By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – It’s not often I write from a first-person perspective, but this was something I had to try for myself. On top of that, I’m actually writing most of this article while I’m testing the equipment.
The equipment in question is an infrared sauna at Workout Anytime in Durant. And when Rana Pawan, the owner and manager, said I could try it out I had to take her up on it.
I didn’t know this was a thing. When I thought of a sauna, the picture that came to mind was a small group of sweaty older men, likely bankers or lawyers, sitting in towels and huddled up in a foggy room in an action movie or a prime-time drama show on TV.
This is definitely not that.
As you can see from the featured picture, I’m fully clothed. Except for my shoes. I didn’t even have to slow down from all of my ‘busy-ness’ to do something good for my body. I was still working on my computer while I’m sitting here.
By the way, I’m not sweating at all. It is just a really warm feeling from my chest down – the parts of my body that are within the machine. It’s a good feeling. Now, it’s just my first time to do it, but I’ve been hearing stories of people who use the sauna regularly who are feeling great afterward.
Rana told me what this cool device was doing for me.
“Here at Workout Anytime, we’re not just about exercise equipment,” Pawan said. “We’re about wellness overall.
“We just introduced two brand new infrared saunas. They cover the full spectrum of infrared light. Twenty minutes in these saunas and you’re recovery time is cut in half.”
I hope to be exercising more as the spring weather starts to warm up, but as of now, I haven’t been exerting myself too much. (I’m sure by looking at me, that’s pretty obvious.) But even though I don’t have much from which to recover, I’m looking forward to the positive effects.
“I have arthritis and my knees don’t hurt anymore from using the sauna,” Pawan said. “We’ve got people who are seeing improvements in their eczema and psoriasis as well.
“Infrared light penetrates through your clothes and goes an inch and a half deep into your skin, which means it’s helping you at the cellular level. It’s not like UV light, which is harmful to us, so unlike tanning, there are only benefits from infrared light.
“That being said, going down to the cellular level, it’s activating you mitochondria, which some people may know is the powerhouse of the cell, or the energy store. So that’s what is going to speed up your metabolism to create a little bit of an internal fever – your temperature will rise while you are in the sauna. But it’s creating that inside your body as opposed to external to you, which is how most saunas work. So with that internal temperature going up, your white blood cells get activated and your body goes into recovery mode.”
As the session has gone on, I can feel that internal temperature going up. But it’s pretty nice that I’m not sweating. When I get up from here, I’ll be able to go on with my day and not feel like I smell sweaty.
Of course, this is just the first time I’ve been in the sauna. I’ll definitely come back and Rana told me the effects of the infrared are better with time.
“You can use this three to four times a week and you will feel a difference,” she said. “It’s for recovery from exercise, recovery from lower back pain and more.
“We’ve had several doctors asking about it as well. There are lots of medical practitioners that swear by infrared as a treatment for chronic pain. It’s helped people with diabetes. It’s helped people get their blood pressure under control.
“The way our saunas are here: No. 1 – you go in fully clothed. No. 2 – from the chest up, you are outside and in the open, so there’s no risk of you overheating. That allows everyone to use the sauna, regardless of whether they have high blood pressure or any kind of heart issues. The only people who can’t use it are those who are undergoing chemo and pregnant women.”
And after 20 minutes, I was done. I put my shoes back on, thanked Rana for the opportunity and headed for the car.
On my way out, I could really feel it. My legs felt great – better than they had in a long time. My lower back felt good, too. It was definitely worth the time.
I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. But in my regular, everyday, ordinary-person opinion, I would recommend some time in this infrared sauna. I enjoyed it and I think you would, too.