Our bodies are made up of over 70 percent water. Different molecules in your body are going to accept and absorb different infrared wavelengths. The water molecules in your body absorb a greater amount of far infrared than any other molecule in your body. Water actually absorbs the highest amount of far infrared energy on the planet, and without water’s ability to absorb far infrared, we’d be in a continuous ice age.
The greater amount of infrared energy that your body receives, the greater the amount that will be absorbed by your body’s water molecules (and the greater the temperature). The different molecular types in your body are water, protein, connective tissue, fats and carbohydrates—98.7 of these are water molecules. Our bodies are literally designed to absorb far infrared energy.
So how does this apply to a far infrared sauna?
The objective of a far infrared sauna is to absorb far infrared energy and produce a deep and sustained sweat by whole body hyperthermia. In order to hit the body with the right temperature, you must heat the body by using an optimal wavelength of light (the Peak Emissive Wavelength) that results from the thermal radiation of an object (the surface temperature). This right wavelength is far infrared.
Far infrared saunas harness the potential heating properties of carbon and ceramic compounds at the molecular level by charging their inherent particles (making the molecules move faster than they already do, creating heat). Like any other object, the molecular properties of carbon and ceramic actually change when heated, and then absorb infrared energy which is released in the form of invisible light.
When you sit close to the infrared heat coming out of a carbon or ceramic infrared heater, your body then absorbs the infrared energy, thus charging your body’s particles and raising your core body temperature. The scientific principle which proves that heat turns into invisible light is called Wien’s Law of Displacement.
5268 / ( temperature °F + 460) = the Peak Emission Wavelength (PEW) of an object (measured in microns)
The reason why far infrared is the best for the sauna environment is because:
1. Far infrared is closer in wavelength to the PEW (wavelength) of the human body
2. It’s not too hot, allowing you to still be comfortable for 30 minutes or more
(Traditional saunas are usually in the 190 °F range which doesn’t allow for prolonged sweating and relaxation.)
Let’s dive in to reason number 1 real quick:
When you put in a temperature into the above formula, what is produced is actually an inverse amount of heat to wavelength. The hotter the object’s temperature, the shorter or smaller the wavelength. The cooler the object’s temperature is, the longer the infrared wavelength. Let’s try a few temperatures.
5268 / ( 400 °F + 460) = 6.06 microns
5268 / ( 90 °F + 460) = 9.48 microns
The average skin temperature of a person is 90 °F. Because of the scientific principle of thermal radiation, we actually put out infrared in the same way that any other object emits infrared. So our Peak Emission Wavelength is 9.48 microns.
But wait, our bodies absorb infrared and put out infrared? Yes. Just like any object, when you are close enough to an object putting out infrared, your body will absorb it.
You can actually do a test right now to feel infrared: Put your hands together, but don’t make them touch—separate them about one inch apart. You will actually feel the infrared heat on the palms of your hands!
When your body absorbs infrared heat your core body temperature will rise as a result. The caveat is that the longer the infrared wave, the greater amount that your body can absorb. So, in the environment of an infrared sauna, knowing what we now know, how can we use objects to produce infrared in a small enough area to raise your core body temperature to produce a very deep sweat? Click on the button below to find out the answer to the number one question people have.