Updated: Jun 12
Saunas have been used for thousands of years to improve health and wellness. There are multiple types of these units. This article focuses on modern electric saunas with a centralized heating unit. These are different from so called newer 'infrared' saunas that use multiple, distributed ceramic plates to produce heat and infrared light. As concerns about EMF or electromagnetic radiation have grown, I am frequently asked if saunas are safe to use. Read on to learn how to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize harmful EMF exposure in your sauna, and be sure to check out the video below as it discusses both electric, and infrared saunas in regards to EMF.
What is EMF and how does it affect us?
EMF stands for electromagnetic field, which are created by the movement of electrically charged particles. While some EMF exposure is natural and healthy, such as from the sun and the earth’s magnetic field, exposure from man-made sources like electronics and power lines have raised concerns about potential health effects. Some studies have linked high levels of EMF exposure to an increased risk of cancer, fertility issues and neuro-degeneration. It’s important to minimize your exposure to EMF when possible, to maintain health and wellness
Understanding EMF levels in electric saunas.
Electric saunas are known for their relaxing and detoxifying benefits, but many people are concerned about the potential EMF exposure from the heating elements and lights. Their concerns are valid. As a result of the sauna consuming electricity to generate heat, EMF radiation is released. Depending upon where the heating element and electrical wires are placed in relation to the sitting areas, one's exposures can be higher or lower. This exposure has a large bearing on how much therapeutic benefit you can receive while in the sauna.
How to measure EMF levels in your sauna.
To measure EMF levels in your sauna, you will need an EMF meter which detects AC electric and magnetic fields. These are sometimes called gauss meters. Here's one I recommend to my clients all the time. Once you've learned how to use the meter (contact me if you need help with this), you can begin to take readings at various locations inside your sauna, with it turned on and off. Do the floor, seats, ceiling, and near any obvious electrical system or wires. Then you can compare to the Building Biology Guidelines below. Our primary concern here is the "M" and "E" ranges. I would recommend you avoid any sauna that is in the severe category for the seating areas.
Also, do note, some saunas now have wireless capability, either WiFi or BlueTooth; these represent further EMF exposures and should be avoided. If you want to check your sauna for this type of EMF, I recommend this meter.
Tips for minimizing your EMF exposure in the sauna.
Once you have measured the levels of EMF in your sauna, review your notes for where the hot spots are. Are there any areas with lower exposures? Or is most of the sauna in the severe or extreme category? Check out this video for more info:
Professional EMF inspection of your sauna
If you'd like to quickly and decisively understand the EMF profile of your sauna, then a professional EMF inspection is the way to go. It's quicker and cheaper than purchasing a meter and learning how to use it. Plus, I've examined dozens of saunas in Portland and Seattle at this point and can confidently direct you in using it for maximum therapeutic benefit, or recommending a healthier model.
All the best,
Optimal Dwelling Spaces LLC