Pain relief, detox, and calorie burning.
If you’re like most people, these are the only infrared light benefits you’re aware of.
But here’s the real story:
Infrared light therapy (also known as Photobiomodulation) has more than 13 scientifically proven health benefits and (safe) uses, most of which you’ve probably never heard of.
And the best news?
These days, you can safely use infrared therapy technology (also known as MIRE therapy – monochromatic infrared light energy) at home, any time you need it.
(While saving hugely on your medical costs)
In this post you’ll find:
- The complete list of evidence-based health benefits of IR therapy
- Exactly how to use IR therapy to treat anything from Arthritis pain to hypertension, chronic fatigue, and weight loss – at your home.
👉 See the 7 Best Infrared Therapy Home Devices
This post may contain affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
- What is Infrared Light Therapy?
- 14 Proven Benefits of Infrared Light Therapy
- 1. Long-Lasting Pain Relief (Muscles/Joints/Nerves)
- 2. Full Body Detox
- 3. Calorie Burning & Weight Loss
- 4. Boosting Immunity & Cancer Healing
- 5. Raising Low Body Temperature
- 6. Injury recovery
- 7. Chronic Wound Healing
- 8. Lowering Blood Pressure
- 9. Peripheral Neuropathy
- 10. Stress Relief and Sleep Problems
- 11. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- 12. Fibromyalgia Pain
- 13. Brain Injuries
- 14. Allergic Rhinitis
What is Infrared Light Therapy?
The natural, non-invasive, and painless Infrared light therapy, also known as Low-Level Laser (LLLT) and photobiomodulation, is experienced by us as heat and is the invisible part of the sun’s light spectrum.
It’s the heat you feel when you get in your car after it’s been parked outside. It’s the warmth you feel on your skin when you relax on the beach.
We all naturally radiate infrared heat every day (even when we hug someone)
In 2023, Infrared (IR) technology advances allow you to enjoy the amazing health benefits of sunbathing – without the skin-damaging UV radiation.
What Does Infrared Heat Do to Your Body?
Infrared light penetrates deep into your body (2-7 mm) all the way to the inner layers of your skin, to your muscles, nerves, and bones. IR then boosts local blood circulation, which brings more healing nutrients and pain-relieving components to the area, while promoting a detoxifying sweat.
Research in the last decades has proven that this particular frequency of light offers a powerful healing boost to your body on a cellular level.
Below you’ll discover the complete list of science-backed health benefits of infrared therapy and the staggering amount of infrared heat health uses available to you today.
14 Proven Benefits of Infrared Light Therapy
Why is infrared good for you?
Near and Far-infrared therapy technology allows you to harness all the powerful benefits of the sun – without being exposed to UV light and without any side effects.
In fact, it’s so safe it’s used to keep babies warm in the NICU, and our bodies naturally radiate it!
Ready to know every way in which you can use infrared light therapy?
1. Long-Lasting Pain Relief (Muscles/Joints/Nerves)
Science has proven beyond any doubt that FIR therapy for pain is a safe, drug-free, and effective method for long-lasting pain relief and injury-healing – anywhere in your body.
- Muscle pain
- Joint inflammation and pain
- Spine injuries (bulging/herniated discs)
- Sports injuries
- Nerve pain (pinched nerves/Sciatica/Neuropathy)
World-class athletes (Tiger Woods is one of them) have been using it for years to quickly recover from sports injuries.
Doctors use it, physical therapists use it, and of course – acupuncturists (mainly via TDP lamps like this one).
👉 Find out exactly how it works and how to use infrared light therapy for pain
Research and Studies
There are dozens of studies, but here’s an example:
16 randomized controlled trials including a total of 820 patients with acute neck pain were peer-reviewed and concluded with this:
How to Use it at Home
There are multiple ways to use infrared therapy to relieve pain at home, depending on your health condition and treatment area size.
👉 For back pain/muscle pain, I’d recommend an infrared massager, a jade/amethyst infrared heating pad, or red light therapy panels such as Platinum LED Therapy Lights
👉 For Arthritis Joint pain I’d recommend either an infrared heat lamp or a flexible IR heating wrap you can wrap around your joints. for hand arthritis, tendonitis or carpal tunnel – use a heated wrist wrap. For elbow pain – use an elbow heating pad.
We also highly recommend using infrared gloves for arthritis hand pain stiffness and swelling!
👉 For Fibromyalgia pain I’d recommend a home infrared sauna – to treat your entire body at once while detoxing from toxins at the same time.
