I finally tried the infrared sauna at Glow Bar in central London and here’s what happened
You might have seen this super-Instagrammable, interior goals cafe and wellness hub, Glow Bar, located in central London, on Mortimer Street. Apart from the delicious cakes, moon milks and adaptogens that they offer, you can try an infrared sauna. Which is what I went in to try on a gleamy London day. It’s a very LA, goop-style treatment *Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan* and I wanted to see if it actually works!
What’s an infrared sauna?
The heat comes from the lights rather than steam, so although it gets super hot (63 degrees!) it doesn’t feel like you can’t breathe. Your body is heated directly, not from the warm air which is what traditional saunas do.
Some people claim you can lose weight, though that’s mostly water weight due to sweating. Detoxifying? I guess there’s no way of testing that out but the sweating certainly helps. Other claims include general relaxation, increased circulation, overall glowy healthy skin, and duh endorphins, the happy hormone!
You can also choose your chromotherapy lights, I went with yellow that’s meant to be good for skin and digestion. There’s also blue for sleep, red for circulation, pink for impurities, green for general healing and purple for calming and lymphatic drainage.
How did it feel?
In one word hot!! And relaxing! I was sweating since the first minute but wanted to see how long I could last in the sauna. The full session is 45 minutes. Towards the end I felt a bit tired of the heat, but I wanted to stay for the whole thing. It was so peaceful, the only sound was a very subtle one from the sauna, nothing else.
It was perfect for winter, as I miss the sunshine and this almost emanated summer. I definitely suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) particularly due to the lack of sunshine in the UK (it’s better in Greece where there’s sun even in winter) and the constant greyness, so if you’re in the same boat, you will love this.
Tips before your first infrared sauna
You can be naked or you have to be in swimwear, I preferred the swimwear but each sauna is individual so you’d have your privacy either way.
Take a book and a reusable water bottle to keep with you. My bottle retains the water temperature which is super helpful when the temperature gets to 50 degrees and you still have cold water! I read 25 pages of my book which was great.
Arrive 5 minutes before your appointment to be able to see the space and get ready.
If it gets too hot or you feel dizzy, go take a shower and come back, but you can also finish your appointment early. I stayed for the full 45 minutes, but you don’t have to if you don’t feel like it. It’s about relaxation after all.
Keep hydrated before, during and after your session.
If you can go home after your appointment, it would be ideal, so you can extend the relaxation.
This was great! I felt weird at first to be in such high heat for so long, and I was thinking of leaving the sauna earlier, but I’m glad I tried the full experience. It felt quite meditative, as I was in a room by myself, no phone, no tech, just the heat and my book, and you can’t do that very often.
Yes, you could go to your gym’s sauna but this was private and more luxe for sure. I would have liked for the room to be a bit bigger, as I had to move around a bit to find a spot I was comfortable in, but that could be a personal preference. A couple of times during the 45 minutes I had to open the sauna door, to let some ‘colder’ air in. The temperature wasn’t that much lower as it’s still the same room, but it’s good to know you can have a breather!
I can definitely see myself coming back, especially for periods of stress. I can’t comment on the toxin-releasing claims, but I definitely felt better afterward, and my skin was glowing and a bit red from the heat, no need for blush! I looked healthy despite a somewhat sleepless night. The next day I was glowing! It was a very nice overall boost of glow and energy.
Glow Bar is a beautiful space and I need to try their adaptogens, founder Sasha Sabapathy swears by them.
One session is £40 but you can get packages that work out cheaper. There are two saunas that can be booked for two people/a couple and if you get one of the bigger saunas you only pay £15 extra for the second person, which will be cheaper overall.
Find Glow Bar at 70 Mortimer Street, W1, follow them on Instagram here