Red Light Therapy Vs. Saunas: The Showdown

You may know something about the health benefits of traditional and infrared sauna, but what about red light therapy benefits? This relatively new form of light therapy relies on long-wavelength light in the 630nm-1300nm range which can penetrate the body and cause all kinds of useful health effects. 

Before you say that red light therapy vs saunas isn't a practical comparison, hear this: red light therapy can bring about most of the same health benefits as a sauna including: 

  • Better immunity
  • Relaxation and stress relief
  • Better sleep 
  • Improved heart and brain health
  • Faster healing and tissue repair

With that in mind, it is time to give some serious thought to red light therapy and health benefits. It can be used alongside saunas and other wellness practices to improve your general well-being, especially since it's much more convenient and affordable for home use.

A Clear Difference: Red Light Therapy vs. Saunas

When you think of a sauna, what comes to mind is a small room full of hot steam. This is the traditional sauna as used by the Finnish.

A modern version of the sauna uses infrared heat lamps in the place of heated steam. Either way, the goal is to raise the body temperature and cause sweating, detoxification, relaxation, increased blood flow, stress relief, and more. 

On the other hand, red light therapy doesn't transfer any heat to the body. Instead, the long-wavelength light interacts with cells and causes mitochondria to produce more energy molecules. In other words, red light therapy triggers increased cell activity by increasing energy production. 

What this does for the body is that it causes cells to regenerate faster and create more products at the cellular level. Scientists are still researching how exactly red light therapy affects cells apart from absorption of energy, but its efficacy in this manner has been studied and documented by many independent research bodies.

Thus, red light therapy is fundamentally different from saunas and steam therapy in the way energy is transferred. RLT relies on visible red light and near-infrared light waves, while saunas rely on either direct or indirect heat. The body reacts differently to these triggers, but the health benefits are generally similar. The heat of a sauna increases blood flow, causes sweating, kills bacteria, and relaxes the body. 

Irradiation with red light therapy causes increased cell activity below the skin surface, which gives you a range of health benefits. The benefits of red light therapy and saunas compare very favorably despite the practical differences. 

Benefits of Red Light Therapy and Saunas

Benefits of Saunas

One of the latest reports on the benefits of saunas shows that they can have more health benefits than previously thought of. 

1. Pain Relief

The heat from saunas causes dilation of blood vessels, which means increased blood flow and muscle relaxation. This can help relieve chronic pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis. 

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Stress has been pinpointed as a major causative factor of many conditions including cardiovascular health, mental health conditions, diabetes, hypertension, and more. Saunas help to relax the body and mind simultaneously, reducing the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and thus lowering the risk of lifestyle diseases. 

3. Saunas are Good for Your Respiratory Health

The hot steam in saunas is very good for pulmonary health conditions such as asthma and COPD. Studies suggest that wet saunas can help improve ventilation and temporarily ease breathing problems. 

It also reduces lung drainage and reduces inflammation, which is why some people have been praising the use of steam for temporary relief for COVID-19.

4. Lower Risk of Dementia, Alzheimer's, and Other Mental Health issues

Regular use of saunas is known to reduce the risk of mental health problems such as dementia and Alzheimer's by as much as 22%. This is associated with the improved state of mind general body health which saunas can provide.

5. Saunas Help With the Skin

Saunas have amazing health benefits for the skin. Thanks to increased circulation and detoxification, it helps the body deal with acne, inflammation, psoriasis, and even eczema. It also gives the skin a youthful, radiant appearance.

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy and near-infrared therapy affect cell functions uniquely. It results in many health benefits such as: 

1. Improved Skin Health

Just below the skin is a layer of cells called fibroblasts that produce collagen. Red light therapy stimulates these cells to produce more collagen and reproduce more, which gives the skin more elasticity and a youthful appearance. Red light therapy is one of the best ways to reduce the signs of aging. 

Studies also show that RLT can help to treat various skin problems such as acne by rejuvenating skin cells and reducing inflammation. 

2. Improved Healing of Chronic Wounds

For people with conditions such as diabetes, chronic wounds are a big problem. Red light therapy helps these wounds to heal faster by reducing inflammation, stimulating cell regeneration, and increasing immune functions in the affected area.

3. RLT Can Help With Pain

Red light therapy helps with temporary pain relief and stiffness in people with arthritis and various other musculoskeletal disorders. 

4. Anti-Inflammation 

We have stated severally that red light therapy helps with inflammation. It is not exactly understood how this works, the effect is significant. Red light therapy using light of varying wavelengths can help with inflammation-related diseases such as tendinitis, obesity, Alzheimer's, and type-2 diabetes in this manner. 

5. Sleep 

The soothing and relaxing nature of red light therapy is an excellent treatment for sleep-related conditions such as sleep apnea and insomnia. RLT helps by regulating the body's circadian rhythm and lowering stress levels.

6. Mental and Psychological Benefits

For people with conditions such as depression and anxiety, red light therapy can have a very soothing and healing effect. It is often used medically to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but it also relaxes the mind and reduces stress levels enough to reduce stress hormones. 

Find Time for Both Sauna Sessions and Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is not meant to be a substitute for saunas. Instead, both have different but significant applications to general health which should interest anyone interested in improving their general wellness and health.  

Saunas remain an excellent form of traditional therapy, but red light therapy has special benefits that you should take advantage of. More importantly, you can now purchase red light therapy devices for use at home, which makes it more affordable and accessible than ever before. 

The team at Red Light Therapy is proud to bring you affordable, FDA-approved devices for medical-grade red light therapy right there in your home. We invite you to contact us and make one more step towards a wholesome and fulfilling life.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180801131602.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/