My recent monthly newsletter which discussed our family’s near infrared sauna from SaunaSpace
generated dozens of excited emails into my inbox. Apparently, many
people are considering an infrared sauna for themselves to reap the
myriad of health benefits bestowed by this traditional therapy.
Most of the questions I received in response indicated some confusion
over the differences between near infrared (NIR) and far infrared (FIR)
or “full spectrum” sauna models. Don’t be fooled by the marketing
literature – these two types of infrared saunas are very, VERY
Let’s go over these important differences below which led to our
decision to obtain a near infrared sauna and avoid the far infrared
models. Most people are unaware that the passé far infrared saunas are
not only less effective, but actually pose some very real health
dangers. This is probably why they are now calling them “full spectrum”
Read on to get the full scoop. Warning: trying to explain aspects of the
electromagnetic spectrum gets extremely complicated. I’m a bit of a
physics nerd, so I love this stuff. I’ve tried to keep it as simple as
possible. I hope I succeeded!
Infrared Sauna Spectrum
The sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface contains 52-56% infrared
radiation. Infrared represents a small fraction of the vast
electromagnetic spectrum which includes visible light, UV light,
microwaves, radio waves and gamma waves. Humans, animals, and plants
absorb and utilize infrared light in various beneficial ways.
humans, tiny receptors called chromophores absorb infrared light that
is between 600 nanometers (nm) and 950 nm. As you can see from the chart
below, this only includes the near infrared portion of the infrared
spectrum. In other words, the far infrared portion of the infrared
spectrum only produces thermal heating to the human body. Thermal
heating and deeply penetrating, rejuventating light therapy is only provided by near infrared wavelengths.
Benefits of Near Infrared (NIR) Penetrating Wavelengths
NASA studies have shown that near infrared light penetrates up to 9
inches (23 cm) of body tissue. This results in rapid activation of all
chromophores and metabolic pathways that come into contact (1).
For this reason, near infrared light is used in low level light research studies because the biological systems of our bodies that are affected by light do not absorb far infrared light. Not
only are there no far infrared biologic receptors in our bodies, but
far infrared waves don’t penetrate enough to reach deeper tissues
anyway. Mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) pathways, including
Cytochrome-C-oxidase, and other critical cell processes involving ATP
(energy) production and cell signaling only absorb NIR light.
The beneficial stimulating effects of NIR on body tissues cannot be overstated. Everything works better
when oxidative phosphorylation (ATP production) improves. Mitochondria,
the powerhouses of most living cells in the body, ramp up ATP
production when positively stimulated with NIR light. Living animal
cells generally contain an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 mitochondria!
This is why the benefits of near infrared sauna therapy literally
enhance the entire body with some folks experiencing totally unexpected
improvements. One example is the shocking disappearance of my lifelong
eye floaters which I wrote about in my recent newsletter.
“Full Spectrum” Infrared Saunas?
In order to compensate for the fact that the far infrared spectrum does
not provide any stimulative, penetrating light therapy, some
manufacturers have added red LED lightbulbs in the ceiling of their sauna models. These are typically marketed as “full spectrum” infrared saunas.
This term may initially sound beneficial. Unfortunately, it is not. Here
are the reasons why full spectrum (far) infrared saunas are not only
inferior, but should be actively avoided (2).
Rather than using natural incandescent infrared bulbs which
combine light and heat into a single thermal light source (TLS), full
spectrum saunas separate light from heat. This is accomplished by using
far infrared emitters combined with artificial LED lights installed in
the sauna ceiling.
The artificial, monochromatic LED
light bulbs in full spectrum saunas provide zero mitochondrial
stimulation, unlike the natural red light from NIR incandescent bulbs.
Far infrared emitters in full spectrum saunas are typically very high
EMF. The EMFs which are hundreds of times higher than we would encounter
in everyday life, stresses body tissues and the sympathetic nervous
LED bulbs are very unreliable in terms of the actual spectrum emitted and reported lifespan.
Why to Use Near Infrared Saunas or NOTHING ELSE
In summary, far infrared saunas provide exposure to less beneficial
infrared wavelengths than near infrared saunas. Moreover, far infrared
“full spectrum” saunas add the body burden of artificial LED light
exposure to high EMFs.
In comparison, the incandescent (tungsten-only filament) lamps
in a near infrared sauna are a thermal light source just like the sun
itself. Light and heat are combined for optimal benefits with no health
Our bodies are designed to experience the alliance of light and heat
together, not separately as in a full spectrum sauna. Stimulating cell
mitochondria within the near infrared spectrum of 600-950nm wavelengths
of light induces cell regeneration, anti-aging, collagen production,
human growth hormone, inflammation reduction, neuron repair, rapid wound
and injury healing, and the list goes on. In addition, the incandescent
heat lamp bulbs used in a near infrared sauna emit plenty of 1000-2000
nm infrared wavelengths (mid infrared) that are absorbed by water
molecules in the body, which is how infrared light heats biological
tissue up to 9 inches into the body!
Experience the Near Infrared Sauna Difference Risk Free (even if you want to build your own!)
Because I personally use and recommend the SaunaSpace Pocket Sauna, I include this product on my healthy shopping list page with a 5% off coupon HEALTHYHOME
Until February 17, 2017, however, SaunaSpace will allow you to stack
this 5% off coupon on top of their 15% off Valentine’s Day sale for a
total 20% savings!
And, as always, SaunaSpace gives you a free 100 day trial to experience the near infrared difference.
My bet is you’ll love it and experience enormous improvements in your
health. But if not, you can return it for a refund with FREE RETURN
SHIPPING within the USA.
If an infrared sauna is something you’ve been considering for awhile, I
don’t honestly think you will get a better deal than this one that is
going on right now – 15% off from SaunaSpace (the discount is
automatically provided at checkout) combined with the HEALTHYHOME coupon
of 5% (entered at checkout) for a total 20% off.
Please feel free to add any comments or questions you may have regarding
infrared sauna therapy in the comments section below. I will do my best
to answer them and provide additional resources that can help you sort
through the information and choices.