In the same way that people seek safe, natural non-medical treatments for illness and injury, many horse owners are interested in red light therapy and other alternatives to drugs and surgical treatments for their equine friends. Red light therapy could enable them to use the same healing wavelengths that effectively treat numerous human health conditions to help their horses heal faster and maximize performance. 

In competitive horses especially, leg and back injuries are common and healing can be challenging and costly. Prolonged healing and forced rest can cause a ripple effect of physical and psychological problems for the horse that can delay or prevent a return to competition—and veterinary bills can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Red light therapy with LED lights has been used to improve human health with great success. An increasing number of veterinarians (especially those with a holistic approach) and animal naturopaths are using red and near-infrared (NIR) light therapy on dogs and horses. 

Today, horse owners can administer red light therapy at home. Consistent application provides support for the body’s natural healing mechanisms, which in turn speeds up treatment of conditions such as:

  • Joint pain (from osteoarthritis, or overuse injury that has led to cartilage degradation),
  • Wounds,
  • Connective tissue injuries (sprains and strains of ligaments and tendons),
  • Muscle injuries (strains and tears),
  • Cartilage degradation (caused by osteoarthritis or overuse),
  • Muscle recovery from training,
  • Back pain,
  • Inflammation,
  • Neuropathy and neuropathic pain.

Most conditions that keep horses stuck in a stall, whether acute (sudden) or chronic (long-term), can be treated and potentially even prevented using regular treatments with red and NIR light therapy.

What Is Red Light and How Can It Help a Horse?

Red light therapy is also known as low-level light therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation. It encompasses visible red light, which ranges from 630 to 660 nanometers (nm); and NIR light, which is just outside the range of visible light for humans and ranges from 810nm to 850nm. 

Light wavelengths within these ranges are said to be within the “therapeutic window,” in which there are significant benefits without any adverse reactions or side effects.

Red light therapy is administered via light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, which are placed at the shortest possible distance from one another on a panel to ensure the most even coverage. 

When you see the term “LED therapy,” be sure you understand which wavelengths it’s referring to. Some LED panels, for instance, emit blue and amber light as well as red/NIR. Although these are suitable for human skin conditions, they typically don’t penetrate deeply enough to provide benefits for deep tissue injuries or healing.

Only specific wavelengths (namely red/NIR) have shown therapeutic benefits for deep tissue and wound healing.

Since horses are large and have a relatively thick hide (along with a thick coat), the use of a near-infrared wavelength will be most effective in treating muscle, soft tissue, and joint conditions. That’s because these longer wavelengths have a much deeper absorption rate than shorter-wavelength visible red light.

Red wavelengths and NIR wavelengths penetrate the body’s tissues to different depths; for skin-deep healing such as wounds, red wavelengths will stimulate healing. For deeper conditions such as muscle tears or joint pain, go with NIR wavelengths.

After penetrating the skin, red/NIR wavelengths stimulate the production of cellular energy within tiny organelles inside cells known as mitochondria. This sparks a variety of beneficial biological processes, as energized cells can perform their specialized functions faster and more efficiently. 

It is the job of the mitochondria to convert raw materials into fuel for cells. But certain conditions, such as inflammation, can interfere with mitochondrial functioning. 

This results in mitochondrial dysfunction, which has been shown to be a root cause of many chronic conditions that can interfere with healing and prevent your horse from enjoying optimal health. 

The primary effect of red and NIR wavelengths is to reverse and even prevent mitochondrial dysfunction. The ripple effect of energized cells includes faster healing, a stronger immune system, and reduced overall inflammation.

Red light therapy also increases the synthesis of collagen. We typically think of collagen in conjunction with skin health, but it is actually the most abundant protein in the body. Along with the skin, collagen is found in the bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. 

Boosting collagen production can help horses heal from injury by rebuilding damaged connective tissue; and if the horse has a skin wound, it will heal more cleanly, with less scarring.

Red light therapy works wonders for humans. But how does it work on animals? 

Like us, energetic animals are prone to inflammation, breaks, sprains, cuts, and pain. Trips to the vet and consequent dressings and surgeries can be extremely costly and distressing for a pet. For larger animals such as horses, small injuries can mean they are out of work for months.

In the same way that many people are shifting towards non-invasive, holistic treatments for illness, animal owners are increasingly open to alternative therapies for their beloved pets.

LED light therapy devices are a highly efficacious treatment for pets. You may be surprised to learn that some veterinarians, animal naturopaths and pet owners have already been using red light therapy with red and near-infrared wavelengths on diverse species of animals.

It’s essential to acknowledge that red light therapy is not a panacea or cure-all for every condition. But it does provide a potent treatment for typical pet issues such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sore muscles
  • Wounds and cuts
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Ligament and tendon injuries
  • Strains and sprains
  • Pain
  • Muscle regeneration

What’s more, LED light therapy devices also offer a useful complementary therapy for animals living with more significant or severe conditions. Regular use of LED light therapy on animals can also promises preventative benefits. Red and near-infrared light wavelengths keep joints, muscles and tissue healthy by promoting cellular regeneration and reducing inflammation.


Red light therapy works on animals in much the same way that it works on humans. Nearly all forms of life benefit from red and near-infrared light exposure when it is administered in a sustained manner over time. 

Light wavelengths within the range of 600nm to 1000nm impact on cellular mitochondria, where energy is generated. Red and near-infrared light wavelengths increase the production of cellular energy. This increase occurs because the light wavelengths facilitate the production of cytochrome c oxidase, a protein which is essential for the creation of energy. Cytochrome c oxidase is present in nearly all species.

Energized cells perform their normal functions faster and more effectively, enabling improved functioning, healing and recovery, and better overall health.

Let’s review the science that supports the use of red light therapy for our furry friends.

The studies

Many of the existing research we have on red light therapy for animals is based on studies performed on rats and mice, commonly known as pre-clinical trials.

However, there is already an impressive range of scientific literature documenting the advantages of red light therapy for other animals as diverse as chickens, pigs, cows, fish, and even worms. Some of the most commonly studied animals are dogs, cats, and horses. 

Our Red Light Therapy Products

LED Light Therapy for Pain Relief, Muscle & Joint Pain for pets

Non-Invasive, Low Level Infrared Light Therapy – LumaSoothe is a home-use healing light therapy device for your pet. Includes 2 powerful photonic Light Therapy Modules that have both deep treatment and skin surface treatment benefits. A safer alternative to Laser Light Therapy devices.

Red Light Therapy for Pets

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