How Infrared Saunas Work [2021 Guide]

Invisible light you can’t see but can feel

Written by Christopher Kiggins

How Infrared Saunas Work How Infrared Saunas Work

Infrared saunas work by harnessing the absorbed heat of an object in a small enough environment so that when you sit close enough to the source, your core body temperature will rise to the point of sweating.

The most common objects used in an infrared sauna are carbon and ceramic compounds because they hold and absorb the most heat. In the pictures below, ceramic is on the left and carbon is on the right.

Infrared
Hot Rocks

The molecular properties of carbon and ceramic change when heated; when an object absorbs infrared energy, it causes its molecules to activate and move. When they move, infrared energy is released in the form of invisible light.

When you sit close to the infrared heat coming out of a carbon or ceramic infra-red 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.

Wien’s Law includes a formula that provides the wavelength of the infrared light of a blackbody (or an object’s absorption amount that is quantifiable in a wavelength measured in microns). A blackbody measures how much infrared an object can absorb from .00 to 1.0. The heat which radiates off a heated object is referred to as thermal radiation (infrared light) and this is what is measured by Wien’s Law, shown here:

Wien’s Law of Displacement: 5268 / ( temperature °F + 460) = the Peak Emission Wavelength (PEW) of an object (measured in microns)

When you put in a temperature into the formula above, what is produced is an inverse amount of heat to wavelength.

The length of an object's infrared wavelength works inversely. The hotter an object’s temperature, the shorter the infra-red wavelength it produces. The cooler the object’s temperature, the longer the infrared wavelength it produces.”

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 human is 90°F. Because of thermal radiation, we actually put out infrared in the same way that any other object emits infrared. We absorb infrared and we emit it! Based on the formula, our Peak Emission Wavelength is 9.48 microns.

Remember the brick building example? You can actually do a test right now to feel infrared. Put your hands together, but don’t let 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 temperature rises. The caveat is that the longer the infrared wave, the greater amount that your body can absorb and the higher your core temperature can rise. This is why it’s very important to find the perfect balance of long wavelength light at just the right amount of heat to produce a consistent and prolonged sweat in an infrared sauna.

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I am glad infrared saunas have developed the way they have, because I couldn’t imagine my life without the benefits they provide, like deep sleep, lower blood pressure, less joint pain, weight loss, and a boosted immune system. Here at SaunaCloud I sell saunas that are some of the best history has offered. My far infrared saunas use advanced ceramic-carbon combination heaters for an amazing sauna experience. For more information on how SaunaCloud’s infrared saunas work and how they can improve your health, download my book The Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas. Just give us a call at SaunaCloud 1.800.370.0820.

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Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

I have been writing, learning, educating and generally pointing people in the right direction infrared sauna wise since 2012. Let me know how I can help: chris@saunacloud.com - (530) 417-1220