Red Light Therapy Blankets: Do They Work?

Red Light Therapy Blankets: Do They Work?


Red light therapy blankets are a relatively new product category. 

In this article, we discuss whether RLT blankets work and compare them with other products in the market, like wands, masks, belts and other accessories. 

What remains important is that users have access to intense multi-wavelength treatment affordably and in the comfort of their own home. 

For more information about treatment, check out the BIOMAX Series panels, which provide optimal therapeutic wavelengths at an affordable price.  



What is a Red Light Therapy Blanket?

Red light therapy blankets are simply blankets that have RLT diodes. 

In some cases, RLT blankets are mats that users are supposed to lie down on. In others, they are more like sleeping bags that envelop the body from the neck down.  

The purpose of these blankets is to get near full body exposure. 

Red light therapy blankets are sometimes confused with infrared sauna blankets. 

Sauna blankets create heat using far infrared wavelengths that cause the water in your body to heat up, which has a therapeutic effect.

Red light therapy blankets use only red and near infrared wavelengths that do not have this thermal effect on the body. RLT blankets may get warm during use, but do not create the same thermal effect as infrared sauna blankets.



Are Red Light Therapy Blankets Effective? 

There are very few clinical research studies on RLT blankets, so their effectiveness remains to be shown. Red light therapy treatment is beneficial in itself. But the effectiveness of RLT can vary considerably depending on the actual device. 

Not all RLT devices are equally effective. Factors that determine effectiveness include the following: 

  • The specific therapeutic wavelengths emitted from the device
  • The intensity of the light diodes
  • The extent of their exposure to the body
  • The ability of the wavelengths to blend together during treatment, which requires that users be at a distance from the diodes of at least six inches. 

RLT blankets tend to be less effective than panels because the products themselves emit fewer therapeutic wavelengths. Lying directly on the blankets also prevents wavelengths from mixing as they are exposed to the body. It also limits skin exposure, as the only parts of the body being exposed to light are those in direct contact with the diodes. 

Optimal results come from being exposed to multiple therapeutic wavelengths over as much surface area of the body as possible. 

When studying the clinical benefits of red light therapy, researchers have overwhelmingly opted to evaluate red light therapy panels as the default benchmark of the effectiveness of RLT treatment rather than other devices like blankets, wands, masks, and belts. 

As we will see in several reviews below, RLT blankets can also be significantly more expensive than panels. Given some of the additional fairly obvious product design issues with RLT blankets, they’re probably not the ideal device-type for treatment. 



How Red Light Therapy Blankets Work 

Red light therapy blankets cover your entire body from the neck down. 

Some can be opened up from the standard sleeping bag style and transformed into mats so that two people can take the treatment simultaneously.

They contain a high number of LEDs that shine red and/or near infrared light directly onto bare skin, so your skin is exposed to therapeutic light waves.



The Benefits of Red Light Therapy Blankets

There are enough issues with the product design of RLT blankets that ultimately the benefits of using them for treatment are in question.

Like RLT wands, belts and masks, RLT blankets are basically the result of development teams attempting to exhaust every possible new product type application for red light therapy. 

While novel product ideas may seem ‘innovative,’ they don’t make sense when they come at the expense of basic design principles, including the clear and unobstructed delivery of red light wavelengths to the skin.

The up-close red light treatment of an RLT blanket may result in benefits that coincide with the specific therapeutic wavelengths, but to a limited degree, simply because overall skin exposure is limited and the light intensity tends to be significantly lower than it is in panels. 



The Drawbacks of RLT Blankets

Red and near infrared light can’t penetrate clothing, so you need to have your bare skin exposed. LEDs generate very little heat. Nevertheless, being surrounded within an LED blanket can get hot, which may be somewhat uncomfortable.

Since RLT blankets can get sweaty during use, they may basically need to be cleaned after use and cannot be machine washed. RLT blankets can be cleaned with a sponge and dish soap.  

The term “blanket” is somewhat misleading since these devices are difficult to fold, stash, and carry when not in use.

Red light therapy blankets have limited uses. You can’t use the blanket for facial rejuvenation unless you hold the blanket up to your face for a 5-20 minute daily treatment session. 

The same applies to hair loss; since hair loss frequently occurs at the top of the scalp, you’ll need to hold the blanket to the scalp to receive benefits.

RLT blankets are greatly underpowered compared to RLT panels. For example, the first blanket we reviewed delivers 70 mW/cm2 of light energy. This is at the point of contact with the skin. 

By contrast, the BIOMAX 600 panel ($1049) features 174 mW/cm2 at 6” distance from the device. This means more light absorbing into your skin; and even at 24” from the device (which nearly doubles the treatment area) the BIOMAX 600 delivers 110 mW/cm2 — still significantly more power than any red light therapy blanket. 

Put simply, more power equates to faster and better results.



Are RLT Blankets Safe?     

When used as directed, red light therapy blankets are safe for most people. We recommend talking to your doctor about using red light therapy if you are pregnant, if you have light sensitivities, or if you are taking any photosensitizing drugs.

Red light therapy does not contain ultraviolet (UV) light which is known to cause skin damage. Of the hundreds of clinical trials conducted on red light therapy, the only side temporary effect may be a temporary redness and tightness due to increased blood flow.



Examples of Red Light Therapy Blankets: Product Reviews

Here are a few of the RLT blankets on the market:



Hooga Pod Red Light Therapy Blanket $1299 on Amazon

This neoprene light therapy blanket features 1800 LEDs in a 4:1 ratio of 660nm red light and 850nm near infrared. The blanket features a pulse mode said to create a massaging effect. You can also increase or decrease the light intensity to suit your preferences.  


  • Features two of the most widely studied wavelengths in a 4:1 ratio
  • Can be unzipped on one side to create a red light pad that can be used by one or two people simultaneously


  • Neoprene gets hot and sweaty quickly and requires cleaning after every use
  • Low irradiance: 70mW/cm2
  • At 63”x24” it will accommodate average users, but not big and tall users
  • Very expensive
  • Only a quarter of the LEDs are calibrated to 850 near infrared light, which limits the deep-tissue effectiveness of this product
  • The pulsing effect of LED devices is gimmicky; it has not shown to be beneficial from a scientific point of view (only “hot” lasers need to be pulsed to prevent tissue damage)



Monaggio Red Light Therapy Blanket $1399 on Amazon

This large red light therapy can fit nearly any user. This blanket features 2580 LEDs in a mix of 660nm red and 850nm near infrared light in a 4:1 ratio (2016 red LEDs and 504 NIR LEDs). 


  • At 71”x33” this device will fit most users
  • Can be opened up to create two side-by-side light therapy mats


  • Very expensive
  • Only a quarter of the LEDs are calibrated to 850 near infrared light, which limits the deep-tissue effectiveness of this product
  • Does not mention light energy output (irradiance)



Red Light Therapy Panels: The Best RLT Blanket Alternative

Check out the BIOMAX Series RLT Panels for more information. 

All panels feature seven therapeutic wavelengths, including the following: 

  • 480nm traces of blue
  • 630nm R+ 
  • 660nm R+
  • 810nm NIR+
  • 830nm NIR+
  • 850nm NIR+
  • 1060nm NIR+

Numerous benefits include healthier looking skin, acne reduction, faster wound healing and pain relief. 

You can combine up to four BIOMAX Series panels to increase irradiance and coverage area, and the optional stands let you place the panel in a comfortable position.

If you’re curious about the conditions you can treat with this natural therapy, we’d encourage you to read more about the benefits of red light therapy in the Learning Center.



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