Infrared saunas are more popular than ever. If you’ve been shopping for an infrared sauna, you’ve likely come across a few types: near-infrared, and far infrared, and full spectrum saunas. These names refer to the types of infrared light emitted by the sauna. Those just getting into infrared saunas may not know the differences between near vs far infrared light. Let’s break down what near vs far infrared may mean for your sauna choice.
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Infrared Sauna Therapy in a Nutshell
Infrared sauna therapy isn’t a gimmick that relies on questionable science. Instead, infrared sauna therapy is effective because of the unique properties of infrared light.
In brief, infrared light lies on a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that’s invisible to the human eye. But you can still feel infrared light in the air around you. For many who step into an infrared sauna, it’s similar to the gentle warmth of sunshine.
Infrared saunas use special lamps that produce infrared light to directly warm your body’s surface and deeper tissues. This is different from a traditional sauna, which uses other heating elements to warm the air around your body and eventually heat up your skin and muscles.
Infrared light is advantageous to use since it can quickly penetrate the skin and reach deeper tissues more efficiently, like your muscles and bigger blood vessels. Infrared saunas are faster and provide more benefits compared to a regular sauna experience.
Infrared Spectrum Benefits
There are many possible benefits associated with each of the three segments of the infrared spectrum:
- Near Infrared – Cellular health, wound healing, skin rejuvenation, pain relief
- Mid Infrared – Pain relief, improved circulation, weight loss
- Far Infrared – Detoxification, improved circulation, weight loss, relaxation, and lowered blood pressure
Let’s take a closer look and near and far infrared saunas:
Near Infrared Saunas
Near infrared or NIR light is the kind of infrared light closest to the visible spectrum. To be specific, all infrared light wavelengths measure between 700 to 100,000 nanometers (nm). Near infrared light is comprised of wavelengths from 700 nm to 1,400 nm.
All infrared light warms your body from the inside out, but NIR can penetrate up to about 5 mm beneath the skin. As the light spectrum gets lower, penetration increases. Due to its potency, NIR light is thought to provide superior benefits in the areas of collagen production and circulation. For context, collagen is one of the major proteins your skin cells need to retain their shape and health.
Furthermore, NIR light may be able to accelerate wound healing, which may also assist with skin texture and appearance. NIR light can reduce inflammation and pain by increasing blood flow throughout the body, enhancing muscle recovery, and boosting the body’s production of ATP: the key cellular unit of energy.
Many people enjoy near infrared saunas because they emit low concentrations of electromagnetic frequencies or EMFs. For individuals sensitive to EMFs, this can be a significant benefit in and of itself.
Far Infrared Saunas
Far infrared saunas produce infrared light at the farther end of the spectrum. FIR light has wavelengths between 3,000 and 100,000 nm. Because its wavelengths are different from NIR light, FIR light is primarily absorbed by the water in your body. It only penetrates down to about 0.1 mm beneath the skin.
This being said, FIR light can provide specific benefits as well. By affecting your body’s protein structures, FIR light has the potential to reduce arrhythmias and boost various markers of blood vessel health. Furthermore, FIR light may be able to assist with stiffness and pain for patients who have conditions like arthritis.
The Best of Both Worlds
What if you want to enjoy the benefits of both near infrared and far infrared heat in your sauna? You can! Full spectrum infrared saunas include near, far, and mid-infrared heaters, allowing you to benefit from all three spectrums at once.
Which Infrared Sauna is Better?
Ultimately, neither infrared sauna type is strictly better than the other. They both produce effective infrared light and can be incredibly relaxing once you spend some time inside.
However, near infrared saunas are usually thought to provide more wide-ranging benefits for most people who don’t have heart conditions or illnesses like arthritis. Far infrared saunas are better for targeted benefits like those described above.
For the best of both worlds, many people seek out full-spectrum infrared saunas. Naturally, these saunas emit light across the entire infrared spectrum, so you don’t have to pick and choose the benefits you experience.
Enjoy an In-Home Infrared Sauna!
Want to enjoy the benefits of infrared sauna detox therapy in your own home? Explore the Clearlight® Infrared Sauna models available including the Clearlight Sanctuary™ 1, the Clearlight Sanctuary™ 2, and more at The Sauna Life today! We have options available for indoor and outdoor use as well as options ranging from cozy one-person saunas to 4-5 person saunas that are great for small groups.