Far Infrared Rays (FIR)

Everything You Need to Know About Far Infrared Rays (FIR)

Graph of full spectrum of light rays from the sun: microwave, radio waves, gamma rays, x-rays, UV rays, visible light, infrared rays, which is broken down into near, medium and far infrared rays.

What are Infrared Rays?

As you can see by the graphic to the left, most of the spectrum of light is invisible, and far infrared rays (FIR) are just one part of the infrared piece of the spectrum. Approximately 80% of solar energy consists of far infrared rays, which are responsible for all life on Earth. Far infrared rays are responsible for photosynthesis which allows all plants to grow, as they are the "life-giving and energizing" part of the electromagnetic spectrum. So it's no wonder that these same light rays can be responsible for healing us.

FIR is the radiation we feel, but cannot see, from the sun that makes us feel better as they penetrate our bodies and give revitalizing energy. Far infrared rays can penetrate through our skin surface and into the body tissues of our internal organs due to their length.

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Understanding Far Infrared Rays and Thermotherapy

Every part of the electromagnetic spectrum comes with a corresponding heating temperature and FIR has a heat signature that isn't only beneficial for our health, but also long enough to penetrate to do the work. There is a purpose to all spectrums of light, but unlike visible light, far infrared light can actually heal life. Unlike ultraviolet rays and X-rays, which have shorter wavelengths and higher energy levels, far infrared rays have longer wavelengths and lower energy levels. This makes infrared radiation safe for human exposure, as they do not possess the harmful effects associated with other forms of radiation.

Far infrared rays are invisible to the naked eye but can be felt as heat. This is because they generate thermal energy when they come into contact with an object, such as the human body. The heat, or thermotherapy (aka infrared heat therapy), generated by these electromagnetic waves is often described as a gentle warmth that penetrates deep into the tissues, providing a range of therapeutic effects.

FIR helps increase circulation in the body. When circulation is increased, every organ and system in the body functions at its optimum capability. Infrared heat also raises the core body temperature, inducing a false fever, which in turn helps speed up cell activity, including those that fight disease and sickness, and allows them to fight bacteria and viruses faster. Infrared treatment can help increase the health of the immune system over time. Consistent far infrared therapy can increase energy and help with chronic health issues. Short-term use of far infrared therapy detoxifies the body, alleviates pain and stress, and helps people sleep better.

Infrared Thermotherapy and the Biomat

The Richway Amethyst Biomat is an FDA-approved medical device that delivers infrared heat therapy. Richway was the first to make a mat that produced infrared therapy as they noticed traditional infrared saunas did not place the person close enough to the therapy. The Amethyst Biomat utilizes a combination of amethyst crystals, negative ions, and far-infrared rays to provide deep penetrating infrared heat to the body. The Biomat's advanced technology ensures consistent and comfortable far infrared heat, making it the best choice for those seeking this type of thermotherapy. You can use the lower temperature settings to sleep on it and the higher settings to enjoy a sauna-like experience. And unlike FIR saunas, the infrared heat is closer to the body, making it more effective. The infrared heat that the Biomat provides has been FDA-tested and verified.

Richway Amethyst Biomat Professional

How Does the Biomat Produce Far Infrared Rays?

The Biomat uses a patented heating system comprised of panels that allows for all of the amethyst in a layer above the panels to be heated evenly across the entire surface of the mat, allowing for the maximum amount of infrared therapy. Amethyst is a natural emitter of far infrared rays but when heated, the light waves are amplified 200 times their natural strength and length, allowing for a deep heat that penetrates into the body.  The Biomat's infrared therapy is FDA-approved for the temporary relief of minor muscle pain, joint pain, muscle spasms, arthritis pain, increased circulation, and the relaxation of muscles but it does so much more than that.

Health Benefits of Infrared Therapy

Pain Relief:

Infrared heat therapy has been found to be effective in providing natural pain relief for various conditions. The deep penetration of FIR into the tissues helps to increase blood flow, which in turn promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas while also relaxing muscle tissue. Far-infrared radiation helps to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with conditions such as back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and muscle strains.


