Far vs Near Infrared Sauna: What’s The Difference

From inflatable compression boots to whole body cryotherapy techniques, nowadays people are taking extraordinary measures to keep their bodies in shape. The latest in health and well-being technology? Infrared Technology that helps transfer radiation to your entire body. It’s a form of physical therapy, which is becoming increasingly common in treating various health complications. More so, recent studies show that FIR rays are an essential form of physiotherapy, and can alleviate multiple kinds of health complications. 

Infrared sauna, otherwise referred to as Waon Therapy or Infrared Therapy, involves the use of special infrared heat to produce infrared light. Users experience the light as radiant heat, which can be absorbed through the surface of the skin. The standard technique that saunas use to heat the body includes convection and conduction. 

This guide will explain the main difference between the conventional and the common infrared saunas. If you ever visited a traditional dry infrared sauna, you will know that it's completely different from a modern sauna. The traditional saunas work directing heat to the air around you. That said, the infrared saunas work uniquely by heating you from the inside, which is why you can easily use them even in low temperatures. 

Infrared exist on the spectrum of light, and they are naturally emitted by the sun as part of the normal range of light. Nowadays, places referred to as saunas use this type of heat to various kinds of health benefits, this according to a recent medical study.

This form of therapy involves heating the body and penetrating the tissues, which offers various types of physiological benefits. The heat from the therapy functions as a mild stressor to the body, which causes the body to produce special proteins in response to the heat. Otherwise referred to as heat shock proteins, these compounds can promote the oxidative stress in the body. Aside from the benefits of the heat, there are various other benefits of infrared therapy on body physiology:

  • Improve the immune functions of the body by enhancing white blood cell production
  • Controlling issues such as inflammation
  • Strengthening the body`s ability to recover from injury
  • Promoting optimal recover by improving the flow of blood in the body
  • Reducing problem such as the risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia
  • Increasing detoxification through sweating

Various brands out there claim to have high quality infrared dry sauna kits, which can make it challenging to choose a reliable brand. That said, only in the past few years have we been able to access safer technologies that have revolutionized the way we can use saunas. Before that, the conventional sauna consisted of ceramic heaters, which had various safety concerns. For instance, the ceramic would get damaged easily during the heating and cooling process. Over time, the cracks would develop in red charcoals, which can prove to be dangerous in a wooden box. Thus, you will notice that the conventional sauna companies provide various types of carbon saunas, due to their immense safety. 

The conventional saunas involve the use of heat to warm air in a small space. The warm air then heats your body. For this reason, saunas are becoming common because they help to alleviate issues such as muscle pain.

FIR saunas, on the contrary, involve the use of light rather than heat. The FIR waves can heat the body directly, without having to heat air in an enclosed area. It’s a form of technology that involves the transfer of energy in the form of heat, to reach inside the body. More so, the FIR therapy also provides similar benefits to heat therapy. However, you won't experience issues such associated with the intense heat. As such, many FIR brands are incorporating the technology into various products, include bedsheets, pyjamas and more.

Near-Infrared (NIR)

NIR is a specific type of light that sits closest to visible light, on the light spectrum. A significant portion of the IR light from the sun classifies as NIR light. Just as mentioned before, the Infrared Light heats the body from the inside. The light can penetrate as much as 6mm beneath the screen. The level of the light on the light spectrum is indirectly proportional to the depth to which light can penetrate. 

The 810-830 mm NIR range has been a common point of research over the past few years, because of its ability to promote ATP production in the body. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), is a vital molecule required in the functionality of body cells. 

This range of light promotes the production of Cytochrome C Oxidase, which is an essential compound in the production of ATP in the body. Many of the advantages of the NIR is due to its ability to promote the production of ATP in the body. The NIR achieves through a few key ways:

nir sauna

To stimulate the circulation and production of collagen, thereby improving the repair of damaged tissue and bone. NIR, especially when combined with the traditional type of light, is highly effective at enhancing the appearance of the skin. It helps to reduce issues such as ageing on the skin and also promotes optimal healing

By improving the production of ATP in the body, NIR plays a significant role in pain control and also promote optimal muscle recovery. In the NIR saunas, you receive the same dry heat temperatures that you would receive with a traditional sauna, or perhaps a cellular phone that warms the surface of your skin as you use it. This type of sauna will cause the body to sweat, but won't leave you with an issue such as fevers. Furthermore, a significant portion of saunas on the consumer market has a similar appearance to a tent closure. 

