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Whether you suffer from back pain, headaches, or muscle soreness, there is nothing like a heating pad at the end of a hard day. It soothes your body and loosens your muscles, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
When you think of a heating pad, the older style pads probably come to mind. And while these can be perfectly effective, a newer type of heating pad has risen in popularity in recent years. Infrared heating pads offer some unique benefits that have many people ditching their older models.
What is an infrared heating pad?
A traditional heating pad relies on a mechanism inside of the pad to generate heat once it is plugged in. This is usually some kind of electric coil. The coil heats up and provides warmth to the user.
An infrared heating pad, meanwhile, relies on infrared energy to create heat. This heat can penetrate tissue up to six inches deep, as opposed to the heat from a traditional heating pad, which is felt only at the skin’s surface. As a result, infrared heating pads can be much more effective at reducing muscle tension and pain.
Because the infrared light penetrates deep into bodily tissue, it is not necessary for an infrared heating pad to get as hot as its traditional counterparts. They are great for anyone who is sensitive to extreme heat, or who just wants to use their heating pad for an extended period of time.
Are all infrared heating pads high in EMF radiation?
This is a tricky question. We often think of infrared as a form of light, and for good reason — think of infrared night-vision goggles. It may not seem like an obvious source of radiation until you break it down. Infrared light consists of waves, and these waves can be found on the electromagnetic spectrum right next to visible light.
On the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared heat falls on the non-ionizing side of things. The EMF radiation we frequently talk about on this site — radiofrequency and extremely low frequency, are also forms of non-ionizing radiation. Infrared light has slightly more energy than other forms of EMF radiation, meaning its waves are a little closer together. But it is, nonetheless, a type of non-ionizing radiation.
If infrared light is so closely linked to other forms of EMF radiation, it stands to reason that exposure to it may cause similar health concerns. The most well-studied health effect is thermal damage to the tissue after too much exposure. But it’s possible that other issues do exist.
Furthermore, the power supply of an infrared heating pad can add to the device’s EMF levels. If your heating pad requires only small amounts of electricity, or continuous blasts of high amounts of electricity, to function, it is likely generating some amount of EMF radiation.
That being said, some manufacturers have listened to consumers’ concerns surrounding EMF radiation exposure. In response, they have begun to produce units that generate little to no EMF radiation at all. These lower-EMF models require a little bit of digging to find, but they are indeed out there. Next, let’s take a look at a few of them.
6 best low EMF infrared heating pads
6. Ereada Infrared Amethyst Mat. This heating pad from Ereada is available in five different sizes, with the smallest being the 31″x20″ mini pad and the largest being the 75″x59″ queen mat. The exterior is made of animal-free faux suede while the interior is packed with eight pounds of crushed amethyst distributed throughout 15 layers. In addition to producing negative ions, this infrared heating pad is designed to be completely EMF-free.
5. UTK Ultra-Soft FAR Infrared Heating Pad. UTK’s soft heating pad feels similar to a traditional model. It has a soft, velvet cover that is gentle on the skin, and at 24-inches by 36-inches, it’s large enough to cover a significant portion of your body. Although it uses infrared technology, the pad itself is EMF-free. It features an auto-shutoff feature and even has preset memory functions so you can pick right up where you left off. The temperature range is between 103 and 159 degrees Fahrenheit, as well, so this pad can get just about as hot as you could possibly need. The manufacturer even offers a three year extended warranty on the pad and its accessories.
4. GemsMat Isabella FAR Infrared Heating Pad. If you’re looking for something for localized heating, there is this pad from GemsMat. The Isabella FAR Infrared Pad contains several different stones, including Amethyst, Jade, Obsidian, and Crystal. According to the manufacturer, this mat produces less than 2mG of EMF radiation, which is quite low when compared to other, more typical infrared heating pads out there. The temperature range is between 86 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and the included controller allows you to set a time for the pad to automatically shut-off — making it perfect for overnight use. The manufacturer does note that it is recommended to always unplug your mat in between uses.
3. PHYMAT Amethyst FAR Infrared Heating Mat. This full-sized heating mat is 67-inches by 27-inches, the perfect size for full-body relaxation. PHYMAT’s pad contains amethyst, turquoise, obsidian, orange jade, and crystal, to provide a true hot stone experience. It also features EMF blocking layers to help reduce the unit’s EMF output for safer use. The mat’s temperature range is between 86 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and the built-in timer can be set for either three, six, or 12 hours before the unit automatically shuts off. This heating pad is fire safe, as well, containing a layer of flame retardant cotton in addition to its non-combustible carbon heating wire.
2. UTK Jade Infrared Heating Pad Wrap. Another offering from brand UTK, this heating pad is unique because it’s actually a wrap. This is perfect for your arms and legs as it allows you to wrap your limb in the pad and experience heating from all angles. It’s 47-inches long by 2.5-inches wide and contains eight different jade stones. According to UTK, the pad is completely EMF free, as it is powered by DC power. If you’re looking for targeted pain relief, this heating wrap is an excellent option.
1. HealthyLine Jade and Tourmaline Infrared Heating Pad. HealthyLine’s infrared pad contains both jade and tourmaline under its soft mesh exterior. The mat is 32-inches long and 20-inches wide and weighs in at about eight pounds. It includes an EMF filtration system that reduces the amount of EMF radiation the user is exposed to. This mat also has a 12-hour automatic shut-off timer, making it perfect for sleeping. While this is not a full-body mat, it is ideal for laying under your back or legs.
Testing your infrared heating pad
Whether you’ve purchased an infrared heating pad that is not advertised as low-EMF, or you just want to test your manufacturer’s claims, it’s not a bad idea to check the EMF levels produced by your pad. For this, you will need an EMF meter.
For those who don’t happen to have an EMF meter on hand, these devices are incredibly handy and we recommend them for many different purposes throughout our site. If you are serious about reducing your home’s EMF levels, this is a must-have item. It can be an investment, but it’s one that will come in handy over and over again.
We usually recommend the TriField TF2 for those interested in an EMF meter. The TF2 may be entry-level, but it does everything you could need a meter to do, including measuring RF radiation, electric fields, and magnetic fields. To read more about the TF2 and some of the other options on the market, see The Best EMF Meters For Any Budget.
Testing your pad is pretty simple. To start, unplug the infrared heating pad and turn your EMF meter on. Hold it next to the pad and note the reading. Next, plug your heating pad in and turn it on. Again, place your meter next to the pad and note how the levels have changed. They will likely go up a bit, but if your heating pad is truly low-EMF, they will stay within your meter’s safe zone. If the meter starts to spike or beep, that is indicative of a heating pad that is producing potentially dangerous levels of EMF radiation.
If your meter picks up high levels of EMFs, it is probably not advisable to place your heating pad directly on your body. Doing so will expose you to that much EMF radiation.
Infrared heating pads provide a multitude of benefits that traditional heating pads simply can’t touch. There is a reason they are so popular these days, but they don’t come without their risks. Finding a lower-EMF model is one way that you can enjoy the benefits of infrared heat without the potential for so many negative health effects.