An image showing a person receiving the benefits of near infrared light

The Benefits of Near Infrared Light: 21 Reasons To Embrace This Light Therapy

Near-infrared light is more than just a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s a powerful tool with a range of health benefits.

From pain relief to skin rejuvenation, near-infrared light therapy is gaining popularity for its effectiveness and versatility.

Our ancestors were using light therapy all the time. Theirs was in the more natural form, called the sun.

In our modern world, many of us spend most of our time indoors missing out on all the different types of light it has to offer.

One of which is near-infrared light – otherwise known as NIR or IR light.

In this guide, we’ll explore the many benefits of near infrared light, how it works, and how you can incorporate it into your life.

Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain, looking to boost your skin health, or are interested in the latest wellness trends, near-infrared light therapy might be the solution you’ve been searching for.

Table of Contents


  • Versatile Benefits: Near infrared light therapy offers pain relief, wound healing, improved cognitive function, and enhanced skin rejuvenation by penetrating deep into tissues.
  • Mechanism: It stimulates cellular energy production and collagen, reduces inflammation, and improves blood circulation.
  • Applications: Useful for brain health, muscle recovery, and supporting traditional cancer treatments.
  • Home Devices: Consider wavelength, intensity, size, safety, and budget when choosing a device for at-home therapy.

What is Near Infrared Light?

Near-infrared light (NIR) is a type of light that we can’t see with the naked eye but can feel as heat. It falls within the infrared spectrum of light, which ranges from 700 nm to 1200 nm.

Unlike ultraviolet (UV) light, which can damage the skin, near-infrared light has several therapeutic benefits.

The Science Behind Near Infrared Light

Near-infrared light penetrates deeper into the skin compared to visible light. This deeper penetration allows it to reach muscles, joints, and even bones, making it effective for treating a variety of conditions.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), a form of photobiomodulation, is associated with improved cellular energy (ATP) production through the mechanism of cytochrome c oxidase.

NIR light is absorbed by the cells and converted into energy, promoting healing and regeneration.

Near Infrared Light in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum includes all types of light, from gamma rays to radio waves. Near-infrared light is located just beyond the visible red light, which is why it’s not visible to us.

This light has longer wavelengths and can penetrate body tissues more effectively than other types of light.

Comparing NIR to MIR and FIR

Near-infrared (NIR), mid-infrared (MIR), and far infrared (FIR) are all parts of the infrared spectrum, but they differ in wavelength and penetration depth.

  • Near Infrared (NIR): Ranges from 700 nm to 1200 nm. It penetrates deeply into the skin and tissues, reaching muscles and even bones. NIR is used in red light therapy for pain relief, wound healing, and skin rejuvenation.
  • Mid Infrared (MIR): Ranges from 1200 nm to 3000 nm. It penetrates less deeply than NIR but can still reach deeper tissues compared to FIR. MIR is often used in industrial heating applications and some therapeutic devices.
  • Far Infrared (FIR): Ranges from 3000 nm to 1 mm. It has the longest wavelength and penetrates the least. FIR is mostly absorbed by the surface of the skin and is commonly used in infrared saunas for detoxification and relaxation.

Understanding these differences helps in choosing the right type of infrared therapy based on your specific needs.

The Benefits of Near Infrared Light

Near-infrared light therapy offers a wide range of health benefits due to its deep penetration into the body. Let’s look at the many benefits it has to offer:

1. Pain Relief

Red light therapy, which includes near-infrared light, is highly effective for pain relief. It reduces inflammation and promotes healing in muscles and joints. People suffering from chronic pain, arthritis, or sports injuries often find significant improvement with red light therapy.

2. Wound Healing

Infrared light therapy speeds up wound healing by stimulating new cell growth and enhancing blood circulation. The increased blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to the injured area, promoting faster recovery.

Clinical trials have shown that infrared light can significantly decrease healing time for wounds and injuries.

