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Have you tried an infrared sauna to ease your tired muscles?

It has all the benefits of the sun, even in the winter, says fitness centre owner Krista Nolan
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Just days ago, Achieve Fitness and Wellness opened its renovated full spectrum infrared sauna and steam room – something of a novelty in the city.

“The health benefits of infrared saunas have been well-documented,” says Krista Nolan, who owns Mane Street Salon and Spa and Achieve Fitness and Wellness Centre. “Not only does it help with muscle aches, arthritis, and joint pain, but it just generally improves blood circulation throughout the body and stimulate sweat glands. Like your traditional sauna, that translates to getting rid of toxins in the body.”

While a regular sauna uses heat to warm the air, which in turn warms your body, an infrared heats your body directly. The result is that the same health benefits can be achieved at a lower temperature, and cause physical reactions similar to what can be achieved with moderate exercise. “An infrared sauna actually penetrates deeper into the layers of skin,” says Nolan. “Within a half hour time frame, you can achieve those benefits while also listening to your choice of sound therapy.”

Even Time magazine touted its benefits, citing research that demonstrated regular infrared saunas could even help out irregular heartbeats and boost endothelial function in the heart’s vessels, lowering blood pressure and reducing chronic pain.

The recent launch also featured a new steam room outfitted to host up to 12 people.

“We know that steam rooms have been around for literally hundreds of years,” says Nolan. “Even in ancient times, people used steam as a means of maintaining health.”

Rich in moisture and heat, steam rooms offer therapeutic benefits for skin health, stiff joins, and improved circulation. “But it really all depends on what the client can tolerate,” she says. “Some people just don’t like withstanding that kind of heat.”

There are also some disadvantages – as frequent steam baths can cause dry or flaky skin just from the loss of water in the body, though once a week would definitely be a health boost. And those with chronic breathing conditions can often find relief of their symptoms given the moist air. Since steam rooms can affect one’s heart rate, it’s not recommended for pregnant women or those taking medication that might affect the circulatory system.

Nolan hopes the infrared sauna and steam room will attract even more clients and generate a buzz about the health behind heat: “Think of everything great that the sun can do for you,” she says. “This is like getting the healing rays of the sun on your body – but without all the harmful effects.”