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Better Health: How Does a Far Infrared Sauna Work?

Most people know what saunas are.  And when we're looking at saunas, we see two kinds: traditional saunas and far infrared saunas. How does a far infrared sauna work? How is its heat different from the heat in a traditional sauna?

How does a far infrared sauna work?

The heat source in a traditional sauna heats the air. That heat directly affects your skin temperature, and you start to sweat as your body works on cooling down.

Infrared sauna heaters create heat energy in the far infrared wavelength range. Don't worry – they're not harmful UV rays, as much as "far infrared" sounds similar.

Instead, infrared heat waves spread until they get to you. Then, they don't stop at your skin. They penetrate deep into your tissues, warming and relaxing you while keeping your skin comfortable.

That's why infrared heaters don't vastly increase the temperature of the air. Infrared heat waves heat objects more than they heat the air itself.

Traditional saunas usually reach 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit (higher, if you enjoy intense heat) in order to get you to a good, cleansing sweat. FIR saunas are just as effective at a much lower temperature – just 100-140 degrees. That’ll keep your skin more comfortable and improve safety overall.

Why does FIR heat objects more than air?

Unlike conventional heat, infrared rays only expend 20% of their energy on heating the air the pass through. That leaves 80% to heat the objects within range. When they meet an object (you), they penetrate and heat it.

That's a complicated way of saying that you can get your sweat on without having to sit in a super high temperature.

What is a far infrared heater made of?

Far infrared heaters contain heat-conducting rods (or coils) that radiate far infrared energy throughout the sauna when an electrical current passes through them.

Any substance that will emit far infrared heat energy works. For that reason, ceramic and carbon coils have been used.

The heaters themselves are set into the wall of the sauna and covered. The grate keeps you from burning yourself by accident. Since the heat source is out of the way and concealed, FIR saunas are quite safe when used properly.

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Hopefully, this answers your questions about how far infrared saunas work. If you missed it, you can check out our first article about FIR saunas for more on their benefits. The info may help you find the perfect sauna.

For friendly advice and expert help – or to see a far infrared sauna for yourself – come on in to The Great Backyard. We'd love to meet you!

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