3. Improved Cerebral Blood Flow

Near-infrared light therapy has been shown to improve cerebral blood flow, which can enhance cognitive function and brain health. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with brain disorders or those recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

Improved blood flow to the brain helps in better oxygenation and nutrient delivery, supporting overall brain health.

4. Enhanced Skin Rejuvenation

Near-infrared light is a popular choice for skin rejuvenation. It stimulates collagen production, which helps reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.

Infrared light therapy also aids in repairing skin and enhancing overall skin health. Regular use of NIR light can lead to a more youthful and radiant complexion.

5. Promoting Hair Growth

Studies have shown that near-infrared light therapy can stimulate hair growth. It works by increasing blood flow to the scalp and enhancing cellular metabolism.

This promotes the growth of thicker, healthier hair. Red light therapy devices designed for hair growth are becoming increasingly popular.

Near-infrared light therapies are significantly effective at treating androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata by enhancing the secretion of growth factors and proliferation of the cells that promote hair growth.

6. Reduction of Inflammation

Near-infrared light has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation at the cellular level, it helps in managing conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, and other inflammatory diseases. This can lead to a significant decrease in pain and swelling.

7. Boosting Immune Function

Near-infrared light therapy can enhance immune function by stimulating the production of reactive oxygen species. These molecules play a crucial role in the immune response, helping the body to fight off infections and illnesses more effectively.

8. Cardiovascular Health

Near-infrared light improves blood circulation and enhances cardiovascular health. By promoting better blood flow and reducing oxidative stress, it supports the health of blood vessels and the heart. This can be particularly beneficial for those with cardiovascular diseases.

9. Muscle Recovery

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use near-infrared light therapy to speed up muscle recovery. By increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation, NIR light helps muscles recover faster after intense workouts or injuries, allowing for a quicker return to activity.

10. Skin Health

Near-infrared light therapy is beneficial for overall skin health. It can help with conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema by reducing inflammation and promoting healing. The increased blood flow and collagen production also improve the skin’s appearance and texture.

11. Cognitive Function

Improved cerebral blood flow and enhanced brain health from near-infrared light therapy can lead to better cognitive function. This includes memory, focus, and mental clarity improvements, which can be particularly beneficial for older adults.

12. Cancer Treatment Support

Emerging research suggests that near-infrared light may play a role in supporting cancer treatment. While not a standalone treatment, it can enhance the effectiveness of traditional therapies and help in managing side effects.

13. Soft Tissue Healing

Near-infrared light helps in the healing of soft tissues, such as tendons and ligaments. It promotes cell growth and tissue repair, making it useful for treating sports injuries and other soft tissue damage.

14. Reducing Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Patients with fibromyalgia have reported reduced pain and improved function with regular use of near-infrared light therapy.

15. Reducing Anxiety and Depression

Near-infrared light therapy has shown promise in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. By improving brain health and cognitive function, it can positively impact mental health.

16. Enhancing Sleep Quality

Near-infrared light therapy can improve sleep quality by regulating circadian rhythms and reducing pain that might interfere with sleep. Better sleep contributes to overall health and well-being.

17. Detoxification

Using near-infrared light in saunas helps the body detoxify by promoting sweating. This can help remove toxins and improve overall health.

18. Supporting Eye Health

While proper eye protection is necessary, controlled exposure to near-infrared light can help with conditions like dry eye and inflammation, promoting better eye health.

19. Promoting Weight Loss

Near-infrared light therapy can boost metabolism and support weight loss efforts by increasing mitochondrial activity and energy expenditure.

20. Improving Circulation in Diabetic Patients

Near-infrared light therapy can improve blood flow and reduce pain in diabetic patients, helping manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

21. Enhancing Recovery from Stroke

Studies suggest that near-infrared light therapy can aid in recovery from stroke by improving cerebral blood flow and supporting brain health.

How Near-Infrared Light Therapy Works

Understanding how near-infrared light therapy works can help us appreciate its wide range of benefits. Here’s a closer look at the mechanisms behind this powerful treatment:

Mechanisms of Action

Near-infrared light penetrates the skin and reaches deeper tissues, including muscles and bones. This penetration allows the light to be absorbed by cells, where it triggers a series of beneficial biological processes.

