wound management have emerged, particularly the use of infrared light and its ability to improve healing outcomes. In the section below, we will delve deeper into how Infrared light therapy works and explore the potential and benefits of utilizing this method for wound management in healthcare settings. 


Wound management can be a complex and lengthy process for healthcare professionals and patients, whether that be chronic wounds or post-surgical incisions – all bring their challenges when trying to manage optimal healing conditions, especially when faced with potential complications.1 In more recent years, research has shown that the use of a non-invasive technique - Infrared light therapy, otherwise known as red light therapy, can help heal wounds.

Understanding infrared light therapy

What is infrared light therapy?

Infrared light therapy is the process of using different wavelengths of red light to help treat wounds within the human body. These wavelengths are directed toward the wound via Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs) (lights) attached to a device. The device can either be small and portable and can be used at home or a larger device that is primarily used in a clinic or healthcare setting. It has been shown in clinical research that light therapy can help improve healing outcomes for patients of all ages due to its non-invasive nature and minimal side effects.

How does it work?

In short – at a cellular level, research has shown that cells in the body that are exposed to wavelengths of red light specifically produce new blood vessels and tissues at faster rates than those which are not exposed. This, therefore, encourages better healing outcomes and reduced pain.2

Benefits of infrared light therapy for wound healing

There are multiple benefits of Infrared light therapy for wound management. Due to its non-invasive nature, it is suitable for most patients of all ages. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased blood flow – Infrared light therapy emits low levels of red light, and when this is applied to a wound, the light waves are absorbed by mitochondria in our cells. These mitochondria produce energy in the body, and this absorption can increase the amount of energy, leading to improved blood circulation to the area, which is important for wound healing. More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients are at the site of the wound, which helps to improve its repair.
  • Reduced inflammation – With wounds, unfortunately, comes inflammation of surrounding tissue. This inflammation can sometimes cause delays in the healing process as well as pain. Infrared light has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects when used correctly. It reduces the production of inflammatory immune cells and creates a better environment for healing.
  • Improved tissue repair – Infrared light therapy can enhance collagen production by stimulating certain cells in the body that produce collagen, the protein that is found in bodies and helps to give the skin strength and elasticity.
  • Pain reduction and antimicrobial effects – Research has suggested that infrared light therapy can reduce pain and discomfort at the wound site and reduce the risk of infection – improving healing outcomes.
  • Non-invasive and safe –  It is non-invasive and considered safe when used as directed by a professional.
  • There is mounting evidence supporting the use of infrared light therapy to treat wounds however, its effectiveness can vary depending on various factors such as the type and extent of the wound, the wavelength, intensity, and duration of infrared light treatment, and the individual receiving the treatment.

Applications and devices

Infrared light therapy devices come in a range of sizes, from smaller handheld devices suitable for home use to bigger, more specialized equipment that can be found in clinical settings with varying wavelengths. There are two primary wavelength choices for these devices, the first being near infrared therapy, which utilises shorter wavelengths of around 700 to 1,300 nanometres. It is quite shallow and penetrates slowly into tissues. It is commonly used for wound healing and pain relief. The second is far-infrared therapy which involves longer wavelengths in the ranges of 3,000 to 1,000,000 nanometers.  Longer wavelengths can penetrate deeper tissues – even reaching muscles and joints. It is commonly used for improving circulation and muscle pain relief. 

Although infrared light therapy does help aid the efficient healing of wounds and surgical incisions, the choice of wavelength and device will depend on the desired outcome and the extent of the wound itself. When it comes to wound management and healing, some devices may use both wavelengths mentioned above. It is imperative that the correct wavelength is chosen, and therefore, consulting with a healthcare professional for guidance is essential.

Clinical evidence and integration into healthcare

Although results in the literature look promising, there is still limited research on the effectiveness and safety of infrared light therapy for wound management. This type of treatment may not work for all types of wounds, and there is a possibility that the treatment would react with certain medications, making it unsuitable for some.
More research is needed to answer the above questions. Although current research has deemed the treatment safe for all ages, the treatment is still in its early days of application and integration within healthcare settings. The future, however, does look promising.

