“EMFs” or “Electro-Magnetic Fields” are an extremely controversial topic even within medical science. Most scientists believe that most EMFs aren’t harmful - although this statement is somewhat oversimplified.
However, a significant portion of scientists are also very vehement that EMFs do cause harm. And, within the natural health and wellness space most people also believe that many EMFs are more harmful to health than is commonly accepted.
And if you’re buying an infrared sauna, you’ll naturally want to ensure that your EMF exposure is as low as possible. So in this blog post I’ll explore this topic in more detail.
I’ll first tell you what EMFs are and how they affect health. Then I’ll explain why you’ll want a sauna that minimises EMF exposure. I’ll also tell you how we lower EMF exposure as much as possible as Clearlight Infrared® Saunas.
What Are EMFs?
As the name already implies, “EMFs” or “Electro-Magnetic Frequencies” are part of the electromagnetic spectrum (1; 2; 3). That electromagnetic spectrum can be broken down into many different parts, such as gamma rays, X-rays, different types of light, microwaves, and radio waves.
Lots of technology in the modern world uses that electromagnetic spectrum. This wasn’t always the case, as before electrification in the 19th Century humans barely had access to much technology that uses the electromagnetic spectrum.
Radios use radio waves, for instance, and WiFi uses microwaves. X-ray scans in the hospital, moreover, use x-rays. Cameras use visible and infrared light.
For the topic I’m considering now, however, I want to distinguish between four different types of “EMFs” (4; 5):
- Radio waves (including microwaves)
- Magnetic fields
- Electric fields
- Dirty electricity.
(For nerds: the exact link between magnetic and electric fields to electromagnetic radiation is physically complex and not necessary for understanding the topic of this blog post.)
Due to the increase in technology, the amount of EMFs in the environment has grown exponentially. For instance, there are many different cell phone towers now and 3 and 4G networks across every city. And, everywhere you go there are smart meters and WiFi routers that emit radio waves around you.
Your ancestors living before the mid-19th Century also didn’t have access to an electricity grid, thereby not exposing them to any EMFs from the electric grid and from technology that relies on electricity.
In nature, electric and magnetic fields are always paired together. So, any time you’ve got a home with an electricity grid you’re potentially exposing yourself to EMFs. As long as there’s a flow of electricity, that exposure risk exists.
Centuries earlier though, the only EMFs your ancestors were exposed to were the ones naturally present on the earth. The earth has a magnetic field, for instance, and emits radio waves (6; 7). Those radio waves, in turn, can affect your health (8; 9; 10).
Suffice it to say that with the electrification of human society and the many new technologies that were developed, humanity also introduced many many new EMFs into the environment. These EMFs are called “non-native EMFs”. Let’s consider potential health effects of these non-native EMFs:
Are EMFs Harmful To Health?
Traditionally, only so-called “ionising” and heating forms of radiation have been considered harmful. However, as I stated earlier, there are huge discussions about this topic in science.
Insiders from the telecom industry, for instance, will draw very different conclusions on the same data than publicly funded scientists (11; 12. So while many studies can be found that non-native EMFs affect cell function, industry insiders will more frequently conclude that no harmful effects are found or that more research is needed (13; 14).
Nevertheless, many different important institutions have also found that simple radio waves are more harmful than commonly assumed. A working group within the WHO claims that EMFs even from radio waves (that are non-heating) are potentially carcinogenic (15).
And the USA National Toxicology Program (NTP) concludes that there's clear evidence of an association between radio wave exposure and tumours in the hearts of rats (16). For the brain, there’s likely evidence of an association.
Keep in mind that these NTP studies were carried out with older technology and a lot lower exposure than what people would normally get.
If you look at the science though, many researchers strongly believe that effects such as (17; 18; 19; 20):
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Electromagnetic hypersensitivity
- Brain fog
- Problems focusing
- Impaired memory
- Chronic inflammation
- Reduced sleep quality
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Potential cancers
- And much more…
Of course, no easy solution is available here. If the scientific consensus shifted and it was really concluded that non-native EMFs are harmful then trillions would be at stake in the telecommunications sector and others.
Also, the entire setup of the energy grid would need to change at many places to avert harm, as would the architecture of buildings, and so forth. And future technologies such as 5G and Starlink would be heavily affected by such conclusions.
And, keep in mind that in many situations where there has been a conflict of interest exist. Cigarette smoking, asbestos, DDT, leaded gasoline, many pharmaceuticals that have been pulled from the market and many other examples come to mind (21; 22; 23; 24; 25).
Here, at Clearlight Infrared® Saunas we very much believe that non-native EMFs can be harmful to your health.
Moreover, what many people don’t know is that the human body is electro-chemical. Electricity is everywhere in the human body (26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32). That electricity interacts with chemical processes. It would be extremely counterintuitive if the physical processes such as magnetic and electric fields and electromagnetism would affect the entire world around us except for the human body.
Don’t believe me? Simply think about an EEG scan for your brain or an ECG scan for your heart. Both routine tests in medicine fully rely on reading the electrical signals of these organs. And if that electric signal ever stops, you’re dead, even though all the chemicals might still be in place in your body.
Other tissues like your skin, bones, and muscle also all rely on electrical signals. And, magnetic fields and electricity interact and are mutually interdependent. So, it’s almost impossible for EMFs not to affect your body at the cellular level.
Suffice it to say that the science on this topic is extremely complex. I sincerely believe that you’re better safe than sorry here. And, in the natural health and wellness space I know many people who have had their health “magically improve” after no longer being exposed to non-native EMFs or after they reduced their exposure dramatically.
