What is the difference between Infrared (IR) and Red Light therapy (RED LED)?

What are the benefits of IR and Red Light Therapy?

Every day, we are surrounded by light. Some is visible and some we cannot see. 

It does not need a medium and therefore it was thought it comprised both electric and magnetic properties. 

This lead to the discovery of the Electromagnetic Magnetic Spectrum. 

It starts with safe waves such as radio, microwave, infrared leading to visible light spectrum.

The other end is unsafe waves such as xrays and gamma rays.

This is where it gets a little tricky. The human eye can see wavelengths of light that range from 400- 700 nanometers (don’t worry, we’ll explain).  The human body can feel parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that cannot be seen, such as infrared heat!

Infrared heat and red light therapy are becoming progressively popular in the spa, wellness and beauty realms. They are often confused, but they are different and they do provide different benefits. We know both deliver amazing results, we see it all the time. Yet, they are often confused, but they are different and they do provide different benefits. Here is information you need to know about each, how they compare to each other and which benefits they provide.

The Science of Light Therapy

For ideal health, we humans require regular exposure to light! A great example is Vitamin D which comes from sunlight. The sun’s rays include the more commonly known ultraviolet light (UV), but more than half of its output is infrared. When it comes to visible light, violet colored light produces the most energy and red colored light provides the least.

As mentioned above, this spectrum classifies each form of energy by nanometers and its effect on the human physique. Nanometers are a unit of length equivalent to a billionth of a meter, and they are used to measure the wavelength of light. Since we’re comparing red light to infrared, it’s important to note their order on the spectrum.

  • Red light is visible and is most effective for use on the surface of the skin. Red light occupies the “long end” of the visible spectrum with wavelengths of 630nm-700nm.
  • Infrared light is invisible and is effective for use on the surface of the skin as well as penetration of about 1.5 inches into the body. Infrared sits right next to red light on the electromagnetic spectrum at 800nm to 1000 nm.

The wavelength infrared puts out is longer than the wavelength of red light, which allows infrared to penetrate more deeply into the body. The longer the wavelength, the deeper the penetration. Thus, the reason infrared provides some similar, but some completely different benefits than red light. The science behind these concepts has been around for centuries (see quick note at the bottom of blog).** Both have become available as effective wellness services.

The Benefits of Infrared Heat

Infrared is classified as light energy but we do not see it. We feel it as warmth. It is safe because all humans produce IR and it is easily absorbed by our tissues. How does infrared do it? When it enters the body, it breaks up fats and toxins that are trapped in water molecules, it makes us sweat to let them out and therefore an infrared session is one of the best ways you can naturally detox your body!

The beneficial effects after absorption into the body include: 

  • Pain relief 
    • increased blood flow and reducing inflammation
  • Detox
    • Breaks up fat and toxin in cells for release form the body
  • Weight Loss 
    • Boosting metabolism
    • Breaks up fats in cells to release from the body
  • Skin rejuvenation 
  • Relaxation
  • Improved sleep 
  • Improving diabetes and heart function
    • Increase blood flow
  • Helps with repair
    • Increased blood flow
    • Stimulation Fibroblast and Collagen formation
    • DNA repair
    • Cell and protein growth
    • Decreased pain

The Benefits of Red Light (LED)

Residing right next to near infrared on the spectrum, red light can (obviously) be seen! Many red-light therapy systems use small amounts of infrared along with red LED lights. Infrared penetrates deeply while red light works on the surface of the skin. Red Light LED produces its effects by stimulating collagen production because 700nm wavelength of Red light therapy is optimal for Collagen I production. While penetrating the skin, Red light LED:

  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Builds Collagen
  • Repair sun damage
  • Cellular repair
  • Better blood flow
  • Better lymphatic drainage
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Fading scars and stretch marks
  • Decrease hair loss
  • Stimulating positivity

How They Work Together

As you’ve noticed there are similarities between infrared and red light LED. They are both natural, drug / chemical free, non-invasive, effortless, safe, and users have reported no adverse short or long term side effects. Actually, users report AMAZING effects! While both therapies are beneficial,  the type you should choose depends on the outcome you desire. If you want to treat skin conditions on the surface,  Red light LED session is focused and effective. If there is toxicity in the body or stronger metabolic effects are desired, an Infrared session may be the better choice.  An Infrared session is a more holistic solution to wellness because it can provide skin rejuvenating benefits (like those of Red Light LED), but it can also help you burn calories, release toxins, increase blood flow, ease pain and put you in a state of utter relaxation.

To wrap it up, red light and infrared therapy each provide diverse benefits. Many people will utilize both.‍ We currently have Red Light LED Light Stim Panels and monthly memberships for that. We also sell a Medical Grade Far- Infrared Sauna for home use.  If we can fit the IR sauna into the office, we will be providing a full detox with IV therapy, Light stim Red light therapy and Far IR sauna treatments. Look for posts on social media and emails.  Join our email list below.

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**In the 1800-1900’s physician and scientist Niels Ryberg Finsen researched and successfully  implementedlight therapy as a treatment for smallpox, later winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology 1903 for his work. In 1910 John Harvey Kellogg also researched and wrote about the benefits of red light and infrared heat is his book “Light Therapeutics”. NASA then utilized red LED lights for plant growth on trips to space and noticed the astronauts also received a positive effect on their mood, healing and wound treatment. NASA also used infrared heat to provide the astronauts with cardiovascular conditioning.