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What is EMF and How Does it Work?

There’s been a lot of buzz around the EMF or Electromagnetic Field. You may have heard that EMF exposure is bad for you and that the rise in technological devices, industrially and in our own homes, is increasing our exposure to EMFs on a daily basis.

You may be wondering though, exactly what is EMF and how does it work? Do you need to be worried about it? It is true, infrared saunas emit an Electromagnetic Field as do 100% of electrical devices, but we want to debunk some myths about how EMFs work, what’s potentially dangerous and what’s probably not.

Let’s start with some information about EMFs and break down the science behind the everyday phenomenon of EMFs and what they mean for you when it comes to infrared saunas and infrared radiation.

What is EMF?

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The term EMF stands for electromagnetic fields. EMFs are invisible areas of electrical energy often referred to as radiation. That’s because they “radiate” from a fixed point, not because they’re “radioactive”. That’s an entirely different thing. 

Both electricity and magnetism are naturally occurring forces of nature and everything on earth, including the earth itself, generates a radio frequency electromagnetic field. Electromagnetic fields are measured in hertz and your own body can create about 10 hertz. You may even feel someone else’s energy field. At least we hope you have!

Examples of everyday devices that emit EMFs include electrical appliances like toasters and hairdryers, even the receptacles in your home. Wireless devices such such as cell phones and WiFi emit microwave radiation similar to a microwave oven. Infrared sauna’s emit mostly heat. Infrared heat, meaning “below red” or not quite red hot.  The EMF part of it is a byproduct of using regular electricity to heat the element.

How is EMF measured?

The unit of measurement for EMF is in Milligauss (mG) but when you’re measuring EMF radiation, you also have to consider both its frequency and strength. The further you are from the source, the less potentially harmful it is for you.

Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz), often measured in kilohertz (kHz). EMF strength is based on how close or far you are from the source. A magnetic field’s strength is measured by milligauss (mG) as well, but for electric field radiation, it is commonly read in volts per meter (V/m).

Health Canada maintains its guideline document entitled Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the frequency range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, which is commonly referred to as Safety Code 6. This electromagnetic spectrum includes devices and services like wifi, cell phones, and smart meters.

How Does it Work?

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Electricity and magnetism are fundamental forces of nature. Characteristics of an electromagnetic field include its frequency (how many wave cycles occur) and its wavelength (the distance between a wave cycle). EMFs interact with the human body differently depending on these characteristics.

Think of it like ocean waves: calmer, smoother waves may lap up against your ankles but are unlikely to knock you over. Higher, more frequent waves, will splash up against you with more force and may even send you for an unplanned swim.

Infrared saunas emit heat in those long ocean-like waves and that’s why your body loves them so much. Your body will absorb available heat very efficiently in an infrared sauna using natural ceramic elements.

Our eyes can only see visible (or optical) light, including Red Light which has a higher wavelength than infrared.Again, “infrared” simply means “below” red, or not quite red hot. 

Infrared is considered to be a type of ELF radiation (extremely low frequency) and SaunaRay Saunas have been constructed to ensure they have the lowest EMFs of any sauna in the world while still providing a quality sauna experience.

The “buzz” around EMF in infrared saunas comes from the fact that most are made outside of North America and use plastic, fiberglass or “carbon-fiber” heaters. These operate on a low voltage which requires a massive transformer which will emit a strong EMF or what the engineering industry calls “voltage leakage”. 

This is not a good kind of EMF and can send a Gauss Meter into the red zone. That’s why ensuring your infrared sauna is 100% made in North America is almost enough in itself to eliminate the potential for unwanted EMF leakage, sometimes called “dirty electricity”.

Should I Be Worried About EMFs From My Infrared Sauna?

A couple enjoying a relaxing sauna session inside a SaunaRay 4 person infrared sauna

Every infrared sauna is electrical and therefore emits EMFs. SaunaRay saunas are shown to emit less than your toaster, your oven top, your clothes dryer and other common appliances that we use every day. The danger factor to EMF exposure is long-term or about 8 hour a day consistent exposure.

However some of the infrared sauna brands imported from offshore have been reported to have such high EMF readings they cause sensitive people to become symptomatic from just 30 minutes inside the sauna. That’s why it’s so important to buy an infrared sauna that was built on the same continent you live in. Some people can feel the biological effects of EMFs at lower levels than others.

Levels of exposure are a personal choice, however. Some may have lifestyles that expose them to more EMFs daily than others vis-a-vis their jobs or the location of their home.

All SaunaRay Saunas are handcrafted right here in Canada and are overseen by the Canada Standards Association (CSA) and Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) electrical safety standards. Each unit is built toxin-free right from the locally harvested wood and the locally-made tempered glass to the specifically selected ceramic far-infrared heaters. You can rely on your SaunaRay being the purist sauna experience possible.

The Bottom Line

All in all, infrared sauna therapy is very safe. While many brands are called out on their inadvertently high EMF readings, most if not all of them were made in Asia for a different electrical system.

The EMF levels in a North American built SaunaRay are noted for decades to be the lowest in the industry and most meters can only detect EMF if they are uncomfortably close to the elements. In other words you have to try really hard and withstand the heat if you want to get close enough to even notice.

To find out more about how SaunaRay Saunas are a safe option for you and your family, contact our friendly, knowledgeable team.