2. Full Body Detox
Infrared saunas are considered 7 times more effective at detoxifying heavy metals and other environmental toxins. Infrared sauna treatments heat your body directly, inducing a rise in your core temperature.
- A deep sweat at a cellular level, where toxins reside (such as cadmium, lead, and mercury).
- Enhanced metabolism, blood circulation, and tissue oxygenation.
Toxin detoxification can be extremely helpful for Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, chronic fatigue, colitis, any auto-immune disease, and even ADHD.
The best part?
These amazing results are produced at lower temperatures than a traditional steam sauna and can be much better tolerated by people who can’t withstand the high heat of steam rooms.
Lady Gaga has recently shared how she uses an infrared sauna to deal with her chronic back pain, and also describes it as an effective detox and weight loss tool.
How to Use it at Home
For full body detox, you’ll need a large infrared home device. Here are your options:
Home infrared sauna – either buying your own infrared sauna (compare the 4 best FIR saunas) or building your own near-infrared sauna – for less than $100 (instructions here)
Portable infrared sauna/dome – a portable infrared sauna is less costly, and you can keep your head out during treatment, which many people like.
👉 See 9 incredible infrared sauna results & benefits!
3. Calorie Burning & Weight Loss
Here are a few amazing facts about infrared therapy and weight loss:
First: While you relax in an infrared sauna, your body is actually working hard.
It’s working to produce a lot of sweat.
This hard “work” results in calorie burning.
According to a Journal of the American Medical Association report, you can burn as many calories as you would be jogging or rowing (200 – 600 calories) – in a single far infrared sauna session.
You will also lose “water weight” from sweating so much. You’ll gain back the “water weight” once you hydrate.
You won’t gain back the calories. Those are gone for good. (Until the next pizza that is)
Second, Infrared light therapy is proven to break fat cells and reduce body fat!
Research and Studies
A two-phase sauna weight loss study (conducted by Binghamton University in NY) found that increasing your body temperature results in a decrease in body fat.
(focus on that the next time you have a fever from the Flu…)
In the study, participants who used an infrared sauna 3 times a week for 30 minutes – dropped an average of 4% body fat over a four-month period.
For a 175-pound man, that represents a weight reduction of 7 pounds.
Control groups showed no drop in weight.
👉 See my full post about infrared sauna for weight loss!
How to Use it at Home
- Infrared sauna treatments – you can get them at your local spas, but purchasing your own FIR sauna will save you a ton of money in the long term (this is the best one for the money).
- Portable infrared sauna
Remember to drink up before, during, and after – no exceptions!
👉 If you want to reduce cellulite – go for red light therapy. Here’s how to use laser therapy for cellulite.
4. Boosting Immunity & Cancer Healing
How does your body react when it is fighting viruses and bacteria?
You get a fever.
1. Because raising your core body temperature boosts your immunity (by producing more white blood cells) while creating a heated environment in which bacteria can’t survive.
2. Because heating your body also causes blood vessel dilation, which enhances circulation and oxygen delivery throughout your body.
So, what do you do when you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu?
You hit the infrared sauna to rally your body’s natural defenses.
👉 See our new post about how to use an infrared sauna to boost immunity
What about cancer?
Raising core body temperature has been proven many times to inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cells (including breast, lung, and tongue cancer), according to Medical Oncology in London.
According to Dr. Mark Sircus, best-selling author of many allopathic medicine books, the easiest, safest, and most effective way of treating most diseases, including cancer, is to increase body temperature with infrared therapy.
Dr. Sircus shares more on his clinical experience with infrared therapy:
My experience is that sleeping on a Biomat offers the best treatment for cold conditions and is instrumental in treating cancer because of the increased immune response
Read more about using Hyperthermia for cancer on the American Cancer Society website
5. Raising Low Body Temperature
As you probably know, 98,6 F is considered the ideal body temperature for optimal health.
It helps maintain optimal blood circulation, vitality, and a strong immune system.
According to Dr. Sircus:
According to this study, Low body temperature is one of the little-known causes of obesity. Why? because Lower body temperature = slower metabolism.
How to Use it at Home
If you suffer from chronic low body temperature, you can safely use any infrared therapy device which treats your entire body:
- An infrared sauna/ portable IR sauna
- The full-body Amethyst Biomat
6. Injury recovery
World-class athletes (Tiger Woods is one of them) have been using phototherapy to speed up recovery from sports injuries for many years.
Physiotherapists and sports medicine specialists are well aware of the many studies proving that phototherapy reduces pain and inflammation caused by muscle injuries, spine injuries, and even broken bones.