Inside, you will come across several red bulbs that produce NIR. These bulbs can achieve exceptional temperatures of as much as 400 degrees. This way, you experience heat just in the same way as a conventional sauna. That said, the temperature from a poorly calibrated machine can cause complications such as skin damage. Thus, ensure that you get a full spectrum heater, to provide optimal skin safety.

Near-Infrared History and Its Applications

Near-Infrared gets its name from the fact that it is closest to visible light in terms of bandwidth. NIR occurs all around the environment today. The sun produces NIR, and we also it in devices such as remote controls. Many experts believe the technology made its debut back in the 1950s, where it was used in optical devices. Forward 3 decades later, and NIR was much more common, whereby it was used in applications such as chemical engineering. In the past NIR had various traditional applications such in scientific labs and medical instruments. These included applications such as diagnostics, agriculture, food production and more.

Factors to Consider About Near-Infrared Technology

For those who are not aware, near-infrared is a relatively new form of technology when it comes to saunas. Quite contrary to popular belief, red light therapy bulbs are not so much used to promote health. That said, the bulbs are used to produce convection heat in the sauna. Furthermore, a significant portion of Sauna companies doesn’t have the appropriate temperature measuring approaches or equipment. Thus, it becomes difficult to determine the specific temperature reading on the control panel when using a Sauna. Typically, the NIR bulbs have a 250W rating, and you might have to replace the bulbs after two years. The NIR bulbs will provide an exceptional level of near-infrared rays in light from. 

Sitting too close to a bulb that is not well calibrated can lead to thermal burns. More so, there have been many schools of thought about the benefits of NIR therapy and its benefits. The concept behind such technology is introducing another bandwidth level of sunlight to the available treatments. The highest exposure to near-infrared light usually occurs in the morning, or when the sunsets. In the morning, the NIR light primes the body for the absorption of Vitamin D and also helps adjust the skin to the side effects of the sun`s rays. 

Most of the scientific studies on NIR tend to focus on localized treatment procedures. The goal of these procedures is often to provide benefits such as anti-ageing, healing properties, cancer therapy and more. Furthermore, a recent medical study showed that NIR is ideal for addressing various types of psychological and neurological complications. NIR helps to improve the synthesis of ATP and metabolic performance of the respiratory chain. NIR therapy is also beneficial by providing benefits such as antioxidant responses, anti-inflammatory benefits and more.

Far Infrared (FIR)

At the other side of the infrared spectrum is where you will find the Far Infrared rays, which means far from the visible light spectrum. The best method for determining the presence of this type of energy is through physical feeling. The far infrared saunas were first developed mid in the 1950s by Japanese professionals who were working with infrared light. That said, it has taken close to seven decades for Far Infrared sauna to become a mainstay in the sauna industry. The main reason for such an occurrence is due to the improved research and information behind the use of such resources. These include benefits such as detoxification properties, application in hospitals for treatment and more.

The water in our bodies play a significant role in the absorption of Far Infrared, and it can penetrate as much as 0.2mm below the skin. Such a unique absorption method can play an essential role in improving the protein structures in your body.

The FIR saunas are based on the principle of radiant heating, meaning that heat transfer occurs to the body directly. The body produces natural IR light as heat at an average of 9.4 microns. Such a metric is referred to as the Biophtoton, which offers a natural approach for warming the body. Similar to how skin contact is vital for a newborn baby or someone with hypothermia, using body heat is a natural approach for raising the core body temperature. 

far infrared

FIR therapy is also proving to be useful for patients with complications such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and more. More so, a recent medical study showed that FIR is highly beneficial for athletes and physical enthusiasts who experience regular injuries. It is also helpful for patients who experience complications such as increased pain after surgical procedures. Scientific experts are carrying out further studies on the benefits of the technology for addressing issues such as insomnia in patients. Benefits of FIR include: 

