EMF Exposure and Far Infrared Saunas

21 May

My latest anti cellulite toy is my new far infrared sauna which  I bought from a friend who is moving overseas.

From the beginning, I was in love with the whole sauna experience.  I pop in a soothing cd, step into the hot room, and the stress just melts.

What are EMFs?

Around the time I brought my sauna home, a fellow cellulite investigator (Sessie) mentioned the danger of EMF exposure from most infrared saunas.

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are emitted from all types of electrical equipment, from power lines to cell phones.  There is no consensus on whether or not they are harmful, but the EPA warns “there is reason for concern” and recommends “prudent avoidance.” 1

Measuring the EMF Exposure of my Infrared Sauna

My stress-melting sauna sessions started to become less relaxing as I wondered if I was exposing myself to harmful EMFs.  My friend received the sauna from her mom who ordered it on the Internet from a company in Japan.  The instructions, only partly in English, mention something about carbon/ceramic heaters.  Other than that, I don’t know much about my sauna.

The only way I was going to ease my mind about my daily sauna sessions was to measure the actual EMF output.  Sessie shared the following video from The Renegade Health Show where they use a meter to measure the EMFs from a standard infrared sauna.

I usually don’t make hasty purchases over 100 bucks, but after reading about the Trifield 100XE EMF meter, I saw a used one on Amazon so I went for it.

It was fascinating to hit the switch and watch the meter rise and fall as I positioned it near various electrical appliances around my house.  The large light in my living room?  Minimal EMF output.  The tiny light in my bedroom?  Off the chart.  The washer and dryer?  Low EMF even when in use.  My 13 inch television?  Over 100 milligauss from a foot away.

Sadly, the heaters in my infrared sauna were over the highest amount measurable on the meter.  It decreased significantly just a few inches from the heating element, so if I sit exactly in the center of the sauna it’s down to 5 milligauss.  Still, anything over 3 is said to cause negative side effects.  It’s not something I would want to do every day.

I’m traveling for the next two weeks so I’ll be taking a break from my sauna therapy anyway.  In the meantime, Dr. Wilson’s book, Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing, includes instructions for converting a standard infrared sauna to an infrared lamp sauna, which he says does not emit EMFs.  The basic instructions are also available on Dr. Wilson’s website.

For those of you who have experience with infrared saunas, what are your thoughts on infrared lamp saunas? Do you think it is worth it to convert from far to near infrared?

 

A Cellulite Investigator Update

Thanks for stopping by The Cellulite Investigation.  Things are a little quite around here at the moment.  I’m taking an extended break as I get married and settle into married life and a new home.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon!

Comments

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Sessie says:
5/23/2012

Melissa,
Great post! Thanks for bringing this up and looking into it.
I recently bought a sauna from the guy in the video! I haven’t tested it to find out the EMF’s but it is supposed to be one of the lowest on the market.
I used to be extremely sensitive to EMF’s, at a time in my life when my immune system was really weak. I read a book many years ago that helped teach me a little bit more about EMF’s it’s called ‘ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS: A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO THE ISSUES AND HOW TO PROTECT OURSELVES written by B. Blake Levitt.

The sauna I bought is a small size & is much less expensive than the big cabin style infrared saunas. It folds up nicely into it’s own carrying case. So far it’s been really great and I have used it at least 5x in the past week or so.

Reply

Great info, Sessie! I just added that book to my shopping cart on Amazon. How handy that your sauna folds into a carrying case! Is it small enough to take it when you travel? That would be a big benefit. Sorry if you mentioned this before, but is it the kind where your head sticks out and the rest of the body is inside? I don’t think I would be up for that.

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Devin says:
5/23/2012

While the concerns about EMF exposure are valid there is quite a bit of fear mongering that exist in the sauna industry.

Despite the extensive research over the last 20 years, the general scientific consensus is that there is not sufficient evidence to show a definitive cause and effect relationship in regards to EMF exposure. Two national research organizations (the National Research Council and the National Institute of Health) have looked at the studies and have concluded that there is not strong evidence that EMF exposures pose a health risk. Currently in the U.S., there are no standards limiting exposure to EMF.

Further EMF Research

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and other government agencies do not consider EMFs a proven health hazard.
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emf2.html

Many people are concerned about potential adverse health effects. Much of the research about power lines and potential health effects is inconclusive. Despite more than two decades of research to determine whether elevated EMF exposure, principally to magnetic fields, is related to an increased risk of childhood leukemia, there is still no definitive answer. The general scientific consensus is that, thus far, the evidence available is weak and is not sufficient to establish a definitive cause-effect relationship.
http://www.epa.gov/radtown/power-lines.html

Many sauna companies position low EMF exposure as a competitive advantage when the reality is that the majority of saunas already have very low levels of EMF. Any product that draws an electric current WILL have an EMF field. It is not possible to have a 0 EMF reading, the question is what companies have done to further reduce the EMF field. Marketing gimmicks that use words such as “virtually no” are misleading.

