Can Infrared Light Therapy Really Help You Lose Weight?

From natural rays that feed us vitamin D to hair-removing IPL to wrinkle-erasing LED masks, is there anything that light can’t do? While we definitely wouldn’t recommend extended face time in the sun, today we’re focusing on the positives — including how infrared light can help heal pain. This invisible form of light is the key to treatments like a therapeutic infrared sauna pod, which combines light therapy and massage into a 40-minute calorie-burning relaxation experience.

At this point, you’re probably wondering exactly how an infrared sauna helps with weight loss. First, it’s important to note the differences between traditional and infrared saunas. Traditional saunas make you sweat and lose weight using dry or wet heat to warm the air, but it’s mostly water weight that you’re losing, says Dr. Blanka Orloff, director and chief anesthesiologist of Skin Matrx notes.

An infrared sauna, on the other hand, uses the light to heat up your body from the inside out, increasing your heart rate and allowing you to stay in the sauna longer — and in turn, burn more calories. Infrared light waves affect the body by promoting blood flow to tissue and healing muscles for speedy post-workout recovery, says Dr. Orloff.

According to NASA, infrared Light Emitting Diodes (LED) “release long wavelengths of light that stimulate cells to aid in healing.” In a medical trial of cancer patients using the aeronautics and space agency’s technology, there was a 96% chance “that the improvement in pain of those in the high-risk patient group was the result of [the] treatment.”

While the infrared light itself hasn’t been proven to directly cause weight loss, experts recommend combining a healthy diet and a regular workout routine with treatments like infrared therapy saunas to help shed pounds naturally. The SASS co-hosts Susan Yara and Sharzad Kiadeh recently visited Dr. Orloff at Skin Matrx in Burbank to try the Cocoon IR Wellness Pro, which heals and relaxes through a combination of dry heat, infrared light, aromatherapy (to target mood), and Himalayan salt. The sauna pod (which costs $60 for 40 minutes) can help burn up to 600 calories and allow the skin to heal and exfoliate better.

Watch the video below to learn more about how the infrared light sauna works, why it’s great for post-pregnancy healing, who’s an ideal candidate (people with pace makers can use it!), and more.