Hot diggity, so many questions about NIR vs FIR, what is a true PBMT red light therapy device and how that differs from a sauna… the list goes on for ages.
Strap in folks, this is going to cover some of the most commons misconceptions in the sauna industry. Specifically, a lot of the information you’re getting when you call sauna companies asking to compare different brands, is wrong. Better yet, it’s miss guided completely, as the folks you’re talking to on the phone, usually have never even used all the devices/brands you’re asking about.
I don’t claim to know everything, and there are many folks out there far smarter than I when it comes to infrared. However, I have used every single one of these types of devices, in almost every major brand out there, and I can tell you what the real world differences are based on experience if that’s what you’re looking for.
First Off: True NIR Red Light Therapy Is Not A Sauna
This one really grinds my gears. We’ve got sauna companies like Sunlighten, stuffing a 50 LED panel behind a grill of a sauna calling it a “full spectrum” device. For one, you can’t stick real PBMT panels behind an obstruction like you can far infrared, and expect it to maintain it’s absorption rate at the skin. (not to mention adding extra distance from the side panels to your body!)
Next we’ve got SaunaSpace charging $3k f***’ing dollars for some Home Depot heat lamp bulbs, a stick frame, and some cloth… all so you can spin around on your cheap wooden stool like a rotisserie chicken in your “sauna.”
Holy f**k, what is this world coming to???
All these Facebook marketers running around the ad platform saying red light therapy is far superior to sauna use, and the other half saying FIR trumps NIR, as all full of shit.
Yep, it’s true. Both are useful. Both are different. You should be interested in both, but you should stop letting these idiots split you into two camps.
Bottom line: true near infrared wavelengths like you find in a dedicated red light therapy device such as a Joovv, do not heat you up. To be more specific, you will never sweat profusely or get a sauna experience from near infrared alone. Thus, this whole notion that a “near infrared sauna” is better than a “far infrared sauna” is completely false.
SaunaSpace VS Joovv Is Nonsense?
The heat in what people are calling “near infrared saunas” is damn sure not coming from the near infrared spectrum, that is for sure.
How do I know this? Because I can stand in front of a red light therapy device for 90 minutes and do not break a sweat. (not recommended btw)
But don’t get the wrong impression… I’m not a Joovv fanboy bashing SaunaSpace for the hell of it like you see on Instagram and Facebook. There are problems with that unit too! (and don’t even get me started on flicker)
Full Spectrum Saunas Aren’t Really Necessary?
On the contrary of the above, you don’t need near infrared to get a sauna experience. Far infrared is more than adequate on it’s own to accomplish that job, and all these sauna reps running around saying you need “all three wavelengths in order to get a complete detox” are totally full of shit.
Is PBMT therapy beneficial, particularly if you live in the north and don’t have access to good sunlight year round? Of course.
Is it somehow going to miraculously supercharge your sauna sessions to make you sweat more? Hell no.
Now, to give you the real truth, and contradict what I just said, you can find videos like this one on YouTube of me blatantly showing you how to add NIR heat lamps to any FIR sauna on the cheap.
You can also hear me saying in other videos that it will supercharge any sauna that doesn’t heat up well… but the context and the way I mean it is totally different. Two 250 watt heat lamp bulbs, are adding 500 watts of heat to your sauna. A typical infrared sauna that’s 2 person or smaller, only has an 1800 watts power supply in it unless it’s a 20 amp model.
This means you are creating a 30% increase in over power/heat to your sauna when you do something like this to your sauna, and it has nothing to do with the wavelengths present introducing more NIR to the environment, etc….
Sauna EMF Compared To PBMT (red light therapy) Device EMF
This isn’t even in the same stratosphere the way people are trying to sell it.
Let’s break down what is even present in each, how you’d deal with it, and what to look for in the real world application of these units first. Then we’ll get down to brass tax at the end to conclude.
