ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Looking for the ultimate spa experience? It might not be what you think.
Erin Garvin of Empower Pilates.
The spa experience at Empower is actually a pilates mat class paired with an infrared sauna session.
The mat class looks like a yoga class, but looks can be deceiving.
Erin Garvin is leading the class, in which you work on strengthening your muscles.
“Muscle endurance, stretching strengthening the muscles that are chronically weakened, lengthening the muscles that are chronically tightened,” Garvin said.
And something she says goes nicely with the class? A sauna session.
“The sauna we have is infrared sauna, so it’s what they call a dry sauna. So there’s not a wet moisture film, you’re less likely to have bacteria build up,” she said.
We all have a pretty good idea of the health benefits behind the pilates class, but what about the sauna?
“There’s a lot of research, peer review research on the dermatological or skin benefits and on mood so a lot of people use it on seasonal affective disorder,” she said.
But the majority of research shows it helps with pain relief. And the whole point is to create what she calls an “induced fever” response in the body. Sitting in the sauna at nearly 135 degrees brings your body temperature way up, and forces you to sweat, releasing toxins.
Garvin says you also burn calories, just like you would while exercising, which is why so many people do one with the other.
“The pilates is going to help calm the mind and be good for the body, and the sauna is like dessert at the end of the meal. So it’ll be a nice way to keep calming the body, get the hormones that are usually in overdrive because of our busy days, busy lifestyles, back in homeostasis, or back into a place of calm.”
If you’re interested in trying this out for yourself, visit Empower Pilates and Fitness at