Sauna Space’s portable infrared saunas allow consumers to experience the benefits of red light therapy (RLT) from home. | Photo courtesy of Sauna Space

Red Is the New Black

Infrared Light Holds Promising Future in Wellness

By Hailey Bethke

Red light therapy (shortly known as RLT) is a controversial tool gaining popularity in the wellness industry, though it has been around for centuries. The core function of the treatment arises from the use of low-wavelength red light frequencies. New technology has created various opportunities for the average consumer to try RLT, ranging from handheld devices, full-body panels, and infrared saunas that make for easy accessibility in fitness centers, spas, medical clinics, and homes.

Recharge Health’s FlexBeam handheld RLT device lets users target specific areas of the body for optimal cell regeneration. | Photo courtesy of Recharge Health

The therapy is primarily used to enhance at-home skin regimens. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the process has been linked to increased skin elasticity and reduction of wrinkles, scars, redness, and even acne. In addition, it is believed to have several other applications, including better healing (for wounds and strained muscles), improved brain health, deeper sleep, and a strengthened immune system.

The process has been linked to increased skin elasticity and reduction of wrinkles, scars, redness, and even acne.

Photo courtesy of SaunaSpace

Modern RLT was used in an astronomical experiment by NASA, first in attempts to foster plant growth in space and later to heal astronauts’ wounds. From here, further medical research was conducted, and red light is now widely used in combination with photosensitive medications in photodynamic therapy, which uses light activation to trigger the destruction of cancerous cells. RLT is most frequently applied on its own to stimulate new cell growth, which energizes cells to repair skin and alleviates signs of aging by increasing collagen production. These findings were mirrored in a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, which discovered that after one week of using low-level red and infrared light, patients experienced increased quantities of hyaluronic acid (which aids skin flexibility and decreases fine lines), collagen proteins, and elastin proteins.

Photo courtesy of SaunaSpace

Red light therapy is also often used in infrared saunas, which have recently captured the spotlight in the wellness space with benefits ranging from longevity to increased peak performance. SaunaSpace, an industry leader, explains that detoxification is one of the core benefits of infrared saunas. With increased exposure to environmental toxins, sweating in a relaxed state “promotes blood flow to your organs, creating a detox that starts at the cellular level and reaches the whole body. In just one twenty-minute session, you could release up to a pint of sweat—and with it, harmful substances that have built up over time,” SaunaSpace says. Recent studies have even shown that people who regularly used infrared saunas experienced pain relief, as RLT stimulates our cells’ mitochondria, improving oxygenation, circulation, and healing responses to aid joint and muscle pain. Combining saunas’ detoxification, peak performance, and immunity-strengthening benefits with infrared light has created a versatile product used by professional athletes, skincare gurus, and health-conscious individuals.

Photo courtesy of SaunaSpace

The core function of the treatment arises from the use of low-wavelength red light frequencies.

Recharge Health’s FlexBeam portable RLT device is another innovative option that supports our bodies’ natural recovery through red light’s ability to boost ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a nucleotide vital to energy production) and cellular energy. Designed to increase functionality and mobility, FlexBeam targets peak performance; its flexible design even allows the device to be placed on any part of the body that needs treatment. Recharge Health also explains that humans are naturally drawn to sunrise and sunset because these are the times of day when red light is available in the highest quantities; we are biologically wired to participate in this circadian rhythm. Our bodies have intuitively known the healing power of light for centuries, even though we are just gaining scientific evidence to support the usage of red light therapy for healing and well-being.

Photo courtesy of Recharge Health

Still, the total effectiveness of red light therapy is unknown. The good news is that red light is harmless and is free from any skin-damaging effects when used under dermatologists’ recommended guidelines, unlike UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. While red light therapy is still waiting on a green light from some medical professionals, who are currently underway with further clinical trials, the outlook is promising for the future of at-home functional medicine.

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To learn more, search “red light therapy” at or find out how to start your RLT regimen at and

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