How to Use Infrared Therapy for Pain Relief (at Home)

Can infrared light therapy relieve back pain (or any other pain) effectively? Is it proven to work?

What do infrared rays do to your body?


How do you use far and near-infrared light therapy for pain relief – at home?

You’ll find all the answers here.

infrared light therapy for pain relief

What is Infrared Light Therapy?

Are you aware of the pain-relieving abilities of the sun?

NASA has discovered more than a decade ago how to harness one of the most powerful healing energies in the universe.

Infrared rays.

The heat that’s warming you from the core when you’re out on the sun is far infrared rays.

infrared light pain treatment

FIR waves are a safe form of light energy (not dangerous UV rays) that heat your body by direct light conversion. This means they directly warm you deep inside – without warming the air around you.

Infrared light therapy is part of the near-infrared (NIR) window, with wavelengths from 650 to 1350 nm which enables light to reach its maximum depth of penetration in the tissue.


What does that have to do with pain relief?

In a Hurry?
Jump to the best infrared pain relievers in 2023

How Does Infrared Light Therapy Relieve Pain?

Thanks to the deep penetration of infrared rays (up to 2 centimeters into body tissue) deep heating occurs in your muscles and internal organs. This is the unique superpower of infrared light therapy.

Your body responds to this heat by increasing your heart rate and your blood flow.

The American Heart Association found that FIR rays can almost triple blood flow.

The increase in blood flow brings more healing!

infrared therapy how it works for pain

Your pain (and any type of pain) is caused by inflammation. It can be muscle inflammation, nerve, or joint inflammation.

This rush of blood flow helps your body release toxins, inflammation, and other waste. It brings vital nutrients needed for healing.

The result?

Pain, even stubborn pain that has lasted for years – Begins to disappear. Muscles stop aching, inflamed joints loosen up, mobility increases, and muscle spasms stop.

What Types of Pain Can Infrared Therapy Help?

Anyone suffering from any kind of acute or chronic pain can benefit from LLLT. It can help with:

  • Arthritis/Rheumatoid arthritis/Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Back muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve pain/Neuropathy
  • Stroke recovery
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Brain injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Tendonitis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease

👉 See the full list of infrared light therapy benefits

And here’s the good news:

You don’t have to get out of your home to use the quickest and least invasive pain relief you’ll ever feel.

👉 See The 5 Best Infrared Body Massagers for pain relief and the top 7 Infrared Foot Massagers

How to Use Infrared Therapy for Pain Relief at Home 

Don’t break that savings account yet.

You won’t need an expensive treatment series at some clinic/spa.

And you don’t need to buy a $5000 home far infrared sauna.

(You can do it yourself for less than $100 – here are the full  DIY Infrared Sauna instructions)

All you need is a high-quality infrared therapy device that emits the right wavelength, to fit your needs.

infrared heating pad
See my review of the UTK infrared heating pad! 

You switch it on and relax for 30-60 minutes max. (or better yet – meditate) and feel your pain leaving your body.


Not all infrared light therapy devices will help you.

The right one must be:

1. Comfortable and easy to use

2. Built with good materials, robust construction (won’t fail to deliver the heat)

3. Equipped to emit low or no EMF radiation

4. With a timer, so you won’t have to check your watch while relaxing

5. The right size to fit your pain area (a small hand-held device will not help with back pain)

6. Flexible if you need to wrap it around joints

7. Usable outside your house (we are all busy) – in your car or office.

8. Infrared heating pads should include healing stones to emit FIR energy (jade/amethyst stones)

9. Compatible with 110V and 250V systems

How to Choose an Infrared Pain Relief Device 

If your pain area is large (such as your lower/upper back) – choose a good infrared heating pad (they usually come in a few sizes).

If your pain area is small (knees/elbows) – choose a handheld infrared device, or a 2-panel LED infrared device (so you can tie it around your joints).

beurer infrared lamp for arthritis
Beurer 150W infrared lamp – view on Amazon

Here are the 3 most recommended infrared home devices, all of them FDA-cleared and meet the high standards listed above:

1.  UTK infrared heating pad

2. Beurer IL21 infrared heat lamp

3.  Portable infrared saunayour own full-body IR sauna for a fraction of the cost!

infrared heated back belt
My infrared jade heat wrapcan be wrapped around the back, legs, and arms!

