Red light therapy is nothing new – it has been used for decades to help with a variety of issues. But what is new is the technology that now allows for red light therapy to be used more effectively than ever before.
Currently, there are three main types of red light therapy – red, near-infrared and infrared, which have different characteristics that can be beneficial for our bodies in various ways.
If you’re new to the world of red light therapy, then it can be helpful to understand the difference between them before you decide which type is right for you and your pain relief needs….
Is one better than the other?
Luckily for you, we’ve put together a quick guide on red vs near-infrared vs infrared therapy, which should answer any questions you have about these types of light therapies and what benefits they offer… Let’s take a look!
The Red Light Spectrum
When people talk about red light therapy, they're usually talking about different types of light that you can't even see.
There's the regular red light that's visible to us which is between 630 and 660 nanometers.
And then there's the type called near-infrared that's invisible and falls in the range of 810 to 850 nanometers.
There's also another type of light called infrared light. Infrared waves have even longer wavelengths than near-infrared, measuring in at over 900 nanometers.
This means that infrared light can penetrate even deeper into the body, reaching up to several centimeters below the skin's surface.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a type of therapy that uses light-emitting diodes to produce red light. This red light is absorbed by the cells in your body, which can help to stimulate collagen production, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation.
Because the light only reaches a shallow depth of around 2mm, red light therapy is a popular choice for treating both cosmetic and surface-level medical issues.
If you have seen large panels of red light in a physical therapist’s office, then this is likely to be red light therapy in action!
The light from LEDs are emitted at an angle (called a beam angle), which causes the light to spread out over a large area – this is why LED red light therapy is effective for treating pain relief across a large area of the body, as opposed to just one specific area.
What Is Near Infrared Therapy?
Near-infrared (NIR) therapy, on the other hand, uses a different range of light wavelengths, typically between 810 to 850 nanometers (nm).
This range of light penetrates deeper into the body than red light therapy, reaching a depth of up to 5mm, and can be absorbed by muscles, joints, and even bone.
One of the primary benefits of NIR therapy is its ability to promote healing and reduce inflammation in deeper tissues.
It can also improve circulation and stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which is important for cellular energy and overall health.
NIR therapy is commonly used to help treat musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprains, strains, and joint pain.
It may also be used to help with chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even depression.
What Is Infrared Therapy?
Infrared therapy, also known as far-infrared therapy, uses light with wavelengths over 900 nanometers.
This type of therapy is similar to near-infrared therapy in that it can penetrate deeper into the body, but this type of therapy can reach up to several inches below the skin's surface.
Infrared therapy is commonly used in saunas, where the heat from the infrared light can help to improve circulation, boost immune function, and promote relaxation.
It can also be used to help with conditions such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, and joint stiffness.
Despite its strength, it's generally considered safe and well-tolerated by most people, but it's important to use caution when using these powerful devices, especially if you have sensitive skin or a medical condition that affects your ability to tolerate heat.
Red Light Therapy Vs Infrared Vs Near Infrared: What Are The Key Differences?
Now that we've discussed red light therapy, near-infrared therapy, and infrared therapy individually, let's take a closer look at the key differences between them.
When it comes to light therapy, cost is a factor that many people take into consideration. While the benefits of these therapies are undeniable, the price tag can vary widely depending on the type of therapy you choose.
Red light therapy is typically the most affordable option, with handheld skincare devices available for around $200-$400.
Larger panels can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size and quality of the device.
Overall, red light therapy is a cost-effective way to treat a variety of issues, from improving skin health to increasing wound healing and reducing inflammation.
Near-infrared therapy devices, on the other hand, can range from $400 to $800 or more, depending on the size and complexity of the device.
These devices typically offer deeper penetration than red light therapy, making them a good choice for treating deeper tissue issues like muscle and joint pain.
Infrared therapy devices, such as saunas and medical-grade devices, can range from one to several thousand dollars.
While this may seem like a steep price tag, infrared saunas offer a wide range of health benefits, from improving circulation to reducing inflammation and promoting detoxification.
Benefits of Each Light Therapy Type
Red light therapy, near-infrared therapy, and infrared therapy all offer a range of benefits for the body. Here's a closer look at the benefits of each type of therapy:
Red Light Therapy Benefits:
Stimulates collagen production: Red light therapy has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that helps keep skin looking youthful and healthy. Studies have found that red light therapy can help improve skin tone and texture and even reduce fine lines and wrinkles. 
