What’s the Best Infrared Heating Pad? Infrared heating pads have been touted as an effective means for relief and healing of pain. But what, exactly, is infrared heat? And, if it really is effective, what is the best infrared heating pad on the market? We will answer these questions, plus: What is infrared heat? How is infrared able to treat and heal pain? How do infrared heating pads work? Is infrared heat dangerous? Why do I need an infrared heating pad? What’s the best infrared heating pad?
What is infrared heat?
Think back to your school days and your science lessons on light and heat. Do you remember learning about the visible spectrum of light? It is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye.
The spectrum, when illustrated, looks like a colorful bar. It appears, from left to right, in the colors of the rainbow. Red is on the far left. Ultraviolet is on the far right. In between are the colors orange, yellow green, blue and indigo (ROYGBIV).
This illustration represents how the human eye detects and interprets electromagnetic light. However, light also emits a certain degree of heat. You may remember, or have guessed correctly, that red light is the hottest and ultraviolet light is the coolest.
Did you also remember, though, that there is still heat outside (on either side) of the spectrum? Ultraviolet heat rests on the right outside of the bar. Infrared heat is found on the outside left.
Infrared waves emit higher heat than visible light. They are hotter than visible red light.
However, there are two types of infrared light: near infrared and far infrared. Near infrared waves actually still emit minute amounts of light. Far infrared waves (abbreviated FIR) emit no light at all.
FIR and its Healing Ability
Infrared heating pads harness the power of FIR to produce heat. FIR heat is able to penetrate the skin’s surface and reach the muscles and soft tissue underneath (unlike a traditional electric heating pad. They only warm the skin’s surface.)
It is at these deeper levels that healing of pain actually takes place. Heat causes vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). This allows blood to flow faster and more freely. Increased blood flow to injured soft tissue is what facilitates healing.
How Do Infrared Heating Pads Work?
FIR heating pads have thin wire elements inside, just like regular heating pads. These elements heat up when you plug in the cord.
Inside, along with the heating element, are jade, amethyst or tourmaline stones or discs, or carbon fibers, depending on the type of pad. The element transmits heat to the stones, discs or fibers.
They then transfer that heat (called long-wave far infrared) to your soft tissue through the pad cover and your skin. Long wave far infrared rays penetrate about 4” to 8” deep.
Other health benefits- negative ions: In addition to deep-penetrating heat, jade, amethyst and tourmaline stones also emit negative ions. Negative ions are said to possess healing properties all on their own.
Negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that create positive vibes/mood, help to alleviate depression and relieve stress. (They are the same negative ions that your body gets exposed to when you excercise. They are particularly concentrated near running water such as waterfalls, beaches or in the air after the rainstorm. Now you know why exercising and being outdoors makes you feel so good!)
Negative ions also help to cleanse the air of pollutants and allergens. This includes dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria and viruses and even the aftereffects of cigarette smoke.
Not only do they clean the air, they are also believed to neutralize electromagnetic radiation. This is important, since we’ve already learned that infrared heating pads emit low levels of electromagnetic radiation.
How Many Negative Ions are in a FIR Pad?
Number of negative ions relies on the type and number of natural stones included in the pad. Each natural stone has its own unique properties and healing benefits.
Amethyst produces 1500 negative ions per cubic centimeter. This, in turn, provides powerful calming energy. It is also known for boosting hormone production and healing respiratory and digestive diseases, skin conditions and cellular disorders.
Jade provides negative ions around 700 cubic centimeter. Though not as concentrated as amethyst (which is more expensive than jade), it is known to aids to remove body toxins, heals stitches faster, assists fertility and more.
Tourmaline stone provides 1500+ negative ions per cubic centimeter. Tourmaline is also thought to boost energy, treat paranoia, improve hand-eye coordination and help to overcome dyslexia.
Type of stone isn’t all that matters when it comes to negative ions. The number of stones also plays a role. The more gemstones in the pad the more healing power it has. (More stones deliver more heat and produce more negative ions.)
