Skip to content
Red Light Therapy vs. Infrared Saunas: What's The Difference.

Red Light Therapy vs. Infrared Saunas: What's The Difference.

The past 30 years have seen immense advancement in the concept of light therapy. However, with the growth of the red light therapy sauna, infrared therapy, and other forms of light-related treatment, one major question remains: what’s the real difference between an infrared sauna vs. red light therapy?
With so many different therapy options available today, it's easy to get lost in the jargon and promises, especially when terms like "red" pop up in both treatments. However, despite their seemingly similar names, these therapies offer distinct benefits and operate on different principles. But whether you're intrigued by the soothing warmth of an infrared red sauna or the gentle glow of red light therapy, you're in the right place.
This will provide a comprehensive overview of both therapies. We’ll not only help you understand their unique advantages, but we’ll guide you on how to incorporate them into your wellness routine for a healthier, happier you.


The Science Behind Light Therapy

Infrared lights for sauna

Light energy surrounds us every single day, even if we don’t notice it. In fact, light is essential to virtually every form of life on Earth. According to science, humans can only see light in specific wavelengths, namely from 400 to 700 nanometers. But beyond what we can see, there is another spectrum known as infrared, which our bodies feel as warmth.
While sauna red lights and infrared heat therapy both utilize this energy, they tap into different parts of the spectrum to offer their unique health benefits. For example, red light falls on the visible spectrum's long end, making it effective for a wide range of skin, muscle, and cell treatments, while infrared light sits just beyond visible red, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the body.



What is Infrared Therapy?


Infrared therapy harnesses the power of infrared wavelengths to gently heat the body from within. This is very different from traditional heating methods, which heat the surface of the skin. This deep penetration offers many health benefits, from detoxification and pain relief to improved circulation and better sleep.

The most effective infrared therapy experiences come from full-body devices, such as saunas or domes, which are designed to envelop the user in gentle warmth. By increasing the body's core temperature, infrared therapy encourages the release of toxins, enhances blood flow, and aids in muscle relaxation and tissue repair. It's a natural, safe, and deeply relaxing way to boost your overall health, offering relief and rejuvenation from the inside out.

Infrared Therapy Benefits

The beauty of infrared therapy lies in its ability to deliver heat deep beneath the skin, providing benefits that range from detoxification and pain relief to enhanced circulation and skin health. As a form of light energy, infrared is not visible but felt as a comforting warmth, helping to detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Here are some of the primary benefits of infrared sauna therapy:

  • Detoxification Support - Infrared therapy is instrumental in promoting the body's natural detoxification process. Through the stimulation of sweat production, it aids in the elimination of bodily toxins. This deep penetration of infrared wavelengths ensures that regular sessions in an infrared red sauna can significantly enhance the body's ability to purge harmful substances.


  • Pain Relief - The therapeutic heat emitted by infrared saunas is proven to mitigate various forms of pain, including those related to muscles and joints. This is achieved through the dual action of muscle relaxation and joint inflammation reduction. In is especially beneficial for individuals grappling with chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • Enhanced Cardiovascular Function - By improving blood circulation, infrared therapy contributes positively to heart health. The process of blood vessel dilation and the boost in blood flow ensures that nutrients and oxygen are more efficiently transported throughout the body. This not only aids in cardiovascular performance but also supports faster healing and recovery, merging the benefits of improved circulation with stronger heart function.


  • Stress Reduction and Sleep Enhancement - The warmth and comfort provided by infrared heat therapy are a proven way to reduce stress and foster better sleep patterns. This relaxation benefit extends beyond physical relief to support mental and emotional well-being, thereby assisting users in achieving a more restful and rejuvenating sleep experience.
  • Skin Health and Rejuvenation - Regular infrared therapy can visibly improve skin condition. By stimulating collagen production and enhancing blood flow, it works to diminish wrinkles and improve skin tone and texture, leading to a more youthful and vibrant skin appearance.


  • Deep Tissue Relief - Infrared therapy reaches deeper into the muscle tissues than traditional heat sources, offering relief from deep-seated aches and enhancing muscle recovery. This deeper penetration is especially beneficial for athletes or those with chronic muscle tension.
  • Immune System Enhancement – By mimicking the effects of a fever, the gentle heat from infrared therapy can boost the immune system's efficacy. This natural bolstering of the body's defense mechanisms helps fight off illnesses and maintain overall health.


  • Weight Management - There is evidence to suggest that infrared therapy may assist in weight loss efforts by elevating the heart rate and metabolic rate, similar to the effects of a moderate exercise session. This aspect of infrared therapy offers a supplementary tool for those aiming to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Relief from Chronic Fatigue - Individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome have found solace in the consistent use of infrared saunas. The therapy's ability to deeply penetrate and relax the body often contributes to a noticeable reduction in the symptoms associated with this condition, offering a pathway to improved energy levels and well-being.



