For thousands of years, many different cultures used heat therapy as a means to stay healthy or heal various ailments. The practice was and remains common in Asian, European and Native American cultures who enjoy routine saunas, steam saunas and sweat lodges. The basic premise involved a rudimentary structure designed to hold the heat and steam. Hot rocks and wood supplied the heat to the interior with temperatures reaching up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. In modern times, electricity warmed the chamber, which might also have steam producing elements.
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Innovative Technological Saunas
Infrared saunas produce as much heat. The units make use of electromagnetic radiation or infrared heating elements that effectively warm the body’s internal temperature through the physiological changes that occur on a cellular level after absorbing the wavelength. Neonatal units have long used infrared heat to maintain the body temperature of newborns.
Infrared Sauna Functionality
The inside of infrared sauna cabinets feature specially designed heating panels that emit infrared light at wavelengths ranging from 750 nanometers to 100 micrometers. The frequency transmitted ranges from 400 terahertz to three terahertz. The photon energy range spans from 12.4 milli-electron volts to 1.7 electron volts. Thus, infrared saunas create heat and positive radiation effects within the body when absorbed by the skin’s thermoreceptors. Infrared light waves affect cells, cell fluid, cellular membranes, proteins and DNA.
Once the infrared energy transforms into photons, the energy stimulates the mitochondria organelles within the cells to ramp up energy production. The act speeds up cellular functions. The effects begin after 15 to 20 minutes of infrared exposure and affect many body systems in a positive way.
At the University of British Columbia, Dr. Richard Beever performed infrared sauna research. He learned that one study conducted by Japanese scientists found that spending 15 minutes daily for two weeks in an infrared sauna effectively dropped blood pressure in adults suffering from hypertension. Japanese studies also found that irregular heart rates normalized and blood vessel function levels improved. The test subjects also demonstrated improvement when undergoing physical fitness tests.
Chronic Pain Relief
Scientists from the Netherlands evaluated the treatment on individuals suffering chronic pain. The volunteers underwent daily saunas over the course of one month. After that time, more than half reported an improvement in sleep quality and nearly one-third were able to resume normal daily activities. Pain and stiffness were markedly reduced along with generalized fatigue.
Diabetes-associated Symptoms Reduced
An article published in the 2010 “Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine” reported that infrared sauna therapy enhances the quality of life for patients diagnosed with type II diabetes. Common secondary complications from the disorder include chronic fatigue syndrome, congestive heart failure, depression and other medical conditions. However, after receiving routine infrared sauna treatments, patients experience a reduction in symptoms. Subjects also reported a reduction in anger, depression and chronic pain.
Infrared sauna therapy does not cause adverse effects and has been shown to improve many medical conditions including:
- Anger and depression
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Gastrointestinal ailments
- Hastens wound healing
- Chronic pain caused by musculoskeletal disorders
Types of Infrared Saunas
Saunas are either far light-omitting or near light-omitting. Far-infrared saunas do not emit light in the far wavelength spectrum The devices use black carbon, ceramic or metallic elements to provide heat. On the other hand, near light-omitting saunas do not emit light in the near wavelength spectrum. The technology uses incandescent heat lamps to provide heat. The lamps have both warming and infrared light properties.
Best Infrared Saunas
1. JNH Lifestyles
The affordable two-person infrared sauna by JNH Lifestyles was designed for easy construction and does not need complicated maintenance. The ease of construction also makes the sauna completely portable. Enjoy the many health benefits that infrared light offer in the privacy of your home. Owning a unit saves the cost of having to go to a fitness center, the spa or a therapist. The cabinet contains seven floor-to-ceiling, carbon-fiber far infrared heaters that are ETL approved. Carbon-fiber heating units are rated as being 40 percent more effective compared to other element types.
Virtually anyone with DIY experience capably puts the unit together thanks to the panels that buckle together. The beautiful sauna cabinet was created using FSC Certified Canadian Hemlock and measures 47.3 inches in width, 39.5 inches in depth and 75 inches in height. The rectangular unit weights 245 pounds and features a wooden bench.
