By Mary Woodbridge

As your wedding day draws near, you may start to feel additional pressure to be your most fit and beautiful self.  When there is so much to do, it’s even more important to find a little quiet time and create opportunities to de-stress. Forty minutes in an infrared sauna is just what you need!

Saunas have been around for centuries, and most people have tried one at a spa, gym, or country club. The latest development in heat therapy is the infrared sauna. These saunas use infrared light as the heat source instead of other more traditional heating methods. Conventional sauna heats the external air around you. Infrared saunas, on the other hand, penetrates into your body and raises your internal body temperature. This method allows for a lower temperature, provides a more comfortable experience, and relieves a wider range of health concerns.

Stress Relief

Sauna use increases circulation, which relaxes the muscles and helps the body release endorphins. Relaxing in a private sauna for a forty minute session creates a spa-like atmosphere to unwind and give your body and mind a rejuvenating break from stress. Often, sauna lovers bring a book, notepad, or music to listen to. It’s also a great opportunity to invite friends to join you and catch up!


Raising your body temperature triggers the removal of toxins and chemicals that are stored in the body’s fat. Perspiration is a natural way of expelling these toxins from the body and because infrared saunas increase your internal body temperature, the resulting sweat contains seven times more toxins than sweat through traditional sauna use.  Removal of these toxins can in turn help with boosting energy levels, increasing skin clarity, and minimizing the appearance of cellulite.

Improved Skin Appearance

The sauna is a great way to naturally get your skin fresh and glowing for your wedding day. The profuse sweating in an infrared sauna helps shed deeply embedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing and immaculately clean. Increased circulation draws your skin’s natural nutrients to the surface, increasing collagen production. This improves skin tone, elasticity, texture, and color. Dry brushing is also a great addition to a sauna routine and boosts circulation and exfoliation even more.

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Weight Loss

There is no question that the best way to lose weight safely and efficiently is healthy eating and consistent exercise. Infrared sauna use, however, has been shown to help increase metabolic rate and can help the body burn extra calories (up to 600 in one session). It’s important to remember most of the immediate weight loss you experience is water weight. Hydration is extremely important to replenish lost fluids. Sipping some water with fresh lemon or a green juice during your session is a great idea!

Muscle Recovery

If you’re upping your exercise routine to prepare for the wedding, all those extra miles and reps are probably making you sore! Infrared sauna use expedites muscle recovery as the increased blood circulation delivers oxygen-rich blood to oxygen-depleted muscles so they recover faster. Muscles are also able to relax most readily when tissues are warm, giving greater flexibility and range of motion.

If any of these benefits sound appealing, then the infrared sauna may be for you! This is the one of the most joyous and exciting times in your life.  You deserve time to focus on your health and well being before the big day.

Mary Woodbridge is the owner of Purify Infrared Sauna Retreat in the Westhampton area of Richmond VA. They provide infrared saunas in private suites. For more information, please visit

Photos by Lisa Ross Photography