Red Light Therapy vs Near Infrared Light Therapy

By Dr Kelly

June 27, 2023

How is near infrared light therapy different from red light therapy

Wavelength Range

The primary difference between red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy lies in the wavelengths of light used. Red light therapy typically utilizes wavelengths between 620 to 700 nanometers (nm), which appear as red or orange light. Near-infrared light therapy, on the other hand, uses wavelengths between 700 to 1100 nm, which are not visible to the human eye.

Penetration Depth

Another significant difference is the penetration depth of the light into the body. Red light has a shallower penetration depth compared to near-infrared light. Red light primarily affects the outer layers of the skin and underlying tissues, whereas near-infrared light can penetrate deeper into the body, reaching muscles, joints, and even bones.

Cellular Effects

Despite their differences in penetration depth, both red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy exert similar cellular effects. They stimulate mitochondria within cells to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), leading to increased cellular metabolism and energy production. They also modulate gene expression, promote collagen production, reduce inflammation, and enhance cellular repair and regeneration.


Due to their differences in penetration depth, red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy may be used for different applications. Red light therapy is often used for superficial skin conditions, such as acne, wrinkles, and wound healing. Near-infrared light therapy is commonly used for deeper tissues and may be beneficial for conditions like muscle strains, joint pain, and neuropathy.

Device Design

Devices used for red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy may differ in terms of their design and specifications. Red light therapy devices typically emit visible red or orange light, while near-infrared light therapy devices emit light that is not visible to the human eye. The choice of device may depend on the specific condition being treated and the desired depth of penetration.

At discovery health healing center, our devices are a combination of both red light and near infrared light to get the maximum benefit.


And there is many other light wavelengths out there.Red light therapy is not the same as near infrared light therapy.Red light therapy is superficial and it's great, but you can get a lot of red light therapy products and you think they're doing all the same things as near infrared.So again, as a medical provider, it's very important to me that I differentiate that, because hear people talking about it wrong all the time.Everybody refers to it as red light.And red light is what you get after you have a facial and after you're working to help the skin.It's wonderful for the skin.And there's green light and there's blue light and they have different health benefits in the body.But the majority of photobiomodulation and the research, the changes that can happen healing nerves.There's research of cutting a nerve using near infrared light therapy and the nerves grow back together.

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About the author

Dr. Kelly has 25 years of expert medical experience caring for the sickest of the sick people in critical care (including ICU, Heart surgery, Heart & Lung transplant surgery, as well as cardiology). She is a clinical specialist who has taken care of and trained others to care for the critically ill/the elderly and developed many screening and preventative programs to help improve the health of the population. The reality is that most people just don't have to be that sick. or stay that sick. So, Dr. Kelly decided to change the focus of the care she provided: to prevent, reverse and restore the health of individuals.

Dr. Kelly

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