If you have further questions about EMF concerns fill free to shoot me an email!

Have a great week~
Devin
twitter @ saunasherpa

Reply

Thanks for your comment, Devin. I don’t know what percentage of sauna’s already have very low EMF levels but mine is certainly not one of them. I found that my appliances varied widely with the amount of EMF they generated, and the sauna was among the highest. Unless you go out and buy an EMF meter, how is a consumer supposed to know? Do you provide these details for your saunas?

Unfortunately, the links you provided have done nothing to assuage my concerns with EMF exposure. The modern experts don’t have a good track record when it comes to timely identification of long term health hazards. I find it difficult to put stock in the opinion of a medical community that fails to realize obvious toxins such as fluoride are bad for your health. I’m not saying the US should or shouldn’t establish standards to regulate EMF exposure, I’m just saying that as a consumer and as someone who takes responsibility for my own health, I am not going to rely on the opinion of a government agency or someone who has a lot of degrees next to their name to tell me how to live a healthy life.

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Sessie says:
5/23/2012

Yes, but it’s made out of hemp cloth so it doesn’t look like a space ship.
It’s small enough to take with you but I don’t think I would want to risk it getting banged up on a trip. I would take it on a road trip but not on a plane.
I’m going to email you picture of it if I can find your personal email.

Reply

Thanks, Sessie! Your comment reminds me of a funny cartoon in Dr. Wilson’s book. A woman has a trailer attached to her car and it’s carrying her sauna. The caption reads something like, “Honey, I’m ready for our vacation now.” That’s kinda how I felt when I left my place last week. I do miss my sauna, EMFs and all. :)

Reply
Sessie says:
5/23/2012

I emailed it to the “analyst” email. I hope you get the picture! :)

Reply

Got it!! Such a cute pic. Everybody loves a good puppy picture. :)

It looks like a great sauna to get the job done, but I would really miss the spa feel of the traditional wood kind. Have you read anything about the infrared lamp saunas? When I went for acupuncture last weekend, he had an infrared heat lamp in his office. I’m hoping the lamp conversion is a good option for me.

Reply
Sessie says:
5/25/2012

I haven’t read anything about the lamp saunas but my acupuncturist uses them and they are very nice for spot treatment.
I would miss the whole body effect of a regular sauna.
I think the best bet for most people is to get the 1-2 person cabin style sauna, with emf’s as low as possible. The only issue really then is price! $2,000 or more for that style. Are you thinking about selling your sauna and buying another one?

Reply

Dr. Wilson’s design uses 3 or 4 lamps within a closed structure, jut like a normal far infrared sauna. He recommends a temp of 120. It sounds like it would be a similar experience to the sauna I’ve got now, but I’ll need to try it to be sure. He does talk about using the lamps for spot treatment, too, but that’s a different method. If it works, it would be a great option for people. They could always buy an inexpensive sauna on Craigslist and then convert it to low EMF with the lights. My brother is working on converting mine, so I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

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Sessie says:
5/26/2012

On the Clearlight website, under Sauna models they have heater kits where you can buy your own. http://www.infraredsauna.com/heaterkit/heaterkit.php
I just noticed that the other day while browsing the site.

Good luck converting yours! Sounds fun!!!
Just a little fun tidbit: the first way I found out about Infrared was by using a infrared heat patch for pain! It was really helping & my acupuncturist told me that the infrared was really supposed to help. By the way, the patch was just something you stick on to your skin.

Reply

An infrared patch. How interesting! I never would have thought of that!

I’ll check out the heater conversions from Clearlight. That sounds promising. But I wish they had the price range on their site, though. What is up with that?

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Sessie says:
5/30/2012

I was just on the Clearlight sight reading about detoxification (I’m trying to find out more about this detox rash I have gotten on my chest area since I started doing the saunas on my front side.

I checked the price thing and they say if you give them your name & info they will immediately send you an updated price list. I have seen that type of thing on other sauna sites as well, I wonder why they can’t just post their latest prices online?
I guess they are either really expensive or they are always changing to keep up with the competition.

Reply

Yes, that’s what I saw too. I don’t understand why you have to give them your contact info to see the prices. That’s really annoying. If it’s because they’re really expensive, then they might as well tell the customer that right off instead of wasting everyone’s time. And if it’s because the prices change a lot, then the easiest way to keep the customer informed of the current pricing is to post it on the website. Then there’s only one place to change the list and everyone’s informed. I’m not saying their not a trustworthy company, I just don’t like that particular aspect of their marking strategy. It makes it seem like there’s something shady going on, like they have different prices for certain people or something to that effect…

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