Why it will do you good to sweat it out at this trendy infrared sauna
Athletes, weekend warriors and those suffering from work burnout, a session at an infrared sauna might be the wellness therapy for your woes.
The first time I signed up for an infrared sauna session, I wondered why anyone would pay to sit in a wooden cabin heated to 60 degrees Celsius in Singapore. After all, it doesn’t take much to sweat (for free) in our energy-sapping hot and humid climate.
But I was also curious about the detoxifying and rejuvenating benefits touted by its proponents, who include A-listers such as the ever-youthful Jennifer Aniston and wellness junkie Gwyneth Paltrow.
So, off I went to Pure Wellness Studio, which claims to be Singapore’s first dedicated infrared sauna – not to be confused with traditional saunas are commonly found in spas or gyms.
Unlike conventional saunas that heat the air so that the skin’s surface feels warm, infrared saunas emit infrared light via specially installed panels. This frequency of light feels like heat on the skin but is able to penetrate to deeper layers of the muscles, joints and tissue to promote the healing of inflammation, said co-founder Rachel Lim.
“Also, the air in an infrared sauna is a lot drier making it easier to breathe, unlike the humid air which we experience in a traditional sauna – allowing a more intense sweat through a gentle and soothing experience,” Lim added.
The chic first impression the minimalist Zen-like studio makes immediately sets the mood for an upscale sweat-it-out session. It is equipped with three separate sauna cabins for private use so you can stretch out au naturel, if you wish, as this is said to be most beneficial for the body.
In response to CNA Luxury's query on anti-COVID-19 measures, Lim shared: "Our studio and saunas are cleaned thoroughly with an industrial strength non-toxic disinfectant suitable for professional use in hospitals – effectively killing 99.9 per cent of germs such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. It is a concentrated solution which reduces the spread of infection, killing illness-causing germs such as cold and flu viruses.
"During these times we have increased the concentration of the cleaning formula and taken extra measures and frequency to clean every portion of the sauna including screens and door handles. Clients who show symptoms of sickness are politely asked to reschedule their appointments after a two-week observation period. During this time, all cancellations and reschedules are done without penalty."
Co-founder Maxie Chan first tried out infrared therapy at the original Pure Wellness Studio in Australia. “Having run a fashion business for a decade, I started to really feel the effects of burn-out, which manifested itself through skin and gut problems. After my first sweat session in Australia, I felt completely renewed – and over time, my eczema was reduced and gut health improved,” said Chan.
When the entrepreneurs realised there was no similar concept available in Singapore, they decided to set up a branch of Pure Wellness here, which launched last October. Chan said, “We decided that this was the perfect solution to introduce to stressed-out and time-starved Singaporeans.
For an added boost of wellness, the cabins are also equipped with chromotherapy lights, with each colour corresponding to different physical symptoms. For instance, red is said to be stimulating while blue helps with relaxation. Feeling mentally drained from rushing to meet multiple deadlines, I chose orange, which is said to improve focus and incite determination.
Then, I switched on a podcast before settling into my heated wooden cabin for a 45-minute session. Soon enough, it got hot – sultry enough that I found myself sweating and shifting positions to get comfortable. But as Lim pointed out, I did not feel breathless or physically exhausted. Instead, I eventually lay down on the bench and propped my legs up on the wall in yoga-esque posture (I checked and you are allowed to do this) and fell asleep.
Later on, instead of feeling drained from the heat, I was in fact energised and refreshed, as if I had taken a highly effective power nap. The founders attribute this to the detoxifying effect of the infrared therapy. Lim said, “The sweat produced from walking outside or from exercising usually contains only water and sodium whereas the sweat from an infrared sauna contains heavy metals and cholesterol.”
While I cannot say for certain if the quality of my sweat was different in the sauna cabin, what I know is that I was so relaxed after the session, I slept extremely well that night. My muscles, which are usually sore from being hunched over my keyboard and regular yoga and gym sessions, also felt as good as new the next morning. And for that, I would certainly book myself another infrared sauna session.
"During these times we have increased the concentration of the cleaning formula and taken extra measures and frequency to clean every portion of the sauna including screens and door handles. Clients who show symptoms of sickness are politely asked to reschedule their appointments after a two-week observation period. During this time, all cancellations and reschedules are done without penalty." – Rachel Lim