What is Red Light Therapy?


light sauna

Red Light Therapy (often abbreviated as RLT) is a groundbreaking approach to wellness, utilizing low-level wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cellular activity. Unlike other forms of therapy that rely on heat, RLT operates through a process known as photobiomodulation. This technique doesn't heat the skin like infrared therapy does. Instead, it works at the cellular level to enhance mitochondrial function. By stimulating the mitochondria, RLT promotes the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), often referred to as the “energy currency” of cells. This boost in ATP energizes the cells, enhancing their ability to repair and rejuvenate themselves.
The benefits of RLT are wide-ranging and deeply impactful. From skin rejuvenation and accelerated wound healing to improved hair growth and enhanced mood, RLT offers a versatile solution to various health and cosmetic concerns. It’s particularly celebrated for its effectiveness in promoting collagen production, reducing wrinkles, and improving the overall texture and tone of the skin. Furthermore, RLT’s ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate tissue repair makes it a powerful tool for managing pain, enhancing recovery from injuries, and even supporting mental well-being by boosting serotonin levels.
The application of RLT is diverse, encompassing everything from full-body panels to targeted devices like masks and wands. In fact, one of the main reasons for it being confused with infrared therapy is the growth of the so-called “red light sauna,” where individuals seeking relief can go to receive treatment. Of course, RLT is also frequently used at home via light devices provided by leading companies like Recover Red.

red light sauna therapy


Red Light Therapy Benefits

Despite being located very close to infrared on the spectrum, red light therapy only uses visible light to rejuvenate the skin's surface, reducing inflammation, and promoting collagen production. This makes it a particularly effective treatment for improving skin appearance, aiding in wound healing, and even stimulating hair growth.
Here are some of the primary benefits of red light therapy: 

  • Skin Rejuvenation and Health - Red light therapy excels in rejuvenating and enhancing skin health. It boosts collagen production and cellular regeneration, significantly reducing wrinkles and improving skin tone, clarity, and overall complexion. This therapy also aids in acne healing, offering a holistic solution for a variety of skin concerns.
  • Pain Relief and Tissue Recovery - RLT is also highly effective at alleviating pain and promoting tissue repair, aiding those recovering from injuries or battling chronic pain. It increases blood flow to injured areas and stimulates ATP production, which helps reduce inflammation and facilitate the body's healing processes.


  • Mood and Cognitive Enhancement - Exposure to red light has been linked to improved mood by increasing serotonin levels, offering potential benefits in managing depression and anxiety. It may also enhance cognitive functions by stimulating mitochondrial energy production, contributing to overall mental health and well-being.
  • Hair Growth Stimulation - Red light therapy shows promising results in stimulating hair growth by activating hair follicles, leading to thicker and healthier hair. This benefit is especially valuable for individuals experiencing hair loss or thinning by providing a gentle and effective treatment option that doesn’t include chemicals.


  • Accelerated Wound Healing - By promoting collagen synthesis and enhancing blood flow, red light therapy also accelerates the wound healing process. This capability is crucial for quick recovery from injuries and surgeries, minimizing downtime and enhancing the body's natural repair mechanisms.
  • Reduced Inflammation - The systemic application of red light therapy can significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body. This reduction is beneficial for a wide array of conditions, from sports injuries to chronic inflammatory diseases.


  • Improved Circulation – By enhancing blood flow to the areas of application, red light therapy helps support tissue repair and recovery. Improved circulation is key to faster healing, reduced recovery times, and overall enhanced bodily function.
  • Improved Joint Health - For those suffering from joint-related issues, red light therapy represents a non-invasive way to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with degenerative joint diseases and improve mobility.


  • Anti-Aging Effects - Red light therapy aids in diminishing visible signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines, by promoting collagen production. This effect leads to a decrease in the various outward signs of aging, resulting in a smoother, more youthful skin appearance.
  • Enhanced Muscle Recovery - By reducing muscle fatigue and soreness, red light therapy speeds up the recovery process after physical activities. This is particularly advantageous for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, enabling more efficient recovery and improved performance.


Red Light Therapy vs. Infrared Sauna Therapy: What’s the Real Difference?

infrared light for sauna

Choosing between infrared and red light therapy depends on your health and wellness goals. Infrared therapy excels in detoxification, deep muscle relaxation, and cardiovascular improvements, while red light therapy is renowned for skin rejuvenation, mood enhancement, and promoting tissue repair. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about which therapy aligns with your needs. So, when you’re looking for the right light for sauna use, you can make sure you choose the one that will benefit you the most.


Can Infrared Light and Red Light Therapy Be Combined?

The conversation about red light therapy vs. infrared sauna therapy actually misses one of the most important points: both can be used to support one another. In fact, many experts agree that combining infrared light and red light therapy can present a holistic approach to health and wellness, leveraging the distinct benefits of each to offer a comprehensive treatment solution.
While infrared therapy penetrates deep into the body’s tissues, promoting detoxification and relaxation, red light therapy focuses on cellular energy and surface-level rejuvenation. Together, they form a synergistic duo that can address a broad spectrum of health concerns.
Therefore, integrating these therapies into a single regimen is not only possible but highly beneficial. For instance, starting with an infrared red sauna session can prepare the body by deep cleansing and relaxing the muscles, enhancing the effectiveness of subsequent red light therapy by improving circulation and oxygenation of the tissues. This combination maximizes the body’s absorption of red light, amplifying benefits such as skin health, pain relief, and tissue repair.
Moreover, modern wellness centers and home devices are increasingly offering solutions that combine both therapies, allowing users to enjoy the compounded benefits without the need for separate sessions. This integration reflects a growing recognition of the complementary nature of infrared and red light therapies, providing a more efficient and effective way to enhance overall health and well-being.


Infrared and red light therapies offer unique paths to wellness, each with its special blend of benefits. Whether you're drawn to the deep warmth of infrared therapy for detoxification and relaxation or the gentle healing power of red light therapy for skin rejuvenation and mood enhancement, understanding the differences between these therapies can guide you toward the best choice for your health goals. More importantly, by integrating both therapies into your wellness routine, you can harness the full potential of light and heat energy to support a healthier, more vibrant you.

Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Added to cart