Forget what you know about the communal sauna experience at the local swimming pool. Nimbus Co takes the traditional health benefits of the sauna a step further—in privacy and luxury—via infrared sauna technology. Using near, mid, and far wavelengths to warm the body on a cellular level, infrared sauna therapy boasts deep detoxification and relaxation, as well as a range of pointed benefits from stress relief to skin health. While the concept might sound sci-fi, infrared saunas were first developed by Japanese scientists in the 1970s. They remained niche—until now, when there has been a renewed interest in their potential from a community of health practitioners and wellness aficionados alike.
Nutrionist Suzanne Tuttle started researching infrared saunas and was quickly converted after using them herself. She noted a gap in the Australian market and saw a chance to bring the treatment to the masses in a way that felt at once accessible and aesthetically beautiful. At the time, there was nowhere you could go dedicated specifically to infrared saunas; they were concealed in clinical spaces or upmarket hotels. So in 2016 she opened the country’s first infrared sauna studio in the beachside suburb of Bondi with her partner Neil O’Sullivan. It was a risk, but locals loved it. This led Nimbus Co to launch a second studio in Byron Bay around Easter last year, and a third studio in Melbourne’s Cremorne last September.
Located on a street of factories, warehouses, and old workers’ cottages, the Cremorne studio is nondescript. Welcomed at the front by co-owner Eva Kiriakoff, you are led through the open and breezy space to your private room. Kiriakoff talks through how to operate the infrared sauna—things like adjusting the LED lights, the temperature, or connecting the iPad, which is equipped with Netflix, Spotify, and meditation apps to enjoy throughout the session.
The next 45 minutes go surprisingly quickly, but as Kiriakoff explains, each experience is individual. “You find that some sessions go like that,” she says, clicking her fingers, “and other sessions are a real struggle depending on what’s going on in your life, how much water you had to drink, maybe if you had a big weekend it’s going to be a bit more of a challenge. I sort of go into a trance-like state. You can just absolutely surrender and I find that in a city like Melbourne, it’s otherwise really hard to find that space.”
The sweat is gentle and gradual—different to that of an intense workout—and results in an end feeling of deep release and nourishment. “It’s very therapeutic and it’s very cleansing. On an energetic level that’s what you’re experiencing with that deep sweat,” she says. “Our bodies detoxify through our skin, so infrared saunas help to activate that process and push it along. It’s relaxing and a bit weird. Like, you look down and your kneecaps are sweating and you’re like, ‘What is going on here?’ It’s quite amazing.”
The Nimbus Co infrared saunas also employ LED light colour therapy, allowing you to tailor your treatment to target specific concerns and areas. Blue, for example, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system in order to help you rest and restore. Physically, it can help to kill bacteria, so is great for breakouts or wound-healing. Red, on the other hand, is more activating so can be used to intensify the experience, and is also said to stimulate collagen production.
So how often should you incorporate infrared saunas into your wellness routine to see optimal results? “It absolutely depends on the person, the budget, and the time available. You can technically sauna every day, if you want to—as long as you are replenishing your fluids as well as key salts and minerals that can be depleted through frequent sweating. We see a lot of people making it a part of their weekly routine. You will even see benefits doing it fortnightly or monthly; it gives you something to look forward to. There’s hugely that mental health aspect to it,” says Kiriakoff. “We do find that most of our clients are returning clients because once it’s integrated into your health routine you look forward to it so much. You just feel absolutely incredible afterwards.”
She’s right. Post-session, browsing through the tightly-edited skincare store and sipping a cup of tea, the feeling of deep relaxation and restoration is visceral. “That’s really where the name Nimbus Co comes from. Obviously there’s the cloud, the precipitation, but also that sort of floaty feeling that you have afterwards,” Kiriakoff says. “It’s a natural high almost.”