The Holistic Homestead
by Arwen Ek
Jan Peterson has had her state-of-the-art full-spectrum infra-red sauna at Alternative Sun (right above mid-county liquors) for two-and-a-half years. I reported on this delightfully unique amenity in our county two years ago and did plenty of research. The only problem was, I still hadn’t tried it. Truthfully, I was pretty skeptical: “You want me to sit in a box and get cooked from the inside out from infra-red heat rays?! No way!”
But more and more Gilpin folks have discovered the incredible benefits of regular sauna treatments – and finally, Jan talked me into trying it out.
The Sunlighten ™ Sauna at Alternative Sun comfortably fits one person on the 4’ wide bench. Entering the pre-warmed sauna, you smell the eucalyptus essential oil and hear relaxing music. What you don’t get is a dizzying wave of heat when you open the door, as you do with hot-rock saunas. Sitting on the bench, your gaze is drawn out the glass door through the tiny window facing the mountains, or you can watch the temperature and time screen on the inside of the sauna: 135 degrees, 40 minute session.
As soon as I got comfortable, I jotted a few notes, flipped through a couple magazines, and finally closed my eyes to enjoy the experience. My biggest personal concern was getting too hot and passing out, because I have “orthostatic hypotension”, which means my blood pressure drops really low when I’m still for long periods of time resulting in temporary loss of consciousness. Conditions like low-blood pressure, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis and certain heart conditions may become exacerbated in overly warm environments. However, full-spectrum infra-red heat therapy has been shown to improve high blood pressure, chronic pain, tissue repair, stress reduction and weight loss. (Consult your doctor before trying a sauna.)
“[My husband] John got off his high blood pressure medicine with the sauna.” Jan told me. Lori Barsky, a Mid-County Liquors employee, has been using the sauna weekly for over two years. “It’s helped my knee,” she told me, “it was injured a long time ago when I slipped and tore the heck out of my knee. I never went to physical therapy. I’d have to wrap my knee every day. Now I do the sauna once a week and don’t have to wrap my knee anymore.” As an added bonus, weekly saunas combined with a nutritional program helped Lori lose 30 pounds.
“The real benefit is when you start to sweat.” Jan told me. That is why she recommends 30 to 40 minute sessions. The infra-red heat helps you sweat by penetrating the first few layers of skin, down to where we store fat. That fat is “liquefied” by the heat and released into circulation so it can be metabolized and eliminated. Fat is also where we store toxins, so sweating combined with the deep-tissue heat penetrations encourages systemic cleansing. The warmth we feel from the rays of the sun is infra-red heat, too. With this sauna, however, you will not get a tan as there are no skin-damaging ultra-violet rays.
The Sunlighten ™ sauna has multiple settings that use a unique combination of near, mid, and far infrared wavelengths to promote wellbeing: detox, relax, weight loss, heart health, pain relief, skin rejuvenation, immunity, and wound healing. Jan will customize the settings for your desired health benefits, and have the sauna pre-warmed and ready to go when you arrive. “When folks get stressed out they just want to sit in the closet with a bottle of wine. I recommend sitting in the sauna instead.”
By the time I got out I felt thirsty and ready for a long-winters nap. The warmth stayed with me for several hours, and the only discomfort I felt was dry-eyes. After talking with Lori and Jan about chronic pain management, I’ve resolved to try taking a regular sauna to see if my shoulder pain (from a dislocation two years ago) will improve. And at $30/session (or $1/min) that’s an investment in my health that I can definitely afford.
To schedule an appointment, call Jan Peterson at (303) 570 – 4956.
The Holistic Homestead is a Colorado Nonprofit Corporation based in Gilpin County with a mission to increase health literacy, build healthy communities, and advocate for the medically under-served. Subscribe to our blog to get the latest headlines in health and wellness!
Full-spectrum infra-red sauna in Gilpin County:
You’ve gotta try it to believe it
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