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Infrared Saunas and Red Light Therapy. What’s the difference?

December 01, 2021 4 min read

Infrared Saunas and Red Light Therapy. What’s the difference?

When it comes to health and wellness right now, Infrared Saunas and Red Light Therapy are all the rage. Especially these days, people want nothing more than to relax and let some healthy light burn out all of their stress.

Even better, these 'Spa Treatments' are now available in the comfort of your home, so no need to spend all that time and money to get your wellness fix. But which one to choose? 

The similarities between red light therapy and infrared saunas are there for us to see. Both make it possible for you to sweat and detox gently. However, the working principles behind them aren’t the same. Saunas are perhaps the oldest of the available modern therapies, and they work based on the heat principle. On the other hand, red light therapy is an interesting new technology that works with light.

To clearly understand the differences between infrared saunas and red light therapy, it’s important to note the different points of the light spectrum. Bear with us - it’s time for some boring science.

Ideally, the infrared light spectrum is broken down into three parts:

Near infrared (NIR)
Mid-wave infrared (MWIR)
Far infrared (FIR)

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NIR and FIR are the two ends of the light spectrum, and they have different reactions on the body. Interestingly, they are the two light spectrum sources that power infrared sauna and red light therapy.

While infrared saunas use FIR light, red light therapy uses NIR light.

So, to the differences. How do these therapies work?

Infrared saunas are similar to the traditional saunas we all know and love. A room is heated, and you enter and stay in there for a while. As you sweat from the heat, you get impressive health benefits.

The difference is that while the traditional saunas will heat your surroundings, the infrared saunas use FIR light to heat your body itself. The FIR light is absorbed by the water molecules in your cells, delivering the same heat benefits as you would get with traditional saunas.

There are even some impressive innovations like sauna blankets that allow you to get all the benefits of infrared saunas right in your bedroom. Talk about optimal comfort.

On the flip side, red light therapy uses NIR light. This light is absorbed by the mitochondria in your cells, thus improving the production of energy. Over time, you get benefits like reduced inflammation and even increased muscle strength.

So, you got through the boring science stuff. Nicely done! Now, it’s time for the good stuff - what can each of them do for you?

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

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Improving Skin Health

Many people who use red light therapy do so for skin benefits. In truth, it can actually help improve your skin. Red light therapy can increase collagen production, so your skin feels more elastic. It also protects your skin cells from damage and reduces aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines.

In addition, red light therapy can boost your facial texture and boost your skin’s optimal complexion.

Healing Wounds

Red light therapy can also help to speed up the healing process when you have a boo-boo. It reduces inflammation in the cells, while also stimulating the formation of new blood vessels. By boosting the production of collagen, red light therapy can also help your skin to heal quicker.

Hair Growth

Studies have shown that red light therapy can help to improve your hair growth. In a study, people who got red light therapy showed better hair density. This isn’t proven beyond any doubt yet, but it’s quite interesting.

Pain Reduction

Why waste your money on painkillers when you can get proper relief from red light therapy? The therapy improves your ability to heal fast while also bolstering the strength of your bones. So, you feel much better and you can do away with that pesky pain that’s been bothering you.

Reduced Inflammation

Anti-inflammation is one of the primary benefits of red light therapy. Thanks to how it works, red light therapy helps to increase the flow of blood across the body. Some of this blood ends up getting to some of the damaged tissues in the body, thus reducing inflammation and keeping your body healthy.

This is one of the reasons why red light therapy has become so popular among treatments for people with injuries and other fitness challenges.

The benefits of Infrared Saunas

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Stress Reduction

Staying a few minutes in the gentle warmth of an infrared sauna can do wonders for your stress levels. You feel rejuvenated and relaxed, and you can feel much better when you come out of the sauna.

You can also get this benefit from things like infrared sauna blankets. Just stay in bed, wrap yourself in the infrared sauna blanket, and ease the stress away.

Reducing Pain and Aches

Like red light therapy, infrared saunas can also help to relieve inflammation and soreness. By boosting the circulation of blood and allowing heat to relax your muscles, infrared saunas help to deliver oxygen-rich blood much faster to your muscles. These will relieve pain and aid in your recovery from soreness and aches.

Increased Metabolism

The regular use of an infrared sauna will improve your cardiovascular system. Your body’s metabolism will be on a high, and you burn calories much faster due to the increased metabolism.

This process actually has a name - passive aerobic workout. You’re not particularly doing anything, but your body metabolism is increasing and you’re sweating more. Talk about reaping the benefits of a workout without, you know, working out.

Bolstered Immune System

The infrared rays from these saunas increase your core body temperature, thus causing a fever-like environment. The body uses natural fevers to increase immune response, thus strengthening your immune system. In the same way, infrared saunas make your immune system stronger.

If you’d like to enjoy this benefit while you sleep, you could just get an infrared sauna blanket. Enjoy the best of both worlds!


Conclusion

Infrared saunas and red light therapy are two of the most popular appliances for wellness therapy today. Both have similar benefits, and they work on the same principle. However, they’re not necessarily the same thing.

Health and fitness aficionados will want to know which innovation works better. Red light therapy comes with its benefits, as does the infrared sauna. But, you should be able to make a decision based on your preferences, or don't choose and have both of them!