There's not much better than getting a good sweat on, especially when it's in a relaxing and beautiful space, like that of Rimba Sweat, an infrared sauna studio with locations in Sydney's Neutral Bay and Manly.
If you don't know much about infrared saunas, you're not alone, I had no idea what I was in for when I visited the Manly studio.
An infrared sauna is not as hot as a traditional sauna but offers the same benefits without the extreme heat.
"An infrared sauna uses light to create heat, unlike a traditional sauna that uses steam or heated rocks to heat the air around you," Rimba Sweat's Lauren Wright tells us. "The infrared light gives off what’s known as ‘infrared radiant heat’ which penetrates into your skin, deep into your tissues, muscles and cells, increasing oxygen flow and circulation, producing a detoxifying sweat and dissolves harmful substances accumulated in your body, giving users a deeper cleansing experience."
She adds, "An infrared sauna is more comfortable and relaxing experience than a traditional sauna, as it doesn’t have to get as hot it sits between 45-65 degrees, whereas a traditional sauna sits between 80-100 degrees."
And while a trip to an infrared sauna is relaxing, it actually has a whole host of health benefits, including better sleep, immune support, mental health, and skin health.
Lauren explained some of the sleep benefits, sharing with us, "As we all know, sleep is essential to maintain our mental health, and ward off anxiety and depression. The calming effect of infrared is a big part of it - it’s always easier to fall asleep if you’re relaxed of course - and if you’ve spent time inside an infrared sauna, you’ll know how relaxed you feel after your session! The red light in the infrared saunas cause your body to produce melatonin - the more of this your body creates before bed, the easier it will be to fall asleep (and sleep deeper).
"If you use our Rimba Sweat infrared saunas, they are enhanced with Chromotherapy, or colour therapy (which is the science of using colours to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that result in health and harmony). This lighting feature paints your sauna with colours from the sun's visible light spectrum, creating an artful atmosphere with a balance-bringing effect. The blue setting in our saunas produces a calming effect in the body to counteract worry, while the green resets your circadian rhythms that regulate your sleep/wake cycle."
She continued, "But more than just relaxation, infrared has so many significant health benefits. The positive impact on immune support, mental health, muscle and injury recovery, skin health and even weight loss - people burn up to 600 calories which is the equivalent of going for a run. There’s also a lot of studies widely documenting its ability to significantly improve overall wellness.
"The reason I fell in love with the therapy and I know so many of our clients say the same, is that it’s not a hard thing to incorporate into your weekly wellness regime, you spend 50 minutes completely relaxing all while knowing how much you’re actually benefiting from it. It’s so easy. And you leave feeling completely invigorated."
Speaking of the mental health benefits, Lauren said, "Just a few minutes in the gentle warmth of an infrared sauna brings a great calm and peace to the mind that is worried, excited, or in a constant nervous state. Your body will release serotonin and increase dopamine levels in your brain, much like the natural high you get after a workout, and improve feelings of happiness.
When it comes to skin health, Lauren shares that infrared saunas can create glowing skin as the profuse sweating helps to cleanse your skin of toxins and expel dead skin cells. It may also help people with acne, eczema, and psoriasis as it may minimise the itch associated with these skin conditions through increased blood circulation.
If you're a very active person, frequent sauna use can help your muscles recover faster, decrease inflammation, relieve tension, aches and pains. This is once again done through increased blood circulation, and the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to oxygen-depleted muscles so they can recover faster. If you're trying to increase your flexibility, it's a great tool to incorporate into your weekly schedule alongside yoga.
So, how often can you use an infrared sauna? "Depending on your goal or condition, we would recommend using upwards of at least twice a week. It is perfectly safe to use it daily if you wish," Lauren explains. "Infrared therapy is a wellness experience where the results are progressive. This means the more you come in, the better you will feel. Just like working out or dieting, it will take a few sessions before benefits begin to manifest."
While there are many benefits to using an infrared sauna, it's also just an amazing way to take time out of your day for yourself. You can listen to music, a podcast or even watch a TV show while you're inside. The Rimba Sweat studios are gorgeous, Instagrammable spaces with a Mediterranean feel.
You can book online today here, with sessions starting from $33.
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