Near Infrared vs. Far Infrared Sauna Heat – The Ultimate Guide To Home Sauna Heater Technology

You’ve heard of the benefits of Infrared Sauna, you are ready to get your sauna, but in doing your research, you see there is more than one type of infrared heater.  Information overload and conflicting information has probably driven you to find the truth.  In this article we will cover the significant difference between Near Infrared (NIR) Light Therapy vs. Far Infrared (FIR) Light Therapy and the types of heaters that emit these infrared wavelengths.

A little history of Near Infrared and its applications.

Near-infrared is called near because it is the closest bandwidth of infrared light near the visible light spectrum.  Near-infrared is all around us today.  It comes from the sun, we use it to control our tv or mouse remotely.     In the 1950’s Near Infrared make its debut in its first industrial application for optical devices. In the 1980s, Near-infrared was focused more on chemical analysis and later became a powerful scientific research tool.  Traditionally near infrared has been used in scientific laboratories and medical instruments for calibration, diagnostics, agriculture, food and production of pharmaceutical compounds.

Near Infrared sauna heater lamp or Red Light therapy bulb.

Near-infrared is the newest light feature for infrared saunas.  At the manufacturing level, many of these red light bulbs on the market are not used for health benefits so much as they are used to provide convection heat in the sauna.  Most sauna companies are not calibrating their thermostats to measure the temperature at your chin instead temperature is measured at the roof making it difficult to get the whole sauna cabinet the actual temperature reading displayed on the control panel.    Near-Infrared Heat Emitters are typically Quartz with a reflector to concentrate the heat in a particular direction.  Near Infrared Bulbs are rated 250W and its bulbs must be replaced every two years.  Near-infrared red light therapy bulbs are designed to provide an intense level of near-infrared in light bulb form.   Getting too close to an improperly calibrated Near-infrared bulb risks thermal burns and if exposure is too long aging effects such as Bakers Arms and Glass-blowers face and eye damage can result from long-term exposure of near-infrared as a byproduct of convection heat.

There has been a big debate over the use of near-infrared in a sauna environment as to whether or not it is beneficial.  The idea behind near-infrared is simply adding another bandwidth of natural sunlight to current phototherapies.  Our maximum natural exposure to near-infrared light occurs in the morning at dawn and in the evening at dusk.  In the morning, natural near-infrared light preps our skin for vitamin D absorption and protects our skin from the midday sun.  At dusk, natural near-infrared light has restorative properties from the midday sun.   Much of the studies related to near-infrared are limited to localized treatment areas resulting in improved wound healing, anti-aging of the skin, near-infrared has been shown to kills some cancer cells.  A recent study, Brain Photobiomodulation Therapy concluded that “Near-infrared (NIR) light is an innovative treatment for a wide range of neurological and psychological conditions. NIR stimulates the mitochondrial respiratory chain and increases ATP synthesis.  NIR therapy enhances the metabolic capacity of neurons and stimulates anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and antioxidant responses, as well as neurogenesis and synaptogenesis. Its therapeutic role in disorders such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease, as well as to treat stroke, brain trauma, and depression has gained increasing interest.”   Although NIR has been studied over the last decade with positive results there are more than 70 years of clinical documentation supporting the wide-reaching health benefits of far infrared technology.

A little history of far infrared and it’s applications.

At opposite end of the infrared spectrum is Far Infrared (FIR) meaning far away from visible light.  The only way you’ll know it’s there is when you feel the heat that it emits.  Far infrared saunas were first introduced in the mid-1950’s by Japanese physicians experimenting with far infrared light as a treatment for a multitude of maladies.   It has taken nearly 70 years for Far infrared sauna to take a foothold in the sauna industry but its popularity in the last few decades is due to it’s well-documented health benefits and detoxification properties, in addition, its use in hospital settings to treat premature babies to regulate their body temperature and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular health, and Lyme parasite.

How Infrared Works In A Sauna.

In Near Infrared saunas you are getting the dry heat temperatures of the old traditional hot rock saunas and a cellular charging that warms the surface of the skin.  You will sweat in this sauna but it won’t  induce a low-grade fever so it won’t have the same effectiveness for parasitic infections found in far infrared saunas.

Most Near-infrared saunas on the market today look like a tent enclosure with a wooden stool and 4 to 5 Red, Near Infrared Light bulbs.  Near Infrared bulbs can reach temperatures of up to 400 degrees so in a sauna environment you will experience convection heat like with a traditional sauna.  The high temperatures of poorly calibrated near-infrared light bulbs can cause skin damage with overexposure.  It’s important to purchase a Full-Spectrum Near-Infrared heater to ensure you eliminate any risk of convection damage.