Photo-biostimulation is proven to be beneficial for all sorts of injuries, including:
- Muscle injuries (see this study)
- Nerve injuries/damage (see this study)
- Joint injuries (see how to use phototherapy for knee pain)
- Broken/fractured bones (see this study)
How to use it at home
Using IR for injury recovery at home depends on the treatment area size and structure.
👉 Here are the 6 best knee heating pads for knee injuries and chronic pain.
7. Chronic Wound Healing
Here’s a mind-blowing fact:
According to many studies, cells exposed to near-infrared light (energy just outside the visible range) from LEDs – grow 150% to 200% faster than cells not stimulated by this light.
How does it work?
Near-infrared wavelength increases microcirculation and the formation of new capillaries.
The wound area receives more oxygen and nutrients to help with the natural wound healing process.
👉 See exactly how to use near-infrared light to heal diabetic wounds, Venus ulcers, pressure ulcers, non-healing surgical wounds, and much more – in our post about wound healing at home
RELATED: The 5 Best Heated Eye Pads (for eye infections and dry eyes)
8. Lowering Blood Pressure
How can one hour of FIR therapy affect high blood pressure?
According to medical researchers from Germany, one hour inside an infrared sauna can significantly reduce your BP levels, total peripheral resistance, and cardiac ejection resistance.
How does it work?
According to the journal of the American Medical Association, infrared heat therapy lowers BP by promoting the same physiological process that happens when you do aerobic exercise.
Your core body temperature slowly rises and stimulates blood vessel dilation. This results in increased blood flow, lower blood pressure, increased heart rate, and cardiac output – without you moving a muscle.
It’s exercising to reduce your blood pressure – without exercising.
Any active symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath that would cause a person to avoid moderate exercise would also be a reason to avoid an infrared sauna.
How to Use it at Home
The 2 best ways to use infrared therapy to reduce BP levels are:
- infrared sauna treatments – see the 4 best infrared home saunas – reviewed and compared.
- Sleeping on a full-body Amethyst Biomat – get more info here
9. Peripheral Neuropathy
Can low-level laser therapy relieve your Neuropathy symptoms?
Can it stop the numbing, the burning, tingling and excruciating pain – without any side effects?
The answer is YES.
In fact, this simple technology (also known as MIRE therapy – monochromatic infrared light energy) is proven to be the most effective drug-free pain relief available.
The key to the dramatic relief you’ll experience is nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a short-lived gas that is crucial to the health of your arteries.
This powerful signaling molecule relaxes them, regulates blood pressure, fights free radicals, and prevents platelets from clumping together.
Infrared light therapy prompts the release of nitric oxide, which enhances blood flow, brings oxygen nutrients, and pain-relieving components – to your tissues and nerves.
One of the best ways to treat Neuropathy at home is by using red light therapy wraps!
👉 See exactly how to use light therapy for neuropathy (relieve nerve pain and restore nerve function) [/su_service]
10. Stress Relief and Sleep Problems
It’s the first thing you’ll experience when you finish a full body infrared therapy treatment:
Muscle relaxation, pain relief, and mental clarity.
How does it work?
Infrared therapy is proven to balance your Cortisol (“stress hormone”) levels.
Ryotokuji et al. indicated that four weeks of FIR radiation administered to the feet of type 2 DM patients significantly reduced cortisol levels and blood glucose levels.
Infrared rays penetrate your body and promote muscle relaxation and endorphin (“feel-good hormones”) release.
Repeated infrared sauna sessions (or Biomat treatments) over several weeks can reduce stress levels long after you’ve finished treatment.
(Here’s a study showing Stress relief with the Biomat. )
I’ve found many people reporting a feeling of wellbeing, improved sleep, and greater peace of mind.
How to use it at Home
To manage stress levels and sleep problems, use either a portable home infrared sauna or the Amethyst Biomat.
11. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Infrared sauna treatments can treat and relieve almost all symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including:
- Fatigue lasting for 6 months or more
- Memory and concentration problems
- Sleep problems
- Joint and muscle pain
- Digestion and immunity issues
Research and Studies
Science is just starting to investigate the effect of infrared heat therapy on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
This pilot study has found that FIR sauna can significantly reduce fatigue:
On a scale of 1 to 10, the average level of fatigue was reduced from 6.7 to 4.8. Negative mood, including anxiety and depression, significantly improved after therapy.
The heat from infrared saunas is powerful and deep, yet surprisingly gentle and easy to tolerate at the same time.
How to use it at home
Use an infrared sauna or portable far infrared sauna for 15 minutes every day, followed by a 30-minute rest under a few blankets – along with a large glass of purified water.
