The high-tech health and wellness fields have introduced both red light therapy and infrared saunas to the public, but confusion remains about what they are, how they differ, and which one is the best choice for the individual. Even though they both use the word ‘red,’ they are completely different treatment options. Some unscrupulous sellers use that confusion to push substandard or unproven products. If you want to invest in real health benefits, first understand the difference.
What Is Red Light Therapy and How Does it Work?
Red light therapy focuses on light in a special wavelength that actually provides therapeutic benefits. Medical grade light panels beam two spectrums of light (red at 660nm and infrared at 850nm) that penetrate body tissues to deliver healthful effects directly to the target. It therefore acts as a cellular treatment that stimulates your body’s natural healing and regeneration properties. It does this by boosting ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and nitric oxide production, two natural body chemicals, that improve circulation, fight inflammation, and increase oxygen transmission through cells and systems.
What does scientific research say? A wide variety of studies have shown red light therapy to help with everything from reducing acne to treating certain skin cancers. It stops injury and surgery-related inflammation, shortens healing time, and minimizes nerve pain. Athletes use it to recover more quickly from training, too.
What Are Infrared Saunas and How Do They Work?
Infrared saunas focus on heat. They may include a light, but it does not have the benefits of a well-designed therapy panel. The main point of saunas, however, is to elevate your temperature and make you sweat. This does provide relaxation, benefits for muscle function, and some natural release of toxins through the normal perspiration process.
The only difference between traditional saunas and infrared ones is that the latter uses certain light waves to heat up the objects in the small room instead of the air directly. It works much like a microwave oven. They lack the unique wavelengths associated with the scientifically proven benefits of red-light therapy. Some systems claiming to offer this simply do not. The lights used in the saunas do not have the properties necessary to make those promises.
Which One Is Right for You?
There is no question that many people around the world enjoy using saunas to relax, sweat out possible toxins, and reduce muscle soreness. If you enjoy sitting in a super-heated room and sweating, head to a gym or spa with a sauna room on-site. However, it is important to understand that the infrared claims do not cover the full spectrum of therapeutic light. It is simply another way to heat you up.
Red light therapy offers something different. These well-researched setups allow beneficial light waves to penetrate deep into your tissues and cells. They stimulate your body’s natural systems that promote health, reduce pain, speed healing, and invigorate you. Even better still, they do it without the need to get all sweaty and overheated.