Sauna Blanket vs. Red Light Therapy (Differences, Pros, & Cons)

Both sauna blankets and red light therapy are great options for those looking to improve the appearance and health of their bodies, but which is better?

The main difference between sauna blankets and red light therapy is the type of light. Sauna blankets direct far infrared waves directly into the body to provoke a sweat response, leading to detoxification, increased metabolism, and even weight loss. Red light therapy is primarily cosmetic, using low wavelength red light to rejuvenate skin.

Continue reading this article to learn more about sauna blankets and red light therapy, including how these two differ and which of these is better for your health. 

Sauna blanket vs. red light therapy: which is best?

Sauna blankets and red light therapy are two great tools for improving the appearance and health of the body. Both can be great assets for increasing circulation and detoxifying the body. The two tools have some overlapping – but not identical – benefits. However, they also have individual strengths depending on your preferred usage.

Sauna blankets are better for health purposes like detoxification, weight loss, and reduced inflammation. On the other hand, red light therapy is better for cosmetic applications, such as improved skin appearance. 

Which one is better for you needs on your particular needs and expectations.

Comparing sauna blankets and red light therapy

Sauna blankets are portable sauna devices used for health purposes, like detox, weight loss, and reduced inflammation. On the other hand, red light therapy is typically used for cosmetic purposes, like reducing stretch marks and wrinkles. 

Red light and infrared light are situated next to each other on the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, infrared literally means past red. Because of this, there is some overlap in the benefits offered by each. However, the invisible IR light used in sauna blankets penetrates more deeply. This is is why red light works on skin’s appearance and infrared light doesn’t.

Let’s dive into all the similarities and differences between the two.

The similarities

Far infrared light (the kind used in sauna blankets) and the lights used in red light therapy are relatively close to each other on the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning there is some overlap in the effects of each.

Similarities between sauna blankets and red light therapy include:

  • Reduced inflammation – Sauna blankets and red light therapy are both clinically proven to reduce inflammation.
  • Weight loss – Red light therapy and sauna blankets can also be helpful for weight loss because they help remove unwanted fat without requiring surgical procedures. 

The differences

Sauna blankets and red light therapy look different and use alternative types of heat, making them easy to distinguish. 

The following are the differences between sauna blankets and red light therapy: 

  • Amount of heat
  • Type of heat
  • Appearance
  • Purpose

Let’s examine each of these differences in detail.

Amount of heat

Sauna blankets are hotter than red light therapy, making them uncomfortable for some people.

Sauna blankets are meant to produce a sweat response and are much hotter than red light therapy.

Typically, sauna blankets are used for health purposes and reach temperatures of 120-140°.

Since red light therapy is meant for cosmetic purposes, it uses a low amount of heat, so it does not cause sweating or burn the skin

Heat type

Red light therapy utilizes visible light while sauna blankets harness the heat of invisible far infrared light.

The heat used in sauna blankets penetrates skin and works directly on the body. On the other hand, red therapy light is much less extreme and works at the surface level.

Red light therapy involves visible light, used to detox and heal the body from the inside out. The low-level heat is made for cosmetic purposes, so it does not harm the skin or cause sweating.

Sauna blankets use infrared rays to heat the body directly, causing the body to sweat.


Sauna blankets and red light therapy look different.

A sauna blanket is a portable sauna device that looks similar to a sleeping bag. Red light therapy looks like heat lamps and may also come in mask form.

Sauna blankets are inherently portable; red light therapy units will vary depending on their size and purpose.


Sauna blankets and red light therapy are used differently because of the heat type and design.

Sauna blankets are typically used for health-related purposes, whereas red light therapy is used for cosmetic purposes. The effects of infrared rays typically help with health-related symptoms and illnesses. In contrast, the red light wavelengths treat surface issues like scarring and cellulite.

Which one of these is right for you will come down to your ultimate goal.

Key characteristics of a sauna blanket

Sauna blankets are portable sauna devices that use infrared rays to heat you from the inside out.

Here are some primary characteristics of sauna blankets:

  • Material – Sauna blankets are made of polyurethane cotton, with appearances often resembling sleeping bags. 
  • Temperature – These portable saunas reach temperatures of 120-140°F, raising your heart rate and triggering intense sweating.
  • Purpose – Sauna blankets are great for detoxification, improved circulation, and relaxation. Many people prefer using these blankets after working out or at the end of a long day before bedtime to help with relaxation. 

Potential benefits of a sauna blanket

Sauna blankets are very beneficial for your health because they cause intense sweating and promote better circulation, which can lead to overall better health. 

The following are the potential benefits of using a sauna blanket:

  • Improved cellular function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced pain
  • Detoxification
  • Weight loss
  • Energy boosting 
  • Increased relaxation

Do sauna blankets work for weight loss?

