The sun is the principal source of radiant energy that we
experience daily. Have you ever been outside on a partly cloudy
day of about 50 F and felt quite comfortable when suddenly the
sun was obscured by a cloud? Although the air temperature had
not had time to drop, you felt chilled, as the cloud would not
let the warming infrared rays through to reach you.
There are three phenomena through which energy can be transmitted: electromagnetic radiation, conduction, and convection. While all three energy forms are present in the application of Thermotex™ products the primary energy form utilized is electromagnetic radiation. Unlike conduction and convection, electromagnetic waves need no material medium for transmission. As with the electromagnetic radiant energy of the sun, which travels through the atmosphere to warm the earth, the radiant energy emitted by Thermotex™ products for therapeutic purposes, are emitted to and absorbed by the body in a natural process.
All of the components of the electromagnetic spectrum, regardless of frequency, also have in common the typical properties of wave motion. The wavelengths range from millionths of a centimeter to many kilometers. The wavelength and frequency are important in determining heating effect, visibility, penetration and other characteristics of the electromagnetic radiation.
An understanding of Infrared ("IR") firstly requires an understanding of radiant heat. Radiant heat is also called infrared energy. Radiant heat is simply a form of energy that heats objects directly through a process called conversion, without having to heat the air space in between.
IR is the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves in the portion of the spectrum just beyond the limit of the red portion of the visible spectrum.
The infrared segment of the electromagnetic spectrum is divided into 3 segments by wave length, measured in microns or micrometers (one micron = 1/1,000,000 of a meter):
0.076 - 1.5 microns = Near Infrared (NIR);
1.5 - 5.6 microns = Middle Infrared (MIR); and
5.6 - 1000 microns = Far or long wave infrared (FIR).
Our bodies radiate and absorb infrared energy through the skin at 3 - 50 microns with a concentration of energy output at 9.4 microns. The IR radiation of Thermotex™ products emit about one-third of its output in the MIR band width from 2 - 5.6 microns, for deeper penetration, with the balance of output in the FIR band, from 5.6 - 25 microns with that part of the output spread evenly around the 9.4 micron pivot point of peak human output. This distribution maximizes the higher penetration of the middle-band waves and combines them with the long waves that produce a resonant absorption amplification of healthy tissue output.