REVIEW – Red light therapy is all the rage these days. It is claimed to help relieve joint pain, relieve muscle pain, reduce inflammation, and reduce fat. Lucky for you, I have all those things so today, we’re looking at the NIVIOP red light therapy belt. Let’s see if a little light can make some big things happen in this old body.
What is it?
The NIVIOP red light therapy belt is a soft, flexible fabric belt with a hook and loop closure. It contains 126 three-element LEDS. Two elements in each LED produce 650nm deep red light and one element produces 850nm near-infrared (NIR) light for a total of 378 light sources. It can be powered with a wall plug or a USB power bank.
What’s in the box?
- NIVIOP red light therapy belt
- Controller cord
- USB-A power cord
- 120V power cord
- User manual
- Dimensions: 51.2″ x 7.08″
- Weight: 0.6 pounds
- Input power: 85-265VAC or 5V USB
- LEDs: 126
- LED type: SMT 5050-0.2W LED chip
- Chips per LED: 3
- 660nm deep red light sources: 252
- 85nm near-infrared light sources: 126
- Brightness levels: 5 plus pulse 600 flashes per minute
- Timer options: 15/30/45/60 minutes
- Life expectancy: >50,000 hours
Design and features
The NIVIOP red light therapy belt is a very soft and flexible belt. The 126 LEDs are very slightly recessed into the fabric of the belt and are not detectable when you’re wearing the belt. The soft fabric is smooth. Overall, this is very comfortable to wear.
The outside of the belt features a barrel-style power connector and a stretchy pocket designed to hold a power bank.
The corded controller plugs into that connector. To supply power, you choose to plug the controller into either the wall plug cord or the UBS power bank cord. It’s great that you can use a power bank to power this belt as it makes you much more mobile when wearing it.
The NIVIOP red light therapy belt attaches with a small, but extremely strong hook and loop closure.
The controller has an LED display and several buttons.
The orange power button is at the bottom. From left to right, intensity down, pulse on/off, intensity up. Above that is the timer button. When you plug in the belt, it comes on set for 60 minutes, Pressing the timer button cycles through 60/45/30/15 minute cycles. The display at the top shows the remaining time. Pressing the intensity button cycles through the five levels. The display briefly shows L1/L2/L3/L4/L5 as you select the desired intensity. Pressing the pulse button changes back and forth between pulsed light and constant light. In pulse mode, it flashes the lights on/off 600 times per minute.
Here’s a look at the NIVIOP red light therapy belt in action.
This close-up of one of the multi-light LEDs shows the three different light sources on each one.
The 650nm deep red light sources are circled in red and the 850nm NIR light source is circled in purple.
The user manual leaves a lot to the imagination. There simply isn’t much to it. Here’s most of the meat.
The full list of “How To Use It” is:
- Distance: Position face or body part within 0-1cm from the LED red light.
- Session time: Choose the desired exposure time 15min, 30min, 45min, or 60min.
- Frequency: Use up to 3 times a day.
That’s it! No description of specific uses for specific conditions or expected results. Well, there is the following warning, “To avoid low-temperature burns, do not use for more than 60 minutes at a time.”
The only setup is deciding how you want to power the belt – wall plug or USB power bank. Attach the appropriate cord to the controller cord and attached the power cord to the belt and you’re ready to go.
The claims are that the NIVIOP red light therapy belt does two things. First, red light therapy is claimed to reduce inflammation, helping to reduce joint and muscle pain as well as arthritis pain. Second, red light therapy is claimed to help get rid of fat under the skin. I have pain, I have fat. I’m the perfect subject!
Let’s start with the fat claim. I carry extra belly fat. That’s a fact. Red light therapy is said to help dissolve this fat and let the body’s natural garbage collection rid the body of that extra fat. Looking at the product’s Amazon page, the fat reduction claim is prominent.
Does that look like Photoshop? Hmm, will it really make your head get smaller? Anyway, I wrapped the NIVIOP red light therapy belt around my ample belly, at least as far as it would go. The belt isn’t long enough to make it all the way around me. I did one or two sixty-minute treatments on level 5 each day for most of the month.
Let me digress for a minute. I started using the pulse mode as they suggested that it is more effective. As I sat there shining red light deep into my abdomen, I had time to read about red light therapy. I found multiple sights that debunked the pulsing, stating that all it does is reduce the amount of penetrating light that you are exposed to. Pulsing is effective in laser treatments but not so much for LEDs. I went to full-on treatment and abandoned pulsing.
Anyway, after all that red light time, my belly reduced by…nothing. I was skeptical in the beginning, and unfortunately, my skepticism was warranted. It didn’t seem to do anything. Boo. So, we’re zero for one on the claims.
Next up was pain relief.
I play a lot of water volleyball. That involves a lot of jumping. That means a lot of weight, even water-lightened weight, coming down on my knees. They usually ache pretty convincingly afterward. In the photo above, you can see the belt wrapped around one of my painful knees.
Here, in an inception-like photo, you can see I was working on this review while I was toasting my knee.
Here is my lovely wife, posing while reading on her laptop with the belt treating her achy shoulders – also induced by water volleyball.
Once again, I was skeptical as was she. Given that the red light didn’t do squat for my gut, I wasn’t expecting it to do anything for our aching joints. We both were pleasantly surprised.
My wife had been using a cold pack, Icy Hot, and other similar treatments for quite some time with meager results. After treatment with the NIVIOP red light therapy belt, she reported a significant reduction in pain in her shoulder. I had similar results in my knees. The belt reduced pain in my knees more than any other treatment I have tried.
I have been having some pain in my hands lately – again, likely from receiving some abusive hard-driven volleyballs along with a likely touch of arthritis. By folding the belt, I created a pocket of sorts with lights on top and below. Treating my hands in this pocket has also proven to be effective. Given that my hands are more temperature-sensitive than my knees, it has allowed me to get a sense of the heat produced by the NIVIOP red light therapy belt. It is minimal. Using the Teslong thermal imaging camera, I could see that the LEDs hit about 88°F. Comfy.
We recently took a two-week driving trip. The belt folds flat and weighs just over a half-pound, making it easy to slip into a suitcase. Along with a small power bank, it makes a perfect travel solution for pain relief.
What I like
- It does seem to reduce pain in muscles and joints as claimed
- It is comfortable to wear
- It doesn’t produce noticeable heat
- It is light and packs easily
- Being able to use wall power or a USB power bank is convenient
What I’d change
- The instruction manual is a little light on content
- The fat reduction claims seem questionable
- Treatment takes a long time
Like my midsection, some of the claims for the NIVIOP red light therapy belt are overly inflated. I was hoping for a magic bullet for shedding stubborn belly fat but that didn’t happen. But, as a treatment for painful joints and muscles, red light therapy seems to be the real deal, based on our experience with the belt. We mostly did one-hour treatments on level five power, so treating multiple areas takes time. Two knees, two hours. Conceivably, wrapping both knees together might work, but I wanted to bathe the entire joint with the red light, so for me, it was one at a time. Still, it works and works better for us than anything else we’ve tried for sore joints and muscles. It looks like more red light time will be in our future. I wish the treatment could happen faster. We might have to buy another as I suspect we’ll be fighting each other for time with this one.
Price: $89.99 although 50% off coupons are regularly available
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by NIVIOP.