A heating pad for back pain that you can get from your local pharmacy uses electricity to create heat. This type of heat penetrates about 2-3 mm and basically warms your skin from the outside in.
The benefit of infrared is its quickness to penetrate under the skin. Far infrared heating pads use amethyst crystals, jade stones, or carbon fibers to emit infrared rays, which penetrate deeper into the body, some claim to the bones.
The deep penetrating infrared rays relieve pain and increase blood circulation in the muscles, which promotes healing.
Electric healing pads typically emit electromagnetic radiation (EMF), Far infrared heating pads manufacturers claim that they do not emit UV radiation at all. I have not tested the far IR heating pads myself so I cannot speak from experience. I do know that electric heating pads do have (as expected) and EMF field.
In the past few years there has been a growing public concern that long term exposure to high and low-level of EMF (i.e. cell phones, computers, household appliances, electrical power lines), can be linked to a variety of cancers, heart disease and other health ailments.
The Journal of American Medical has published a list of the health benefits of far infrared therapy:
- Long lasting pain relief
- Reduction of arthritis pain
- Increasing of blood circulation (promoting a faster recovery and cleansing of your whole body)
- Helps to remove toxins in the body (similar to using a sauna to detox)
- Improves range of motion
- Promotes stress relief and relaxation Reduction in pain
What EMF level is safe for humans?
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website: http://emf.mercola.com, “many experts and public officials, as well as the few governments that have made an effort to offer public protection, have adopted the 3 mG (milli-Gauss) cutoff point. The EPA has proposed a safety standard of 1 mG. Sweden has set a maximum safety limit of 1 mG.”
When it comes to EMF, generally if you have electricity (electrons) flowing through a wire, or wires, or a ceramic sheet (as in modern dry IR saunas), unless shielding is applied, EMF will be an issue. EMF is present in your home, through electric wires, and other electric devices, motors, switches and outlets. Transient electromagnetic fields (dirty electricity) is an issue some individuals sensitive to EMF suffer from, it has been shown to promote blood sugar issues.
When I seek warmth, I personally prefer the use of heat lamps (IR lamps, poultry lamps) as a source of IR for sauna, or to feel the warmth on a cold winter.
Alternatively, allow the heating blanker to heat your bed, then turn it off, remove it from the bed (or unplug it from the socket), and enjoy the warm bed sheet. I cannot assess whether the IR heating pads mentioned above are EMF-free until I test them myself each device might have different characteristics as well.