12. Fibromyalgia Pain
Infrared saunas have been shown to reduce Fibromyalgia pain (and other symptoms) up to 78% (source). The infrared heat is especially good for people with Fibro because the heat is powerful and deep, yet surprisingly gentle and easy to tolerate.
How to use it Home
Infrared sauna treatments – 15 minutes once a day (140 F), followed by resting under a blanket for 30 minutes
Infrared heating pads – can be used for localized pain. I recommend the UTK Infrared heating pads
13. Brain Injuries
5 recent studies found that near-infrared light regenerates damage for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by reversing inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurodegeneration. With millions of TBI survivors and various other possible applications for NILT, this is one of the hottest topics in neuroscience today.
14. Allergic Rhinitis
Hay fever symptoms occur due to inflammation in the nose when your immune system “overreacts” to allergens in the air.
In this 2007 study, A WS TY101 FIR emitter was placed to face the patients’ nasal region at a distance of 30 cm. The treatment was performed for 40 min every morning for 7 days.
The symptoms of eye itching, nasal itching, nasal stuffiness, rhinorrhea, and sneezing were all significantly improved. No adverse side effects were recorded.
How to Use it at Home
You can use IAT (infrared allergy treatment) at home via a special infrared light therapy nostril device (a “nasal warmer”).
See the top 3 intranasal light therapy home devices for allergy relief
After a few sessions with IAT, allergy symptoms can begin to ease and can be successfully managed.
Infrared light therapy is one of the most versatile, effective, and pleasant natural treatments under the sun – using the sun. :)
👉 See 32 more amazing facts about infrared rays
Every year more scientific research proves IR’s amazing health benefits and uses – all of them can be used safely at home.
Make sure to browse around the site because we have researched and recommend the safest, highest quality infrared light therapy products on the market.
Feel free to message us on our Facebook page for any questions you may have! 😊
Use the comment section to ask us anything, we answer everyone.
To your health and happiness,
Sears, Margaret E et al. “Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review.” Journal of environmental and public health vol. 2012 (2012): 184745. doi:10.1155/2012/184745
Ishibashi, J., Yamashita, K., Ishikawa, T. et al. The effects inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells by far-infrared radiation (FIR) are controlled by the basal expression level of heat shock protein (HSP) 70A. Med Oncol 25, 229–237 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12032-007-9020-4
Landsberg, Lewis et al. “Do the obese have lower body temperatures? A new look at a forgotten variable in energy balance.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association vol. 120 (2009): 287-95.
Motoi Ishiguro, Kazuo Ikeda, Katsuro Tomita, Effect of near-infrared light-emitting diodes on nerve regeneration, Journal of Orthopaedic Science, Volume 15, Issue 2, 2010,
Ebrahimi, T et al. “The influence of low-intensity laser therapy on bone healing.” Journal of dentistry (Tehran, Iran) vol. 9,4 (2012): 238-48.
Beever R. Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: summary of published evidence. Can Fam Physician. 2009;55(7):691–696.
29 thoughts on “14 Health Benefits of Infrared Heat (& How to Use)”
I have glaucoma where nerve cells are dying. I recently bought a sauna. I loved it using it every other day, and felt grateful to have access to it. However, after few times using it, I experienced a decline in my peripheral vision. The eyes also get more blurry and achy.
Do you think it is due to too much of blood vessel dilation in the eyes? And what can I do to reduce this unwanted effect and still being able to use the sauna
Van, I think that you should consult with your doctor. There is one study I’ve found that claims that sauna therapy can damage eye tissues, but I’ve never heard of it until your question showed up here… maybe high temperatures are not great for sensitive eyes. If that’s the case, you can use a portable FIR sauna, that leaves the head out during treatments.
In the biomat you use, do you know what’s inside it. which produces the FIR?
Yes, Kevin, the FIR is produced by carbon fiber and a whole bunch of natural Jade stones. I hope this helps :)
My husband is having rotator cuff surgery. Could this be used in that area for faster healing? If so, which device would be recommended?
Yes, red light therapy is proven to help post-surgery. I would go for a red & infrared light therapy panel such as the Revive Light Therapy System. You can choose the right one according to your budget here – https://www.infrared-light-therapy.com/revive-light-therapy-reviews/
I would use glucosamine and esp marine collagen to help this BEFORE surgery.
It might reverse the problem.
Marine collogen is amasing!
I am looking to use FIR for fighting cancer and general cellular repair/rejuvenation. I am very interested in using a FIR (850nm to 940nm) LED array and direct it to my bed as I am asleep. Using a timer to regulate the amount of exposure time.
