I’ve always had an aversion to saunas. The tiny room of wooden panels and seats would leave me anxious, with my heart racing and chest feeling constricted. As I’ve learned, people with low blood pressure — myself included — are advised to check with their doctors before attempting a visit.
It’s with this trepidation that I approached Pure Wellness. A Singapore offshoot of a Melbourne establishment, the studio is the city’s first infrared sauna studio and is founded by Maxie Chan and Rachel Lim. Chan, whom I had the pleasure of meeting, was introduced to infrared therapy in Australia. The first sweat session left her feeling renewed; subsequent ones reduced her eczema alleviated her gut health issues. The Singapore outpost was created as a solution for the burnt out and busy. Forty-five minutes of its infrared therapy is all it takes to leave you feeling renewed.
The core difference
Where infrared saunas differ from the traditional variety is that they work to heat your body from within, instead of heating up the hot air around you. Waves from lamps emit infrared light that penetrate the cells, heating them and penetrating the skin up to 7cm. Infrared saunas also work at a lower temperature, for a more gentle and soothing sweat session.
As Chan walked me through the studio, she told me that healing therapies in Singapore, though increasingly popular, tend to take on a spiritual slant. Pure Wellness was founded to offer a more secular option.
The first sign that assured me Pure Wellness was not your traditional sauna experience was its entrance. With a design that is contemporary and clean, the leafy space welcomes you with meditation music. Its main area is awash with daylight, and comprises a vacant space meant for vinyasa yoga classes and crystal reiki healing workshops. By the walls are its three private infrared saunas.
The first of the trio is the Rejuvenate cabin, a combination of near, mid or far infrared wavelengths that offer the mildest and most suitable option for those new to infrared therapy. The Recover Room provides a more intensive sweat session, thanks to Solocarbon heating panels that work with only far-infrared heat. This is similar to the Relax pod, which gives users a more comfortable bed set-up. Far infrared wavelength is believed to penetrate the body at the cellular level, where the most toxins reside, which then produces a deep, detoxifying sweat, and aids in weight loss and blood pressure reduction.
The last is my chosen therapy, despite it not being the mildest introduction to infrared saunas. Exhausted from insomnia, the option of lying down and drifting off into a meditative state proved to be enticing.
It began with me choosing the colour of the chromotherapy lights used in my pod. Chromotherapy is a treatment used to heal the body through different colours. Every colour provides different frequencies of a specific body vibration that is connected to assorted physical symptoms. I chose blue to foster relaxation and calm and relieve my body’s chronic muscle aches and pains. I then picked a Detoxifying spray from an array of essential oil mists and massaged it onto areas which needed the most attention. Chan talked me through the process beforehand, advising me to take a water break in between my session, and to push down the lid of my pod if it gets too hot. Ten levels of infrared wavelength are available, with 10 being the highest and most intense. This is entirely subjective to your threshold. To start off, I began with level four.
Once in the privacy of my sauna, I stripped everything off, plugging in a podcast to lull myself into a deep, meditative state. It wasn’t long before the bed began to heat up, and I found my eyelids getting heavier until I drifted off. At the 20-minute mark, I woke up astonished to find my entire body drenched in sweat. Pausing for a glass of water, I climbed back in and pushed the lid past my chest after a few minutes, finding the heat too intoxicating. Earphones off, I close my eyes and breathed in deeply, alternating between pulling up and pushing down the lid of the pod.
Finally, at the end of the session, Chan woke me up and I felt completely rejuvenated. I was told that I’d be sleeping soundly that night, and that my body would be feeling warm for the rest of the day.
While infrared saunas are said to offer a myriad of benefits, including weight loss, detoxification of toxins such as mercury, leads, and even alcohol, and pain relief, no one is entirely sure of the validity of these claims due to lack of studies and hard evidence. What I know for sure is that the infrared sauna made me relaxed, and put me in a zen state that lasted until the next morning. For the first time in a week, I had a great sleep that night. And for that level of deep calm and relaxation, I’d gladly be back for more.
Pure Wellness, 70 Duxton Road (Level 2), Singapore 089529
All images are courtesy of Pure Wellness