Sauna blankets can be a great way to shed water weight because they help sweat and shape your body.

Many people use sauna blankets to reduce water weight and reduce the appearance of cellulite. However, you should not expect major weight loss when using sauna blankets.

While they will burn several hundred calories while using them, they will not cause major weight loss.

Do sauna blankets reduce bloating?

Sauna blankets can reduce bloating as they detoxify harmful chemicals from your body.

The excessive heat in sauna blankets is great for breaking up fatty tissue deposits responsible for causing bloating.

Can I use a sauna blanket daily?

You can use sauna blankets daily, but many people advise using them only 2 to 3 times per week at first so you can adjust to the heat.

Once you grow accustomed to the heat, it will become easier to your sauna blanket daily without feeling uncomfortable. 

Always drink a sufficient amount of water before using your sauna blanket, so you do not become dehydrated. Otherwise, you may sweat too much and grow lightheaded while using your blanket. You may also keep a bottle of water nearby and drink water while using your blanket to remain hydrated as you use your blanket.

How often should you use a sauna blanket?

Start by using sauna blankets once per week for roughly 15 minutes to adjust your body to the temperature, then slowly increase the amount you use sauna blankets to roughly 45 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week. 

According to many people, the last 10 to 20 minutes are the most important because that is when your body temperature raises the highest and you will sweat the most.

Who shouldn’t use sauna blankets

Sauna blankets can be harmful to some people because of the excessive heat.

The following people should not use sauna blankets: 

  • Children
  • Pregnant people
  • People with heart issues
  • People with high blood pressure
  • Diabetics
  • Dehydrated people

If you are taking certain medications, you should consult with your doctor before using a sauna blanket. Otherwise, you may endure side effects from using sauna blankets. 

Key characteristics of red light therapy

Red light therapy is a therapeutic technique using low wavelength red light to treat skin issues like scars, wrinkles, cellulite, and other conditions. It uses precise depth control to prevent damage to the dermis. 

In many cases, red light therapy is a good way to treat various medical conditions like gout, eczema, and rosacea. It can improve most major skin conditions by improving your cell health. 

Let’s get into red light therapy a little more deeply.

Potential benefits of red light therapy

Red light therapy is a great way to promote positive health, like good skin health, weight loss, and detoxifying the body. Furthermore, red light therapy is great for pain relief and reducing inflammation.

The following are potential benefits of red light therapy: 

  • Weight loss
  • Detoxification
  • Good skin health
  • Relieve inflammation 
  • Pain relief

Red light therapy has biochemical effects on the skin cells, strengthening the mitochondria and improving the skin’s appearance. 

Regularly using red light therapy will reduce wrinkles, increase collagen, and decrease stretch marks. Additionally, red light therapy can improve sun damage and improve the appearance of the skin by increasing blood circulation. 

The increased blood circulation can reduce the redness of the skin and relieve inflammation. In addition to reducing inflammation, using red light therapy can also help with pain relief.

What does red light do to your brain?

Red light therapy can improve cognitive function and stimulate the regrowth of neurons.

The regrowth of neurons is critical in the repairing and healing of the brain, something important in treating wounds. 

In addition, red light therapy can stimulate synaptogenesis, which influences the brain’s natural ability to form new neural connections. 

How quickly does red light therapy work?

It is typical to see results of red light therapy after roughly 6 to 8 weeks of consistent use.

Consistent use is defined as using red light therapy at least once daily, 4 to 5 times per week. Treat yourself with red light therapy for at least 10 minutes a day for the best results, but never exceed 20 minutes.

Can red light therapy reverse grey hair?

The use of low-level red light therapy is known to promote hair growth and prevent greying of hair.

Red light therapy stimulates blood circulation and oxygen flow in the scalp, aiding in melanin production. Melanin production helps reverse your hair’s greying and even promotes hair growth.

Can you overdo red light therapy?

You cannot overdo red light therapy since red light therapy is generally not associated with any major side effects. It is okay to use red light therapy daily for roughly 15 to 20 minutes a day. 

You can’t overdo red light therapy, but it’s suggested you limit sessions to 20 minutes a day due to diminishing returns.

You can always consult a medical professional if you are concerned about using red light therapy.

Who should not use red light therapy?

Certain people may have bad reactions to using red light therapy, especially if the red light therapy pulses at a specific frequency. Some parts of the body can be more sensitive to red light therapy than others.

The following people should not use red light therapy: 

  • Children
  • Pregnant people
  • People with thyroid conditions
  • Epileptics 
  • Those using medications, injections, or tanning creams that cause photosensitivity
  • People with tattoos

Keep in mind that dark skin and tattoos will absorb light more rapidly than lighter, virgin skin. You may need to use red light therapy for shorter durations if you have tattoos or dark skin to avoid discomfort or sensitivity.