Technically speaking, all far infrared heating pads function the same way. They all use an element to heat stones/discs. They all provide the same types of benefits: they improve blood circulation and sleep quality, heal wounds faster, relieve pain, heal soft tissue and increase energy.
Therefore, the difference between average and the best infrared heating pad lies within:
Type and number of stones
Quality of manufacturing
Personal preferences, such as size of pad, amount of power the device consumes, etc.
Is Infrared Heat Dangerous?
Consumers sometimes panic when they see the words “electromagnetic radiation” associated with infrared waves. Back to our science lesson to help explain some of this.
All light/heat emits radiation. Even body heat emits some radiation. They key to this problem lies in how much.
It seems logical that FIR would have higher radiation since far infrared lies on the far left (red side) of the light spectrum. However, the opposite is true.
Remember, ultraviolet light resides on the far right of the spectrum. Yes, it is the same ultraviolet light that the sun gives off. And everyone knows that too much UV light can cause skin cancer.
Therefore, there are two reasons that the radiation in FIR shouldn’t cause you to worry. One: they contain less radiation than what you get exposed to when out walking in the sunshine.
Two: Makers of most FIR heating pads add radiation-blocking technology to their pad design. This prevents radiation from escaping the surface of the pad and reaching the environment around you.
Additionally, negative ions are believed to neutralize radiation. If you purchase a pad with gemstones, their negative ions will add to the radiation-blocking power of the device.
A Word About Safety
FIR is safe for use as long as your observe recommended usage guidelines. Although rare, FIR pads have been known to cause burns to skin and underlying tissue.
Usually these burns can be attributed to one of two things: device malfunction or using the pad for longer than the recommended time. Therefore, it is imperative that you follow the instructions that come with any device.
Make sure that you do not use a device that appears defective or otherwise compromised in any way. Do not use it if it has rips or tears, exposed elements or wiring, cords that have cuts or other types of visible wear, etc.
Additionally, you should never exceed the recommended usage time. Typically, this is about 30 minutes per 24 hours. (However, read your owner’s manual carefully just in case the recommendation for your device is different.) This will prevent burns and limit the amount of electromagnetic radiation you are exposed to.
Why Do I Need an Infrared Heating Pad?
Anyone who suffers from muscle or joint stiffness and/or pain (acute or chronic) can benefit tremendously from one. As already discussed, infrared heat gets down into the soft tissue that is hurting or has been damaged, past the surface of the skin.
This heat dilates the blood vessels. The vessels temporarily widen, increasing blood flow to the affected area. This increased blood flow helps to relieve pain and facilitate healing.
Additionally, the negative ions emitted by FIR devices with stones may elevate mood and alleviate stress. Reducing stress can lead to a reduction in pain.
Consider purchasing one if you suffer from any of the following:
Minor muscle soreness/stiffness (including after exercising or as the result of injury)
Joint pain (including arthritis and rheumatism)
Back pain (acute or chronic)
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Infrared Heating Pad
Quality and type of device is not the only consideration when choosing the best infrared heating pad (although we do recommend buying the highest quality you can afford). You will need to consider, of course, your budget, as well as:
The area(s) of the body you want to treat. This will determine the size of pad (surface area-wise) you should purchase.
Output of negative ions. Remember, the number and type of stones determine concentration of negative ions in the device.
The amount of power the device consumes
Length of cord
Number of heat settings/levels
Weight of device
Type of materials the device is made of, including the cover
Extra features (automatic shut-off timer, etc.)
UTK Far Infrared Natural Jade and tourmaline Heating Pad is perfectly soft flexible wrap around a body part to relieve muscle tension where people experience it —back & lower back & shoulders & waist & hip & legs & arms & knee & feet. Also, you can sit on it or lie on it.
Pad Size: 21”X31”
Power: AC110~120, 60Hz, 100 Watts
Pad Material: Soft PU leather (both sides), non-toxic PP cotton, 126 Individual Natural Jade Stones
Auto Shut-Off Time: 240 minutes