Sweating is the body's natural mechanism for eliminating toxins. The radiant heat from FIR therapy induces sweating at a lower temperature compared to traditional saunas, making it a more comfortable and accessible option for individuals. Sweating through infrared heat therapy helps to eliminate heavy metals, environmental toxins, and other harmful substances from the body, promoting overall detoxification and improved health.

Improved Circulation:

Far infrared rays have been shown to increase blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and promoting vasodilation. This increased blood flow helps to increase the amount of nutrients cells receive and tissue oxygen, promoting faster healing and improved immunity. Improved circulation can also help to reduce blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Enhanced Immune Function:

Regular use of infrared heat therapy has been associated with enhanced immune function. The increase in body temperature induced by far infrared rays stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. This can help to strengthen the immune system and improve overall health while preventing disease and illness.

Stress Reduction:

Infrared heat therapy has a calming and relaxing effect on the body, helping to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The gentle warmth generated by far infrared rays helps to relax the muscles, relieve tension, and promote a sense of well-being. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, and other stress-related conditions. Far-infrared saunas have been used since the 1970s for relaxation, but now we have the ability to be closer to the therapy in the form of an Amethyst Biomat.

Weight Loss:

Infrared light has been found to be effective in aiding weight loss. This beneficial form of heat increases body temperature caused by far infrared rays helps to boost metabolism and burn calories. Additionally, the sweating induced by infrared heat therapy helps to eliminate toxins and waste products from the body, which can contribute to weight loss.

Skin Health:

Infrared waves have numerous benefits for the skin. The increase in blood circulation caused by far infrared rays helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin, promoting a healthy complexion. The sweating induced by infrared heat therapy also helps to unclog pores and eliminate toxins, which may improve skin clarity and reduce the appearance of acne and other skin conditions.

Improved Sleep:

Infrared energy has been found to promote better sleep. The deep relaxation induced by far infrared rays helps to reduce stress and anxiety, while also promoting muscle relaxation, allowing individuals to achieve more rejuvenating, restful sleep. Additionally, the increase in body temperature caused by infrared heat therapy helps to regulate sleep patterns and promote a more balanced sleep-wake cycle, helping with occasional sleeplessness.

Muscle Recovery:

Infrared heat "thermal therapy" has been shown to accelerate muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness. The deep penetration of far infrared rays into the muscles helps to increase blood flow and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas. This can help to reduce inflammation, promote faster healing, and alleviate muscle tension and pain. Increasing circulation to oxygen-depleted muscles decreases recovery time.

Improved Overall Well-being:

Regular use of infrared heat therapy has been associated with improved overall well-being. The combination of the various therapeutic benefits, such as pain relief, stress reduction, improved circulation, detoxification, chronic diseases and enhanced immune function, can contribute to a greater sense of health and vitality. Individuals who incorporate infrared heat therapy into their wellness routine often report increased energy levels, improved mood, and a greater overall sense of well-being.

William Herschel sitting at desk with pen in hand and other hand on a book.

The History of Far Infrared Light

Far infrared light was discovered by William Herschel in 1800 as a byproduct of measuring the temperature of the colors of the visible light spectrum. At the time, it was unknown that the light spectrum continued into the invisible. As he moved through the spectrum, he noticed one color was warmer than the next and that red was the warmest. But as he moved past red, he noticed the temperature got warmer but that there was no corresponding color to go with the new temperature. This is the moment far infrared light was discovered. In Greek, "infra" means "below". The new, invisible part of the light spectrum was "beyond" red, or infrared. Herschel had discovered infrared light but it wasn't until the late 1800's that it was first used to benefit the human body.

In the following decades, scientists further explored the properties and characteristics of infrared radiation. They discovered that infrared radiation could be divided into three main categories based on its wavelengths: near-infrared (NIR), mid-infrared (MIR), and far infrared (FIR). Far infrared radiation, with wavelengths ranging from 15 to 1000 micrometers, was found to have unique properties and effects on the human body.

