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Are Infrared Therapy and Red Light Therapy Different?

December 12, 2016 by Kara Willingham

Each day we are surrounded by light energy, sometimes we see it, and sometimes we don’t. For centuries, great minds have theorized what it is, how it travels and how it affects life on our planet. Ancient cultures, researchers and philosophers came up with many concepts, but sometime in the 1860’s James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist proposed the concept of electromagnetism.  He concluded, because light moves in waves and does not need a medium to travel through light must be made up of both electric and magnetic fields. This led to the discovery of electromagnetic radiation, the electromagnetic spectrum and a way to measure light with its frequency and wavelength. The electromagnetic spectrum starts with safe radiation like radio, microwave, infrared, visible, and ultraviolet and ends with the not-as-safe x-ray and gamma rays. 

This is where it gets a little tricky. The human eye can see wavelengths of light that range from 400- 700 nanometers (don’t worry, we’ll explain) but the human body can feel parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that cannot be seen, such as infrared heat! 

There are many wellness services that employ light or heat therapy, two of the most popular are red light therapy and infrared heat. But, are infrared and red light part of the same family? Cousins? Both infrared heat and red light therapy are becoming progressively popular in the spa, wellness and beauty realms and are often confused, but they are different and they do provide different benefits. We know both deliver amazing results, we see it all the time. So, we have assembled the information you need to know about each, how they compare to each other and which benefits they provide.

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