June 2, 2016

Hot and (not) Bothered

Far-infrared saunas heat the body from within — and can be an effective tool for natural healing

The calming scent of lemongrass permeates the air in your personal sauna, fresh towels are strewn about and the lights are dim—it’s all very Zen at BalancingEnergy Health & Yoga Center. Then, about 15 minutes into a 30-minute far-infrared sauna session—at around 140 degrees—things start to get toasty.

A thermometer slowly amps up the temp to 150 and the sweat begins to pour. We mean pour—you’ll likely perspire a shocking amount. But it isn’t a thick, muggy air causing your pores to release—it’s an infrared heat, the same invisible infrared light produced by the sun (experienced as warmth), sans harmful UV radiation.

This heat, a lower temperature than traditional convection-heated saunas, purportedly permeates human tissue instead of the air and in turn raises core body temperatures, gets blood circulating, and forces that deep, detoxifying cellular-level sweat (though sweat rates do vary by person and session). Participants can burn up to 500 calories, or the equivalent of a two-to-four mile run. Sweating or not, infrared rays are at work.

“There are many health benefits—our clients have said it has helped with anxiety, tension, and arthritis,” says studio owner Lisa Breitenwischer. “Many come in and use the sauna just to help relieve stress or boost endorphins. It’s helped me relieve muscle aches and improved my skin.”

Post-session reports vary: some feel energized and ready for a workout while others are a bit too relaxed. Either way, toweling off a clean sweat is refreshing. The only drawback might be sitting still for 30 minutes, but (deep breath) iPhones and laptops are permitted. Be warned: they get a fire-y hot, too.

The Details: 30-minute sessions cost $20; packages available. Hours Mon. through Thurs. 9 a.m. to7  p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat. through Sun. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 319, Dallas Design District. 214-749-4744. balancingenergy.com.

Prefer the cold? Check out our cryotherapy experience here.