I’ll admit, I get pretty skeptical when a new trendy spa treatment pops up in Los Angeles. They seem to get crazier and crazier, and claim to heal everything under the sun. So when I heard about infrared saunas, I definitely had an eyebrow raised.
Saunabar in Brentwood, CA offers infrared sauna sessions in their unique Saunapods— a bed you lay in to soak up the many benefits. Benefits include burning calories, detoxing, and pain and stress relief, among others.
“The Saunapods combine far and near infrared for a dual detox. The red light penetrates the skin several inches deep, causing cells to release toxins. We have several major detox pathways for those toxins to escape,” explains Timothy Waterman, Saunabar’s Customer Relations Manager. “Sweating is the most obvious example, which also rejuvenates your skin by pushing out anything sitting dormant. Anything else freed up inside will be expelled when using the bathroom.”
Just like a traditional sauna, your body is going to be heated in the pod. As your body temperature rises, your body expends energy trying to regulate and lower it. This results in calories burned. Depending on your body, you can expect to burn 400-600 in one forty-minute infrared sauna pod session.
Saunabar extended an invitation to try out the pod first hand, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I wanted to see for myself what all the commotion was about, and if it was actually a miracle treatment.
The first thing that I liked about the experience was the privacy. Unlike group saunas at most spas or fitness centers, you get your own room with one pod inside unless you book a couple’s session. This also makes them more hygienic, as they’re getting cleaned after every use.
The bed of the pod is lined with 440 activated jade crystals, which are said to align your energy and aid in healing. I’m not entirely convinced of crystal healing, but they were comfortable to lay on. I entered the pod wearing swim bottoms and a bikini top, and started my session.
My first impression was that the heat was more tolerable than a traditional sauna. I attributed this to the fact that my head stayed outside of the pod. “Your body detoxes better when your brain is not being heated,” says Waterman. “Heating the brain directly is stressful to your body and stress works against sweating out toxins.”
I personally experience a hard time breathing in traditional saunas, which keeps me from staying inside for more than fifteen minutes. With the Saunapod’s headrest comfortably away from the heat, I felt I could truly relax and enjoy the experience. I also have a tendency to get claustrophobic, but again this was lessened since my head was free and I could see the spacious room I was in.
I was told that sometimes people don’t sweat during their first treatment, or they only start sweating the last fifteen minutes of the session. I started perspiring about 20 minutes in, first lightly and then with a fierceness. It was dripping off of me, but it felt great.
After the 40 minutes, I stepped out of the pod completely relaxed. I felt like I had just gotten the best massage of my life… maybe even better? My muscles were loose and my mind was clear. The rest of the day, and even the next, I found myself with more energy and feeling boosted in general. I’m also experiencing some of my acne calm down after the sweat sesh.
After one visit to Saunabar, I can’t comment on long-term effects like weight loss. However, I found it to be as– if not more— beneficial and rejuvenating as an excellent massage. I was also impressed to find out that a single session only costs $70— not outrageous considering the area. Saunabar also has packages and memberships to get sessions down to around $30 each visit.
Overall, the infrared sauna experience completely changed the way I think and feel about the trend and saunas in general. This is something I can completely see myself doing to treat myself occasionally. Now I’m convinced I need to try other hyped up treatments to see what I’m missing… cryotherapy next, perhaps?