Kicking off this January’s wellness series I want to share with you a treatment I had back in December that I am now absolutely addicted to and is beloved by wellness-gurus and supermodels worldwide, and if it’s good enough for Kendall Jenner and Gweneth Paltrow it’s got to be worth a try. Today I’m talking about infrared saunas, a few years ago they started sprouting up all over LA and this year made their way to the UK in the form of Glow Bar. Located just a 5-minute walk from Oxford Circus this millennial pink haven is the answer to all my prayers. The winter takes its toll on all of us but I feel like the last two to three years I’ve really noticed a difference in myself in the winter, I feel sluggish and tired, I’m grumpier and sleep so so much worse. This year, I was counting down till the days were going to turn back and I could actually feel the anxiety creeping in as the nights got darker.
This is where Glow Bar comes in, plonked right next to high-end manicure bar DryBy walking into Glow Bar feels like walking into the real-life version of an Instagram feed. Millennial pink, with accents of marble and just the right amount of artsy prints and leafy plants. At the heart, a coffee bar making all kinds of goodness fuelled drinks and snacks. I filled my water bottle with the grapefruit-infused water and waited to be called downstairs, where yep you guessed it, is where the good stuff happens.
I’ll quickly explain some of the benefits of Infrared Saunas and how they work and then I’ll walk you through my experience. Infrared saunas work because the red light heats your body, not the room. The rays penetrate your skin tissue to release toxins, and as opposed to a normal sauna, your body sweats at a lower temperature for longer and you’ll find you sweat a hell of a lot more in an infrared sauna than a normal one.
So let’s talk benefits, infrared light stimulates the production of collagen in your skin which is what will leave it looking bouncier and plumper, the light also heals your skin and increases cell turnover which when repeated will leave long-term skin benefits and give that glow they promise on the door.
A 45-minute sauna session, on average you’ll burn 800 calories, so when they say you sweat they really mean it. You’ll also feel your heart rate increase and leave you with a rush of endorphins. Due to this workout style feeling, you’ll also sleep better and have a better quality of sleep because your body and muscles have properly relaxed.
On top of all that, you’ll have increased circulation which is great for battling cellulite (hence why the supermodels love it) and experience a head-to-toe detox as you literally sweat everywhere.
Ok so now before you whip out a fresh browser tab and book yourself a session, I’ll walk you through my experience at Glow Bar which turned out to be so much more than just the sauna.
First off let me just say the girls that were working in Glow Bar the day I went could not have been lovlier and when I explained I’d never before be so happy to walk me through the process and make sure I was comfortable.
My pre-treatment tips would be, drink lots of water, maybe treat yourself to a full body scrub in the shower that morning before you go to leave your skin super soft and maximise the results, and absolutely either wear no makeup or take your makeup off before you get in the sauna, you’re going to sweat a lot and I’ve yet to meet even a waterproof mascara that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to chemically burn my eyeballs if it gets in my eyes.
I was taken downstairs and shown the changing rooms, the lady asked me to change and pop on a robe and then meet her in the adjoining corridor when I was ready. These are no ordinary changing rooms, these were stunning. After a little nosey around I did as I was told and swapped my chunky knit and fur lined boots (aka my December attire) for my bikini and slipped on a robe. On the sink was a full Clinique moisture surge skincare routine, to take my makeup off with, a topped my face with a quick spritz of moisture surge mist and headed off for my sauna. I was shown into the room and immediately noticed how good it smelt and thought oh yeah I could spend 45 minutes in here, I was shown how to hook my phone up to the speakers, put on the latest episode of my favourite podcast and settled in.
The first 10-15 minutes went by pretty quickly, I popped my head out my pod only to have a glass of water. The last 15 minutes, however, were a struggle, by that point I was sweatier than I have ever been in my life, I felt like I’d just gotten out of a swimming pool which I think is the point tbh and I was secretly pleased I was getting such good results out of this.
After my full 45 minutes was up, I put on my robe and headed back into the changing room for a much-needed shower. Honestly, at this point, I’d decided if I could move in I would, the changing rooms were that beautiful. The showers had huge overhead waterfall heads and the water was already set from the last person to the perfect post-sauna temperature. Something I noticed as I stepped back into the changing rooms was that my face was beetroot red, had the most amazing glow about it. Again I was so happy to see my face so red, probably not a good thing but it definitely felt like it, because I’ve taken some pretty intense workout classes over the years and I’ve never looked this flushed.
You can literally turn up with just yourself and a bikini because the rest is all supplied, beautiful organic products in the shower to wash your body and hair, and GHD blow dryers and straighteners for preening yourself before you head back out into the cold. Even though I had a full afternoon of errands and a date night in Winter Wonderland that night I decided to just put on some CC cream and a little mascara and called it a day. My skin rarely looks this glowy so I decided to embrace it. As for the calorie burn promise, I definitely felt so much less bloated and more energised after my sauna session. Even though I was only actually in the sauna for 45 minutes, I was in the Glow Bar basement for almost two hours because I was just enjoying taking my time getting ready and taking a bit of a break.
So, in reflection, would I go back? Absolutely I plan on going back in January before my busy season at work starts. I imagine if you’ve had a long holiday, or you’ve had a weekend of partying then this could bring you back to life. For me, having started a new job and moved to a new city in the last few months, I was feeling exhausted and burnt out, mentally as well as physically so I took the week before Christmas off work and used this treatment as a time to reflect, detox and show myself a bit of love and for that, a trip to Glow Bar was perfect. Not the cheapest treatment, the 45-minute sauna I had is £40. You can bulk buy if you love it which works out cheaper, but I’d happily sacrifice a few meals out or getting my nails done if it meant a trip to the infrared sauna once a month.
Check out their website for more info – https://glowbarldn.com