Far Infrared Saunas work on a principle called radiant heat meaning we heat the body directly.   The human body emits far infrared light in the form of body heat at 9.4 microns. The measure of light at 9.4 microns is called a Biophoton.  Body Heat or Biophoton Far Infrared Light is the most natural method to heat the body. Just as skin to skin contact is important for a newborn baby or a person suffering from hypothermia, body heat is the natural, safest and most efficient means to raise the core temperature of the human body.

There are so many different companies out there selling infrared dry sauna kits, it can be overwhelming to differentiate each of them.  Only in the last 10 years have the new, safer, carbon technology become available which has revolutionized the entire sauna industry.  Prior to that, we used ceramic infrared heaters that posed a fire danger due to the fine lines and cracks that would develop on the ceramic heaters as they heat up and cool down over time.  These cracks could develop into cherry red charcoals a danger in a wood box.  You will find traditional sauna manufacturers now offer a line of the carbon far infrared saunas due to the rapid growth and demand for this technology.

Celebration Saunas Heater Technology

At Celebration Saunas, our far infrared saunas are constructed with the safer, energy efficient black carbon panel heaters that emit a narrower bandwidth of far infrared light to match the human body’s production of far infrared light in the form of body heat.   We’ve narrowed the bandwidth of our far infrared heaters to emit 8 to 10 microns and emit exactly 9.4 microns of far infrared light 87% of the time.  The same exact bandwidth of far infrared light produced by the human body in the form of body heat.  Celebration Saunas exclusive Biophoton Nanocarbon Zero EMF Medical Grade heaters are so advanced and durable that the heaters themselves are designed to last 20,000 hours or an hour a day for 50 years.  Your kids are likely to inherit your sauna before you have a problem with it.  This is not the case with traditional saunas, near infrared and portable saunas that will need costly replacements over the course of its lifetime.

Comparing The Health Benefits: Near Infrared Sauna Heaters vs. Far Infrared Sauna Heaters

Not until the first decade of the new millennium, did Near-infrared make its way into a sauna.  Near-infrared light is closest in wavelength to visible light and is the size of cells.   Many Near Infrared sauna companies have touted many of the health benefits associated with far infrared, not Near-infrared.  Near-infrared light is absorbed at the skin level and will cause the surface skin temperature to increase moderately.   As Near-infrared light penetrates the skin it acts upon the water molecules of the cell for normalized cellular ph, increases ATP production and activates Calcium ions for improved cellular communication.

A Biophoton Nano-Carbon Zero EMF Far Infrared Dry Sauna Kit will gently and safely warm the body to promote healing at the cellular level to produce healing responses including a low-grade fever that kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  In a far infrared sauna, 20% of our sweat contains toxins being released from the body vs only 3% in a near infrared sauna. Biophotons are absorbed by the body at a rate of  93%. The body will never take on more Far Infrared Light than it needs.  The health benefits of Biophoton far infrared light include:  Detoxification,  Heart Health, Pain Relief,  Improved immunity, Weight Loss, Skin Health

What about EMF?

From the time we all started using cell phones, EMF has been a controversial topic as to the biological effects of EMF on the body.  It is easy to understand the confusion and the controversy as there are two types of EMF.  Ionizing and Non-Ionizing.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) make up our universe.  Everything in the universe is bound by a positive and negative charge.  Bandwidths of these energy waves either have the ability to ionize DNA or not.  Non-ionizing EMF is safe as it does not have the capacity to change DNA.

EMF is everywhere around us. The electrical appliances we use, our computers , the wireless modems we find so convenient for accessing the Internet, our cordless phones, the clock radios beside our beds, our hair dryers, cell phones and even the wiring throughout the walls of our homes are constantly producing EMFs at much higher levels than what you will find in a far infrared sauna.

We know that ELFs or extremely low EMF only found near high-voltage power lines are ionizing and do have the ability to cause changes in DNA.  It is not uncommon to find tracks of people in these areas exhibiting high emf exposure symptom from depression to cancer.  A sunburn is another example of an ionizing EMF radiation burn that we know can cause DNA changes.  ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) EMF is not found in an infrared sauna.

The EMF in a far infrared sauna is Non-Ionizing and does not have the ability to change DNA.

Although the current scientific evidence provides no definitive answers regarding EMF, there is enough uncertainty that some people want to reduce their exposure to all EMFs.

Approximately 3% of the population are  EMF sensitive and can experience Memory Loss, Depression, Loss of Energy, Irritability, Inability To Concentrate, Weakened Immune System, Chronic Fatigue,  Headaches.  If this is you, it would be important to opt for a commercial/ medical grade sauna that has the ultra-low or near zero EMF heaters.

