There are regular saunas, and then there are infrared saunas. Instead of a sweltering basket of coals in the corner that need to be constantly refreshed, infrared saunas utilise invisible rays of electromagnetic radiation that heat the body directly, penetrating deep into the skin to eliminate toxins and increase circulation.
Infrared saunas have been shown to treat chronic fatigue, hasten muscle recovery, and even ease skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Plus, there’s also the added benefit of not needing to constantly hobble over to refresh the coals while stark naked.
At Singapore’s newest, and only, infrared sauna spa, sweating is sacred. That’s when you know your body is ridding itself of whatever toxins its been holding on to, says Pure Wellness Studio co-founder Maxie Chan.
And she knows what she’s talking about. Having suffered from lifelong eczema, Chan stumbled upon infrared saunas while living in Australia — and after her first session, she felt instantly renewed.
“After my first infrared sauna experience, I could feel relief from the inflammation and the itch,” she says. “With more consistent sessions, my eczema has since subsided substantially.”
It only stands to reason. The skin is, after all, the body’s largest organ, so it makes sense that it is also the body’s best outlet for detoxing. American nutritionist Brenda Watson calls infrared saunas “extremely beneficial” to those suffering from chronic skin conditions, due to the sweating caused by the deep heat.
Pure Wellness offers three private infrared sauna cabins in its bright and airy shophouse space, which keeps the experience intimate and the atmosphere thankfully tranquil.
Each sauna cabin offers a different experience, depending on what you’re after: For newbies, the Rejuvenate cabin offers the gentlest experience. The Recover room’s far-infrared wavelengths will give you what you’re after, and if you just want to lie down and nap, slip into the cocoon-like Relax pod that’ll detox you while you drift off. Each cabin utilises a mixture of different infrared wavelengths to vary the intensity of each experience.
So what’s the difference between the three wavelengths? Near-infrared wavelengths are absorbed just below the surface of the skin, while mid- and far-infrared wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body’s soft tissue to increase circulation; Far infrared rays are even said to reach fat cells, stimulating one’s metabolism and aiding weight loss.
And since there’s no stifling steam or overwhelming heat in the cabins, it results in a more comfortable experience overall. Don’t be mistaken — you will sweat. On average, temperatures in the roomy cabin are kept at a balmy 60 degrees for the whole session.
Once you’re in there, you’re left to your own devices: You can bring your phone, a book, or something similar to keep you entertained, so there isn’t the awkward question of what to do with yourself while stark naked in a cabin for near an hour. Since the heat in the cabin comes from the infrared rays (and not steam) you won’t have to worry about moisture affecting any of your electronics — or having to worry about heatstroke.
It’s one of the reasons why infrared saunas are suitable for most, save for pregnant women, young children, and those with cardiovascular conditions.
While Pure Wellness is the first studio of its kind here in Singapore, the concept of infrared saunas aren’t necessarily new. Infrared heating first gained popularity in the mid 20th century, and was used in clinical settings to speed up wound healing and keep premature babies warm.
That it has found itself in a more urbane iteration now is a testament to its efficacy, or at least its popularity — because really, sometimes all you need to do to feel a little better is to sequester yourself in a luxurious teak cabin and sweat it out for an hour.