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Is red light therapy the same as an infrared sauna?

An estimated 74% of Americans have turned to alternative therapies like light and heat treatments to combat inflammation, pain, skin issues, poor sleep, and low energy. But do you know that red light therapy is the same as an infrared sauna? Which one is right for you? Let’s shed some light on the core differences and benefits.

Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas

How Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas Work?

How Red Light Therapy Works?

Red light therapy harnesses specific wavelengths of natural light to energize your body’s cells and spark a cascade of enhancements. Also known as photobiomodulation or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), red light boxes and panels use concentrated LEDs or lasers to deliver nourishing light to the mitochondria – the powerhouses inside our cells. This light kicks cellular energy production into high gear. The stimulated mitochondria boost ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the fuel source for all cellular functions. More ATP means more energy for the entire body!

However, the benefits of red light therapy go far beyond a simple energy increase. The light enhances circulation and blood flow, reduces inflammation, stimulates collagen and elastin, accelerates healing, and elevates cell regeneration. Over 3,500 clinical studies and trials have validated the effectiveness of red light therapy for combating pain, slowing aging, improving skin, building muscle, burning fat, boosting brain function, lifting mood, and protecting against illness.

How do Infrared Saunas Work?

Infrared saunas utilize a different part of the light spectrum – invisible infrared light waves – to warm the body’s surface and raise the core body temperature. This induces sweating and elevates the heart rate like a mild cardiovascular workout. Infrared heating panels emit safe infrared wavelengths that penetrate just below the skin and heat the body more deeply than traditional saunas.

The profuse infrared-induced sweating releases stored toxins like heavy metals, BPA, phthalates, and other pollutants. Frequent sauna use provides a deep cleanse. The general warming effect dilates blood vessels and temporarily relieves pain and muscle tension. However, infrared saunas do not focus on achieving the targeted cellular enhancements associated with red light therapy.

The depth of Infrared Therapy vs Red Light Therapy

The Difference Between Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas

The Light Source

Red light therapy uses concentrated medical-grade LEDs or lasers that emit light at specific therapeutic wavelengths (often 630-660nm and 810-830nm). Infrared saunas use heaters that emit a broad range of infrared waves (usually ~7000-14,000nm) to induce sweating.

The Penetration

Red light is optimized to penetrate the skin and cells to trigger specific biological reactions. Far infrared waves only penetrate 1-2 inches below the skin and mainly heat the surface.

The TreatmentGoals

Red light therapy aims to achieve targeted cellular regeneration, healing, and anti-aging effects. Infrared saunas aim to elevate heart rate, induce sweating, and provide general detoxification.

The duration

A red light session is 2 minutes to 20 minutes depending on the coverage area. An infrared sauna session averages 30-60 minutes to heat up and sustain sweating.

The Difference Between Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas

The Effects

Red light therapy is backed by extensive research showing proven benefits at the cellular level, including[1.2,3]:

  • Increased ATP energy production
  • Enhanced tissue & wound healing
  • Reduced inflammation & joint pain
  • Stimulated collagen & elastin
  • Improved wrinkles & skin texture
  • Muscle growth & faster workout recovery
  • Decreased neuropathic pain & nerve damage
  • Elevated mood, focus & brain function
  • Accelerated healing of wounds, burns & infections

The benefits of infrared sauna use include[4,5,6]:

  • Induced sweating to eliminate toxins
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Temporary relief of muscle pain
  • Relaxation from heat exposure
  • Mild cardiovascular training effects
  • Sweat Your Way to Detoxification

Red Light Therapy or Infrared Sauna: Which Is Right For You?

When deciding between red light therapy and an infrared sauna, there are several factors to consider:

Desired benefits: Red light therapy provides more specific cellular effects, such as increased energy levels reduced inflammation and pain improved skin anti-aging faster healing rate, and recovery time. Infrared saunas give the whole body heat for detoxification, cardiovascular benefits, and transient sweat to relax.

Access and convenience: 2- 20 minute home or workplace daily sessions can use red light panels. Infrared saunas need a place with access to the facilities for bath sessions that should be longer, 30-60 minutes per session, and several times every week.

Sweating: Infrared saunas make you actively sweat out toxins. Red light therapy is passive with no sweating required.

Time commitment: Red light therapy requires just a few minutes a day. Infrared sauna use requires being a facility member or having one installed at home for longer sessions.

Sensitivity to heat: Red light therapy does not heat the body. Infrared saunas require tolerating sustained heat exposure and sweating.

How to Choose a Reliable Red Light Therapy Device Supplier?

It is recommended to choose the RedDot LED. Here are some key reasons to choose a Red Dot red light therapy device:

  • Customizable: Red Dot systems allow you to select the ideal LED wavelengths and power output for your needs. Choose from options like 620-700nm and 700-1100nm wavelengths.
  • High Quality: Red Dot uses medical-grade LEDs, not cheap plastic optics, ensuring maximum therapeutic effects. Red Dot products are FDA-certified meeting strict safety and quality standards.
  • Adjustable: Red Dot panels red/infrared/combo red and infrared 3 modes for options
  • Durable & Portable: The sleek, durable panels are built to last with aluminum casing. The lightweight design makes Red Dot products easy to mount or set up anywhere.
  • Trusted Brand: Red Dot, with more than a decade of experience in leading light therapy technology, is now recognized as one of the most trusted brands worldwide used even by top spas and wellness centers. Consequently, they provide effective therapeutic products.


In summary, red light therapy and infrared sauna are powerful therapies that can aid well-being, promote skin health rejuvenation, and enhance vitality levels To boost energy production. So why not try them and see the power of light, and heat for yourself?


[1]Wunsch, Alexander, and Karsten Matuschka. “A controlled trial to determine the efficacy of red and near-infrared light treatment in patient satisfaction, reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, skin roughness, and intradermal collagen density increase.” Photomedicine and laser surgery vol. 32,2 (2014): 93-100.

[2]Avci, Pinar, et al. “Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring.” Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery vol. 32,1 (2013): 41-52.

[3]Ferraresi, Cleber, et al. “Photobiomodulation in human muscle tissue: an advantage in sports performance?.” Journal of biophotonics vol. 9,11-12 (2016): 1273-1299.

[4]Brent A. Bauer, M. D. (2020, June 12). Do infrared saunas have any health benefits? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 11, 2022.

[5]Oosterveld, Fredrikus G J, et al. “Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. A pilot study showing good tolerance, short-term improvement of pain and stiffness, and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects.” Clinical rheumatology vol. 28,1 (2009): 29-34.

[6]Beever, Richard. “Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: summary of published evidence.” Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien vol. 55,7 (2009): 691-6.

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