Infrared is invisible radiant energy, electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than those of visible light.
Whilst we can’t see it, Infrared is completely safe for all living things. Essentially, the main difference with Far Infrared heating is that it works by heating the surface area of solid objects which then radiate back into the room and warm the air temperature around them.
How does infrared heating work?
Unlike traditional forms of heating, infrared works through radiation, not convection. Infrared light is the reason we feel warm in the sun, even when the air temperature is low. Infrared waves travel through space and warm any objects they hit, including your body.
Infrared heaters are more environmentally friendly, farther reaching, and economical to operate. They are extremely efficient, transferring at least 90% of all energy produced to the items in your space, whether indoors or outdoors. In contrast to gas heaters, infrared heaters need very little maintenance and are extremely quiet to operate. Plus, they do not produce any smells or emit any toxins into the air you’re breathing.
Types of Infrared Heater
The temperature output by a heater is dictated by the peak wavelength of thermal energy the emitter is designed to produce. All materials absorb heat differently according to the composition of the material itself plus its thickness. So the intended use of an emitter is a function of that peak wavelength plus the overall power being supplied to the emitter.
There are 3 types of Infrared Heaters:
Shortwave (also referred as IR-A or Near Infrared) with wavelengths between 0,78 – 1,4μmShortwave Infrared heaters and operate between 780 nm to 1,400 nm and emit temperatures of 1300°C up to 2600°C and a bright visible light. Emitters are typically Quartz filled with halogen gas with a reflector to concentrate the heat in a particular direction.
Medium wave (also referred as IR-B) with wavelengths between 1,4 – 3,0μmMedium wave Infrared heaters operate between 1,400 nm and 3,000 nm and emit temperatures of 500 – 1300°C and produce a deep dimmed red light. Emitters can be Quartz with a reflector to concentrate the heat in a particular direction.
Long wave (also referred as IR-C or Far infrared) with wavelengths between 3,0 – 1000 μmLong wave infrared heaters operate in the wavelengths above 3,000 nm. Long wave Infrared elements emit much lower temperatures, typically around the 100 – 500°C mark and no visible light.
Infrared sauna therapy dilates the blood vessels, effectively increasing circulation throughout the body. This increased circulation not only helps remove waste products, but also helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Since our skin depends on these nutrients to form collagen (which keeps our skin firm), infrared sauna therapy can be a great way to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles.
2. Flushes Out Toxins
Our immune systems are up against an arsenal of toxins that our ancestors never dreamt of: pesticides, toxic metals, PCBs in plastics, environmental pollution, and even GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Combining this with a lifelong poor diet is a set-up for accumulated toxins and a potentially weakened immune system .
Eliminate pesticides, metals and other toxins in your body with a nice long sweat in the sauna.
Luckily, infrared sauna treatments can give your body an extra push to eliminate these toxins. Specifically, this metals and other toxins in your body with a nice long s achieved through sweating, which has been shown in several studies to increase detoxification and lower circulating levels of toxins in the body
3. Boosts Circulation
Infrared sauna therapy has also been found to improve circulation. This can have far-reaching benefits, from better skin tone (as discussed earlier) to lowered blood pressure. In fact, researchers discovered infrared sauna therapy significantly improves blood vessel function in diabetes and smoking patients with high cholesterol.
4. Improves Cardiovascular Function
Infrared sauna therapy has also been shown to be good for your heart. The effects have proven so powerful that studies have associated sitting in an infrared sauna with a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease, fatal cardiovascular disease, and even all-cause mortality.
These effects are due to the increased heart rate, blood flow, and improved blood pressure in patients using infrared sauna therapy. Interestingly, researchers compared the cardiac output patients experience in the sauna room to going on a brisk walk.
5. Pain Relief
Another excellent aspect of infrared sauna therapy is its ability to reduce chronic pain – without the negative side effects of some pain medications. For instance, research out of the Netherlands found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis who underwent infrared sauna therapy for four weeks experienced reduced pain, stiffness, and fatigue following the treatment. Researchers speculate these benefits resulted from reduced inflammation levels, which lessen the friction between the patient’s joints that result in chronic pain.
6. Wound Healing
Infrared sauna therapy also has the remarkable ability to speed up the wound healing process. Specifically, research out of NASA has shown that infrared light significantly increases tissue growth and cell regeneration due to our mitochondria readily accepting infrared light. This increases the cellular activity needed for wound healing, with a 155-171 percent increase in growth of human cell tissue and a 36 percent decrease in wound size observed in one study.
7. Fights Chronic Fatigue
A recent study found that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which results in extreme fatigue with no definitive cause, is greatly relieved in patients using infrared saunas. The study involved CFS patients sitting in a 60°C (140°F) sauna for 15 minutes,followed by bed rest under a blanket for 30 minutes in a separate room. This was performed once a day, five days a week, for a total of four weeks.
The mental benefits of hitting the sauna include less anxiety, depression and fatigue.
The results? Negative mood, anxiety, and depression levels significantly improved after the therapy, with fatigue ratings on a scale of 1 to 10 sliding from 6.7 to 4.8. While there is no clear answer as to why infrared sauna therapy benefits CFS patients, researchers theorize it may be due to its ability to reduce oxidative stress and improve cardiac output, both of which have been linked to CFS.