Red light therapy devices like a Joovv, Red Light Man, whatever brand you want to call up, mostly have EMF in two forms: 1) the fans in them to cool the heat sink are generating magnetic fields. If mitigated well, this will dissipate before the application distance of point of body contact. 2) there are electric fields, usually from cheaper devices using unshielded cables, non grounded housings, etc…
There are a lot of factors that determine whether or not this is an issue for you, since we’re dealing with direct AC current all the way to the device, it’s not like it gets converted to 12 volts like in other units. An easy way to check, and just forget measuring the electric field altogether, is to take body voltage readings with the device off, then on. Simple to do, and cheap.
So that’s red light therapy devices, now let’s talk about infrared saunas, and what you’re dealing with there.
FIR Saunas Have Notoriously High Electric Fields (even though sauna companies say they’re low emf)
Let’s get this out of the way before I lose myself: what does EMF stand for?
What is that?
Electric fields + Magnetic fields = EMF
So why on earth, does every frickin’ sauna company go parading around with a guassmeter, touting how their sauna is near zero EMF… ALL THE WHILE, their body voltage measurements are off the charts? (like, to the tune of 30,000 millivolts!)
And don’t even get me started on the ones who totally ignore whether they have AC or DC in their unit we’re measuring… of course DC is always safer, but then you most likely still have AC power supplies, lighting systems overhead in the ceiling, and even RF transmitters in the fancy saunas with WiFi controllers in the wall and under the seat.
Now, that said, your electric fields will be much more prominent in a sauna, simply because the sources wrap around multiple sides of your body… as opposed to one direction from a PBMT red light therapy panel.
But understanding is important, and the two should not be confused.
Because we have idiot sauna sales people publishing the most ridiculous information ever on their websites trying to convince you of nonsense: “most cell phones have an emf level of 6, and our sauna is less than 1” type of nonsense.
You can’t compare RF radiation to Magnetic Fields, and you should understand the difference when researching a purchase decisions, so you don’t end up wasting money on Tom Foolery like most of us have at one time or another.
Conclusion: So What’s Better Out Of These Brands?
Here’s the bottom line on the brand comparison you’re asking about. Before I get to it, please know this is not an apples to apples comparison, and it’s important you understand that different devices have different wavelengths, intentions, etc…
Specifically, if you’re looking to give your body an easy way to sweat out pesticides through your skin, red light therapy will not help you do that. You need a sauna.
The converse is true: if you live in the North, and sunlight is low and you want to introduce red light therapy as opposed to getting some real full spectrum (the sun) on your noggin, then a sauna will not help you with that.
But what about full spectrum saunas? Most full spectrum saunas with LED based panels stuffed in the walls, simply don’t have enough output strength at the given treatment distance for you to absorb enough NIR for therapeutic purposes. (this doesn’t even take into account if there’s a grill barrier between you and the light source… this isn’t like far infrared, whereby you can sit in a sauna with your clothes on, and it’ll pass right through making you sweat)
SaunaSpace VS Sunlighten
SaunSpace is playing on the “near infrared sauna” craze, which is utter nonsense. They should be called heat lamp saunas, since the heat from the bulbs and far infrared portion of the wavelength is what’s really heating you up and giving you a sauna experience.
However, who the hell wants to sit in a tent and spin around like a rotisserie cooker on a wooden stool? Much less, pay $3,000.00 dollars for a kit. Their manufacturing costs on that are low, the bulbs are less than $20 a piece in bulk, and I don’t think long term usage will continue once people see how you crouch down inside. (if you’re used to a glass door, nice lighting, stereo speakers, etc… for the same damn price that is)
The price gouging is ridiculous regardless of everything else. I will give them props for mitigating electric fields though. I don’t think any other NIR sauna makers have done that. The RF shielded canopy model released for $7000.00 dollars… again, here we go with where their true intentions are, that part is clear.
Sunlighten on the other hand, also makes super expensive saunas. But at least you get high quality cabinetry, a decent sweat, and for the most part an enjoyable piece of home equipment. Same issues here though, just in a different way.
For example, Sunlighten as a company culture, is really not focused on low emf units. They have premium gadgetry in their saunas, usually with fancy LCD screens, wifi, etc… and do not mitigate electric fields at all in any product line.
But their Signature series does have lower magnetic fields, much lower than the M Pulse saunas. Unfortunately neither has low body votlage, due to the lack of electric fields being addressed as a whole.
Flight is boarding, to be continued…