Heat up and chill down with contrast therapy

Used in Europe for centuries, contrast therapy or a traditional hot/cold experience involves pushing yourself to your limit in a communal sauna with a very high temperature, then immersing yourself in snow – then repeat.

Auckland hot healing sanctuary Hana is set to offer contrast therapy via its infrared sauna and a new ice bath treatment room, making it a far more controlled and contemporary experience.

The session at Hana begins in the infrared sauna for twenty minutes. While traditional saunas raise the air temperature to very high levels, infrared saunas heat the body directly, so that only around 20 percent of the heat goes to heat the air.

The infrared waves penetrate deep into the body for deep heating, which allows the body to activate sweat glands and eliminate toxins. The heat also supports the dilation of blood and lymphatic vessels to encourage better circulation.

Hana's infrared sauna

Pairing this heat with a two-minute immersion into the ice bath, which sits at six degrees, the ice bath has numerous benefits including reducing inflammation, constricting blood vessels to redirect circulation towards vital organs, and boosting the metabolism to support weight management.

Exposing the body to these extremes of temperature triggers the production of heat shock and cold shock proteins, which repair damaged proteins and cells, increases the immune system response, and speeds up muscle recovery. All up the treatment takes 50 minutes.

Post-treatment there are private showers with filtered water – a critical component post sauna – and the spa ritual is complete with premium beauty collections from Sans Ceuticals and luxury towels by Baina.

Hana Founder Sara Higgins says contrast therapy makes you feel incredibly alive. “Long term benefits aside, the immediate effects of the hot/cold combo is invigorating – to say the least. It enhances all your senses and you feel quite incredible.”

Hana, which means in te reo to shine, glow, and radiate, launched in June last year with a mission to introduce the healing practices of infrared sauna and red light therapy (photobiomodulation) but also to provide a space that allows clients the freedom to slow down.

“We all seem to operate at an incredibly fast pace these days – me included. It’s wonderful to be able to offer a moment for people to switch off from it all and prioritise their health but also some self-love.”

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