The first time that I heard about infrared saunas, it was in a conversation with a friend.
“It’s that thing that all the models are doing where you basically cook yourself,” was her description, if I do recall.
No other details were mentioned or, for that matter, required. I immediately began to imagine being locked in a communal sauna at the gym, sweltering bodies stacked on top of each other, naked, slippery, trapped and… cooking. Perhaps not for me.
I'm happy to admit, however, that I was wrong.
Rocking up to my very first (and full disclosure, free) infrared sauna session had me feeling equally perplexed and nervous. Fortunately, the guy at the counter greeted me with the kind of luminous smile that only good health and teeth whiteners can achieve. It eased my nerves. He apparently has a sauna sesh every morning before beginning the day, as if rattling off a Women’s Weekly birthday cake recipe.
He also promised me that Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cindy Crawford swear by infrared saunas.
Now significantly less nervous, I hopped in. I was ready for a session of trash mags, insta-stalking and catching up on Netflix. Yes, technology is also allowed inside the sauna, another fact about infrared saunas that got my tick of approval.
And it was a breeze. As it turns out, infrared heat is a whole lot less Final-Destination-horror than my imagination had me think. Instead I sat there comfortably, got my body all toasty, started to sweat a little, did a few stretches (fun fact: you get super flexible in heat), then stepped out when I was done. I had my own private room, so no sweaty bodies were cooking on top of mine, and was given a surprisingly yum electrolyte-boosting water when I was done.
As I later found out, doctors have been using the technology of infrared heaters for years to combat the effects of arthritis, general muscular pain, obesity and toxicity of the body. To put it frankly, infrared saunas, unlike traditional saunas, emit a light experience similar to radiant heat, warming up the muscles as if you were completing heavy cardio. Except you're not. And that's a win.
Skin-perfecting, muscle-relaxing, immune-boosting cardio while sitting down? Sureeeeeeeeeeee! I now have one in my garage, too.
Tabatha was a guest of Sunlighten, South Melbourne. You can book your own private sauna or purchase one for home at the Sunlighten website.
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