Acupuncture Light Therapy: Adding An Additional Modality

Jan 12, 2021 | Laurie Velger

Medically reviewed by Karen Wolters, RN and Joanna Fearnley, LPN

Acupuncture Light Therapy

Acupuncture light therapy is one of the best options to consider for treating both acute and chronic pain. Although it may seem on the surface that the centuries-old traditional Chinese healing art of acupuncture and the approximately 40-year-old light wave technology of red light therapy are worlds apart, the beneficial results they produce are surprisingly similar. Both modalities can be depended upon to:

  • Improve circulation and blood flow to organs and tissues
  • Increase tissue oxygenation
  • Decrease pain and discomfort
  • Relax the nervous system
  • Release beneficial chemicals in the body such as nitric oxide and ATP
  • Improve energy, metabolism, and cellular functioning
  • Stimulate the body’s own innate healing processes
  • Maintain homeostasis
  • Treat almost every part of the body
  • Be cost-effective alternatives to drugs and surgery
  • Support the body in maintaining health and wellness.


Advantages of Red Light Therapy in Acupuncture

In addition to producing many of the same benefits as acupuncture, red light therapy also offers many distinct advantages:

  • Red Light Therapy is non-invasive
  • Red Light Therapy is painless
  • Red Light Therapy has no known negative side effects
  • Red Light Therapy is simple to administer
  • One Red Light Therapy pad can treat a larger area than acupuncture needles

Red Light Therapy on the Chest


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Acupuncture Light Therapy: An Effective Strategy

Red light therapy and acupuncture are complementary healing modalities. Used together, they can be a highly effective strategy for bringing your patients greater benefits. Because red light therapy releases a cascade of helpful chemicals into the local area where the pads are placed, red light therapy can add value to your acupuncture sessions, potentially amplifying the results of needling. And red light therapy is very easy to incorporate into your practice — no matter the type of  acupuncture you offer.


Dr. Sarica Cernohous, L.Ac., owner of Living Wellness, LLC in Flagstaff, Arizona (and the author of The Funky Kitchen: The Missing Link in Your Nutrition and Wellness ) has been an acupuncturist for 20 years.  She began using red light therapy in her practice 5-6 years ago because of “its role in circulation, recovery, and nervous system support.” Dr. Cernohous has found that red light therapy, “is like an exclamation mark in my treatments, helping with the flow of energy and blood through the body, and helping to support deeper relaxation in treatment.” She feels that red light therapy, “has elevated my Japanese-style treatments.”

Red Light Therapy on the Foot

Using Red Light Therapy Acupuncture

In acupuncture, red light therapy can be utilized before, during, or after needling.  Red light therapy can also be a stand-alone treatment option.

  • Red Light Therapy Before Needling: Apply red light therapy pads directly to areas in need of greater circulation and energy flow for about 10 to 15 minutes before needling. The pads will trigger an increase in circulation that ignites the process of pain relief.  Your patient’s body will relax and become less tense and less stiff, and needle insertion may be easier.
  • Red Light Therapy During Needling: Introduce the red light therapy pads concurrently with needling, usually at the start of the session. The pads will increase energy flow and blood circulation at acupoints where they are strategically placed.  As the red light therapy pads ease muscle tension and soothe tissue, the patient should experience a greater degree of relaxation and stress reduction.  Cernohous utilizes red light therapy simultaneously with needling, finding that this, “helps to increase the effectiveness of treatments because of the support for relaxation and blood flow.” As the session continues, red light therapy pads can be moved around the body to do their work on different areas.  Since red light therapy devices are made of neoprene, they are flexible enough to be very versatile, allowing the same pad to be used on different areas to treat a variety of patient issues.
  • Red Light Therapy After Needling: Another option is to treat your patient to a full twenty-minute red light therapy session immediately after acupuncture treatment. One or more therapy pads can be placed on areas where the needling occurred, or on other acupoints. Red light therapy will enhance relaxation and stimulate cellular processes that accelerate healing.  And this boost will persist for several hours after the red light therapy session concludes.
  • Red Light Therapy as a Stand-Alone Treatment: Red light therapy can be administered by itself, which may appeal to patients afraid of needles.  Cernohous states that she will occasionally administer red light therapy as a stand-alone treatment “if the acupuncture is too strong for someone in convalescence, and also if someone has a fear of needles.”


However you choose to incorporate red light therapy into your acupuncture sessions, a 6-port controller system from HealthLight’s Clinical Line of therapy systems can operate up to six pads simultaneously to provide an extensive therapy session to your patient that can address multiple problem areas at once.


Boost Revenue with Sales to Patients

As your patients experience the beneficial effects of red light therapy, some patients may desire to purchase their own systems for in-home use. Most manufacturers of red light therapy systems such as HealthLight allow healthcare practitioners to buy systems at wholesale and resell these systems to patients at a profit.  HealthLight’s Express Product Line is designed for home usage with a one button controller. Dr. Cernohous has sold systems in her clinic, reporting, “Some of my patients have appreciated NIR [red light] Therapy so much that they have even purchased units for their home care.”


Put Acupuncture Light Therapy on Your Menu

Consider adding red light therapy to your acupuncture practice today. Incorporating red light therapy acupuncture is easy; it is relaxing to your patients; it supports the body’s innate healing processes; and it may augment the results of needling. Plus, adding red light therapy to your menu has the potential to boost your earnings by expanding your services, and by allowing you to sell systems to patients. As Dr. Cernohous states, “It’s a modality that sets my practice apart. I find it to be an incredibly functional adjunct to the treatment and a very reasonable addition to the practice.”

HealthLight’s Clinical Line of red light therapy pads and controllers offer many different FDA-cleared system options to suit the needs of any clinic.  And HealthLight’s Express At-Home Line with conveniently attached controllers and single button operation are perfect for in-home use by your patients.


Start Your Pain Relief Journey Today

Contact us now and speak with a light therapy expert. They are here to help you find relief at home with soothing red light therapy.

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