Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of radio waves. The radiation hits the surface of the body and heats through a process called conversion, instead of heating the air around you.
In an infrared sauna, the infrared heater produces radiant energy, which is the same as the heat from the sun, only without the harmful ultraviolet rays. Most of these heaters draw on technology developed in 1965 by Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, a member of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical.
In a traditional sauna the air temperature typically runs between 169 to 190 °F (76 to 88 °C), though temperatures over 200 °F (93 °C) are sometimes encountered. The hot air causes the body to heat up, and eventually results in a sweat. Water is thrown on the stones to achieve a "steam shock". Some devotees enhance the experience by mixing vodka etc in the water. This produces a quick "high". Some add herbs or oil like eucalyptus. Traditionally, ones skin is beaten with a bunch of birch twigs. When the heat becomes intolerable one cools down under a cold shower or, as in Finland, by jumping into a frozen lake, or perhaps, most delicately, one rolls in powdery snow. Then one repeats the process to satisfaction. Although potentially unsafe, alcoholic drinks often accompany the sauna.
An infrared sauna uses a variety of heater types from older technology steel incoloy rods and ceramics to newer carbon heaters that creates infrared waves that heat your body directly, instead of just by the air. The temperature in them is much cooler, at around 120 to 140 °F (43 to 54 °C). The amount of sweat that results from each is comparable, though many people report that the lower temperatures in an infrared sauna allow the user to stay inside longer, resulting in longer sauna sessions and therefore more overall sweating.
Dr. Sherry Rogers, a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, says in her book Detoxify or Die that an infrared sauna is the only way of removing man-made toxins from your body. Dr. Rogers also states that bio-accumulated toxic load in the human body is responsible for all disease not attributable to bacteria or virus.
Because the skin is the largest organ of the body, regularly sweating in a far infrared sauna can help decrease the toxic load and contribute to better health and vitality. One of the ways that infrared sauna use is beneficial for a wide range of ailments is through the increase in circulation that it causes in the body. Increased circulation is often believed to be helpful in a variety of ways, and is generally regarded as beneficial for health.
Patent No. 7,612,763 Issued on Nov. 3, Assigned to Schneider Data Technologies for Infrared Therapy Apparatus (Wisconsin Inventor)
Nov 04, 2009; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 4 -- Paul P. Schneider, Bayside, Wis., has developed an apparatus for infrared therapy with a bod. The...