To truly understand how safe infrared body wraps and treatments are it’s necessary to have a basic understanding of what infrared heat is and how it works in the body wrap form. First, let’s clear a few things up. Far-infrared, radiant heat and FIR all mean the same thing and this is the technology used in most infrared body wraps. That being said, we cannot speak for every type of infrared product on the market. Additionally, not all infrared body wrap manufacturers use the same materials and inner-workings to construct the wrap itself. This is why the infrared equipment you choose to use should come from a trusted source!Infrared is part of the spectrum of frequencies or colors found in sunlight and though it has been used for centuries, historical texts indicate that Sir William Herschel discovered infrared in the year 1800 while using colored filters to observe sunlight. After testing the individual temperatures of each color and measuring the temperature just beyond the red portion of the spectrum (where no sunlight was visible) he found that this region's temperature was the highest of all. Thus leading to the discovery that there is light we cannot see with our eyes and that infrared that shows itself in the form of heat. Infrared is all around us and it is a safe form of energy.
Need proof? We asked Dr. Flickstein, FIT Bodywrap's Clinical Director and he said, “The short answer is yes, far infrared is a safe form of energy and all warm-blooded animals emit it. Studies show that FIR is both absorbed by the body and emitted from it and many cellular processes progress quicker when infrared warms our tissues. Hence why it’s so beneficial to humans. The energy produced by FIR is strictly heat that penetrates the body to provide some amazing benefits!” Dr. Flickstein went on the explain that “The main source of infrared on earth is the sun, it emits more than half of its output as infrared and infrared heat itself can be further divided into three categories.”
- Near Infrared A shorter wavelength commonly found in electronic devices and infrared heaters.
- Mid Infrared A medium wavelength used in many scientific devices.
- Far Infrared (FIR) A longer wavelength that emits lower temperatures, more similar to that of the human body. This allows FIR to be safely used in saunas and body wraps.
Dr. Flickstein went on to explain that, “Artificial infrared sources are utilized in body wraps, saunas and at-home FIR products. They emit primarily in the 5-15-micron length of the far infrared band of light, closely paralleling our atmosphere’s infrared window that allows through the sun’s infrared output in the 7-14 micron band.”
Why is infrared heat safe for humans?
Simply stated, far infrared heat is safe and easily absorbed by the body because it is also produced by the body.
Is dehydration a danger?
“The possibility of dehydration can occur while participating in many activities,” said Dr. Flickstein, “going on a long hike without water can be dangerous, working out without drinking water can, too. Any time the body is producing sweat it is losing water that does need to be replaced for proper hydration.”
What about the contraindications?
It would be silly for us to say that all services, including infrared wraps are safe for everyone. What we mean is, there are contraindications for those with underlying health concerns. And persons with specific health conditions or diseases may not be able to participate in infrared deep heating treatments due to their condition or the medications they take. Just to be sure we recommend that clients consult with their primary care physician before participating in infrared sessions.
Click here for more details on infrared contraindications.
All in all, it's important to note that infrared heat itself is a safe form of energy that be applied to the body to achieve amazing benefits! If you are unsure if infrared heat is safe for you please speak with your doctor.
- Dr. Aaron Flickstein, FIT Bodywrap Clinical Director
- Vatansever, Fatma and Michael R. Hamblin. "Far Infrared Radiation (FIR): Its Biological Effects And Medical Applications". Photonics and Lasers in Medicine 1.4 (2012): 255–266.
- NASA Earth Observatory