Low-level light therapy, through the application of near-infrared light, activates specific proteins that lead to energy production, tissue healing, reduction in inflammation, and pain relief.

One key mechanism is the stimulation of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells, to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy currency of cells. This increase in cellular energy promotes healing and regeneration.

Cytochrome C Oxidase and Cellular Energy

Cytochrome C Oxidase is a critical enzyme in the mitochondria that plays a vital role in the production of ATP. Near-infrared light activates this enzyme, enhancing its ability to produce ATP.

This boost in cellular energy helps repair damaged tissues, reduce inflammation, and improve overall cellular function.

Enhanced mitochondrial function also leads to the production of reactive oxygen species, which play a crucial role in cell signaling and immune response.

Light Wavelengths and Their Effects

Different wavelengths of light have varying effects on the body. Near-infrared light, with wavelengths ranging from 700 nm to 1200 nm, penetrates deeper than visible light.

This allows it to reach and treat deeper tissues, making it effective for conditions like chronic pain, deep tissue injuries, and muscle recovery. The specific wavelengths used in therapy can be adjusted to target different tissues and conditions, ensuring optimal results.

Reducing Inflammation and Reactive Oxygen Species

Near-infrared light has anti-inflammatory effects, reducing swelling and pain in affected areas. By stimulating the production of reactive oxygen species, NIR light helps regulate inflammation and supports the body’s natural healing processes.

This reduction in inflammation can be particularly beneficial for chronic conditions like arthritis and tendonitis.

Enhancing Blood Flow and Circulation

Near-infrared light therapy improves blood flow by promoting the dilation of blood vessels. This increased circulation delivers more oxygen and nutrients to tissues, aiding in faster recovery and healing.

Enhanced blood flow also helps remove waste products and toxins from the body, contributing to overall health and well-being.

Supporting Cognitive Function and Brain Health

Improved cerebral blood flow and enhanced mitochondrial function in brain cells lead to better cognitive performance and brain health.

Near-infrared light therapy can help with conditions like traumatic brain injury, stroke recovery, and age-related cognitive decline.

The increased blood flow and reduced inflammation support overall brain function and health.

Promoting Collagen Production for Skin Health

Near-infrared light stimulates collagen production in the skin, which helps reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. Collagen is a crucial protein for maintaining skin structure and firmness.

Increased collagen production leads to smoother, more youthful-looking skin and can aid in repairing skin damage from aging or environmental factors.

Clinical Applications of Near Infrared Light

Near-infrared light therapy has a wide range of clinical applications, demonstrating its versatility and effectiveness in various medical and wellness settings.

Here are some of the most common and impactful uses:

Infrared Therapy for Brain Disorders

Near-infrared light therapy shows promise in treating brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.

By improving cerebral blood flow and reducing inflammation, NIR light supports brain health and cognitive function. Clinical trials have shown significant improvement in patients with brain disorders when using infrared light therapy.

Reducing Inflammation and Reactive Oxygen Species

Near-infrared light helps reduce inflammation by modulating the body’s inflammatory response. This is particularly beneficial for chronic conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, and other inflammatory diseases.

The production of reactive oxygen species stimulated by NIR light aids in controlling inflammation and supporting the body’s healing processes.

Boosting Cognitive Function and Brain Health

Regular use of near-infrared light therapy can enhance cognitive function by improving blood flow and mitochondrial function in brain cells.

This therapy is especially beneficial for individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries or those experiencing age-related cognitive decline.

Enhanced brain health leads to better memory, focus, and overall mental clarity.

Cancer Treatment Support

While near-infrared light therapy is not a standalone cancer treatment, it can support traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

NIR light helps manage side effects and improve the overall effectiveness of cancer therapies. Some studies suggest that it may also inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, although more research is needed in this area.

Skin Health and Rejuvenation

Near-infrared light therapy is widely used in dermatology for its skin rejuvenation benefits. It promotes collagen production, reduces wrinkles, and improves skin elasticity.

