Far infrared versus infrared. What’s the difference?
There seems to be some confusion over the meaning of “infrared” light and “far infrared” light. There are many who search for far infrared saunas, yet most others search for infrared saunas.
Is there any difference between “far” infrared and infrared, or are they the same thing?
You’ll be familiar with infrared rays, even if you don’t yet know what they are. When the sun comes out and you immediately feel warmer that’s the result of heating by infrared light rays from the sun. You might also be familiar with an infrared bathroom heater, switch it on and you immediately feel the heat.
Infrared rays come from the invisible part of the suns light spectrum. Specifically they come from the part of the spectrum that is between visible light and microwaves.
There are a range or wavelengths for infrared light, just as there are for the different visible colors of the spectrum. Infra red can range from “near” infrared to “far” infrared, depending on the wavelength. So yes there are different wavelengths of infrared rays.
“Near” infrared has wavelengths closer to the visible wavelengths, whereas “far” infrared has wavelengths closer to microwaves. I’m sure you know how microwaves heat food, that’s be the use of even shorter wavelengths than far infrared.
Far infrared rays heat us up, however near infrared rays do not. They are used, for example, in TV remote controls and if we point one at ourselves there is no heating effect.
The bottom line then, is that there is infrared light, and an infrared sauna uses the portion of the infrared spectrum that heats, known as “far” infrared, to create the heating effect.
However there is no difference between a farinfrared sauna and an infrared sauna, they both refer to the same thing