For those who don’t feel well in the extreme heat of a traditional or steam sauna, or who simply don’t enjoy it, Sunlighten infrared saunas offer benefits of light therapy effective without high temperatures.
Exposing the body to heat strengthens the immune system through a process called “hormesis,” which is the idea that a little bit of stress on the body is a good thing. Exercise and fasting are two examples. Sauna also causes the body to respond to the heat. Because infrared produces a special kind of heat, it also delivers the benefits of light, albeit invisible light.
Here’s what you need to know about infrared light and its healing effects on the body without heat.
Ready for a physics lesson? Our Science Advisory Board member, Michael Hamblin, Ph.D., a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa has studied photomedicine (a branch of medicine that studies and applies light to health and disease) for 30 years to explain the connection between infrared and heat. He explains that infrared encompasses the qualities of both heat and light.
“Heat is the motion of molecules,” says Dr. Hamblin. “Molecules vibrate and the energy in that vibration is heat which increases the temperature. Infrared is an electromagnetic wave that’s also energy but a different physical quantity from heat. When infrared is absorbed by material –in this case, the body – it makes it hotter.” That’s because infrared increases the vibration of the molecules in the body which in turn raises the body’s core temperature.
Dr. Hamblin adds that anything that can absorb infrared can also emit it. When this happens, the temperature goes down and the material gets cooler.