I have long been frequenting the far infra red sauna at the Skin Gym, given its supposed healing properties for a smorgasbord of ailments. However, I hesitated from writing about it until I had the perfect accompanying shot and while I have taken several of the sauna in my time, myself in it, my leaving and entering it, none surpassed this one of my beautiful friend Christiana, who kindly agreed to let me use it for this post!
Studies demonstrate that far infrared saunas can assist in pain management, weight loss, improved circulation, anti-ageing, arthritis, skin purification and detox with the average person sweating out 3% toxins and 97 % water from a regular sauna, yet 20% toxins and 80% water from an infra red sauna. And unlike regular sunlight, you can be exposed to far infrared heat for hours without burning, in fact it is so safe that it is used in hospitals to warm newborn babies.
As for cancer, there is the theory that while normal cells are able to withstand heat because of their normal anatomy, a cancer cell with its abnormal anatomy doesn’t do well in a hyper-thermic situation. Therefore by exposing your body to that heat you’re potentially killing or eradicating the cancer cells, without hurting your normal cells. I also found it of benefit after a "chemo burn" in 2016, when my first ever chemotherapy infusion wrongly infiltrated nearby tissue and caused a burn reaction in my arm and subsequent infection. After 30 minutes in the sauna however, the scar on my arm felt noticeably softer and less sore.
Far infra red saunas are one of the many natural and alternative cancer therapies in which I have been indulging since diagnosis and while not scientifically proven, if nothing else, 30 minutes of heat and sweating does make me feel more relaxed, positive and overall better than when I arrived. In my book, it's worth it for that alone.
If you decide to give it a go, make a reservation first at the Skin Gym, bearing in mind they need 15 minutes to heat up the machine. You spend 30 minutes in the sauna, which is big enough for just one person, so no room for a friend but plenty of room for a good book. Yes, you will sweat but not as much as in a traditional sauna, so your pages get damp rather than soggy! I haven't tried taking my phone inside but figure it's a good opportunity for a break from blue light anyway. There is also a CD player which usually plays an ambient style CD whenever I visit, but you could bring your own music. You are naked in the sauna, or in swimwear if you prefer, sitting on a white tissue covering the wooden seat, for hygiene purposes. Ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your session to ensure adequate hydration as you sweat, then shower after.
As a previous fan of Bikram yoga when living in London, it was always slightly annoying that your face was so blotchy after 90 minutes of profuse sweating that you were unable to apply make up and get back to work within a reasonable period of time! The infra red sauna however is a different story, as while you are certainly warm, you are not too red in the face to continue your day's affairs. Although, if you have nowhere to rush to afterwards, you could always test out one of the Skin Gym's wonderful facials...
There is a trial fee of $280 for the sauna while the usual drop in rate is $300, or $220 if you buy 20 sessions. I try and add a session onto my day each time I am in Central, which is probably only once a week unfortunately, as I would happily go every day! For more info, contact them directly on 6271 8005 or email them at theSkinGymHK@gmail.com
The Skin Gym
The Centrium, 21st Floor, Room 6, 60 Wyndham Street, Hong Kong.