The electromagnetic spectrum encompasses the range of frequencies electromagnetic radiation can have. The spectrum is categorized by wavelength from longest to shortest: radio wave, microwave, infrared light, ultraviolet light, x-rays and gamma-rays.
While microwaves and infrared both fall into the electromagnetic spectrum, and contain a few similarities, the heat emitted is overall very different.
MICROWAVES: Microwave radiation consists of electrical and magnetic energy moving together in the form of waves. Microwaves operate at a frequency that makes it a form of non-ionizing radiation, meaning minimized exposure is not damaging to humans. Of course, the most commonly known appliance to utilize microwaves would be microwave ovens.
Microwaves are ideal for cooking as they are reflected by metal, pass through materials such as glass and paper, and are thoroughly absorbed by foods from the inside, out. Microwave radiation is also used to send telephone communications, dry plywood and cure rubber. Additionally, astronomers use microwaves to uncover the structure of other galaxies near earth.
INFRARED: On the electromagnetic spectrum, the wavelength with the longest visible light is red light. Infrared operates at a frequency just below red light. This means we are technically unable to view infrared because it is invisible to the human eye.
Examples of infrared rays include burning charcoal as well as the warmth we feel from an electric heater. Another example is the infrared technology we use in our cordless hair dryer. Infrared technology provides a powerful, healthy and efficient drying system as it operates by drying strands from the inside out.
Although we can’t see infrared radiation, we are able to feel it as heat. While the word “radiation” may often conjure up images of damage to the body, not all types of radiation are actually bad for us. Scientific studies indicate infrared has the opposite impact and possesses the capacity for extensive healing.
THE SIMILARITIES: Of course, both infrared and microwave radiation are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared and microwave are both transmitted as waves consisting of changing magnetic and electric fields. These waves are converted to heat. Infrared and microwave rays are both just past the point of visibility to the human eye but can be felt as warmth.
THE DIFFERENCES: Microwave radiation involves a specific frequency of bands while infrared has a wider range. Infrared rays are less controlled as compared to microwave radiation, which is more specified. The wavelength of infrared is shorter than that of microwave radiation, which falls in between radio waves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum. This means infrared rays have a higher frequency than microwaves.
The biological impact of microwave radiation remains highly controversial. Overall, there is a lack in conclusive evidence to prove microwaves possess carcinogenic effects in small and regulated capacities. However, scientific studies vary in terms of results. One study looked at cellular phone users in relation to brain tumors and found no increased risk; another study concluded extensive cell phone use over a period of 10 years may be linked to the development of brain tumors.
Alternatively, scientific research has shown certain types of infrared heat can actually provide healing through the form of physical and mental benefits. Infrared technology has been utilized to calm inflammation and reduce joint pain in the body. Studies suggest it may be effective in helping relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety as well.
In terms of hair health, infrared technology thoroughly penetrates strands and leads to less damage and a faster dry time. Infrared bulbs are just one of the reasons we’re so excited about The VOLO Go! Just as microwave ovens heat food all the way through, infrared effectively dries hair from the inside out. However, infrared rays are very different than microwaves. Infrared has many healing benefits including the ability to dry hair in a healthy, polished manner.