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Tag Archives : infrared sauna

Health Benefits Of Infrared Saunas

I love me some sauna. And when I go in, I go hard. I stay in as long as I can tolerate, and happily spend hours doing a sauna—steam room—cold shower circuit. This ritual doesn’t happen nearly enough for my liking, though.

Here in the U.S., saunas are considered a special treat—a luxury. In many other parts of the world, however, saunas are an integral part of life (there’s basically a sauna for every household in Finland!). Unfortunately for me and my fellow sauna-obsessed Americans, stateside sauna use is reserved for spa days.

Now, if the Higher Dose team has its way, all that will change. And they don’t just want us all sauna more often, they want us all to experience the (heat) wave of the future. Higher Dose’s mission is “to bring the benefits of infrared therapy to health, fitness and yoga”, and I think they’re onto something. Cool-girl yoga spots around New York City are installing Higher Dose’s infrared technology in their studios for the ultimate “hot yoga” classes…wellness meccas like the The Herban Alchemist and Gravity East Village are installing infrared saunas on site for clients’ use and well-respected wellness companies are even installing them in their offices. Just ask Sakura Life, who are elated with their decision to take the in-office infrared plunge.

Intrigued? So was I. I was fortunate enough to experience both and an Infrared Hot Yoga class at Y7 Studio and an infrared sauna session at Gravity East Village. Read on to discover what infrared technology is and why the entire wellness community is feeling the burn.

What is Infrared?

Higher Dose’s patented infrared technology combines full spectrum infrared with clay and carbon/ceramic heaters. Each element in this system boasts its own specific benefits, and they all combine to create a wellness wonder product. Higher Dose uses full spectrum (near, mid and far) infrared, as each type is beneficial in its own way. Near infrared waves penetrate the epidermis, making them optimal for skin rejuvenation, wound healing and overall skin health. Mid infrared wavelengths are beneficial for increasing circulationmimicking the benefits of a passive workout. Regular use of mid range infrared saunas has even been shown to significantly stimulate blood flow, even after the sauna session is completed. (This means you’ll still be reaping the benefits of your sauna sesh when you get home and binge watch Peaky Blinders.)

As the name suggests, far infrared waves have the longest frequency, allowing them to penetrate deep into human tissue. Unlike traditional heat, infrared heat directly warms your body to the core, even though infrared saunas are set at a lower temperature that traditional saunas. In a traditional sauna, you sit in a hot (180-220 degrees) room, and get super-sweaty. In an infrared sauna, the heat (about 150 degrees) heats your body directly, with only 20% of the heat warming the air. Your body absorbs this infrared heat and reacts to it by raising your core temperature. This results in a deep, detoxifying sweat from the cellular level of the skin, where many toxins and heavy metals hide out and accumulate.

Infrared Sauna review

Then there’s the clayyay! From Amazonian to Australian White, clay in its many forms is a long time skincare superstar. If you’re like me, you have a favorite clay mask (or three) you slather on when your pores need decongesting. As part of an infrared sauna system, however, clay does so much more than unclog pores. The clay cleanses and purifies the sauna air, protecting against germs and environmental stressors. It gets to work internally, too: The clay increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, grounds and balances the nervous system, speeds up the oxidation of serotonin, helps the body more efficiently absorb and use oxygen (by emitting negative ions), strengthens the immune system andclay it ain’t soimproves metabolism. Holla!

The last component is a carbon/ceramic combo heater. Combined, this duo produces long wave infrared waves with a high infrared output. This heat penetrates deeper into your body and is more readily absorbed.

I’d be remiss not to mention the gorgeous, fragrant cedar of which the sauna is made. Saunas have long been constructed from cedar, and for good reason: cedar contains aromatic oils known for their healing, cleansing and naturally antibacterial properties, which aid in detoxification during your sauna sesh.

Why is Infrared SO GOOD?

Simply put, Infrared makes you look and feel your best. Far infrared heat provides all the healthy benefits of natural sunlight without any of its dangerous side effects. As infrared heat raises your core body temperature, it stimulates your lymphatic and immune systems. Your body’s response is to sweat profusely. This ain’t just any sweat: Sweat induced from infrared heat is comprised of 20% toxins, whereas sweat induced from traditional heating systems is comprised of only 3% toxinsmaking infrared 7x more detoxifying than traditional heat. How? The far infrared heat causes the water in our bodies “vibrate”, releasing more toxins than regular heat does. This is why far infrared is optimal for detoxification, weight loss and blood pressure reduction.

