Most people know how traditional steam saunas work, even if they've never used one. They heat water using one of several methods, producing steam that then heats the space and confers health benefits on users. Infrared saunas are a little different. Instead of using steam to heat the air, infrared saunas use light radiation to heat the body directly.
The Science Behind the Sauna
The idea of using radiation to support human health isn't new. The medical community has been investigating and using it for years. Not all radiation is the same, though. Those who want to find out why it's so important to pay attention to this variable can learn more from Matt Justice about EMF ratings and other related issues.
In infrared saunas, the form of radiation used is infrared light. This type of radiation forms the part of the light spectrum that people can't see. Instead, they detect it as heat. Today's infrared saunas feature specialized heat lamps or units that produce radiation only within a set range of wavelengths.
There are three types of modern infrared light saunas.
1. Far Infrared
Far infrared radiation penetrates beneath the skin and activates the sweat glands. It's the type of radiation most commonly found in modern infrared saunas and is the one that's been studied most extensively.
2. Near Infrared
The near-infrared end of the spectrum is closer to the type of light that people can actually see. It doesn't penetrate deeply beneath the skin like far infrared, but it has some proven benefits to skin health.
3. Full-Spectrum Infrared
Full-spectrum infrared saunas cover the entire range of light wavelengths found in the infrared part of the spectrum. Some experts believe that combining the different types of radiation leads to added health benefits, although others have a preference for near or far infrared based on their intended goals.
How Infrared Saunas Affect the Body
There are some bodily changes that occur no matter what type of sauna people use. They include:
- Heart rate increase
- Blood vessel dilation
- Increased rates of sweating
- Improved blood circulation
Note that all of these changes mimic those seen during periods of moderate to intense exercise. The benefits of these physiological changes are the same regardless of what brings them about.
Infrared saunas are also believed to confer some health benefits not seen in regular steam or dry saunas. These benefits are believed to be due to the way that the infrared frequency impacts the bonds between molecules in cells, although researchers are still investigating the subject.
Bring Home a Tool for Better Health
Infrared saunas are also much better-suited for home use than traditional steam baths. They can be as large or small as space permits and can be installed just about anywhere. These affordable, easy-to-use alternatives to commercial steam saunas make a perfect addition to just about any home or backyard spa. Just keep in mind that not all infrared saunas are created equal and be sure to find a sauna vendor that prioritizes quality materials and workmanship.