There’s a warming trend heating up the spa world, and it’s made its way to K.C.: infrared saunas. These aren’t the traditional wood-lined rooms. Instead of using wood stoves and hot rocks to heat the air (which in turn heats the body), infrared saunas use infrared light waves to warm the body up from the inside out. The wavelengths penetrate skin tissue more deeply than warmed air so the body can generate a more vigorous sweat at lower temperatures (120 to 140 degrees) than traditional saunas (which can get up to 195 degrees).
So what’s the benefit? For one, it’s a more tolerable heat so it’s often a more comfortable and relaxing experience. And advocates swear the intense sweat sesh helps to clear toxins, relieve stress, and burn up to 600 calories in 30 minutes. While there’s no data that shows one can really sweat out toxins (your liver and kidneys do that), many people report feeling better after they sweat, and that’s worth something. Endorphin levels have been found to increase post-infrared heat exposure, which causes users to experience a calm, energized runner’s high, and there may be some medical benefits. Studies have proven heat from infrared saunas can ease chronic joint and arthritis pain and frequent sessions have been linked to a longer life and fewer fatal heart problems.
At the very least, unwinding in a cocoon of sweaty warmth is one way to ease muscles sore from shoveling snow and to counter winter’s frigid temps. Infrared sauna sessions at local spas generally last between 30 and 45 minutes and cost $30-$35.
Where to Heat Things Up in Kansas City
Sunlight Day Spa
7373 W. 107th St.
Green Leaf Massage + Day Spa
3800 Broadway Blvd., Suite 380
Lotus Yoga & Wellness Spa
15053 Nall Ave.