Bikram Yoga Chicago

Forced Air vs Infrared

Forced Air

Forced air refers to the heating system. A forced-air central heating system is one which uses air as its heat transfer medium.

Basically, a forced air system refers to any HVAC system that uses air ducts and vents to send temperature-controlled air into the building. The air is heated NOT the object. Thus, giving the student a more comfortable environment to practice their favorite yoga! Imagine you are in a tropical paradise.

Forced Air Advantages (Pros)

  • Air is filtered and filtration can easily be upgraded
  • Great for cooling/heating the entire home
  • Air is naturally dehumidified, good for humid days (Although in our case we like to crank up the humidity!)
  • Compatible with smart and programmable thermostats
  • Comfortable and energy efficient

 Forced Air Disadvantages (Cons)

  • Costs more to install and routine maintenance
  • Cannot be installed yourself; a professional installation is required
  • Risk of improper installation (do your homework before hiring HVAC company)
  • Ductwork is necessary (takes up space and prone to inefficiencies)
  • Duct sealing and cleaning is necessary—every 5 years or so
  • Potentially higher energy bills
  • Regular tune-ups and filter changes are necessary

Infrared Heat

Infrared (IR) has a range of wavelengths, with near infrared being the closest in wavelength to visible light, and “far infrared” closer to the microwave region. Near infrared waves are short and not hot — in fact you cannot even feel them — which is what makes them particularly dangerous to susceptible tissues, such as skin and eyes. The damage caused by using Infrared (IR) is all cons causing serious irreparable damage.

Some \\\’hot yoga\\\’ studios use the panels because they are very inexpensive to install ($5,000 for a yoga room vs. $50,000 -$100,000 for a gas furnace set up). There is also a new trend of a new sauna fitness franchise whose parent company is a national tanning salon. Your skin and tissues are not in their best interest.

Simply put radiant electric heat sources contaminate the electric system of any plant or organism and essentially allow the cells deep within the body to become engorged with calcium and their ultimate destruction shortly after. This is true of any electric heat source which is not heating the air but is heating the the subject from the inside out directly as a result of the absorption of those frequencies/wavelengths. Not sure about you but we here at Bikram Yoga Chicago (aka Bikram Yoga West Loop) prefer not to be microwaved.

Other types, such as far infrared heaters which are also invisible light sources, cause cumulative retinal damage to the eye and damage to the skin forcing the skin to break down collagen instead of stimulate its creation. This is VERY different than the low wattage and specific wavelengths/frequencies that skin care professionals use to safely stimulate collagen for anti-wrinkle treatments. Too much/too strong a frequency will cause damage that cannot be repaired:  Wrinkling, Photoaging, and possible cell death. Collagen is damaged…collagenase is the enzyme that breaks down collagen which cause wrinkling and aging of the skin.

Serious Irreversible Damage with Infrared (IR)

Skin exposed to IR provides a warning mechanism against thermal effect in the form of pain. Eyes, on the other hand, may not. Since the eye cannot detect IR, blinking or closing the eyes to help prevent or reduce damage may not happen.  IR, particularly IR-A or near IR [700nm-1400nm], raises the internal temperature of the eye, essentially “baking” it. Medical studies indicate that prolonged IR exposure can lead to lens, cornea and retina damage, including cataracts, corneal ulcers and retinal burns, respectively.

1. Eye damage

  • The human eye is sensitive to all radiation, including infrared radiation.
  • IR raises the internal temperature of the eye, virtually “baking” it.
  • Prolonged IR exposure can lead cataracts, corneal ulcers, and retinal burns.

2. Skin Damage

  • The infrared radiation in the sunlight damages skin.
  • In direct sunlight, the temperature of human skin rises to about 40°C as it converts the absorbed IR into heat.
  • The result of a brief exposure is sunburn.
  • Prolonged IR exposure induces new blood vessels to form from pre-existing ones in the skin.
  • It causes unusual growth and migration of skin cells and changes structural proteins in the skin, and this adds to premature skin ageing.

The trapped radiation (i.e. lingering radiation in the air) causes increased temperatures and changes that could be harmful to people and animals.


Forced Air is far superior to Infrared. The dangers of Infrared technology being used in ‘hot yoga’ studios should be terrifying for your overall health and well-being. At Bikram Yoga Chicago (aka Bikram Yoga West Loop) rest assured we have a forced air heating system which gets routine maintenance. A solid Bikram Yoga class in a hot room (i.e. the air being heated by a forced air system) will give you that Yoga Glow guaranteed.

Come experience a real 90-minute Bikram Yoga class lead by a certified Bikram Yoga teacher.  We invite you to feel the difference. Check out our class schedule below:


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