The Korean Spa - Where I do my French Fry Imitation
January 27, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

There's an "infra-red" area at the local Korean Spa/Bath House. What's up with that?

I enjoy visiting a local Korean Spa in the burbs. The hot & cold pools, the steam room, the massages etc are fabulous and things I have enjoyed at other spas. One thing that is new to me though is the "infra red area" which is a little marble tiled platform over which there are several lights which have a nice, warm pinkish-orange glow. It's quite pleasant to sit or lie on a towel and bask & I figured the benefit comes from being warm under a pleasant colored light. Apparently there are some though who believe that this is (a) harmful, like a tanning bed or (b) a healthful cure for a host of ills. I'm very dubious, but could be wrong. Science-minded mefites, am I missing something here? Will I burn to a crisp or be cured of anything from cellulite to future arthritis? Or can I continue to relax like a hashbrown waiting for pick-up?
posted by pointystick to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
it's just heat, yo. just plain old radiant heat. (infrared=radiant heat) it will make you warm, end of story. it's the same kind of bulbs as they hang over fried chicken and in the bathrooms of old motel rooms.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:49 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have one of these in my bathroom for when I step out of the shower. It's nice.
posted by rokusan at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2010

There are lots of dubious claims about the supposed benefits of infrared exposure, but there's nothing much against it. Like others have said, it's just heat. It won't damage your skin like UV, nor your organs like X-rays.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 AM on January 27, 2010

Infra red sauna penetrates deeply into tissues and promotes circulation, this is a good thing.
posted by hortense at 9:11 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's a $64 word for a heat lamp.
posted by bonehead at 9:14 AM on January 27, 2010

That is to say, it's no better or worse than being in a warm room.
posted by bonehead at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks guys for confirming that. It feels nice but it also feels like a glorified fried chicken warmer (mmmm, fried chicken!) which will not sadly give me radioactive super powers.
posted by pointystick at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2010

Koreans also believe that infrared kills bacteria, don't know that this
area would be for that though you might also find it in areas above towels
or drinking cups for this purpose.
posted by manwoo at 3:09 AM on January 28, 2010

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