if you are nodding your head when i talk about infrared saunas, you likely take regular sessions and feel strongly about its benefits. maybe it's your next level glow, new profound sense of relaxation, or happy mindset?
for everyone else, a brief explainer: the skin is our largest organ, and sweat is one of the major elimination channels for toxins. a traditional sauna uses hot stones to heat the room's air temperature. an infrared sauna uses infrared heating panels to emit light that penetrate your body's cells, heating them at a cellular level to help your body detoxify for a range of extraordinary benefits.
"people who sauna regularly find it transformative," says brigid marciano, owner of the neighbourhood sauna in south fremantle. "its mind and body benefits are amazing, not least the massive serotonin dump that comes with it. it's life-changing."
because all saunas are different, every experience has a distinctive outcome. for brigid, a sauna session should be immersive and sensory. "i ask my clients to choose an aromatherapy oil, crystal, light colour, and importantly, a herbal tea," she tells nuut. " tea creates a feeling of calmness and increases your core temperature which kicks off the sweating process faster. it’s calming but productive."
tea in hand and wearing towels or bathers, you enter the sauna and brigid sets the temperature to between 45 and 60 degrees for a session lasting 30 – 60 minutes.
"infrared penetrates your skin 5cm in and drags all the toxins, like heavy metals, from your dermal layers," she explains. "it mobilises and burns fat, which helps with weight loss and detoxification. given many of the toxins we absorb are surrounded and trapped by fat, it's a great thing to do if you've been sick or you’re detoxing."
expect your heart rate to soar as well, but don't panic! "our resting heart rate usually sits between 55 - 60, but in a sauna, it goes up to 100," she says. "it burns around 400 calories a session – that's a bottle of wine!"
skin takes a turn for the better, too. whilst facial cleaners are effective for cleaning skin from the outside in, infrared gets to work from the inside out (just like nuut!)
"the first thing you notice when you start taking regular saunas, is your skin tone changes completely," she says. "it clears out all that congestion and gives a great glow. lots of clients bring a dry body brush too and slough away at their limbs for beautiful skin all over."
brigid says it's crucial to drink lots of water before, during, and after a sauna. most importantly, she recommends spending your steam time as relaxed as possible for a deeply therapeutic and tranquil experience. close your eyes, bust out a few yoga postures, or pop on a podcast.
"it's your time out, however you wish to spend it." brigid says. "Just sweat it out and enjoy the serotonins!"