Using saunas and steam rooms is the traditional practice of the “sweat it out” approach to health.
Studies show that only 1-3% of perspiration contains toxins. Plus the intense heat and humidity can make the experience uncomfortable and even dangerous for some people. Saunas reach upwards of 70°C – so hot that people are advised to stay no more than 15 minutes at a time.
In recent years, FAR infrared saunas have gained a foothold in the wellness industry, becoming a staple in many detox programs. Unlike traditional saunas, FAR infrared saunas stay around the 40°C mark. The heat penetrates 1.5 inches into the skin, reaching the joints, bones, and fat tissues and is easily assimilated by the body.
The radiant heat is said to provide relief for pain and tension, as well as stimulating the deep tissues to release accumulated toxins like heavy metals. This is possible because the vibration of the rays causes the bonds of the water molecules which have encapsulated the toxic substances to dissolve.
Instead of heating the room, FAR infrared saunas warm the body from the inside, without drying the skin and mucous membranes. A good but comfortable sweat gets worked up and carries out the toxins released from the fat tissues. Compared to the traditional sauna, a FAR infrared sauna is much safer and an average person sweats out 20% toxins and 80% water.
Popular in Japan for over a decade, Ganban’yoku or “stone sauna” is a form of FAR infrared sauna, with the added bonus of negative ions. The stone is the key as it releases both the infrared spectrum and negative ions.
Negative ions are said to increase oxygen flow to the brain for more mental energy and alertness. Studies show that negative ions promote the production of globulin in the blood which enhances immunity. The presence of negative ions also inhibits bacterial growth.
Not to miss out on this health trend, Singapore recently opened its first Ganban’yoku centre. Antioxidant Centre started in Kuala Lumpur almost seven years ago. Clients visit to relieve symptoms from conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer.
At the Antioxidant Centre, robed in a Japanese yukata, clients lie on granite-tiles for 45 minutes to absorb the goodness. It’s suggested to rotate between front, side, and back positions as well as exposing areas of tension directly onto the granite to promote relief. In a comfortably warm and dimly lit therapy room, clients can relax and enjoy a good sweat.
To stay hydrated, guests are given a re-fillable bottle of alkaline water and receive two servings of fruit enzyme juice after the session.
Choose from Ginger, Dragonfruit, Lemongrass, and Hawthorn, each with its own array of benefits, from cleansing the blood to lowering cholesterol.
Try Lemongrass for its purported detox actions on the pancreas, bladder, liver, digestive tract, and kidneys.
For those who want to multitask, opt for the Ganban Yoga classes. These sessions consist of mostly seated poses for gentle stretching, relaxation, and also for safety against slipping on the sweat that’s sure to appear.
Negative Ions + Paint
While the real benefits come from sessions inside the Ganban’yoku rooms, you can also take in the negative ions by relaxing at the centre which is painted with a solution that releases negative ions. This is a new technology that is now available in Singapore.
The owner Suli says this solution that is added to regular paint gives off about 200,000 negative ions per cm³, as compared to the average of 0-20 per cm³ in an air-conditioned room. The beautiful Yosemite Falls in the United States measure about 100,000 negative ions per cm³.
To show the amazing anti-bacterial and anti-oxidative action of negative ions, months-old egg and bread sit at the counter, hardened but without any signs of mould.
For those not looking for detox actions, Ganban’yoku Therapy offers other health-promoting benefits such as improved circulation, pain relief, better skin tone, increased metabolism, relaxation, and general well-being. Tokyo has seen a huge increase in Ganban’yoku Therapy centres, where many frequent after a long day’s work just for relaxation.
Until April 30 2013, What Therapy readers can try out a Ganban’yoku Therapy session or Ganban Yoga by quoting “What Therapy”. The voucher is $10 (UP $39) for the therapy and/or $20 (UP $50) for the yoga. Try one or both!
Ganban’yoku sessions are not recommended for those who are pregnant and shorter sessions are advised for those with health concerns. The health questionnaire will help the staff to monitor the proper length of your sessions.
Antioxidant Centre 1 Thomson Ridge 6756 0636. Parking is available on the one-way street outside the shophouse where the centre is located. Having trouble parking? Give Suli a call and he’ll help you out.