  • Controlling complications such as arrhythmias in people who suffer from heart complications, and also enhancing markers of blood vessel health.
  • Reducing inflammation and pain associated with degenerative complications such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treating various types of health complications include diabetes and chronic cardiovascular disease

Far vs Near Infrared Sauna

Near-infrared is a relatively new form of technology when it comes to saunas. The NIR light is closest in wavelength to visible light and the size of its cells. A significant portion of Near Infrared Sauna Companies promote tend to promote the benefits of Far Infrared, rather than Near Infrared technology. The NIR is absorbed through the skin and might significant increases in your average body temperature. As the surface absorbs the NIR light, it works on the water molecules of the cell by repairing the cellular ph. It achieves this by providing the production of ATP and triggers calcium ions for enhanced cellular performance.

What About Side Effects Such as EMF?

Since we started making use of technologies such as cellphones and televisions, EMF has raised various concerns about its side effects on the body. It's important to note that there are two types of EMF, which are the ionizing and non-ionizing infrared rays.

Electromagnetic forces are in a critical component of the universe. Almost every element in the world consists of a positive and negative charge. The wavelengths of this energy thus play a significant role in ionizing DNA. Typically, the non-ionizing EMF is classified as safe, because it does not affect the DNA in your body. 

EMF is a universal force, and it occurs in various types of electronics. These include electronics such as wireless modems, computers, electrical wires and more. Thus, we are always surrounded by EMF forces, much higher than the levels you might come across in a Sauna. 

According to recent medical research, ELFs, or low levels of EMF occur close to high voltage power lines and can efficiently ionize DNA. Thus, it is common to find that such individuals in such areas might demonstrate symptoms associated with EMF exposure such as cancer and depression. Sunburn is also a typical example of ionizing radiation that can cause alterations in your DNA. However, the Extremely Low-Frequency Infrared does not exist in infrared saunas. The EMF that exists in a well-made infrared sauna is non-ionizing, and will not compromise your DNA. While recent scientific studies don’t provide any detailed information on EMF, some users will inevitably want to reduce exposure to the chemical.

How an Infrared Sauna Works?

Both near and far infrared saunas work in different ways. For instance, the near-infrared sauna offers almost similar heating as the traditional saunas. While this type of sauna causes the body to sweat, it won't necessarily lead to fevers.

Furthermore, the near-infrared saunas that are available on the market today have an appearance that seems somewhat like tent closure. Inside the enclosure are as many as 4 or 5 red light bulbs. The near-infrared bulbs can achieve exceptional temperatures of as much as 400 degrees. This way, the environment will prove convention heat similar to a traditional sauna. The extreme temperatures of poorly calibrated NIR bulbs can 

Nowadays, both NIR and FIR saunas are popular among people who love heat therapy. Thus, investing in a suitable depends on your ability to make savvy investments. Similar to buying any type of therapeutic product, choosing a sauna from a reliable brand always has its inherent benefits. In other words, you get a health therapy solution that is both safe and reliable, while also providing the best value for your money.

Research on Infrared Therapy

Since infrared therapy has proved to be extraordinarily beneficial for treating disease, scientists have conducted various studies on the subject. The following are some of the common studies on the far vs near-infrared sauna:

  • A 10-person recent survey showed that using infrared as part of a treatment plan helps to reduce issues such as chronic fatigue
  • Another review showed that infrared therapy in saunas is highly beneficial for promoting proper blood pressure levels
  • Infrared saunas play a significant role in temporarily reducing joint pain and enhancing the range of motion of your muscles. Further research also shows that FIR is beneficial for promoting optimal bone and muscle health.


Nowadays, the consumer market is filled with various new-age therapy products that can have immense benefits for your health. That said, making the best use of such technologies largely depends on your ability to make good decisions. Athletes, DIY health enthusiasts, medical professionals and more, all rely on this technology for health purposes. Thus, in this far vs near-infrared sauna guide, we have compiled the most important factors for you to consider when investing in such a product. 

With adequate safety and the proper sauna, you will experience various physical well-being benefits. A sauna uses thermal heat to improve multiple cell functions in the body, and with any issues such as mild fevers. More so, issue such as EMF forces are always close to zero, when you get the right infrared sauna for your needs.

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