Infrared Therapy: 14 Proven Health Benefits (& How to Use)

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 mind-blowing, scientifically proven health benefits and (safe) uses, most of them you’ve never heard of.
infrared light therapy health benefits and uses

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And the best part?

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:

  1. The complete list of evidence-based health benefits of IR therapy
  2. Exactly how to use IR therapy to treat anything from Arthritis pain to hypertension, chronic fatigue, and weight loss – at your home.

But first:

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 parking 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 2020, Infrared (IR) technology advances allow you to enjoy the amazing health benefits of sunbathing – without the skin-damaging UV radiation.

Did you know? Infrared rays (700 nm – 1050 nm, frequency 430 THz) are so safe that it’s used to warm babies in the NICU.

👉 What Does Infrared Heat DO to Your Body?

Infrared light penetrates deep into your body (2-7 cm) 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

infrared light therapy benefits
Keep reading to see how to use it for each condition

Why is infrared good for you?

Well:

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?

Let’s go.

1. Long-Lasting Pain Relief (Muscles/Joints/Nerves)infrared light therapy for pain relief

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.

This includes:

  • 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).

There's More
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:

infrared for pain study quote

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 example:

👉 For back pain/muscle pain, I’d recommend an infrared massager or a  jade/amethyst infrared heating pad.

My infrared back pain belt – see on Amazon

👉 For Arthritis Joint pain I’d recommend either an infrared heat lamp or a flexible IR heating wrap you can wrap around your joint.

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 Detoxinfrared for 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.

The results:

  •  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 here) 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.

The Amethyst Biomat – lie on it and use a blanket to keep the heat. Turn to the other side after at least 30 minutes. From personal experience, I can say that the Biomat is amazing.

There's More

3. Calorie Burning & Weight Loss

infrared sauna for 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.

But:

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 – I recommend this one

Remember to drink up before, during, and after – no exceptions!

There's More
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?infrared sauna to boost immunityYou get a fever.

Why?

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.

And:

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.

Use an Infrared Sauna to Prevent Viral Infections
See our new post about how to use infrared sauna to boost immunity!

(However, do not use an infrared sauna if you already have a fever)

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

hyperthermia for cancer

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:

infrared therapy to fix low body temperature

And worse:

According to this study, Low body temperature is one of the little-known causes of obesity. Why? because Lower body temperature = slower metabolism.

what does infrared light do to your body

👉 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

amethyst biomat infrared heating pad
Me on my Biomatclick here to see where I got it

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:

How to use it at home

Using IR for injury recovery at home depends on the treatment area size and structure.

For example:

👉 Here are the 6 best knee heating pads for knee injuries and chronic pain.

7. Chronic Wound Healinginfrared for 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 formation of new capillaries.

The result:

The wound area receives more oxygen and nutrients to help with the natural wound healing process.

Find out more
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 
.

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.

However:

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 Neuropathyinfrared therapy for 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.
There's More
See exactly how to use light therapy for neuropathy (relieve nerve pain and restore nerve function) 

10. Stress Relief and Sleep Problems

It’s the first thing you’ll experience when you finish a full body infrared therapy treatment:

Complete relaxation.

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 well being, 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
  • Headaches
  • 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.

For example:

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 – see my full review HERE.

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 Rhinitisinfrared therapy for 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 results?

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.

Check out today’s price

Conclusion

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 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,

Meital

References

Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):542-548. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8187

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. Med Oncol (2008) 25: 229. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12032-007-9020-4

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/hyperthermia.html

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.

Ishiguro, M., Ikeda, K. & Tomita, K. J Orthop Sci (2010) 15: 233. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00776-009-1438-4

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.

22 thoughts on “Infrared Therapy: 14 Proven Health Benefits (& How to Use)”

  1. 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?
    Thanks, Paul

    Reply
  2. I have chronic shin splints. I am 82 , but very active and healthy in other ways. Nothing seems to help the shin splints!

    Reply
  3. 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 😊

    Reply
  4. 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!

    Reply
  5. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  6. Hello,

    What if you spend time in a traditional sauna ? Instead of infrared. Will it have the same benefits ? And what about steam rooms ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  7. I have read that light therapy should not be used while taking an immune suppressant drug. Can you explain why?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  8. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  9. 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?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

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