Even though this all sounds intense, the infrared panels are actually less aggressive than a traditional heating system. While conventional heat is an unnatural process, infrared heat mimics the sun. “Think hot, smoggy Miami heat vs. a fresh, sunny day.” says Higher Dose Co-Founder, Lauren Berlingeri. (I’ll take the latter, thanks!)

Up in the Sauna

As stated above, I love saunas, so I was thrilled to try the infrared sauna at Gravity East Village (where I’d been before for colonics). Gravity East Village is a low-key wellness center run by the knowledgeable and passionate Donna Perrone. Your sauna session is solo, which is great because you can get nekkid (the only way to sauna, IMHO). They give you a towel to sit on and another softer chamois-type cloth to wipe your face with. YOU WILL BE USING THIS CLOTH.

GEV’s unit is equipped with different colored lights for light therapy as well as speakers so you can listen to spa music, if you’re so inclined. The recommend session length is 30 minutes, butalpha female that I amI went for 40. I can see why they recommend 30, though. For those last 10 minutes, I had to put down my magazine and just be in my sauna experience. I was sweating so profusely that, logistically, holding and/or looking at a magazine no longer worked…it was soaked! But you know what? I loved every sweaty second of it. It was intense, yet relaxing…and after, I felt invigorated, rather than so relaxed I’m almost sleepyhow I usually feel post-sauna.

After the Sauna

Once I toweled off, my skin didn’t have the gross, sticky feeling it usually does after a major schvitz session. This was great, since there’s no shower at GEV. There is a bathroom next to the sauna where you can freshen up, however. (Speaking of bathroomsTMI alert: When I peed right after my sauna sesh, it was super dark and…pungent. Coincidence? I think not. Later, toxins!)

I came prepared with Mio Skincare and Ursa Major Wipes. Next time I’ll also bring a bottle of Vine Minus Ion Care Water. I brought a hydrating mist with me, which was great, but the extra antibacterial boost provided by Vine would have been clutch after all that sweating. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked in the mirror after my session. Instead of my skin looking super red and flushed, it looked healthy and glowy. Since any makeup I had on melted off within about 10 minutes in the sauna, I thought for sure I’d need to reapply before I faced the world…but I didn’t. I combed my eyebrows, put on lip balm and walked out the door.

It’s important to rehydrate after the sauna (and really, to walk into the sauna hydrated as well). They recommend coconut water, but I prefer green juice (also recommended). Luckily there is a Juice Press just a few blocks away from GEV, so I downed a Mother Earth, and got on the train home feeling healthy AF.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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Interview with Donna Perrone – Gravity East Village

Claire McCormack of Travel Beauty got up-close and personal with Donna Perrone, owner of Gravity East Village, to uncover what led Perrone down the path of holistic health and well being expert…and to find out what beauty and wellness secrets she has to share!


CM: Holistic health and wellness has been a personal journey for you. What made you enter the field?

DP: I was raised on a standard American diet and never felt like I had a strong constitution. In my early twenties, I developed acne, chronic yeast infections, constipation and PMS. I went to five doctors in three years to treat my yeast infection problem. For the first time, I found that the doctor was not able to help me. I researched healthy eating and started to change my lifestyle. It took a year to become vegan and that eliminated my constipation issue. Then, in 1989, I made a commitment to eating a primarily raw food vegan diet that included juicing, and within three months my yeast infections finally went away for good.

I became so empowered by my experience of healing myself that I knew that this change would become my lifestyle. I became interested in cleansing my body through fasts and liver cleanses.

Then, about five years later, I found that I was not feeling as fantastic as when I began my health journey. My acne had never cleared up and became worse. I started to experience panic attacks and was bloated all the time. A friend suggested I try colonics, but I resisted at first.

My First Colonic

In 1997 I finally decided to have my first colonic and saw what I had been missing. A true detoxification cannot occur without adequate elimination. Even with daily bowel movements, there is so much that doesn’t exit the body. The therapist suggested I return to do more sessions. I did do a series of colonics and the result was clear skin that became radiant and luminescent! All the negative symptoms I had went away. My life forever changed again.