Part of what makes this topic difficult to interpret is that exposures are difficult to understand and model. Many of the studies only deal with isolated exposures, such as a cell phone that is held against the head for a few minutes per day.
None of these studies have extremely complex exposures, such as twenty or two hundred different devices that many of us are exposed to on a daily basis. All these devices emit low or high levels of EMF that may affect your body’s biology.
To be better safe than sorry, you’ll thus have to lower your exposure to EMFs. So in the next section I’ll cover some basics on that topic.
How To Avoid Most Non-Native EMFs
For the best results in reducing your non-native EMF exposure, you’ll need a lot of background knowledge and a few EMF metres. Most people are unwilling to invest a lot of money buying metres instead and are perfectly happy with a common sense approach.
I’m talking about that common sense approach below. I will say though that if you want to reduce your non-native EMF exposure to the maximal extent possible, you’ll have to measure EMFs in your environment and educate yourself on the topic.
Below, you’ll find common sense approaches to lowering your EMF exposure though:
- Lower exposure to all wireless devices. I’m including laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other devices that use WiFi or Bluetooth or another form of wireless connection here. And, always use these devices as far from your body as possible. So, instead of using a smartphone against your head, use airplane mode. And, instead of using the WiFi on your laptop, get a WiFi USB adapter and place that adapter as far away from your body.
- Deactivate your WiFi router at night. Also limit the use of wireless devices in your workspace and home as much as possible.
- Make sure you earth on a daily basis. Recent studies show that placing your bare feet on grass or sand has an earthing effect which affects your overall health (33; 34; 35; 36). Earthing lowers inflammation, reduces blood pressure, and counters some of the negative effects of excessive non-native EMF exposure.
- Be careful with any electric device. Anything from heated blankets to baby monitors to refrigerators that you’re near will expose you to EMFs.
- If your house has poor wiring, fix it. Radio waves interacting with the electric grid can create dirty electricity.
- Don’t sleep on a metal coil mattress. Metal coils can attract EMFs and increase your exposure while you’re sleeping.
- Move away from cords. If you’ve got cords under your desk, increase the distance.
- Shielding can help but is often not the best option. The same is true for EMF-protective materials. Removing exposure completely is almost always the best fix.
- Live in a low population density environment. This strategy is very hard if not impossible to implement but if you understand why it works it will help you with understanding EMFs. Rural environments simply have fewer WiFi adapters, smart meters, cell towers, high voltage wiring, and so forth. So generally you’ll decrease your exposure any time you don’t live in a highly populated area.
These guidelines alone will help you lower EMF exposure dramatically. Lastly, I’m going to explain to you how we’ve engineered the Clearlight Infrared® Saunas so that these will never add to your daily non-native EMF exposure:
Why Clearlight Infrared® Saunas Is Your Best Option To Minimise EMF Exposure
By now, you probably understand that if you’re in an infrared sauna, you’re surrounded by electrical equipment. And, because a sauna uses quite a lot of electricity (as measured in Amperes and Watts), there’s a high risk you’re getting exposed to electric and magnetic fields. Also, many saunas contain WiFi or BlueTooth, further adding to your non-native EMF exposure.
For that reason, unless the manufacturer has really engineered a sauna for low EMF exposure, it’s potentially harmful. And, if you’re buying an infrared sauna for health improvement, such as for detoxification, you want to be sure it adds to your health and doesn’t detract from it.
So here’s how we lower your exposure at Clearlight:
- True Wave™ heater technology that mimimises EMF exposure to almost zero. We use a counter current so that a magnetic field in the opposite direction is created. Any effect of magnetic and electric fields on your body are thereby negated. EMF exposure is further reduced by lowering the surface temperature of the heater. As a result, more far infrared light is emitted while EMF emissions are reduced.
- Full Spectrum Heaters are placed further from the body. Technically, these heaters have a high energy consumption and therefore emit more EMFs. But due to placing them further away from the body, your exposure to magnetic and electric fields is reduced to nearly zero.
- Electric circuits and wiring is placed away from the body as well. Electronics are placed in the roof of the sauna to remove almost all exposure. And wiring is routed through the side-walls so that you don’t get any EMF exposure through that way either. The wires are also wrapped in metal and twisted which further reduces magnetic and electric field exposure.
- All heater panels are grounded. The grounding lowers electric field exposure dramatically. Other strategies are implemented as well to lower electric field exposure from our heaters.
- You can deactivate all radio waves. So, you don’t need to use WiFi or Bluetooth if you don’t want to.
If you’re interested in learning more about this process, check our information on the EMF testing we’ve carried out for our infrared saunas. That way, the EMF exposure levels you’re getting through your sauna accord to the guidelines of governments who have very strict exposure standards (37; 38; 39).
As you can see, we prefer taking the precautionary principle in regards to EMF. And, interpreting the science, there is plenty of reason to worry and to believe more research into EMF is necessary first before risking your health with exposure.
As we know that many people pick infrared saunas for the health benefits in the first place, minmising EMF exposure is a no-brainer. The difference in exposure levels to magnetic and electric fields can be as high as 100-fold between our Clearlight Infrared® Saunas and competitors.
Conclusion: No Need To Risk High-EMF Saunas
EMF problems can be alleviated if a sauna is properly engineered. For you that means you’ll maximise the health benefits while not adding any new stressors to your body.
Because, guess what, the reason you’re picking an infrared sauna in the first place is to improve your health, not to damage it in some way, right? As an analogy, if you were taking a fish oil supplement or a multivitamin, you’d also not like it if it was contaminated in some way. The same is true for infrared saunas.
Also, if you're interested in the topic of stress and fatigue in relation to health, check out the health benefits an infrared sauna can have in this area. Also check our general health benefits page for more information on how infrared saunas can help you.