Infrared Vs Red Light Therapy

Infrared Vs Red Light Therapy

Light power plays an integral role in wellness; infrared sauna and red light therapy both use light power, albeit with different approaches. The full-spectrum infrared sauna and the far-infrared sauna treatments use heated panels for therapy. Chromotherapy, also known as color light therapy, red light treatment, or near-infrared light, incorporates therapeutic light wavelength applications for its benefits.

Red light therapy is not heat therapy; it doesn't work by elevating the body's temperature. The wavelengths associated with the visible color spectrum are responsible for the specific health benefits of red. The number of LEDs placed on a panel emits sufficient light to influence our biology, similar to how ultraviolet light affects your body. 

The infrared sauna produces excessive sweating using heat panels that penetrate directly and deeply into the body instead of heating the air in the sauna cabin. When your body works hard to return to a cooler temperature, the reaction is similar to a mini workout with comparable health benefits.

Differences Between Infrared Saunas And Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy uses light waves to penetrate the skin and deeply influence many physiological body processes. The infrared sauna relies on deep, direct, penetrating heat to inspire sweating and achieve the same result, albeit with distinct health benefits.

Red light therapy and infrared saunas are distinct in their heat exposure. The infrared sauna directs heat deeply into the body to induce heavy sweating. Red light therapy has minimal heat associated with the treatment, only experienced when standing near the light panels. This doesn't cause sweating.

Heating/Light Technology

Red light therapy and infrared saunas are distinct in how their heat resource are used. Red light therapy produces a low dose of red or near-infrared light, which is invisible to the eye, but the body detects it as a powerful warmth. The treatment involves a laser or lamp to introduce red-spectrum light beams that penetrate deeply into the skin.

The infrared sauna uses heat panels like infrared lamps that produce deep, penetrating heat directed toward your body. These don’t heat the room’s surrounding air, nor is the heat as hot as a traditional sauna.

Treatment Area

Red light therapy is a more localized therapy. The device can be flexible and portable, allowing it to reach specific areas without exposing your entire body. The infrared sauna is more of a full-body experience. When you go into a sauna room, your entire body is exposed. The panels are directed at your body, providing a deep, penetrating heat that inspires excessive sweating.

Temperature Range

A primary difference between red light therapy and infrared saunas is the heat produced. Red light is a cool treatment, while infrared saunas produce temperatures as high as 150 degrees F. The objective of infrared saunas is to increase the body’s core temperature. You will only experience heat and sweating with red light if you are near the panel.

Accessibility/User Friendly

Red light therapy is awarded ease of use, although the infrared sauna is also relatively user-friendly. The only requirement for the red light is to press a button, and the session will begin. Cleanup is simple since there's no sweating or mess of any kind. 

Conversely, after using an infrared sauna, you're encouraged to shower to eliminate the toxins and sweat from your skin.

Once turned on, the red light panels are instantly ready for use, making them perfect for anyone who needs to fit in a session alongside a hectic schedule. Their size allows them to be set up virtually anywhere, with some people keeping them in their workspace to take advantage of the therapy during breaks or at lunch.

However, an infrared sauna needs to heat up for roughly 20 minutes, which are fixtures in the household.

Purported Benefits

These types of therapies have their benefits, and we have highlighted the best ones below in this table:

Red Light Health Benefits

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

Reducing excess inflammation to bring it back to normal

Improved muscle recovery following workout

Improving sleep quality to promote alertness the following morning

Countering issues of pain

Countering pain like muscle and joint aches and pains

Improved blood flow and circulation

Improving recovery following workout and enhancing athletic endurance

Detoxification: ridding the body of harmful toxins

Energy-boosting from the cellular level

Slows down the ageing process

Wellness support for dental well-being, hair and eyes

Encourages fat loss

Improving blood flow and managing blood sugar

Improves skin health

Reduced risk for conditions including diabetes, autoimmune diseases like Parkinson’s, heart conditions and blood vessel issues.

Relieves stress and episodes of fatigue

Storage/square footage

The smallest one-person sauna kit still occupies interior floor space in the home. Plus, more people prefer an allowance for more than one person, meaning the sauna will be even larger. The red light system takes up comparable floor space to a floor lamp. The unit is easy to store away when not in use. It's perfect if you live in a small space that can’t accommodate a sauna of any size.

Energy efficiency

The recommended time for a red light therapy session is roughly 20 minutes, while the infrared sauna should be used for up to 40 minutes to achieve optimum results. When comparing energy consumption for each session, the infrared sauna uses "10 times more energy than the red light therapy." However, the sauna is still considered an exceptionally energy-efficient system.

Here is a table showing how much energy an infrared sauna consumes over time versus red light therapy:




Infrared sauna (1-person unit)

Roughly 1170 watts

40 minutes

Infrared sauna (3-person unit)

Roughly 1850 watts

40 minutes

Infrared sauna (5-person unit)

Roughly 3800 watts

40 minutes

Red light therapy

Roughly 350 watts

20-minute max session

The costs

When looking for a cost-efficient therapy option, red light therapy is more budget-friendly regardless of the wood materials used for the sauna room and whether it's a one-person unit or for multiple people. This is primarily due to its exceptional energy efficiency.

Find below the cost factors that affect the operation of infrared saunas versus red light therapy:




Infrared sauna

Roughly $65 to operate per year for a 1-person unit

Consumes approximately 1167W W per 40-minute session in energy

Red light therapy

Roughly $15 to operate per year, regardless of the type of unit

Consumes approx 116W if you were to extend to a 40-minute session in energy

Shop Our Collection Of low-EMF Infrared Saunas

Is Red Light Therapy The Same As Infrared power?

Infrared heat is not the same as red light therapy, despite each containing components of similar near-infrared wavelength. Near-infrared light uses light beyond the visible spectrum with a wavelength between roughly "760 and 1500 nm. It's called near-infrared because it's 10 nm from light's visible spectrum. 

Visible light exists in varied wavelengths that range up to 750 nm (nanometers), with red at 660 nm. Infrared light spans as much as 1 million nm, consuming a substantial portion of the spectrum.

The primary takeaway is that infrared saunas utilize a vast infrared spectrum, while red light therapy employs select wavelengths. Those wavelengths that rise above 1000 nm will generate heat. Red light therapy doesn't reach that level, explaining why the heat emission is minimal. An infrared sauna's primary application is its intense heat distribution.

Final Thought

At CalmSpas, we offer the highest-quality infrared saunas with premium features and the latest technology. 

Reach out with any questions or concerns. We are a reputed and reliable leader in the industry, with a solid following of previous and current customers who will offer solid feedback on their positive venture. We aim to bring you a relaxing and rejuvenating full-body experience.