Tree of Life Therapeutic Massage offers a new kind of sauna experience.
Saunas are a fairly familiar practice in Minnesota. High temperatures and steam alternating with cool sojourns outside or perhaps a quick jump in the lake comprise the usual experience. But what happens when you introduce a different type of heat into the mix?
“[Infrared saunas] actually heat you differently,” says DeAnn Larson, owner of Tree of Life Therapeutic Massage & Spa. “You walk into a standard hot rock sauna, and you’re instantly sweating. It can almost be breathtaking. With an infrared sauna, your body actually has to learn how to heat and how to sweat.”
Unlike the sometimes sweltering heat of traditional saunas at an average of 150–175 degrees, infrared saunas operate about 30 degrees cooler. This is because, as the Mayo Clinic notes, infrared saunas use light to make heat. “A regular sauna uses heat to warm the air, which in turn warms your body. An infrared sauna heats your body directly without warming the air around you,” writes Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Don’t Sweat It
Larson says that for many first-time visitors to Tree of Life’s infrared sauna, there’s no sweat at all. “But after you’ve gone in there multiple times, you actually start sweating and your body learns how to heat up its core quickly and then push out the toxins, the stuff that your body’s trying to fight off,” she says.
So what are visitors using the treatment for?
“We have some people who come in for relaxation. They’ll come in once a week,” Larson says. “We have other people who will do it as part of a fitness program or plan, and they come in three times a week.” She notes that it’s dependent on an individual’s needs. “We’ve had people who are working on Lyme [disease] treatments who will come in five days a week,” she says.
Infrared sauna treatments come in either 30-minute or one-hour blocks.
Planning a Visit
Tree of Life’s infrared sauna has six standard programs: detoxification, relaxation, weight loss, heart health, pain relief and anti-aging. Larson explains that different programs incorporate different combinations of infrared’s near, mid and far rays. “There have been studies that have researched how many near mid, near and far rays are best in order to support detoxification or relaxation, weight loss, heart health, pain relief,” Larson says.
There are also options for customized programs that combine the three different ranges of infrared light—near, mid and far—for cell health, immunity and wound healing, Larson says.
For treatments, visitors can expect to be provided a robe or towel, provided by Tree of Life, but Larson notes that visitors can opt for clothing that makes them feel comfortable. “Some people will wear shorts and a tank top, or they’ll wear a pair of athletic shorts,” Larson says, noting swimsuits are common, as well.
Before You Book
There are a few things to consider before booking an infrared sauna treatment. Larson says that just like a traditional sauna treatment, visitors should be mindful of underlying health risks. “You obviously want to make sure that, if you’re on any blood pressure medication, that your blood pressure is stabilized,” she says. “ If you have diabetes, that your [blood sugar] is stabilized.”
Infrared sauna treatments are not recommended for pregnant individuals.
“If you do have underlying health conditions that would make you say, ‘I wonder if, if I should do this?’ definitely ask the question [of your medical care provider],” Larson says.
Please visit Tree of Life for a full list of contra-indications.
Light it Up
Larson says the popularity of the infrared sauna treatment has caused the team at Tree of Life to look into adding an additional infrared sauna. But, unlike its compatriot, Tree of Life’s new infrared sauna will include something new. “The new sauna unit will include red light therapy across all of the walls,” Larson says, noting, “It will engulf the entire body.”