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EMFs? Carbon heaters? Ceramic heaters? Carbon and Ceramic heaters? Near Infrared? Far Infrared? Full Spectrum? Which kind of wood is best, plywood? What glue is best? Does it matter that it's made in China?
We understand that it can be difficult to know what is best and to get a fair comparison of one brand of sauna to another, which is why we offer a FREE COMPARISON SERVICE.
Just send us a short list of sauna models that you are considering & your questions, and we will write up a Comparison Chart of our Sun Stream model verses any other brand of sauna that you may be looking at.
We will compare the saunas' specifications and features objectively for you based on our experience working with & designing Infrared saunas.
Click here to find a sauna that suits you!
We see many claims from Infrared sauna companies regarding the wavelengths of Infrared heat produced by their heaters but rarely are these accompanied by tests to substantiate the claims. Contrary to many sauna advertisers' claims, no carbon or ceramic based sauna heater is able to produce a single frequency of Infrared.
For example: Sun Stream's nano carbon panel heaters produce the desirable therapeutic 4-14 micron range of Infrared.
See our Spectroscopy test results in the following video as Kevin Halsey unravels the micron myths & explains what really is important!
The Ultra Low EMF Nano-Carbon panel heaters that we have used in our Sun Stream Infrared Saunas for the last 9 years emit Far Infrared (FIR). We have several different add-ons in development to also incorporate Red and NIR light into our saunas (PBMT, Photobiomodulation Therapy).
In the market place we currently have three different types of Infrared saunas:
Far Infrared (FIR)
FIR is absorbed by the water content or moisture in our skin and then drawn in to deeper levels of our muscles and joints to induce a heavy sweat.
Absorption is the key dynamic to generate heat in your body which of course is the primary purpose of a sauna. All light when it hits an object, such as our body, is either absorbed, reflected or transmitted (passes through).
FIR is highly absorbed, has a low reflection and a low transmission rates making it the best wavelength for the purposes of heating the human body. All carbon and ceramic based sauna heaters produce almost all of their energy in the FIR range.
Near Infrared (NIR)
Near Infrared has a high reflection rate, high transmission rate and a very low absorption rate. There is vast amounts of research spanning several decades of therapeutic use of NIR with powerful lasers and LED devices. Much of the research has been conducted by NASA and the primary objective has been for healing and cellular energy production through a process called photobiomodulation therapy PBMT (akin to photosynthesis in plants)
Our skin has a natural defence mechanism to reflect most NIR but with powerful laser and LED devices and with the devices in close proximity to the skin, this defence mechanism is overcome to transmit the NIR through tissue. But very little heat is generated as the NIR passes through our tissue. The NIR induces numerous biochemical responses associated with healing but generates very little heat.
Unfortunately there are some sauna companies promoting NIR for the purpose of a sauna who have a misunderstanding of the science of NIR. Again, NIR generates very little heat in our body. Some companies are using inexpensive heat lamp bulbs which produce a very small amount of NIR and have very very hot filaments in the bulbs and are essentially just heating up the air in the sauna as you would in a traditional hot rock sauna. Light disperses over distance and it is essentially impossible to be close enough to these lamps, due to their extreme surface temperature, to receive an adequate level of NIR energy. Lasers and LEDs on the other hand are capable of producing the single frequency wavelengths for therapy and can focus a strong beam of the light over distance as required if used while in the sauna.
The idea of a NIR sauna is a contradiction of terms. The primary function of a sauna is to generate heat in your body, BUT NIR generates very little heat as it passes through our tissue.
For customers who are interested in NIR therapy and want to combine this with their FIR sauna, we recommend acquiring a proper device that delivers the required intensity of NIR energy. .
With an adequate intensity, NIR will be absorbed deeper into our bodies than FIR. Near Infrared's deeper penetration does have therapeutic advantages for certain applications, but this deeper penetration also presents a hazard to the eyes.
Eye Protection is Recommended!
Full Spectrum (RED, NIR, MIR, FIR)
Some companies, are advertising 'full spectrum' saunas that incorporate Near Infrared and Mid Infrared into their FIR saunas.
Mid Infrared (MIR) is not well studied. I have never seen any research on any particular benefits of MIR which makes up a very small portion of the light spectrum (1.4- 3.0 microns) The benefits of NIR are highly dependent upon the proximity of the user to the light source to receive an adequate intensity of light energy.
Unfortunately several of the full spectrum saunas on the market DO NOT provide adequate levels of NIR in close enough proximity to the user's body to deliver therapeutic levels of the light.
As mentioned, some sauna companies are recommending the use of common Near Infrared heat lamps (Home Depot etc) for NIR therapy purposes.
These heat lamps are extremely hot and it is impossible to place your skin close enough to the bulbs to receive therapeutic levels of NIR.
LEDS on the other hand DO NOT emit dangerous levels of heat and can be close to or even directly on your skin to ensure that therapeutic levels of the NIR light are transmitted into our tissue.
Please check with us at Sun Stream to learn more about our upcoming Red and NIR Photobiomodualtion Therapy devices being added to our Sun Stream Saunas.
Carbon fibre panel is the newest infrared technology available and uses large, flexible and flat carbon fibre panels within the sauna. Carbon heaters are superior to Ceramic Heaters for a number of reasons:
Carbon Heater Panels will last a lot longer than ceramic heaters. Due to the high temperatures of ceramic tubes, they tend to have a higher failure rate and have an approximate lifetime of 10,000 hours or 10 years while the expected lifetime of carbon fibre heaters is 50 years or more.
While both carbon and ceramic heaters produce infrared heat, it is generally accepted that the carbon fibre panels will induce a deeper sweat. This is a significant difference to consider, as a proportion of the sweating caused by the ceramic heaters can be attributed to its shear high temperature, which results in more of a surface level detoxification (i.e. It is generally not desirable to have such high heater temperatures as it is the infrared rays more than the increased temperatures that helps
to create a deep-tissue detoxification).
The hotter operating temperature of ceramic heaters can result in more breathing difficulties and can cause a burning sensation on the skin and eyes if used for prolonged periods. Typically, the technology employed in carbon fibre heaters relies more heavily on producing the infrared at a lower temperature that will be more comfortable when sitting beside.
Greater, Wider Body Coverage
Studies have shown that the carbon fibre heaters often far surpass the heating surface area of ceramic heaters. A total heating area for a sauna with carbon panel heaters is approximately 6 times larger than a sauna with ceramic heaters. Heat via a large panel as opposed to a thin tube helps provide a much larger surface area for the healing infrared rays. This results in a more even distribution of heat whereas ceramic heaters can lead to uneven heat distribution. The large heating area makes sure that nearly every square inch of your body is heated by the infrared rays.