Best Far Infrared versus Near Infrared Sauna Designs
A daily sauna session is widely recognized as the best method to improve metabolic rate, burn calories, produce sweat, eliminate toxins, and boost weight loss. After discovering the health benefits of saunas, it can be confusing for consumers to decide on a type and brand to purchase. It’s hard to determine the healthiest, safest, hottest, and most environmentally friendly sauna type when there are so many different choices available.
If science has a say, then near infrared (NIR) saunas are the healthiest sauna type. Numerous studies support the benefits of near infrared therapy, however; not all near infrared saunas are created equal. Numerous sauna types are neither safe nor eco-friendly, and some are currently being constructed with toxin-containing materials, which can leak or outgas toxins when heated. Since 2015, only one near infrared sauna has been able to meet claims as the healthiest, safest, and greenest sauna: the Sauna Fix® Near Infrared Tent Sauna System. This unique and powerful sauna tent system is patent protected as of July 3, 2018, for its function as a radiant, portable, sauna and/or exercise tent. And now, there’s more than one style to choose from.
To understand what makes the near infrared Sauna Fix the best sauna option available, it is first crucial to learn what differentiates and makes near infrared superior to other types of saunas.
Understanding the three Sauna Types
There are three types of in-home saunas popular on the market today: traditional saunas, far infrared (FIR), and near infrared saunas. Each of these three sauna types offer some health benefits. In the past decade, most home saunas incorporate far infrared light to provide heat. Only recently has the near infrared spectrum of light been added to the list and become recognized as the most therapeutic sauna type. Extensive medical research has confirmed, and continues to show, that near infrared light saunas produce the most health benefits out of any of the four sauna types.
Near Infrared Sauna health benefits compared to other sauna types
When it comes to health benefits, near infrared saunas provide the best heat stress out of all the sauna types, making them the superior choice for both detoxification and weight loss. There are more beneficial light energy aspects of near infrared light - often referred to as near infrared light therapy – that cannot be gained from the use of traditional, steam, or far infrared sauna types.
Most new sauna buyers are unaware of numerous scientific studies of Photobiomodulation (PMB), which is the therapeutic use of near infrared light to stimulate, heal, and regenerate damaged tissue. Lack of awareness of near infrared sauna therapy benefits could be why consumers continue to purchase thousands of traditional and far infrared saunas annually.
Gradually, the misinformation circulating about the health benefits of other sauna types will be overcome by supported scientific data and incomparable PMB health benefits of near infrared saunas. Millions of people worldwide are in desperate need of NIR sauna therapy right now, but yet, they continue to buy and use significantly less beneficial traditional, steam, or far infrared saunas.
Dr. Subrata Chakravarty Ph.D., from Hope4Cancer Institute, authored and published an article titled “Detoxifying to Heal Cancer: Why Choose Near – Infrared Sauna?” on August 15, 2016. Hope4Cancer only recommends near infrared sauna therapy for multiple reasons, each of which are outlined in the article. No other sauna type – steam, far infrared, or traditional - has the ability to deliver near infrared light spectrums that help in the fight against cancer.
Warning: Toxins in DIY Near Infrared Saunas
When considering the purchase of a near infrared sauna, many do-it-yourself (DIY) fans will inevitably stumble upon a video or step-by-step written instructions on how to build a near infrared sauna system. A properly constructed NIR sauna lamp or light system generally includes a heat lamp panel or lamp fixture. For optimum benefits, a near infrared sauna lamp should be utilized inside a tent or other surrounding enclosure (such as a shower area) that enables the interior to achieve and retain the desired 120°F near infrared sauna temperature.
Although seemingly harmless, few people question the safety of these widely available DIY parts and designs. The truth is that building a near infrared sauna system or panel at home can involve the use of untested components. Most DIY sauna components contain high levels of toxic substances that exceed European RoHS standards. The United States has not adopted the stringent RoHS standards, which is why just about every component in sauna construction is likely to contain some sort of toxin. Any sauna brand on the market, or sauna system built with components that are not RoHS certified, is likely to emit dangerous toxins when in use.
Toxins in construction materials used to make sauna enclosures, sauna tents, and near infrared lamps will leak out when heated. Consequently, they are inhaled or absorbed by the body during each sauna session. This leakage is known as outgassing. In the end, the little money saved by building a DIY sauna at home is simply not worth the long term health consequences that come with inhaling outgassed toxins. The first consideration for any sauna system should be the use of safe and non-toxic materials, even if the immediate out of pocket cost is slightly more.