Infrared light also helps heal acne, reduce scars, and enhance overall skin tone and texture. Regular sessions can lead to significant improvements in skin health.

Enhancing Muscle Recovery and Athletic Performance

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use near-infrared light therapy to speed up muscle recovery and enhance performance.

By increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation, NIR light helps muscles recover faster after intense workouts or injuries. This allows athletes to train more effectively and reduce downtime.

Supporting Cardiovascular Health

Near-infrared light therapy improves blood circulation, which is crucial for cardiovascular health.

Enhanced blood flow supports the health of blood vessels and the heart, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It also helps manage symptoms of conditions like high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease.

Managing Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Patients with fibromyalgia often experience chronic pain and fatigue. Near-infrared light therapy can help reduce these symptoms by promoting pain relief and reducing inflammation.

Many fibromyalgia patients report significant improvement in their quality of life with regular use of NIR light therapy.

Assisting with Stroke Recovery

Near-infrared light therapy aids in stroke recovery by improving cerebral blood flow and supporting brain health.

It helps repair damaged brain tissues and enhances cognitive function, aiding patients in regaining their abilities and improving their overall recovery outcomes.

Promoting Eye Health

Controlled exposure to near-infrared light, with proper eye protection, can benefit eye health. It helps manage conditions like dry eye syndrome and reduces inflammation.

Care must be taken to avoid direct exposure to the eyes to prevent damage.

How To Use Red Light Therapy: Guide and Considerations

Near-infrared light therapy is not only used in clinical settings but also in everyday wellness practices.

Here are some practical uses and important considerations to keep in mind when using near-infrared light therapy:

Using Red and Near Infrared Light at Home

Home devices for red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy are becoming increasingly popular.

These devices are designed for ease of use and can help with pain relief, skin rejuvenation, and muscle recovery. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use.

Proper Eye Protection During Light Therapy

While near-infrared light therapy offers many benefits, it’s crucial to use proper eye protection. Direct exposure to the eyes can cause damage.

Always wear protective goggles or ensure that your eyes are not directly exposed to the light during therapy sessions.

Infrared Saunas and Their Benefits

Infrared saunas use full spectrum infrared including near-infrared (NIR), mid-infrared (MIR), and far-infrared (FIR) light to provide a range of health benefits.

These saunas help with detoxification, improved circulation, and relaxation. Regular use can enhance overall well-being and support cardiovascular health.

Safety and Side Effects

Near-infrared light therapy is generally considered safe when used correctly. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects, such as mild skin irritation or redness.

If you have a medical condition or are pregnant, consult with a healthcare provider before starting therapy. Always start with shorter sessions to see how your body responds.

Choosing the Right Device

When selecting a near-infrared light therapy device, consider factors like wavelength, intensity, and device type. Look for devices that offer wavelengths in the therapeutic range (700 nm to 1200 nm) and have adjustable intensity settings.

It’s also beneficial to choose a device that covers a larger surface area for more effective treatment.

See below for an in-depth buyer’s guide.

Integrating Therapy into Your Routine

To get the most out of near-infrared light therapy, integrate it into your daily routine. Consistency is key to seeing benefits.

Whether you’re using it for pain relief, skin health, or muscle recovery, regular sessions can lead to significant improvements over time.

Buying Guide for At-Home Near Infrared Light Therapy Devices

Investing in an at-home near-infrared light therapy device can enhance your health and well-being. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right device:

1. Determine Your Needs

Identify your primary goals for using near-infrared light therapy. Common uses include pain relief, skin rejuvenation, wound healing, hair growth, and muscle recovery.

Knowing your specific needs will guide your decision.

2. Check the Wavelength

The optimal therapeutic range for near-infrared light is between 700 nm and 1200 nm. Devices in this range can effectively penetrate deep into tissues to provide the best results.

3. Consider the Intensity and Power Output

Look for devices with adjustable intensity settings for customized treatments. Higher power output allows for shorter and more effective sessions.

