Infrared light therapy explained.

If you want to know about the technical details of infrared light therapy, you landed on the right spot. Let me warn you though, it might get a bit technical down here. But not to worry, the lower you go down this page, the higher the readability.

So let's get started !

We all know that the sun is an enormous source of energy. Not all of this energy is beneficial. Although life needs energy from the sun, too much sunlight damages the skin.

Infrared light therapy provides many of the health benefits of natural sunlight without any of the dangerous effects of solar radiation.

Infrared heat is not ultraviolet radiation. Infrared energy travels 2-3" deep into the body and increases blood circulation and nourishes damaged tissue.

The energy that we feel from the sun gets transported to the earth by means of electromagnetic radiation. These rays can be divided into several wavelengths.

Wavelengths are measured in nanometers (nm). A nanometer is one millionth part of a centimeter or about 0.000000394 inch.

Now, each wavelength transports a certain amount of energy. The higher the frequency of the wave, the shorter its wavelength and the more energy it can transport.

Higher frequency = shorter wavelength = more energy.

Only part of the sunrays make it al the way through to the earth. Part of it gets absorbed by our atmosphere.

The radiation that does reach the face of the earth is called global radiation. It ranges from Ultraviolet light over visible light and then all the way over to infrared light (IR), which is used in infrared light therapy.

The global radiation is divided like so

  • UVB from 295 to 315 nm 0.1%
  • UVA from 315 to 400 nm 4.9%
  • Violet from 380 to 436 nm
  • Blue from 436 to 495 nm
  • Green from 495 to 566 nm
  • Yellow from 566 to 589 nm
  • Orange from 589 to 627 nm
  • Red from 627 to 780 nm totals at 39% visible light
  • IR A from 760 to 1,400 nm 37 %
  • IR B from 1,400 to 3,000 nm 16 %
  • IR C from 3,000 to 10,000 nm 3%

We are particularly interested in the infrared rays (IR). As you can see, they are divided in three types :

  • IR-A : short wave infrared
  • IR-B : medium wave infrared
  • IR-C : long wave infrared

Phew, did you really follow me all the way to here ? You must be really motivated. Not to worry, it gets more readable from here on.

The short wave infrared will heat up our body faster. But, they have a major drawback : they almost totally bypass the receptors in our body. The consequence of this is that our central nerve system doesn't receive any "high temperature warning". Needless to say : this is bad.

At present, several discussions are going on between governments, NORM commissions and infrared sauna manufacturers. Short wave infrared light therapy will probably only be possible under doctor's supervision soon. A lot of people don't like the ultra-rapid heating of short wave infrared.

That is why it is recommended to use long wave infrared in your sauna cabin. Of course, a combination of both is also possible. You can place IR-C emitters at your backside and IR-A rays in the corners in the front, as they have to travel a longer distance to your body.

Every kind of heat that we can feel from a distance is transported by infrared rays. Whether it is the heat from a stove, a light bulb, or even the body heat from another human being.

Our bodies emit infrared radiation in a wavelength range from 300 to 5,000 nm and our hand palms emit radiation from 800 to 1,400 nm. Infrared light therapy is very old. Healing by laying on of hands is practiced in China for 3,000 years and is based upon this emission of IR rays. Indian yogis mainly perform laying on of hands in cases of sore eyes.

From infrared light therapy to infrared sauna side effects

Also read: infrared sauna for stress relief


Copyright 2006 - Infrared Sauna Reference

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