Finding a Non-Toxic Near Infrared Sauna Lamp
The Sauna Fix is one of the only NIR sauna brands that has been component and assembly tested, and also holds the UL design certification, proving only the safest materials have been used in its construction. Sauna Fix is also the most affordable among NIR sauna brands, and maintains a UL Listing to provide product liability insurance. Unlike the other near infrared saunas, the Sauna Fix NIR lamp has obtained European RoHS certification. During the RoHS certification process, the Sauna Fix NIR sauna lamp fixture achieved the Not Detectible (ND) rating for all contaminates. The Sauna Fix proprietary polymer construction of the light guards and metal “looking” components are the secret to elimination of chrome and other plating contaminates used in other brands of saunas. There is no other near infrared sauna for sale on the U.S. market that has obtained the ND RoHS rating.
Near Infrared Sauna Tents: Cotton Canvas vs Radiant Insulation construction
When comparing the available types of sauna tents used with near infrared sauna systems, there are two choices for sale in the market place: Cotton canvas and radiant insulation sauna tents. The oldest near infrared sauna tent on the market uses a wooden frame with a duck cotton canvas cover and presents major problems.
Cotton Canvas tents:
- Chemicals Live in Cotton Canvas: all cotton canvas tents sold in USA are made with non-organic cotton instead of cotton produced without pesticides, herbicides, and defoliants. Unfortunately, 94% of USA grown cotton is genetically modified  (GMO), so water-only scouring of cotton yarn before weaving does not remove contaminants, as claimed by cotton canvas sauna tents. Their claims are not true, very deceptive, and could harm people when the sub-volatile organic chemicals are heated and combine into more harmful carcinogenic volatile organic chemicals. Beyond the GMO roundup ready cell structure of cotton remaining after washing, other applied herbicides and defoliants remain in the cotton fabric after washing, according to several studies. A great read about the subject is written up under “How to get rid of chemicals in fabrics. (Hint: trick question.)”, where it clearly states “The toxic chemicals in conventionally produced (versus organically produced) cotton fabrics that cannot be washed out come from ………. the pesticides and herbicides applied to the crops when growing cotton….” Melody L. Meyer’s article on Chemical Cotton states, “When you shop for cotton clothing, socks, diapers, bedding, towels, mattresses etc. remember that "All Natural" cotton or "All Natural" fibers are not necessarily chemical-free or GMO free, because the processing of cotton textiles relies heavily on toxic and hazardous chemicals. Traces of these chemicals can remain in fabrics after washing and these chemicals can cause an array of health problems.”
- Cotton Canvas Sauna Tents Waste Energy: all cotton canvas tents require preheating of 20 to 30 minutes and only reach an internal temperature of 100° to 115° F. This is due to the moderately high heat conductive properties of cotton canvas. Cotton canvas does not build up static charges of electricity and instead, conducts electricity, making it a poor insulating material. Cotton canvas is such a poor insulator that it does not have a published R value. A material’s resistance to heat flow is rated with an R value. The lower the R value, the less insulating properties a material has. That is why heat just passes through cotton canvas, cooling the enclosure down. Most people have underactive adrenal glands (which results in adrenal fatigue, adrenal insufficiency, or adrenal burn-out) and thyroid glands (leading to hypothyroidism); according to 80% of laboratory HTMA hair analysis reports, and consequently have a difficult time sweating. The whole purpose of taking a sauna is to increase core body temperature high enough to sweat sufficiently. The cotton canvas sauna tent option is not as good as radiant insulation because it never reaches the ideal sauna temperature of 120° F, and therefore, will not help the user’s body reach a high enough core temperature to increase sweat volume, as desired with sauna therapy.
- Sauna Tent One Size Doesn’t Fit All: all cotton canvas sauna tents are small and limit the user to a sitting position. Part of the reason for the smaller sauna tent size is to achieve internal temperatures between 100° up to 115° F. One brand uses a trapezoid shape to decrease the internal size as small as possible, which feels confining and does not work well for larger and taller people. Typical tent sizes include – entrance width: 52”, rear width: 24”, height: 63”; or depth 46”, width 40”, height 72” – which is smaller than an average camera booth.