EMF Levels in MilliGauss (mG) By Heater Type and distance from the heaters.

DistanceNear Infrared Sauna

Heater Lamps

Portable Infrared Sauna


Ceramic Infrared Sauna HeaterCarbon Far Infrared Sauna HeaterBiophoton Carbon  Far Infrared heater
0 inch5 to 50mG100 to 240 mG100+mG3 to 100+mG1.6mG
1 inch3 mG100+75mG2 to 100+mG0.3mG
3 inches1mG50 mG50mG35-70 mGIndistinguishable from Ambient
6 inchesIndistinguishable from Ambient25 mG35mg5-35 mGIndistinguishable from Ambient
12 inchesIndistinguishable from Ambient5 mG20mG5-10 mGIndistinguishable from Ambient
18 inchesIndistinguishable from Ambient2 mG10mG2-10 mGIndistinguishable from Ambient


Below is a 6-minute video that talks about the dangers of EMF radiation in your home, presented by Dr. Magda Havas, a leading environmental researcher at Trent University, Ontario.



As the largest infrared sauna manufacturer and importer of infrared saunas, your health and safety is our number one priority.  There is a reason we sell 12,000 saunas each year.  We have the highest quality standards at the most affordable prices and an enviable customer service experience.

All Celebration Saunas are constructed with the newest Biophoton Nano-carbon Infrared Sauna technology and to make our saunas safe we reduce EMF levels through the use of proper gauge wiring with heavy duty insulation, EMF shielding, and steel enclosed electrical components.  At Celebration Saunas, we use an opposing EMF layer to the backside of the heater to negate EMF coming off the front.  Our home saunas emit 10mG at the heater and 5mG at the bench.  Our commercial hospital grade saunas emit 1.6mG at the heater and 0.3mG at the bench.

The mistake of new sauna importers is using cheap wiring configurations; that is not shielded and poorly insulated, as well as, thin gauge wires not designed to hold up to the electrical load the sauna will require.   Light gauge wiring with thin insulation does not hold up well over time and you can expect to replace components that are overloaded.  These new importers can also make the mistake of having an unenclosed central processing unit, power converters, junction blocks and circuit board relays. Excess heat from unenclosed electrical components can dry out the wood.  Open electronic components and a wood box quite frankly equal fire hazard.

What is the long-term cost to own a near infrared sauna vs. far infrared sauna?
When making a decision on the type of infrared you want in your sauna it is important to consider the cost of ownership for each type of heater technology.


10 Year Sauna Cost Projection
Associated Cost of OwnershipCelebration Saunas Far Infrared Sauna 2-6 Person SizeNear Infrared
1 Person Size
Initial Cost$1495- $5595$1250 – $5000
Replacement partsn/a$1100
(Add $500 for 120v/20amp dedicated circuit for 3 person saunas or larger)

(seat cushion, not req.)

Electricity Usage for 10 Years$11- $27/ mth

1450w -4225w

$10/ mth


WarrantyForever/  Lifetime Guarantee3 years
10 Year Cost of ownership$2800 to  $9600
Includes electricity for 10 years
Up to $7800

Includes electricity for 10 years

As you can see from the chart above.  You will spend less money on electricity in the course of ten years that your initial investment in the sauna at the $1495 introductory price.  You should also notice that there are no replacement part costs associated with the cost of a far infrared sauna over a ten year period because they are all covered by the full lifetime warranty.  Whereas a tented red bulb Near-infrared sauna has a limited warranty of 3 years, replacement bulbs will need to be changed every 2 years, doubling the cost of your initial purchase.

The far infrared sauna industry has come a long way over the course of 40 years mainly by word of mouth.  The benefits of far infrared light can now be found everywhere on the web and in the last 10 years, the industry has grown 38%.  As demand in these saunas has increased the price of this technology has become safer and less expensive making far infrared sauna ownership affordable with more design flexibility that allows for a sauna to be placed anywhere in your home.  In such a rapidly growing industry it’s important that our manufacturing facilities don’t substitute quality for quantity.  At Celebration Saunas, our partners own three manufacturing facilities making us the largest infrared sauna manufacturer and importer in the country. We have control over every part of the manufacturing process.   We import 12,000 saunas each year and keep an inventory of 4,000 saunas at any one time.

As individuals start experiencing the measurable health benefits they can’t help but tell their friends to see if it can help them.  I cannot tell you how many customers tell us about their friend’s new sauna and how they tried it and have to have one.

Thank you for reading!

The Celebration Saunas Team  🙂

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