Future developments

Advances in infrared light therapy technology are exciting – devices are becoming increasingly more portable, affordable, and user-friendly, which expands their accessibility to a range of patients. Researchers are even looking into the molecular mechanisms (interactions) that lie behind the effects of using infrared light in healthcare, meaning that a less invasive treatment option may be on the horizon for many.
This technology is also paving the way for more targeted treatments within healthcare. Not only for the treatment of would management in terms of pain reduction, wound healing, and tissue repair but also for a variety of other medical conditions.

Safety of infrared light therapy devices

Ensuring safe and effective treatments when using infrared Light therapy is essential. Though it has numerous benefits, safety considerations must be taken when using any device that emits light therapy.
If the area to be treated is near the eyes, appropriate eye protection must be worn to shield the eyes during sessions. Caution must also be taken when using light therapy if the patient has a history of skin sensitivity or any photosensitivity (sunlight sensitivity). It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if taking any medications, as they could also potentially interfere with the treatment.
Guidance and supervision by a trained healthcare professional are always recommended when using Infrared Therapy Devices to help ensure safe and effective treatment.


Overall, infrared light therapy for wound management looks promising. It has numerous benefits, ranging from accelerated tissue repair, inflammation reduction, enhanced blood circulation, and the potential to minimize scarring. The applications are diverse, ranging from chronic wounds to surgical incisions and even burns, and this has demonstrated promising outcomes in the literature.


  • Infrared light therapy has emerged as a non-invasive and promising approach to the complexities surrounding wound management.
  • It involves the use of different wavelengths of red light to treat wounds. These devices are becoming more user-friendly and portable, which is making them more suitable for home use as well as larger devices for use in clinical settings.
  • Numerous benefits have been listed in the literature, ranging from increased blood flow, reduction in inflammation, improved tissue repair, and pain reduction. It is considered safe and non-invasive, which makes it a suitable treatment for patients of all ages.
  • Primary choices of wavelengths include near-infrared and far-infrared therapy. The choice of wavelength and the device will depend on the extent of the wound and the desired outcome.
  • Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of the treatment for various types of wounds, for example, the location of the wound as well as the size. Current research looks promising and has the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes. 


  1. Does infrared light help heal wounds?

Yes, It can help cells regenerate or repair themselves and improve the circulation of oxygenated blood, promoting faster healing.

  1. How do you use infrared light for healing?

It depends on the device; most devices will require the individual  to actively face the light in the area and keep it there for a set amount of time. It is important to follow any manufacturer's instructions.

  1. How often can you use red light therapy for wound healing?

It depends on various factors, and you should speak to a healthcare professional before starting any at-home red light therapy. Some research has shown that it is safe to use every day if you follow manufacturers' instructions.

  1. Does red light therapy help infection?

Red light therapy will not treat an infection; however, research has shown that red light has anti-inflammatory effects which help  reduce inflammation and possibly keep any potential infections from developing.


  1. Chaves ME de A, Piancastelli ACC, de Araújo AR, Pinotti M. Effects of low-power light therapy on wound healing: LASER x LED. Vol. 89, Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia; 2014. p. 616–23.
  2. Silveira PCL, Ferreira KB, da Rocha FR, Pieri BLS, Pedroso GS, De Souza CT, et al. Effect of Low-Power Laser (LPL) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) on Inflammatory Response in Burn Wound Healing. Inflammation. 2016 Aug 1;39(4):1395–404.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Georgia Awcock

Master of Science - MS, Epidemiology, The University of Edinburgh

Georgia is an Epidemiologist with experience in the pharmaceutical and medical industries with a background in both management and clinical roles within the NHS and private sectors. She has a special interest in Public Health, specifically Non-Communicable Diseases, such as Heart Disease and Cancer and has worked alongside Oncologists on clinical studies concerning potential drug treatments. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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