Scanning the Internet for information and offers on saunas you might come across the expression 'Full Spectrum Sauna'.
You would think, that sounds good, wouldn't you?
However, the naming of a product doesn't always reveal its value and function. So before getting too excited about it and hitting the buy button it is worth informing yourself about infrared and what you should consider before a sauna purchase.
What is Infrared?
The German astronomer William Herschel was the first to discover the existence of infrared radiation in 1800. He used a prism to break down sunlight into its spectral parts and found a non-visible but warming radiation beyond the red, the longest wavelength range, of visible light. He discovered that there is an invisible light that was hotter than everything else. That's what we call infrared radiation nowadays.
Infrared radiation is part of the optical radiation and thus part of the electromagnetic spectrum in the spectral range between visible light and longer-wave terahertz radiation.
The effect of infrared radiation (IR) is based on the fact that its energy is absorbed by the body. The radiation stimulates molecules to oscillate and rotate and we know the result from the sun's natural infrared radiation: heat.
Image 1: Electromegantic Spectrum
Infrared radiation is divided into:
- the short-wave IR-A radiation with a wavelength range from 780 to 1400 nanometers,
- the IR-B radiation (1400 to 3000 nanometers) and
- the long-wave subrange, the IR-C radiation (3000 nanometers to 1 millimeter).
What is Near Infrared?
Near Infrared includes the IR-A and IR-B radiation. It has the greatest depth penetration. IR-A radiation can be found in open fireplaces, campfires or halogen lamps.
What is Mid Infrared?
Mid infrared includes the shorter wavelength range of IR-C radiation. Its wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body than near infrared and are therefore good for increasing circulation and blood flow.
What is Far Infrared?
Far Infrared includes the longer wavelength range of IR-C radiation. Far Infrared heats the body directly. You can find Far Infrared in domestic radiators, tiled stoves and people.
Why is a Far Infrared Sauna a better buy than a Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
Full Spectrum is an expression used by companies that sell saunas with both Far- and Near-(Mid-)Infrared emitters.
At first this sounds effective as you get everything in one package. So why is this not the case?
Near infrared requires your body to be within around 2 to 3 inches from the infrared lights. This is due to the fact that skin doesn't absorb near infrared too well from a distance. Since you usually sit at least 6 inches away from the walls/ emitters, near infrared saunas are questionable.
Heating up the body, sweating and detoxification are the core goals when using a sauna. This result is what you get from a far infrared sauna which penetrates deepest into the tissues. Near infrared light generates the most heat but does not penetrate deep into human tissues.
When you buy a full spectrum sauna it is recommendable to compare your sauna experience with the sauna as is to when you disconnect the near infrared/ full spectrum emitters. You will find your sauna experience will be very similar.
All this doesn't mean near infrared is useless though. It's a question of how you're using it. Near infrared can in fact be very beneficial when it comes to treating certain skin areas of your body. Near Infrared penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin. It is beneficial for your cell health and wound healing.
What about EMF levels?
EMF means electromagnetic field. You might have heard this in connection to a microwave, oven or cellphone. In fact these three products are low EMF level products. Low EMF level radiation, also called non-ionizing radiation, is mild and thought to be harmless to people.
High-level radiation, called ionizing radiation, is the second type of radiation. It’s sent out in the form of ultraviolet rays from the sun and X-rays from medical imaging machines.
In conclusion, when buying a sauna you want to make sure it has got low EMF levels.
Furthermore, there is a difference between ceramic rod and carbon infrared heated saunas. Ceramic rod infrared heaters target heat in a limited area of the ceramic rod. They produce a shallow heat which does not penetrate far beyond the skin’s surface. Also they have extremely high EMF levels.
Therefore, Canadian Spa uses MICA far infrared heaters which heat evenly and are more efficient than standard carbon fibre heaters and with low EMF levels.
With this background information in mind Canadian Spa developed saunas with far infrared emitters and low EMF levels. If you would like to enquire more information about our saunas, please don't hesitate to contact our customer support team and download our latest sauna brochure.