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Infrared saunas gaining steam in the spa industry

In late 2019, the HotBox Sauna Studio opened several locations in Atlanta after a successful launch in Los Angeles, and plans for 2020 include more than 40 additional locations throughout the U.S. Much like a tanning salon, guests check in at the front desk, grab a towel and head to a private infrared sauna room, where they can choose a colour for their medical-grade chromotherapy session, plug into an iPad and relax for 45 minutes; this is followed by a vitamin-C infused shower. The founders of HotBox Sauna Studio include Alex Samios, who opened the country’s first dedicated infrared sauna studio in 2010.

Another U.S. company, HigherDOSE, operates several infrared sauna spas in New York, and sells infrared sauna blankets for home use. Its Williamsburg location also offers CryoFacials, lymphatic drainage therapy and other add-ons. Many other spas in Canada and the U.S. include infrared saunas in their facilities, and the numbers are growing.

Infrared saunas aren’t new – for decades, they’ve been used in healthcare settings to treat various conditions, including sports injuries. Instead of using steam or hot air to warm the body, an infrared sauna increases the body’s core temperature from within. The touted benefits include improved circulation, weight loss, relaxation and pain relief; exposure to infrared light also increases collagen production. According to HotBox Sauna Studio, the choice of colour also enhances certain effects: pink for calming, orange to boost energy, red for extra stimulation, yellow to increase optimism, blue to feel more centred, purple for inspiration, turquoise to relax and green to feel more balanced.

For those spas in Canada looking to add this service to their offerings – or if you’re looking for a home unit – we found an Ontario-based company with some enticing options: SaunaRay produces a wide range of toxin-free infrared saunas and accessories, handmade using local, non-allergenic wood. The company also designs custom projects and “athletic saunas” for cycling, yoga and other activities. For more information, visit:

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