If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly buying face masks, taking supplements, and trying the latest wellness shot in an effort to get that illusive glowy skin. The winter is harsh on skin and at the end of February, it’s a battle we’re constantly waging.
Enter the latest health trend: infrared saunas. With a wave of “glow bars” opening in London and across the United States, this is becoming an increasingly popular way to take care of your skin. Places like Glow Bar London and HigherDOSE in America are opening stores where you can go for a drybar-style sweat session and pick up a health elixir afterwards. For the hardcore, you can even do infrared yoga at Triyoga.
So what are they?
Infrared saunas are different from traditional saunas because instead of heating the air in the room, they use infrared lamps to warm the body directly. They are generally at a lower temperature than a traditional sauna, so if the heat is too much for you in a traditional sauna, you’ll find this version a lot more enjoyable. Infrared booths will often have aromatherapy options and light therapy for a full blown spa experience. Experts suggest spending around 45 minutes to get the best results.
Along with improving your skin, the purported benefits of infrared saunas are extensive. Just a few examples include better sleep, a thorough detox, soothing sore muscles and joints, and improved circulation. Some studies also claim that these saunas help reduce blood pressure as well as chronic fatigue syndrome. At the very least, trying an infrared sauna will leave you relaxed and warm. A welcome relief from the cold winter days and a stressful schedule. Apparently you also burn around 600 calories just sitting there. The ultimate lazy girl way to get fit? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt either.
What’s it really like?
This week I tried it out for myself at Glow Bar London. Of Glow Bar, founder Sasha says,
“I wanted to create an environment that promoted a 360 approach to health and wellness in a space that was relaxed, fun and cool. Glow Bar is essentially a space you could come to with a friend to catch up while sitting in a private sauna, or over an Ashwagandha spiked lavender latte.”
The weather was grim, I was cold – I needed a treat. Thankfully, the experience didn’t disappoint. I walked in to an explosion of millennial pink, already a stark contrast from outside, and walked down into their sauna facilities. Plush robes, make up wipes, and rosewater were all ready for me in their all-pink locker room. Even getting ready, I could already feel myself starting to relax.
Next came the main event. The booth was cute too, but there’s also only so much you can do with a sauna. They had aromatherapy and dim lighting so the relaxing vibes hadn’t dimmed. I plugged in my phone and settled in to what felt like a warm hug to listen to my favorite podcast in surround sound. Before I knew it, 30 minutes had passed by. I was feeling pretty good. Sweaty, but I wasn’t miserable. I started to get a little antsy in the last ten minutes, but I was committed to sticking it out to see if the benefits were a real thing.
Once done, after a cool shower and a delicious “moon juice” filled with probiotics, I left the store feeling energised and in a much better mood than when I came in. The frigid cold didn’t bother me so much anymore and my skin was looking noticeably better. Let’s just say I didn’t resemble The Walking Dead as much anymore.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience – this is one health trend that isn’t a hoax. It’s a great way to treat yourself during the winter at the very least and the more immediate benefits were definitely noticeable. I just probably wouldn’t do it with a friend, as the booths were comfortable for one, but I wouldn’t want to sit in such close proximity to another heavily sweating person.
It’s worth mentioning that infrared, or any saunas, won’t help your skin if you go in with a full face of makeup. It’s essential that you take yours off or you’ll waste the glow up benefits.