Is there documentation anywhere that could help to determine amount of light (LEDs) and how long the exposure time?
I have been searching online and have not found anything to help. Is there a FIR guru?
Hi Paul:) to my knowledge, there are no LED systems on the market with only the far infrared wavelength. They all include the visible red light wavelength as well, and that would interfere with your sleep, because it is very bright. I would consider using LED light therapy when you are awake and not while trying to sleep. As for specific amount of power, the number of LEDs and wavelength – there is no single proven “prescription”. It is all within a range. As for a FIR guru, the most famous FIR researcher (And a great advocate) is Michael Hamblin – http://ccibweb1.mgh.harvard.edu:8080/Photomedicine-test/faculty-hamblin-pi.htm#:~:text=Michael%20R%20Hamblin%20is%20a,of%20Health%20Science%20and%20Technology. I hope this helps:)
I have chronic shin splints. I am 82 , but very active and healthy in other ways. Nothing seems to help the shin splints!
In 1991 I bent over the bath to bathe my new baby. I collapsed with incredible back pain, weak from birthing obviously. A few minutes later using the infrared lamp I was practically better. I need to use my lamp much than I do. Great article, thank you 😊
Can you use a handheld unit on your face and neck?
Thanks so much for this wonderful article. It is answering 99.9% of my questions!
Yes, you can use it on the face and neck. Enjoy!
If you use the portable sauna does that mean that your face would not receive any benefits because it was not exposed directly to the infrared?
Generally, you would be right, but since the entire body’s blood circulation is boosted during the treatment – this improved blood flow will get to the face as well – bringing nutrients and promoting collagen production in the face as well.
What if you spend time in a traditional sauna ? Instead of infrared. Will it have the same benefits ? And what about steam rooms ?
You will have some of the benefits in a traditional sauna, especially the detox effect. However you may not get the pain relieving benefits of the deep penetrating infrared rays. Same goes for the steam room.
Is it ok to hold infrared light on the head
To my knowledge, if you keep it at a safe distance than yes. At least 24 inches away.
I have read that light therapy should not be used while taking an immune suppressant drug. Can you explain why?
I haven’t heard about it, but I can say that any drug that its side effect is light sensitivity, can not by used along with light therapy. If a certain immune suppressant drug causes light sensitivity, it would be best to avoid exposure to light. I hope this helps.
As a massage therapist, I am looking for an infrared light therapy device that would be simple to use, not heavy to carry around and would be effective for my clients’ aches, pains, arthritis, muscle strains & sprains, inflammation etc. What device would you recommend? And, would this be an effective modality to use for such things on clients?
Yes, it can be helpful for your clients. You can give them the massage while they are lying on an infrared heating mat. My best recommendation is the BioMat, which I own and love, and covers my entire body.
Can you provide some links as to how infrared light helps with digestion and gall bladder function?
Here’s one study for the gallbladder: http://www.healinglightseminars.com/laser-research-library/cholecystitis/
As for digestion, FIR works via promoting blood circulation throughout the body – which increases any body function, including digestion and metabolism.
Hi, I would like to ask whether LED facial mask would actually worsen hyperpigmentation? I have actually heard a few saying that after continuous use it had darken the shade of their skin and darken some of the hyperpigmentation spot that they originally intended to remove.
Also, can I use it after micro needing?
Red light therapy is not supposed to worsen hyperpigmentation, but what I’ve heard from people is that sometimes it appears to be worse but if you continue treatment it improves overall condition.
I wouldn’t use it after micro needing, I would allow the skin to heal at least for a couple days before treating it with something else.
Your comment regarding the use of IR for the treatment of cancer is misleading. The temperature increases in the body after low level light therapy are not significant enough to cause the temperature changes that the ACS propose. The temperature changes that the ACS talk about are generally produced by ablative lasers and follow the principles of photothermalysis, whereas you are describing photobiomodulation a very different technique and effect on the cell. In addition, you talk of photoimmunotherapy raising body core temperature. This is completely incorrect. Photoimmunotherapy as your own link states is a combination of monoclonal antibody tied to a photosensitizer and is not related to raising core temperature.
Thanks for your comment Steve. However, I have not mentioned photoimmunotherapy anywhere in the article, nor did I claim that infrared light therapy cures cancer. But, There is no doubt that infrared heat therapy increases core body temperature if used aggressively enough. There is no doubt that increased body temperature is correlated mathematically with increased immune system strength.
Maybe I should rewrite this section so Its better understood. Thanks again for your comment.