Planet Fitness Expands Tanning Area, Adds Red Light Therapy

Owner says conflicting reports show services can age or improve skin, but customers want it.

in the Tilghman Square shopping center has renovated and nearly doubled the space dedicated to tanning and a new "skin rejuvenating" service called red light therapy.

Instead of five tanning rooms, the center now has nine, including one stand-up booth for the infrared light, owner John Clancy of Long Island said.

Clancy said customer demand drove him and other Planet Fitness owners to upgrade their tanning facilities and to add the red light therapy.

Skin specialists have long warned that UV light from tanning beds can not only age the skin but also contribute to skin cancer. However, the same experts say the jury is still out on red-light therapy, which does not produce UV rays.

According to an American Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute study of more than 1,100 Minnesotans diagnosed with melanoma between 2004 and 2007, those who used tanning beds were more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than those who never used tanning beds, and more frequent use meant a greater risk.

"Plenty of studies show that UV is not good for the skin but a lot of research also says the opposite is true," Clancy said. "I'm not a major proponent of tanning but I want to provide the services people are asking for."

The new tanning beds and stations replace "inferior" equipment with "high-end," Clancy said.

Planet Fitness' brochure claims red light therapy can increase collagen production from gentle vibration and infrared light to create more youthful skin.  Clancy said some NASA studies found that as well.

The American Academy of Dermatology says "more definitive research is needed before we can determine the effectiveness of [red light] therapy...Compliance appears to be one of the biggest hurdles for red-light devices, as the therapy requires multiple treatments over an extended period of time to produce a noticeable improvement in aging skin.”

Said Clancy, "It's not a one-time fix."

When asked if red light therapy can cause any harm, he said that everything he's read suggests that if you wear eye protection, there's no harm.

A bill (Senate Bill 349) recently by Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, would require tanning salons to post a sign stating "DANGER-ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION" near tanning booths and require teenagers to get parents' permission to use the service.  A spokesman for the Indoor Tanning Association said parental permission need not be mandated because it is common practice.  Passed unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the bill moves to the state Senate for a vote.

To take advantage of the new and improved services at Planet Fitness, members must increase the status and cost of their memberships, from the usual $10 a month to $20.  The upgrade also affords members massage chair use, discounts on drinks and unlimited guest privileges.

ruth February 02, 2012 at 12:35 PM
i recently joined planet fitness and started using the red light therapy, it is amazing when i first started due to knee injury it was hard for me to use the bike without the pain in the knee, after a few times in the machine i can now bend my knee with very little pain, now using the walking machine for 30 minutes with no problem. i do recommend this to those who have some joint problems or injury
mark July 16, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Thanks for the comments Ruth. Might have to give it a try!
Shawn David Tapler July 25, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Yes! I just joined the Planet Fitness Tilghman location & tonight I am going to give the RLT a try!
Laura Beaty July 28, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I go to Planet Fitness In Charlotte NC love the place and especially the Red Light Therapy!!!
Kelli Melone August 07, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Using the Red Light Therapy in DesPlaines, IL. It's utterly relaxing after a work out. I'm not a tanner, so I really mostly use it for the vibrations and supposed cellulite reduction. We'll see. I've been doing the Red Light Therapy every other day for 2 weeks and my skin does feel tighter and softer.
angel August 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Planet fitness in Charlotte (university location) has the ruddest manager, staff turn over is high and Todd Kelly general manager has a complaint filed against him by bbb
Robin Bloemendal December 04, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I am from Michigan and joined the Planet Fitness in Holland. I started last week using the RLT...I love it the I have not noticed huge results. But like Kelli my skin feels smoother and tighter...Not sure if its from that or the great workouts...Thank you Planet Fitness Staff in Holland Michigan you are the greatest...Member 5156 :)
Jessica February 18, 2013 at 09:56 PM
How old do you have to be to tan at Planet Fitness in Oregon?
tan divA February 18, 2013 at 10:03 PM
RUTH LOCKE April 10, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Does anyone use the before spray that they are recommending we buy for the red light?
Maria Diaz May 10, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Yes use the spray and the lotion for your face you will get better result.
Diabetic Footcareproduct September 13, 2013 at 07:37 AM
Can u mention the advantages of infrared light therapy.


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