The front of the cabinet features a transparent door made from safety glass. In this way, sauna users have a clear view of exterior locations. Homeowners can also quickly check on friends or family members sitting in the sauna, as especially first time users may not be used to the warmth and light wavelength. Once put together, simply plug the sauna into any standard electrical wall outlet.
The JNH also comes equipped with a premium sound system that includes two speakers and an amplifier featuring a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary plug. Turn the system on/off using a simple switch and adjust the volume using the rocker switch. The stereo system is designed to be compatible with all portable audio devices.
The interior additionally features LED lighting that provides years of service while being cost-effective. An interior digital control panel controls the temperature setting along with the ability to set the sauna time. Optional additional items include a chromotherapy light and an oxygen ionizer.
The JNH Lifestyles infrared sauna comes with a five-year warranty on the sauna and all of its components.
2. Radiant Saunas
The two-person Radiant Sauna features six full-length carbon heaters that come factory installed for ease of construction and quick use. The lamps heat the interior up to 141 degrees Fahrenheit. The beautifully-designed cabinet panels, bench and ergonomic backrests are made using Canadian Hemlock. Radiant also conveniently provides a wooden towel hook and magazine rack. The unit measures 49 inches in width, 39 inches in depth and 75 inches in height. The attractive rectangular cabinet weighs 354 pounds once assembled.
The specially-crafted panels quickly overlap, snap and buckle together. In this way, the heat and beneficial light stay inside the cabinet where it is needed. The tempered and scratch-resistant glass door is tinted and boasts hemlock handles inside and out along with sturdy metal hinges. The cabinet also conveniently comes with two side windows.
The LED lighting system includes top-mounted lights on the interior and exterior of the cabinet, which ensures safe entry and exit. The exterior holds the touch-control panel that allows you to set the temperature and the duration time of the sauna.
Inside the sauna, users have access to the pre-installed premium stereo system that allows you to listen to the clock/AM/FM radio, play a CD or link the system to a portable device. The ceiling of the interior also features a seven-color therapy light. Simply choose the color wavelength and reap the benefits. An easy-to-use oxygen ionizer ensures the air within the cabinet remains fresh and clean.
The ease of construction also includes quick-fitting wall guides, pre-installed wiring and power supply. Simply plug the sauna into a wall outlet, turn the unit on, choose your settings and relax. Radiant also provides a seven-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, a five-year warranty on the heating elements and electronic system and a one-year warranty on the stereo system.
3. Dynamic Saunas
The pre-assembled components of the Dynamic two-person sauna enable users to put the unit together in under one hour. Simply lay down the floor, attach the front then both sides before adding the rear and top panels. The beautiful interior and exterior are constructed using reforested Canadian Hemlock. The sauna also comes with a hemlock bench, door handles and a magazine rack. The entire unit is slightly smaller than comparable models and measures 39.2 inches wide, 35.3 inches deep, 72.5 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. The front features a tempered glass door. The sauna can easily be installed in a master bath, a closet, the basement or in the garage.
The interior features six infrared carbon energy-efficient heating panels, which includes one to warm your legs and feet. The temperature rises up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Control the heat, time and temperature using the dual-digital touch panels on the exterior and interior of the cabinet.
The Dynamic sauna also comes with a remote-controlled, nine-color chromotherapy light for an added therapeutic benefit. The stereo system enables users to enjoy music through two speakers via the MP3 auxiliary connection.
Dynamic offers a one to three-year warranty that covers the panel construction, heating elements and electronic components.
- Heid, M., “You Asked: Are Infrared Saunas Healthy?,” Time, April 5, 2018, September 7, 2016
- Masuda, A., Miyata, M., Kihara, T., Minagoe, S., Tei, C., “Repeated sauna therapy reduces urinary 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2alpha).,” Pub Med, April 5, 2018, March 2004
- Dr. Axe, “Infrared Sauna Treatment: Are the Claims Backed Up?,” Dr. Axe Food is Medicine, April 5, 2018, 2018