CM: I’ve only been to two colon hydrotherapists, but both had the ability to make me feel at ease in a potentially awkward situation. I think knowing this would help people who are interested in colonics, but nervous about the process, be more willing to “go for it”. Is this a personality trait? Training? Both?

DP: When a new therapist is interested in working at my wellness center, Gravity East Village,  I seek someone who is a healer and has a compassionate, patient and nurturing personality. Usually, anyone attracted to doing this work wants to help people feel better and has a giving heart.

CM: What are the health – and of course beauty – benefits of colonics? How many treatments should someone start with to really see the benefits?

DP: The colon can be compared to a garbage pail. Often, food residue can accumulate in the intestine based on the quality of food eaten, emotional health, eating habits, hydration, travel and the gentle balance of the intestine based on how healthy the gut flora is and if there are any parasitic infections. When fruits and vegetables are eaten, they move through the body cleanly and exit without leaving anything behind. Most people put some amount of stress on their digestive health. Overtime, if the ‘garbage pail’ is not emptied and the elimination is not keeping up, this will put stress on every organ system and overall health can diminish.

Colon hydrotherapy can help to replenish the body by increasing circulation and oxygen in the blood. It can give the immune system a boost, thus supporting it in its ability to heal from disease. When proper elimination is not successful, it can create an irritation in the nervous system that can cause anxious feelings and negative emotions. The entire body can benefit when there is a level of improved cleanliness to the system due to the removal of waste, toxins, gases, impurities, excessive mucus and unwanted microbes.

Beauty Benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy

The beauty benefits are a welcomed reward. Many people experience clear glowing skin and an aura that lights up a room! Often, people are held hostage by food cravings and unhealthy food choices. Colonics can help wipe the slate clean and allow for a new start to better eating. Many people also report weight loss. Something magical can happen, where your need for food can be reduced to smaller portion sizes. If someone embarks on a program of healthy food choices and is able to process their emotions in a healthy way, these benefits can manifest.

How Many Treatments Before I See Results?

Each individual is unique in how many treatments are needed. Your colon hydrotherapist can advise you based on your first session. At Gravity East Village, we provide information to help you prepare for your appointment which can enhance a deeper, more cleansing session.

CM: You also have an infrared sauna at Gravity. I’ve never tried one, but the sauna is my absolute favorite thing to do in the spa. Tell me about the benefits of an infrared sauna.

DP: Gravity East Village has a brand new Clearlight Far Infrared Sauna! Of course, saunas are a relaxing and pleasurable activity. There are benefits to using an infrared sauna over a regular sauna. In both, you sweat, which helps to flush toxins from the body and reduce toxic overload. With an infrared sauna, the sweating is deeper and more profuse, enabling your body to excrete a higher percentage of toxins than with a conventional sauna. Infrared saunas run 20 – 60 degrees lower, making it easier to tolerate the heat and more comfortable.

30 Minutes to a New You!

All you need is a 15 – 20 minute session a few times a week. We book 30 minute sessions, which provides an ample experience. Your sauna session will stimulate better blood flow and circulation throughout the body. We are exposed to pollution, chemical toxins, pesticides and heavy metals. Saunas can help the body cleanse chemical and heavy metal toxicity that can be stored in organs and tissues. Infrared is radiant heat that is readily absorbed and can go all the way to the bone to help rid the body of impurities. You’ll flush impurities from your skin such as lotions, makeup, cellular debris and obtain a radiant appearance. Infrared sauna also increases collagen production, so signs of aging are reduced.

The increased circulation can also lower blood pressure and help relax tight muscles and ease minor aches and pains, as well as help reduce stiffness and inflammation. If you have arthritis or troublesome muscle or joint pain, you’ll enjoy drug-free pain relief.

Boosts the Immune System

Infrared’s radiant heat also boosts immunity! Feeling a little under the weather? A sauna session can rev up the production of white blood cells and rally your immune system to respond for a speedy recovery.

What About Weight Loss?

Yes, you will sweat out some ‘water weight’ during a sauna session that you will restore when you rehydrate. However, there is evidence that infrared saunas, because of their ability to penetrate the skin more deeply, increases the metabolic rate and can help the body burn off anywhere from 200 – 600 calories per half hour session. A regular sauna session will not melt away tummy fat, but with a healthy diet and exercise can give your metabolism an extra boost while you lounge and relax.


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