In­frared sauna

ELLE (Canada) - - BODY - CARLI WHITWELL

WHAT IT IS

A souped-up ver­sion of the ’90s-era-health-club sta­ple. You get a sim­i­lar dry heat—pur­ported to re­duce stress and im­prove heart health—with the added ben­e­fit of in­frared light. The lat­ter is said to help with mus­cle re­pair and boost your meta­bolic rate. Although pro­po­nents swear by the sauna’s de­tox ef­fect, it’s our or­gans, like the kid­neys and liver, that are re­spon­si­ble for detox­ing, not sweat. (Sweat’s job is to reg­u­late body temp.) In­frared saunas can be help­ful in pain man­age­ment: A 2009 study found a clin­i­cally rel­e­vant im­prove­ment in pain and stiff­ness in pa­tients with arthri­tis af­ter twice-weekly ses­sions for four weeks. Most in­frared saunas also have chro­mother­apy LED lights—dif­fer­ent colours have dif­fer­ent wave­lengths, and chro­mother­apy is based on the prin­ci­ple that these wave­lengths have var­i­ous health ben­e­fits when ab­sorbed into the skin. (While chro­mother­apy has been used for cen­turies, its ef­fect is hard to quan­tify.)

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE

I try the in­frared sauna at Hoame, the new Toronto med­i­ta­tion cen­tre, and af­ter a few min­utes in­side my pri­vate room, I can al­most con­vince my­self that I’m ly­ing on a beach in Tu­lum. While you will get sweaty, the heat is slightly lower than in your tra­di­tional sauna, so you don’t get that “I can’t breathe” feel­ing.

RE­SULTS

TBD. Hoame’s Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Ker­sta rec­om­mend one 45-minute ses­sion (from $55) a week for the above ben­e­fits. But if the goal was to feel a bit more re­laxed on what was shap­ing up to be a busy Mon­day morn­ing, then mis­sion ac­com­plished.

The in­frared sauna at Hoame (top) and Dew Sweat House (above)

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