At the end of the 19th century, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the same man who invented Kellogg's Frosted Flakes), invented the incandescent light bath and he treated many patients, including King Edward of England, with it that had a wide variety of illnesses. However, Kellogg had no idea that infrared light was the main reason for his invention's success. He had no idea of the effect infrared light had on human cells. Even a hundred years later, humans were using infrared light to heal and were not aware of it. But in 1965 that changed when NASA started studying how light affected the human body.

In 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to get to the moon. In the midst of the Cold War with Russia this challenge, coupled with the necessity of besting Russia, produced some of America's biggest discoveries, not only in space technology, but also in medicine. NASA was charged with a huge amount of this responsibility and began to research the effects light had on the human body in an attempt at keeping our astronauts in good health until they returned. Experiments in zero gravity at the time showed the effects it had on the human muscular and skeletal systems in terms of serious atrophy. In the course of trying to find a solution to this problem and experimenting with light's effects on the body, NASA stumbled (just like Herschel and Kellogg had) onto the benefits of infrared light.

NASA found that by exposing their astronauts to infrared light, a cellular regeneration of muscle tissue and bones occurred. Obviously, discovering this fact sparked more research and NASA was the first to identify two totally separate bands within the infrared part of the light spectrum: near and far infrared light, and that each had different effects on the human body.

As NASA further studied far infrared light, it discovered that it had the unique ability to move through human skin into the soft tissues of the body. It was at this time, in the late 1960's, that far infrared light became a focus in the medical community as a medical treatment.

Over a decade later, the National Institute of Health (NIH) did a study on the healing effects of far infrared light on rats and had considerable success with healing wounds, concluding that FIR would have a substantially postive effect on human cells.

And what followed was a far infrared light revolution as the first infrared saunas hit the market.

Astronaut in black and white photo sitting in cockpit chair.
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How Richway Revolutionized Infrared Therapy

In 1997, Richway developed the Jade Biomat, which would become the world's best known mat that produced far infrared light (FIR).

After conducting extensive research over a period of three years, the initial belief that the health benefits of the Biomat were solely derived from the heat produced by the infrared technology has been revised. Further investigation has revealed that the primary benefit actually comes from the "vibrational energy" provided by far infrared rays. Far infrared (FIR) energy is absorbed by the vibrational levels of bonds present in molecules. When these photons interact with molecules, they cause the bonds within the molecules to vibrate at specific frequencies. This absorption of FIR energy by molecular bonds can have various effects, such as inducing changes in molecular structure or promoting specific chemical reactions. Understanding this process is crucial for comprehending how far infrared light interacts with the body and delivers its health benefits. The Kims, the researchers behind the Biomat, likened this process to a bell being struck and the vibrations continuing after the initial strike. They discovered that when infrared light interacts with the human body, its beneficial effects reverberate throughout the body long after the infrared light (the initial strike) is removed.

Consequently, the research department at Richway, the company behind the Biomat, delved into studying the energy spectrum to identify the healthiest and most natural frequencies of infrared rays. This led to the discovery that amethyst, a gemstone, is an exceptional energy conductor and can maintain a constant steady vibration unlike any other gemstone.

While various sources generate some form of infrared rays and energetic frequencies, upon observing the energetic spectrum of amethyst, Richway noticed its remarkable similarity to the frequency of the human body. This may explain why amethyst is often referred to as "the peace stone."

The conducted research also enabled Richway to enhance the Bio Mat technologies by incorporating two types of infrared waves. One type is known as a "photon" infrared wave, with a wavelength of 6.5 microns. The other is a "phermo" infrared wave, ranging from 9 to 12 microns.

Today, millions enjoy the healing and soothing benefits of the Richway Amethyst Biomat and the far infrared technology that was a couple hundred years in the making. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the scientists and inventors that got us here.

The healing benefits of far infrared light are still being discovered and researched. As we write this, dozens of studies all over the world are being conducted on far infrared light, the invisible, healing part of the light spectrum.