- Cotton Canvas Sauna Tents are Difficult to Clean: Cotton canvas should not be washed in a washing machine or hot water, and should never be placed in a dryer. Doing so will cause shrinkage and wrinkles, and no amount of hot iron steam pressing can get those wrinkles out. Washing cotton canvas breaks the hydrogen bonds between fiber chains, the cotton fibers get reformed in a new position, and wrinkles or other deformations are set into the fabric. When a cotton canvas sauna tent gets dirty, starts to smell like a sweat locker, or needs to be sanitized, the only option is hand scrubbing with lukewarm water. Once hand scrubbing is complete, it must be ironed and quickly air dried in order to prevent the formation of mildew.
Radiant Sauna Tents:
The 2018 Sauna Fix NIR radiant sauna tents utilize a thick double layer of non-toxic radiant material wrapped around 6mm thick bubble wrap that creates insulative tent panels with an R-12 rating. This radiant insulation construction for sauna tents offers seven distinct advantages over cotton canvas sauna tents.
- The radiant properties prevent the near infrared light rays from leaving the enclosure. The same radiant properties maximize the therapeutic near infrared light PMB effects by enabling NIR light rays to re-bombard the body during each sauna session.
- The radiant tent panels cannot grow fungus and can be easily cleaned by simply wiping down the smooth surfaces of the radiant material.
- The insulating properties of the radiant tent material eliminate the need to preheat the sauna lamp, and 95% of the lamp heat is also retained inside the sauna tent - raising ambient air temperature to 120° F within minutes. This saves on home cooling costs during the summer or in areas of the world where the weather is hot all year round.
- Due to the insulating properties and heat retention capabilities of the Sauna Fix radiant sauna tents, they are now available in large sizes with more versatility and comfort for the user.
- The Sauna Fix radiant tent has RoHS certification for the absence of harmful contaminates, as well as an “A” fire safety rating.
- The Sauna Fix radiant tent uses organically certified cotton webbing.
- The Sauna Fix radiant sauna tents are the lightest weight near infrared sauna tents on the market and all tent parts can be easily transported in the accompanying travel/storage bags.
Previous problems with standard Near Infrared Sauna Systems
Until now, the number one problem with near infrared saunas has been space. Most near infrared saunas limit the user to a 5’ x 5’ x 4’ sauna space or shower enclosure - each requiring the user to sauna in a sitting position. Many people suffer from back pain and cannot tolerate sitting for any length of time. Other people prefer lying down to relax during a sauna session, which would require a traditional or large far infrared sauna. Some people need room to stand up during a sauna session due to back pain, or to use the FasciaBlaster® for opening deeper layers of fascia and breaking up fascial adhesions. Family members have also asked for larger NIR sauna tents, so that more than one person can utilize the sauna at the same time.
Clearly sauna tent size and aesthetics matter if near infrared saunas are to become competitive with traditional and far infrared saunas. Sauna culture involves the family, relaxation, aesthetics, and convenience. Beyond the sauna culture, there is a movement internationally and in the alternative cancer treatment community, that recommends near infrared sauna therapy over other types of saunas. Even though near infrared sauna therapy may become a necessity for people with cancer, those with illnesses should be as comfortable as possible while using the sauna. Sauna Fix Inventor and Nutritional Balancing Science Practitioner Eileen Durfee wants more and more people to benefit from near infrared sauna therapy, and by solving the common sauna problems with improvements to the Sauna Fix system, more people will be able to comfortably use it how they desire.
2018 Sauna Fix NIR Tent Sauna Systems design improvements
The clear frontrunner for portable home saunas is the new Sauna Fix tent sauna system that uses near infrared light inside of a non-toxic, insulated, and eco-friendly radiant tent. Eileen finalized the new convertible radiant tent patent filings in late 2017. After multiple design and material upgrades, she created two larger sized radiant near infrared sauna tents with a modern, earth-toned wood grain pattern exterior.
The new Sauna Fix Convertible Tent can be utilized in three (3) different positions. The tent dimensions are roughly 6’ - 6” x 4’ x 3’ [198 cm (tall or long) x 120 cm (deep or high) x 90 cm (wide)], and by switching out two (2) couplings for two (2) tee brackets and a pole, the tent can be laid down. Two (2) hanging poles allow suspension of the Sauna Fix near infrared lamp from the ceiling to shine on a person while lying down. When the sauna tent is upright positioned 6’ - 6” tall, installing the included horizontal partition lowers the ceiling height for taking a sauna sitting down. Otherwise, a person can take a sauna standing up. The Convertible Tent is also modular. When one end panel is left off of a single Convertible tent, another can be attached by zipper to create an even larger tent interior space.
