What is the Difference Between Infrared and Radiation?

November 14, 2016 by Kara Willingham

Did you know everything from the sun and the stars to your dog Fluffy emits radiation? We’re sure you’ve heard the word radiation, but what does it really mean? Because it is such a broad topic, it can a bit challenging to understand exactly how it works and what its effects on the body may be. For a scientific description, we referenced our handy dandy dictionary, which says radiation is the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles…what this really means is radiation is the release of energy in the form of moving waves or streaming particles. This is a naturally occurring process and because the earth itself emits radiation, all living things on the planet do as well.

Radiation VS. Radioactive

When we say that natural radiation is always present we are referring to background radiation. This includes cosmic radiation, which is from the sun and stars, terrestrial radiation, which is from the earth and the internal radiation from living things. The radiation we receive from the electromagnetic spectrum includes UV, red light, infrared, micro waves and radio waves. These are considered the non-harmful, natural background radiation or moving waves. Streaming particles are considered radioactive and they include beta and alpha rays which can be harmful in large amounts because they can change the structure of DNA. This brings us to gamma, gamma rays are also considered moving waves, but they are strong and again can penetrate the skin, possibly damaging the cells inside.
The sun produces natural infrared radiation.

Infrared Radiation

So, what does this mean for infrared? First, it is important to note that there are three types of infrared heat, near, mid and far. Near being the hottest, mid being, well, in the middle and far being the most natural for the human body. Most infrared services incorporate far infrared (just like your body) whereas your stove may be using near infrared heat. Hence the reason your stove gets way hotter than a body wrap! So, there is no need to worry about far infrared exposure during a body wrap session because the infrared heat used is the same type that our bodies produce.  

According to LiveScience.com everything with a temperature above -450 degrees Fahrenheit emits infrared radiation. This indicates that although it is not always visible all objects emit infrared heat! Live Science also references the University of Tennessee stating that the sun gives off half of its total energy as infrared, and much of its visible light is absorbed and re-emitted as infrared. The internal radiation emitted from the human body is not as great as say, the radiation coming from the sun. As you can see, infrared radiation is common in our daily lives, and it would be a challenge to avoid it altogether.

Now that we’ve covered how safe infrared is, let’s answer another common question. Why are we warned to be cautious with specific types of radiation or radioactive materials? We are cautious for the same reason we need to be watchful when using sharp objects, toxic chemicals and open flames, if misused they could be dangerous. This being said, it is important to do your research and ask questions. Companies that manufacture infrared equipment should do their due diligence to ensure the most safe and effective sessions possible.

Simply stated, infrared heat AKA infrared radiation is safe and easily absorbed by the body because the body also produces it. The energy produced by an infrared body wrap is strictly heat that penetrates the body, providing wellness benefits such as pain relief, weight loss, cellulite reduction, skin rejuvenation, relaxation and more. Now you can get cozy in your infrared body wrap and experience some soothing infrared heat without the worry!


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