When researching the infrared sauna market, we often come across a discussion about EMF, EMC and other readings. The reality is that there is a great deal of misunderstanding on this topic. But living in a developed society, where not only our homes but also our entire environment is electrified and electrical appliances are our daily companions, we are all exposed to electromagnetic fields in one way or another.
Let’s start by explaining the concepts of EMF (Electromagnetic Field Radiation), EMF (Electromagnetic Field Force) and EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility Control), how they are related and how they differ:
- Electromagnetic field radiation (EMF): Electromagnetic field radiation is the scattering of electromagnetic energy that occurs when an electrical device or system generates an electromagnetic field. It can be measured and expressed as electromagnetic waves that propagate through space. EMF can originate from a variety of sources, including power lines, electromagnetic radiation sources, wireless communication networks and other devices that use electromagnetic energy. Everything in the universe, including your body, emits a certain frequency that is harmless. However, in very high doses, EMFs can be harmful; they disrupt natural frequencies and processes in the body. EMF refers to electromagnetic phenomena such as light, radiation, electromagnetic waves etc. An EMF is an electrical potential difference created by an energy source ,  and is necessary to force current to flow through a circuit.
- Electromagnetic field force (EMF): The electromagnetic field force is a physical quantity that describes the strength or intensity of an electromagnetic field at a given point. It is measured in terms of the electric and magnetic forces exerted by electromagnetic radiation. The units of measurement of EMF can be volts per metre (V/m) or tesla (T), depending on whether the electric field or the magnetic field is measured. EMF is an electromagnetic field, which is a varying electric and magnetic field that can generate EMF according to Faraday’s law , . EMF can have problems with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).
- Electromagnetic compatibility control (EMC): Electromagnetic compatibility control is a process to ensure that the operation and behaviour of electromagnetic systems are compatible and do not interfere with the electromagnetic performance of other devices or systems. EMC includes measures to reduce interference from electromagnetic radiation, the effects of electrical noise, electromagnetic noise and electromagnetic susceptibility. This is particularly important in the design of electronic equipment and systems to avoid interference, disturbance or non-operation due to electromagnetic interaction problems. EMC stands for electromagnetic compatibility, which is the ability to operate without undesirable effects or being affected by other electromagnetic fields . EMC tests are necessary to ensure that electronic devices meet safety and quality standards .
So, to summarise:
- EMF is the dispersion of electromagnetic energy that occurs when an electrical device or system generates an electromagnetic field. EMF is an important parameter describing the ability of a power source to supply current to a circuit. The higher the EMF, the more current can be passed through the circuit.
- EMF is a physical quantity that describes the strength of the electromagnetic field at a given point. EMF is an unavoidable phenomenon that results from changing electric or magnetic fields. EMF can be beneficial or harmful depending on its strength and frequency. EMF can generate EMF in other circuits or cause noise or interference.
- EMC is the process of ensuring that electromagnetic systems are compatible and do not cause problems for other devices or systems. EMC is an important aspect of ensuring the performance and safety of electronic equipment. EMC tests help to identify and minimise disturbances or irregularities caused by EMF. EMC tests also help to meet legal requirements and standards.
How are infrared saunas related to electromagnetic radiation (EMR)?
Infrared saunas are related in that they use infrared radiation as a heat source. Infrared is a type of electromagnetic wave that is longer than visible light and has a lower frequency. Infrared rays create an electromagnetic field that penetrates directly into the human body and warms tissues, organs, muscles and joints. It is important to note that infrared radiation is emitted by all living bodies without exception. Infrared saunas have many health-enhancing and therapeutic effects, such as sweating, removing toxins, improving circulation, reducing pain, calming the nervous system, etc. Infrared saunas are safer and more efficient than traditional saunas because they do not require high temperatures and air heating.
It is very important not to confuse Infrared (IR) with Ultraviolet (UV). This is because UV has many harmful effects, especially on the skin, whereas IR has been used for many years in medicine and has known positive effects. Infrared saunas heat your body directly (as opposed to traditional saunas heating the air) by emitting infrared heat. Waves, similar to the sun, penetrate and heat your body. They are even used to heat newborn babies in hospitals.
How do infrared heaters work in saunas?
Sauna heaters work by using electrical energy, which they convert into heat energy and radiate to the environment. The heaters generate electromagnetic fields that are proportional to their power and distance from them. Typically, electric heaters in a sauna have a low power level, so the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) they produce is extremely low and within safety limits.
There are several types of infrared rays, so it is sometimes relevant to know what kind of IR rays we are talking about when we talk about saunas:
- IR-A, near infrared, or NIR (760nm – 1400nm)
- IR-B, mid infrared, or MIR (1400nm – 3000nm)
- IR-C, far infrared, or FIR (3000nm – 1mm)
The Infrared Suns we sell with carbon fibre heating elements operate in the IR-C – FIR band. Models PRIME 1 and PRIME 2 are full spectrum InfraSaunas, and in addition to the carbon fibre heating elements, they also have Quartz-Magnesium heating elements which operate in the full spectrum IR-A (NIR), IR-B (MIR) and IR-C (FIR).
There is some suggestion that IR-A – NIR could be affected. But medical research shows that IR-A does far more good than harm: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745411/
So the question remains, will bringing an infrared sauna into your home increase your exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR)?
The reality is that the EMF reading of an infrared sauna is significantly lower compared to other devices in your home that you use on a daily basis, such as your mobile phone, TV, WiFi router, laptop etc. The magnitude of the EMF depends strongly on the distance to the source, the time spent exposed to the radiation and a myriad of other factors.
Our InfraSaunas are CE, ISO and EMC certified, comply with all safety requirements and have declarations of conformity. The heating elements of our Infrared Saunas have been measured and certified by the EU and are infinitely small. Again much smaller than most of the appliances around you in your home that you use 24/7/365, as opposed to using an InfraSauna once, or several times a week. A minute’s conversation on a mobile phone with no hands-free equipment attached to your ear will do incomparably more damage than a full 45min bathing session in an InfraRed Sauna.
We have been selling InfraSaunas for several decades, selling to a large number of individuals and spas, but also to medical institutions, which are particularly interested in all things related to health in one way or another.
Certified EMC test results:
The average electromagnetic field measurement in our saunas is ~0.4 mG, but this number varies considerably, even with the position of the measuring device, which is in the same place, but turned to a slightly different angle:
These studies clearly indicate that IR has a positive effect on the skin, with a particularly good increase in collagen and elastin levels, and specifically point to IR as a healthy and safe skin treatment that is effective in rejuvenating the skin:
It has even been successfully used to treat Port-wine stain. Port-wine stain is a discolouration of the human skin caused by an abnormality of the blood vessels (malformation of the capillaries in the skin):