Differences between red light therapy device and infrared sauna

Both classic infrared saunas and modern LED red light therapy devices work on the principle of using infrared light. However, the resulting effect differs quite a lot.

In this article, we'll look at the main differences between infrared saunas and infrared panels, which may help you decide which one to invest in, or which is currently more suitable for you.



First, before we start comparing infrared saunas and red light therapy devices, let's explain how the infrared part of the spectrum can be divided.

Infrared radiation (IR) itself can be divided into three parts:

  1. Near Infrared (IR-A) - 760 to 1400 nm
  2. Mid Infrared (IR-B) - 1400 to 3000 nm
  3. Far Infrared (IR-C) - 3000 to 1 000 000 nm

Each of these areas affects our body in a different way and this brings us to the main informative idea of this comparative article.

Both devices produce a different part of the infrared wavelengths that bring different benefits to our health.



In case you choose an infrared sauna, you will be exposed to mostly medium and far IR radiation, which penetrate lightly into the body and heat your body using infrared radiation, unlike the Finnish sauna which heats the air which then heats the body. However, the spectra from an infrared sauna do not penetrate very deeply into the body. The mid-infrared spectrum (IR-B) passes into the upper skin and the far infrared spectrum (IR-C) heats only the surface of the skin.

The main difference between an infrared sauna and a red light therapy device is that an infrared sauna heats you up and thus you get different benefits compared to a red light therapy device, which generates therapeutic heat to a lesser extent.

Due to the heat, you will sooner or later start sweating profusely in the infrared sauna, which gives you the benefits of increased detoxification from waste substances and toxins through the skin.

The heat generated has an effect on the activation of so-called heat-shock proteins, which affect immune system function, can increase hypertrophic potential after a workout and much more.

Infrared sauna also improves sleep, reduces stress and increases overall relaxation and well-being.

The sensation effect after using the infrared sauna is very significant. The effect is such that you will literally feel great! The right length of exposure to the heat in the infrared sauna (depending on adaptation) will cause the release of endorphins, which induce a pleasant relaxation and good mood. Thanks to this effect, your body will remember the pleasant sensations and you will tend to repeat the sauna soon.



When you use an red light therapy device, unlike an infrared sauna, you are exposed to high-intensity red light (RED) and near-infrared radiation (NIR or IR-A). This does not heat the body to any great extent, but saturates the body with photons of electromagnetic radiation that have the ability to penetrate deeper into the tissues, down to the level of cells and mitochondria. The red spectrum is absorbed primarily by the skin and is especially important for healthy and youthful skin. The near-infrared spectrum has the unique ability to penetrate into the subcutaneous tissue, down to a depth of several cm. Both of these wavelengths are absorbed by cells in the mitochondria.

This brings us to the main effect of the red light therapy device, which is the stimulation of cellular energy production - adenosine triphosphate (ATP) produced by mitochondria.

By stimulating the production of cellular energy, more oxidative stress is temporarily created, which in this case strengthens the body, or rather the mitochondria, through a mechanism called hormesis. The body responds to the temporary increase in free radicals by increasing its antioxidant capacity. By regularly exposing yourself to these wavelengths, you will boost your health at the basic possible level, which, according to the latest research, has been shown to be absolutely crucial for the health of all tissues and organs, slowing down ageing and faster recovery.

Another specific effect of the red light therapy device is the stimulation of collagen production, which will give you healthier skin, hair and musculoskeletal system.

An important effect of the red light therapy device is the reduction of inflammation, both systemic, which is behind many diseases of civilization, and local, which can be triggered, for example, by injury or training.

The combination of the effect on reducing inflammation and stimulating collagen production is particularly effective in the case of healing unpleasant injuries or supporting the treatment of diseases such as arthritis.

The tremendous intensity of the red light (about 30,000 lux) makes the red light therapy device a very effective strategy for synchronizing circadian rhythms and also serves as an effective prevention against the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which affects an increasing percentage of people each year in the fall and winter.



If you are considering one of the devices and can't decide, you need to set priorities and goals for why you want to use the device.


Are you considering an infrared sauna?

  • Do you like heat?
  • Do you want to indulge in a ritual moment of peace for yourself?
  • Do you want to support your detoxification?
  • Do you want to reduce your stress levels?
  • Do you want to support your well-being through the endorphins released?
  • Do you want to support your immune system?


Are you considering a red light therapy device?

  • Do you want to significantly boost your life energy production?
  • Do you want to boost your health down to the lowest possible level, the mitochondrial level?
  • Do you want to noticeably speed up your recovery after a workout?
  • Do you want to reduce systemic or local inflammation and accelerate injury healing?
  • Do you want to improve the health and quality of your skin?
  • Do you want an extremely powerful circadian rhythm synchronizer?
  • Do you want to support your psyche and avoid SAD in the dark part of the year?
  • Do you want to have a very portable device that you can easily pack in your car?


The above questions can help you choose the right device for you. The above mentioned effects are the main reasons that should influence your choice the most.

Of course, for the enthusiast, it is possible to use both devices and specifically combine them to achieve all the effects mentioned. However, you need to be careful here, as it can be easy to overdo it with infrared radiation. Too much of anything is bad for you, and in this case the same applies.


Mgr. Adam Česlík


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