I Tried an Infrared Sauna + Here’s What Happened
Whether it’s trying floral essences, writing new moon manifestations or practicing face yoga on the reg, I’m all about that natural wellness tip. Sure, it could be the power of suggestion or simply a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I always see benefits to my mental and physical well-being soon after. So I’ll keep experimenting! Recently, I’ve been curious about Purify Infrared Sauna, which popped up on my Instagram feed. Locals in Richmond, Virginia have flocked to the zenned-out, spa-like space, extolling its mind clearing and muscle relaxing properties. Naturally, I had to learn more — and check it out for myself.
Of course, the million dollar question (or in my case, the $35 question) is what makes an infrared sauna so much better than a traditional one? Mary Woodbridge, owner of Purify, explains that infrared light actually penetrates your skin and raises your internal body temperature while traditional saunas only warm the air around you. Similarly, GOOP says that by penetrating your skin, infrared heat can help you burn fat and release toxins that are trapped by that fatty layer — something simply sitting in a hot room cannot do for you.
Aside from the toxin release and fat burning claims, infrared saunas are lauded for their relaxing and stress-reliving properties. Mary says, “I often hear from clients that their skin looks and feels refreshed and cleansed, that they slept better that night and still felt the benefits well into the next day after the session.” Additionally, Mary says that infrared saunas have been known to “boost the immune system, prevent aging, increase energy and reduce stress. Research also shows that regular sauna use reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and is recommended by healthcare professionals for arthritis, high blood pressure, Lyme Disease, diabetes and depression.”
Mary has also integrated chromotherapy into her saunas, which basically means that you can change the color of the overhead light, each hue imbuing the sauna with specific therapeutic benefits. In light of some recent upheaval in my personal life, I decided to choose green for my session as it promised to “balance and cleanse [your] energy, to give a feeling of renewal, peace and harmony.” Since I’ve only been once, I can’t say that the chromotherapy had a specific impact on my overall well-being, though I did leave feeling relaxed and peaceful.
But that may have just been the serene 40 minutes I spent in the quiet, warm cocoon, sweating profusely but not really minding. Each sauna is private, and you’re given a towel wrap and hand towel for the sauna as well as a cool, wet washcloth to wipe down post-sauna. The whole experience feels decidedly luxe, even though literally all you’re doing is sitting still in a small room with sweat rolling down your thighs.
In all seriousness, I finished my session with loose limbs, glowing skin and a rosy outlook. I felt lighter, both physically and mentally, and spent the rest of my weekend buoyed by a sense of well-being I can only attribute to my time in the hot seat.
Have you tried out the latest wellness trend? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us about your experience!
(Photos via Mary Woodbridge, featured photo via Getty)