Devices like the Joovv Solo 3.0 offer robust power and adjustable settings.

4. Size and Coverage Area

Choose a device based on the treatment area. Larger panels are ideal for full-body treatments, while smaller, handheld devices are suitable for targeted areas.

Again, the Joovv Solo 3.0, for example, is suitable for treating larger areas efficiently.

5. Type of Device

Different types of devices serve different purposes:

  • Handheld Devices: Portable and perfect for targeting specific areas.
  • Panels: Larger panels for whole-body treatment.
  • Wearables: Designed to wrap around body parts for convenience.
  • Caps and Helmets: Specifically for promoting hair growth.

6. Safety Features

Ensure the device includes safety features like automatic shut-off timers and proper eye protection. Devices should meet medical-grade standards to ensure safety and effectiveness.

7. User-Friendly Design

Opt for devices that are easy to use with clear instructions. Features like timers, adjustable settings, and lightweight design improve the user experience.

8. Warranty and Customer Support

A good warranty and reliable customer support are crucial. Check the warranty terms and read reviews about the manufacturer’s customer service.

9. Budget

Determine your budget and find a device that offers the best value. Prices vary widely, with higher-end devices offering more features and better build quality.

10. Research and Reviews

Read user reviews and expert opinions to gauge the device’s effectiveness and durability. Research different brands and models to make an informed decision.

Top Recommended Near Infrared Light Therapy Devices

Here are some highly recommended devices:

  1. Joovv Solo 3.0: Known for its powerful output and large coverage area, ideal for whole-body treatment.
  2. Red Light Rising Full Stack: Offers a combination of red and near-infrared light, suitable for various therapeutic needs.
  3. PlatinumLED BIO Series: Highly regarded for its intensity and effectiveness, with adjustable settings.
  4. iRestore Laser Hair Growth System: Specifically designed for promoting hair growth, with excellent user feedback.
  5. DPL II Professional Light Therapy Panel: A versatile panel with both red and near-infrared light, suitable for comprehensive therapy.

These devices are chosen based on their effectiveness, user reviews, and overall value. Be sure to choose one that fits your specific needs and budget.

Happy shopping and here’s to better health with near-infrared light therapy!


We’ve journeyed through the fascinating world of near-infrared light therapy and discovered its incredible benefits.

From pain relief and wound healing to boosting cognitive function and enhancing skin rejuvenation, near-infrared light therapy is a versatile and powerful tool for improving overall health and well-being.

If you’re looking to reduce inflammation, speed up muscle recovery, or even promote hair growth, near-infrared light therapy has got you covered.

With various devices available for home use, incorporating this therapy into your daily routine is easier than ever.

Remember to choose a device that fits your specific needs, budget, and desired outcomes.

If you want to explore more ways to boost your health using light therapy? Check out some other great articles on my website:

Dive into these reads to discover more ways to optimize your health and wellness. Whether you’re interested in the benefits of infrared saunas or the specifics of LED light therapy, there’s something for everyone.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to harness the power of near-infrared light therapy and take your health to the next level.

And that’s it… have a healthy day!


Which is healthier near or far infrared?

Both near and far infrared have unique benefits. Near-infrared penetrates deeper, aiding in pain relief and muscle recovery. Far infrared focuses on detoxification and relaxation. Choosing one depends on specific health goals and personal preferences.

What is the difference between red light therapy and near-infrared?

Red light therapy uses visible red light (620-700 nm) for skin-level treatments, while near-infrared (700-1200 nm) penetrates deeper into tissues, muscles, and bones. Both promote healing but target different depths and issues.

Is near-infrared good for the face?

Yes, near-infrared light therapy is beneficial for the face. It stimulates collagen production, reduces wrinkles, and improves skin elasticity, promoting a youthful appearance and overall skin health.

Why is infrared light good for you?

Infrared light enhances cellular energy production, reduces inflammation, improves blood circulation, and supports healing and regeneration. It offers numerous health benefits, including pain relief, detoxification, and improved skin health.

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