Improves circulation and reduces inflammation: Red light therapy can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the body, making it an effective treatment for conditions like sports injuries, and muscle soreness. 
Can help with muscle recovery after exercise: Red light therapy has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery after exercise. For more details, why not check out our blog post Red Light Therapy Before Or After Workout? The Answers You’ve Been Looking For.
Can stimulate hair regrowth: RLT therapy has been proven to significantly improve hair density in a placebo-controlled trial. 
Near-Infrared Therapy Benefits:
Penetrates deeper than red light therapy for more effective treatment of musculoskeletal issues: Near-infrared therapy can penetrate deeper into the body than red light therapy, making it effective for treating conditions like muscle and joint pain. 
Stimulates the production of nitric oxide for improved cellular energy and overall health: Near-infrared therapy has been shown to promote nitric oxide production, which is essential for cellular functioning and health. 
May help reduce inflammation and improve circulation: Near-infrared therapy can help reduce inflammation and improve circulation in the body, making it an effective treatment for conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. 
Infrared Therapy Benefits:
Provides deep penetration for chronic pain relief: Infrared therapy can penetrate deep into the body, making it an effective treatment for chronic pain conditions. Studies have found that infrared therapy can help reduce pain and improve joint flexibility. 
Improves circulation and immune system function: Infrared therapy has been shown to improve circulation and boost immune system function, making it a good choice for overall health and wellness. 
Can help with detoxification and weight loss: Some studies have suggested that infrared therapy may help with detoxification and weight loss by increasing metabolic rate and promoting fat loss. 
How to Choose the Type of Light Therapy That's Best for You
With so many different types of light therapy available, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. Here's a closer look at some common uses for light therapy, and which type of therapy may be best suited for each:
For Pain Relief:
If you're dealing with chronic pain or inflammation, infrared or near-infrared therapy may be the best choice. This type of therapy can penetrate deep into the body, making it effective for treating conditions like osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
For Your Skin:
If you're looking to improve the appearance of your skin, red light therapy may be the way to go. Red light therapy has been shown to stimulate collagen production, improve skin tone and texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In addition to red light therapy, near-infrared therapy may also be effective for reducing signs of aging. Near-infrared therapy can penetrate deeper into the skin than red light therapy, making it more effective for treating deep wrinkles and other signs of aging.
For Your Hair:
Red light therapy has been shown to be effective for promoting hair growth and improving hair thickness and quality. If you're dealing with hair loss or other hair-related issues, red light therapy may be worth considering.
Both red light therapy and near-infrared therapy may be effective for reducing inflammation in the body.
Red light therapy can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the skin, while near-infrared therapy can penetrate deeper into the body for more effective treatment of musculoskeletal issues.
When choosing a type of light therapy, it's important to consider your individual needs and goals, as well as any health conditions you may have. With the right approach, light therapy can be an effective and non-invasive way to support your health and wellness!
The bottom line is, red light therapy is ideal for surface-level medical issues, while near-infrared therapy is effective for treating musculoskeletal injuries, and infrared therapy penetrates the deepest, making it suitable for chronic pain and deep tissue issues.
The question is, do you want to combine red and near-infrared light therapy to get the best of both worlds?
Our Move+ device has got you covered, combining both types of therapy in one convenient device!
Whether you're looking to relieve muscle and joint pain or rejuvenate your skin, the Move+ is the way to go.
So, what are you waiting for?
Order the Move+ today and feel the power of red and near-infrared light therapy in one device!
For more tips and guides on red light therapy:
- Red Light Therapy Vs. Near Infrared Vs. Infrared: Differences Explained
- Red Light Therapy And Distance From Your Skin: How Far Should You Be?
- Red Light Wavelengths: Everything You Need To Know
- What Does Red Light Therapy Do? A Beginner’s Guide
- How Often Can You Do Red Light Therapy?
- Red Light Therapy Benefits For Pain Relief
- How Dangerous Is Red Light Therapy?
Want to read about the science? Read:
1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/
2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126803/
3 - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dsu.12200
4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4148276/
5 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5699925/
6 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22220935/
7 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935255/
8 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935255/
9 - https://infraredsauna.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/weightlossstudy.pdf
10 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687728/