Why are Photopuncture Torches So Expensive? Aren’t they just a red flashlight?

Ah, the money question!  I have heard this question before – and appreciate where the questioner is coming from. Targeted Red Light devices, or what we at PTI call Photopuncture Torches, are, in fact, flash lights – but there is no “just” about it.

There are inexpensive (and some very cheaply made) hand held lights and also very expensive hand held lights. I own lots of all of them. So I thought I would expound a bit on what makes a good light and what can make quality lights more expensive that cheap knock offs from China.

When comparing torches (or really any light therapy device whether panel, bulb, torch, pad, etc.) it is necessary to compare apples to apples. In the PBM (photobiomodulation) worlds we factor in a few things:

  1. OUTPUT – Some torches put out very little light.  We prefer a higher output (see our Output and Dosing page for details) for quick acupoint activation but also offer low output for times when less is needed (cats, eyes, etc.)
  2. WAVELENGTH – Good quality torches use 660 red light (or near that) as it is the most absorbed wavelength at the level we are most typically wanting to reach – the acupoint.  655 – 680 are the wavelengths most absorbed in the visible red spectrum.  We also offer blue and near-infrared output torches for a wider variety of uses.  But many cheap torches (mostly from China) that are purchased by the 10s of 1000s have output that varies widely.  There is no guarantee of the exact wavelength.   So there is an expense involved in testing the output to ensure consistent quality.
  3. Multiple function MODES: High, Low and Pulsed output.  Do more with one device.  This means more expensive internal switches and programming.
  4. Targeted Light and Wider Beam for Photopuncture (acupuncture with light) or larger area light therapy.
  5. DURABILITY – our torches can be run over with a car, dropped, stepped on by a horse, etc because we use a well tested, military-grade tactical flashlight case.
  6. HEAT OUTPUT – many cheap hand-held lights get very hot when you use them for more than a few minutes.  Not just hot where you shine them, but hot on the hands holding them.  They have not incorporated a heat sink or duty cycle to protect from heating tissue.
  7. EDUCATION – no other company includes starter charts for humans, horses, dogs and cats with EVERY torch kit! As well as an introductory online course. As well as live webinars every week.  Having a light is just the start – the power is in knowing what do do with it!
  8. INNOVATION – PTI has the ONLY torch on the market with both Red and Infrared light included in one torch (as opposed to a larger cluster head not designed for targeted acupoint work) AND the ONLY torch with a fiber-optic probe attachment that allows for lighting in tight spaces like the mouth, sinuses, ear canals and puncture wounds.

The other factor that drives cost is one that few think about.  Research studies and actual peer-reviewed proof.  PTI will spend upwards of $30k in 2020 alone for a single research study into the effects of red and infrared light for dental patients empowered to use light in their own home after wisdom tooth extraction.  Think of the benefits to patients if they can use light instead of pharmaceutical drugs after surgery!