I tried an infrared sauna treatment that Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga have used

Writer stood outside of infrared sauna. (Yahoo Life UK)
Are infrared saunas really the wellness treatment to try? (Yahoo Life UK)

Gone are the days when a traditional sauna and steam was the ultimate thing to do for your wellness. Now, influenced by a growing community of biohackers and celebs who want treatments that offer more – trying things from cryotherapy to neuroscience-based devices – it's the infrared sauna that's all the rage.

I'd previously only ever used a standard sauna in a room packed full of people at my local gym that, admittedly, always left me questioning whether I would be more unwell after using it than before. So I was pretty excited when I got to try out the raged about infrared – also in my own space and less concerned about germs.

But is it really worth the hype? After being talked through how to use the light controls and TV system and helping myself to a glass (or three) of water to prevent dehydration, I stepped inside and took my seat in the wooden sauna room at REMEDI London, sweat towel perched next to me at the ready...

🧘Health hack reviewed: Infrared sauna

⭐Celebs who've tried it: Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston

⏰ Time of treatment: 60 mins

💸Price: £50

✅Pros experienced: Slightly relaxed muscles

❌Cons experienced: No sweating, couldn't 'feel' the treatment

📝Rating: 2/5

Infrared sauna. (Yahoo Life UK)
Many infrared saunas come complete with light, sound and TV systems. (Yahoo Life UK)

Instead of heating the air around you like a normal sauna, infrared saunas use heaters to emit infrared light, heating your body directly. This supposedly penetrates more deeply than warmed air would, and is why the temperatures of infrared saunas are typically lower.

The infrared sauna at REMEDI uses an acoustic resonance therapy system to combine healing sounds with gentle vibrations and induce 'deeper relaxation and stress management', with the treatment also promising to improve the cardiovascular system, detoxify cells and boost immunity, anti-ageing, muscle recovery and weight loss (it's supposed to stimulate a sluggish metabolism and improve fat burn).

Infrared sauna. (Yahoo Life UK)
Thinking of trying an infrared sauna? (Yahoo Life UK)

With some time to kill, I found myself lured in to making use of the small device installed in the wall, complete with surround sound speakers, and chose to put on the Netflix show Hack your Health: The Secrets of your Gut (aptly sticking with the wellness theme). If you don’t want the screens, you could read a book (though not sure how paper fares in infrared), meditate or just let your mind wander. To make the most of the sensory experience, I also turned the strobe on to changing colours, though you can stick with just the one.

I have to admit, about a quarter a way through I didn’t notice anything 'happening'. It was warm but I wasn’t really feeling hot, and definitely wasn’t sweating. This even prompted me to look around and step outside the sauna to ensure the thing was definitely on. Not seeing any obvious problems, I returned to my seat, remembering it might just take a little longer due to the different way infrared saunas work.

I concentrated on the show for a while longer and tried to enjoy not having to do anything for a while, in my own little safe space. But as time went on, I still wasn’t sweating. While I know this isn’t meant to happen as fast, I had expected it to happen eventually – as the towel next to me also indicated. But for whatever reason, it didn’t for me, which I found a little disappointing as I enjoy the sensation of sweating. While it may still have been doing it's thing inside of me, I personally prefer to 'feel' a treatment.

My muscles did seem more relaxed after and I was more sleepy, though this was subtle.

Infrared sauna green lights. (Getty Images)
Infrared saunas heat your body directly, not the air around you. (Yahoo Life UK)
  • Multimedia/lights to enjoy (though the availability of Netflix could also be seen as a con)

  • Slightly relaxed muscles

  • No sweating (to acknowledge, I did more like 45 mins in the sauna room due to being short on time, but it seems unlikely this would have started rapidly in the last 15)

  • Couldn't 'feel' anything happening

I'm not sure I would, no. Not because I had an awful experience, but, while I'm aware this won't always mean it's better, I'm guilty of wanting a treatment to make me feel like it's working (and keep me in the present moment).

This review is based on personal experience and is not a substitute for professional medical or health advice.

Read more: I tried cryotherapy to see if freezing myself at -85 degrees C is worth the hype (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)