The patented radiant tent panels have been upgraded with a thicker and stronger build that has received an “A” fire safety rating, does not grow fungus, and retains 95% of the heat. The exterior aesthetics have been updated to an attractive wood grain plank pattern in an earth tone, and the accompanying tent travel/storage bags are now chocolate brown. The zippered tent panel interior remains in the original silver colored reflective material.
The new sauna tent design, with an easy to assemble frame, makes near infrared tent sauna systems competitive with traditional and far infrared saunas. The Sauna Fix NIR tent sauna system remains the most tested, safest, and lightest weight portable near infrared sauna. The 2018 improvements give users more versatility with options to stand up, sit down, lie down, or connect and sauna with a friend or family member.
What’s included with the Sauna Fix Convertible Sauna Tent
The new Sauna Fix Convertible Sauna Tent includes: Radiant tent panels, internal horizontal partition, tent panel bag, two (2) bamboo mats with radiant backing, lightweight tent frame, two (2) hanging poles, frame travel bag, frame bracket pouch, and optionally you can purchase two (2) 80% Organic Bamboo/20% Organic Cotton throw rugs.
The bamboo tent floor mats included with the tent now feature a radiant material backing that aids in maximizing near infrared light heat. The two (2) bamboo mats are provided for the tent floor: the first is for use in the stand-up or sit-down positions, and the second mat fastens to the first to fully cover the floor of the tent when positioned in the lie-down position. The mats are constructed with stitch blocks to fold up for shipping and packaging, then roll up to fit in the tent travel bag.
The bamboo used to make the mats is boiled and baked under pressure for natural fumigation, and is not treated with any oils, finishes, or varnishes. To protect the bamboo mats from moisture, we recommend purchasing two (2) throw rugs made of 80% Organic Bamboo and 20% Organic Cotton fleece, 528 gm3 thick, that are handmade in USA with cotton ties to secure in place. One (1) mat is sized for the stand-up and seated positions, and one (1) mat is sized for the lie-down position.
Sauna Accessories for the Sauna Fix Convertible Sauna Tent
To maximize your sauna and exercise experience you should consider purchasing the following items and use them with the tent:
- The Breathe Safe® Sauna Ion Generator
- The Sauna Fix NIR sauna lamp and travel/storage bag
- IR Guardian™ infrared light protection glasses
- Sauna lamp, rope ratchets, chains, and chain hooks
- Organic Bamboo/Cotton fleece floor rugs
There is also a longer Hot Yoga and Exercise Sauna Tent available, which comes with a longer bamboo mat, that’s perfect for fitness enthusiasts who want to get in a workout while they sauna. The combination of near infrared sauna therapy with Hot Yoga has the potential to revolutionize exercise. Getting in a workout while also partaking in near infrared sauna therapy enables the body to detox faster and burn four times as much weight and fat than if either of these activities were performed on their own. This method is not only more effective, but is a huge time saver.
Sauna Benefits are Best Achieved with Daily Use
A Finnish Ischemic Heart Disease Study showed that persons who took 4-7 saunas per week lived longer than once-a-week users. Sauna benefits are directly tied to the frequency of use on a long-term basis. Developing a daily sauna habit not only promotes weight loss, reduces pain, improves cardiovascular function, and increases circulation, but also extends life. It takes approximately 66 days to establish any new habit, so using a sauna nearby, or installing a home sauna, helps to nurture a healthy sauna therapy routine.
Exercise together with Near Infrared to Boost Health Benefits
In a German study, local fat and weight reduction were observed during moderate bicycle exercise, beyond the effects of bicycle riding alone. For 45 minutes sessions, 20 women rode bicycles with near infrared light, and 20 women rode bicycles without, for three times per week over four weeks. The study measured body weight, BMI or body mass index, fat mass, fat-free mass, body fat percentage, water mass, lipid metabolism including triglycerides, cholesterol (HDL – high density lipoproteins, LDL – Low density lipoproteins, apolipoprotein A1 and B), blood chemistry, including fasting glucose, ALT, GPT, GGT, creatinine, albumin, leptin, adiponectin, homocysteine, and insulin.
Test results showed blood chemistry remained unchanged or slightly improved in those who exercised with
near infrared light. The exception to change was insulin, which decreased with near infrared and exercise. Participants who exercised without the near infrared light saw an increase in insulin production.
Outstanding results were observed, where the BMI and circumferences of waist, hip, and both thighs decreased significantly, as well as the body weight of each patient. Participants also found that near infrared made their musculature feel pleasant and relaxing during and after exercise.
