Steam rooms and saunas have long been a part of our luxury self care routines, offering a wealth of detoxifying benefits and giving us the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind during one of those much-needed spa days. But fitting a regular session into your week can prove challenging when life gets busy, meaning that for most, it remains an occasional treat.
While traditional wood saunas have been enjoying popularity around the world for centuries, advances in the health and wellness field have, in recent years, brought us the innovative infra-red sauna, with celebrities and global sports stars alike known to indulge in regular sessions in a bid to reap the long list of benefits. Promoting deep relaxation and detoxification, relief from joint pain and muscle soreness, improving the circulation and skin quality and promoting better sleep, it’s little wonder that some of the first infra-red saunas to be introduced saw scores of customers clamouring to book their appointments. All this in just 45 minutes? It would be rude not to.
The infra-red effect
Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you – instead, they use infra-red lamps to warm the body directly. The infra-red panels are able to quickly and effectively penetrate human tissue whilst operating at a much lower temperature – think 120 – 140F as opposed to the dry sauna’s 150-180F. The result? A more intense sweat without the discomfort – but how does it leave you feeling afterwards?
During lockdown, we decided to put it to the test with the brand new infra-red sauna blanket from MiHIGH – which handily offers users all the benefits of a professional infra-red sauna, all in the comfort of your own home. With no need to book or wait for an appointment – and, rather crucially at the current time, being able to enjoy a socially-distanced solo sweat session whilst languishing on your very own bed or sofa, the sauna experience has never been so convenient. But what is it really like to use?
As it turns out, pretty great. Given that there are no restrictions on when and where you can use it, the MiHIGH infra-red sauna blanket fits easily in with your day, so whenever you have a window of time allocated for your self care rituals, all you have to do is jump in and allow it to work its magic.
For me, that window varies from the morning to the evening, so I decided to try both to see which worked best for me. First up, I climbed in on a rainy Monday morning after a cup of tea and a quick meditation session, and it felt like a truly luxurious way to start my week. Deeply relaxing, it allowed me to go back within for that little bit longer and spend the time continuing to clear my mind and refocus my thoughts – and afterwards, I felt buzzing with energy and ready to go (at least, after a cool shower I did). The sweating is truly intense – so much so that I can safely say I have never experienced similar in a standard sauna. I felt almost oily when emerging from my blanket, which I am told is down to the detoxification process. Infrared heat is around seven times more detoxifying than regular heat, so instead of just sweating out water, you sweat out a whole host of unwanted toxins, too.
As well as enjoying boosted energy and clearer skin following my 45-minute session, I’m told I was also potentially burning up to a whopping 600 calories in that time! That’s the equivalent of a 30-minute jog – not bad considering all I did was lie back and relax on my bed.
My next session took place on my bed after a long day at work and was in a bid to relax, unwind and destress after a hectic schedule – and I have to say that my MiHigh blanket delivered on all fronts! After the obligatory follow-up shower, I drifted off easily into a restful sleep, and stayed there, without waking, for the next nine hours. As someone who suffers regularly from disturbed sleep and commonly wakes several times in the night, I was delighted.
It turns out that exposure to infrared heat allows the body to produce an abundance of calming chemicals – namely dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. So, it’s no wonder I’ve been feeling less stressed since I started using it, and getting some pretty solid shut-eye in there each night, too. I’ve also noticed that my skin is looking much brighter and more radiant.
Rated as the world’s number one infra-red sauna blanket, it’s easy to see why MiHIGH has won itself such a legion of loyal fans, and is a health and wellness luxury that’s well worth the splurge. Available at £399 from uk.mihigh.com.