4. Infrared lamp – click the link to learn how to use an infrared lamp for pain!

Infrared Therapy Side Effects

To be honest, I’ve never experienced any side effects of infrared therapy.

FIR rays are so safe, that it’s being used in hospital neonatal care units to keep newborn babies warm and to treat jaundice. Studies so far have found no adverse side effects or risks from using red light therapy, in short, or long-term use.

In fact, at the LLLT Symposium, held in 2009, one of the scientists chose to put it like this:

“The only way a (low-level) laser is going to hurt somebody is if they drop it on their foot.”

However, do not use infrared therapy in the following cases:

  • If you are pregnant or nursing
  • If you have thyroid problems (do not point to the neck area)
  • If you are taking drugs known to cause photosensitivity reactions

Infrared Heat vs. Electric Heat (Regular Heating Pads)

Infrared heat is nothing like the regular electric heating pad you probably have at home.

The simple heating pads are like toaster ovens. Electricity flows through wires and that generates heat.

It feels good, but it only penetrates about 1/10 of an inch into your body. That’s not very deep, is it?

On the other hand:

With infrared therapy, penetration is up to 2 inches below your skin.

And since the heat goes deeper – your pain disappears for longer.

1. FIR therapy relaxes muscles, nerves, and joints that ordinary heating pads can’t reach, by sending heat up to 20 times deeper below your skin.

2. FIR energy promotes healing by increasing circulation for up to 6 hours so the pain stays gone.

3. LLLT does not mask the symptoms of pain, it encourages the healing of the actual cause of the pain.

Does it sound too good to be true? (proof below)

In the last 40 years, leading researchers have studied the healing power of FIR energy and made some amazing discoveries.

Hundreds of studies from around the world (including Japan, the leading advocate of infrared therapy) have proven the benefits of phototherapy for pain.

For example:

This human study, published by the Pain Research and Management Journal, has found:

“The IR therapy unit used was demonstrated to be effective in reducing chronic low back pain, and no adverse effects were observed.”

This study gathered 16 randomized controlled trials including a total of 820 patients with acute neck pain.

The patients in these 16 studies were all treated with an IR device. The results were amazing:

“We show that LLLT reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain.”

If you’d like to know more, search online for Dr. Michael Hamblin, an associate professor at Harvard, who has published over 300 papers about the healing effect of low-level laser therapy (phototherapy).

You can see a solid review of the proven effectiveness of Infrared therapy for pain by the  “National Center for Biotechnology Information here.

See the top 5 infrared heating pads in 2023


infrared rays for pain infographic
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Here are the 3 compelling reasons you too may want to use infrared therapy for pain relief:

1. It’s a natural, non-invasive, and side-effect-free pain relief method.

2. It’s been scientifically proven for over 40 years.

3. It’s cost-effective and will save you time and money.

Proof for all of the above is right here in the post.

Infrared therapy benefits have been scientifically-backed for over 40 years, yet it’s still uncommon and underused to this day.

How about you? Are you going to join us?

Have you any experience with phototherapy?

Share your story in the comments below.

To your health and happiness,



Gale, G. D., Rothbart, P. J., & Li, Y. (2006). Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Pain research & management11(3), 193–196. doi:10.1155/2006/876920

Chukuka S. Enwemeka, Jason C. Parker, David S. Dowdy, Erin E. Harkness, Leif E. Harkness, and Lynda D. Woodruff.Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.Aug 2004.ahead of print

Bjordal, J.M., Lopes-Martins, R.A., Joensen, J. et al. A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of Low-Level Laser Therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). BMC Musculoskelet Disord 9, 75 (2008) doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-75

Meital James
Founder and CEO of 4 healthy living blogs, has a background in Naturopathic medicine, research, journalism, and nutrition. Her blogs are the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and experience and all the posts are verified by scientific findings.

4 thoughts on “How to Use Infrared Therapy for Pain Relief (at Home)”

  1. What should I buy for arthritis pain in hip?
    And what for neuropathy in my feet
    I am requesting your help in selecting the correct and best “instruments”
    Thank you !

  2. My husband has had neuropathy in his feet for years and the Drs claim there’s nothing that can be done. Why have they never recommended this???

    • They haven’t recommended it the same way they don’t recommend anything that doesn’t involve medication or surgeries. If I want to stay positive I would tell you that they don’t know about it. If I’m less positive I would say there is no profit for them from this solution.


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