It is thought that increased tissue temperatures induce increased tissue blood flow and oxygen partial pressures to burn and mobilize fats during exercise. The results are a change in body composition, weight loss, and pain reduction. The results of the German study were outstanding, especially for such a mild exercise routine. Common routines usually consist of more exercise days per week and are more vigorous with less results.
Since using near infrared while exercising is very special for the body, Eileen designed and developed a new way to add near infrared to exercise programs. The US Patent and Trademark office recently granted Eileen’s patent, “Portable Radiant Exercise and Sauna Tent”, on July 3, 2018, which features a modular portable tent that uses thermally insulative cover panels and partitions, and extends the usefulness of the tent configurations. The R-12 Class A fire rated insulative cover blocks radiant light from escaping the tent to maximize near infrared light health benefits. The layered flooring is comprised of bamboo slats, backed with radiant material, that fold or roll up for easy storage or transport in the accompanying travel bags.
The Sauna Fix Hot Yoga Exercise Bundle can be used at home, for yoga, or other forms of exercise, such as bicycle riding, stair stepping, and lifting weights. The convenience of performing Hot Yoga or other exercises at home offers several advantages over going to a Hot Yoga Studio or gym. No preheat is required with the Sauna Fix radiant tent and heat lamp bulbs, and temperatures climb significantly with the R-12 tent panels, yet use very little electricity. So, no more stinky sweaty bodies on the yoga mat adjacent to you, or monthly membership fees! Currently 2,900 people search for “sauna weight loss”, and have the right idea, but adding a near infrared sauna with exercise would benefit them even more than taking a sauna on its own.
According to Yoganonymous, an online destination dedicated to yoga and wellness, “Hot Yoga is also known to reduce symptoms of conditions and illnesses including diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, and obesity.” The obvious benefits are the intense sweating and consequential detoxification, as well as the increased flexibility gained when stretching in a 100+ degree environment. Add in the benefits of near infrared in the Sauna Fix Hot Yoga Exercise Studio. According to USA Today, “Yoga is an ancient discipline, but it seems to get hotter all the time.” Nearly 10% of U.S. adults and 3% of children participated in yoga in 2012, up from 5% of adults and 2% of children a decade earlier, as reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention. Yoga Journal, a print and online magazine, is celebrating its 40th anniversary and "business is booming," with a growing print readership of 2.1 million, and more than 5 million online page views a month, said editor in chief Carin Gorrell to USA Today. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association says more than 24 million U.S. adults practiced yoga in 2013, up from 17 million in 2008. That makes it roughly as popular as golf! 
Sauna Trends and EMF
Interest in far infrared saunas peaked in 2006, but has decreased about 50% since then. Dr. Martin Blank's book “Overpowered” discusses harmful electromagnetic (EMF) frequencies that are associated with far infrared. Near infrared is not only much healthier, but it simultaneously provides photo therapy, which is associated with greater overall wellness. The Sauna Fix is ultra-low EMF and was third party tested for “radiated, radio-frequency, electromagnetic fields,” radiated electromagnetic disturbance, harmonics current, voltage fluctuation and flicks, electrostatic discharge, electrical fast transient, conducted radio frequency disturbances, power frequency magnet field, and voltage dip and voltage interruptions.
No other competitor brands have been third party tested, and report readings from a hand-held NF Digitmeter E/M field probe, called the GEOVITAL EM Field Probe. The hand-held probe is only capable of measuring low frequency electric and electromagnetic radiation and is not considered adequate testing to pass the European Directive.
Sauna Trends and Multiple Wave Lengths
With the benefits of near infrared rays becoming better known, some far infrared sauna manufacturers’ now sell sauna units with a combination of near, mid, and far infrared frequencies. These multiple wavelength saunas provide even heat distribution throughout the enclosure and miss out on blood shunting. In a near infrared sauna, a sauna lamp array concentrates heat on the trunk of the body and provides both near and mid-infrared rays. As a response to the heat, the body shunts blood towards the lights to vasculate tissues, bringing blood closer to the skin surface. The body then begins sweating on the side of the body facing the lights. The proper technique to double the circulation effect in a near infrared sauna is to wipe off the sweat with a towel and rotate 180 degrees.
Newest Technology and Best Sauna Winner
Combining patented radiant class A fire rated R-12 insulating sauna panels with near infrared makes the Sauna Fix system the clear winner. Safe tested materials, certified organic cotton, reduced sauna session times, portability, and increased size for exercise and Hot Yoga, makes incorporating daily sauna therapy convenient and enjoyable for the whole family.