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Small Business Feature: Gotta Sauna

If you had told me a year ago there were things called infrared sauna pods that could help a person relieve stress, manage pain, increase circulation, detox the body, get better sleep, and lose weight, I would have laughed straight in your face. But for the last six years, Gotta Sauna has been open for business in Mattoon and owner Cheryl Sweet expanded this past January by opening a second location right here in Charleston. And yes, the pods do all of this and more.

Located at 1409 E Street, Charleston's Gotta Sauna is the calm between the craziness of Starbucks and Ace Hardware.

Ok wait, so what exactly does an infrared sauna pod do? Let's list it out...

  • Relieves stress and anxiety

  • Alternative pain management

  • Supports athletic performance

  • Promotes deeper, more restful sleep

  • Burns up to 640 calories per session

  • Increases circulation

  • Detoxifies the body

  • Purifies the skin

  • Imitates cardiovascular exercise

  • Improves brain function

  • Lymphatic massage

  • Lowers cortisol levels

  • Weight loss

These pods have three major features: the infrared light that penetrates your skin, the vibration that massages your back and legs, and the heat to help you get your sweat on. If you're a visual person like I am, here are some photos of what the pods look like...

Yes, Charleston even has a room with two pods so couples can go together!

 I couldn't possibly begin to start the very extensive research Cheryl has put into these pods and her business, so I'm going to share with you the two biggest pieces of information she has found that especially stood out to me.

Dr. Melinda Ring, the executive director at Northwestern University in Chicago, had a study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension in December of 2017 which stated one 30 minute dry heat sauna session improved blood pressure and decreased artery stiffness.

The Journal of Health said because the skin is penetrated by the infrared light, healing of deep tissues happens faster. Also, oxygenated blood circulates with improvement so pain is relieved.

And believe me when I tell you-if you want more studies and information, Cheryl will happily tell you everything from what the difference is between what the body sweats out during infrared sauna vs. exercise all the way to how runners using the infrared pods have seen improvement in their times! She loves how much her job helps other people and she truly feels like she has a purpose. Once you get to know her, you can tell the passion she has for her business is very genuine and she is very grateful to get to help people heal.

Ok. So that's all awesome information, but what is the difference between the Charleston and Mattoon locations? Well....there are not a ton of differences, but I'm going to lay it all out for you...

Mattoon is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Charleston is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Charleston has a room with two sauna pods in it. It is very popular as so many couples are on the same schedule and would like to sauna together.

Meanwhile, Mattoon has two pods with added yellow light. The red lights (that are in every pod) have skin-healing properties to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, skin damage, and age spots. The added yellow lights trigger the lymphatic system to remove toxins and aid in skin hydration. Both lights stimulate collagen, which is awesome!

Mattoon also has a hydro massage table and a roller massage table. I'll be 100% honest-I had zero interest in trying either one. I mean, I felt so much better with the sauna pods...why did I need anything else? But then, around the holidays, Cheryl did a scratch off contest and I won 10 minutes on the roller massage table. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing! And now I need to make time to go try the hydro massage table!

Cheryl kindly laid out the benefits for both...

Roller Massage Table:

  • Helps reduce pain

  • Helps relieve stress

  • Decompresses the spine (People can actually be taller when they get off of the table!)

  • Increases muscle relaxation

  • Improves blood circulation

Hydro Massage Table:

  • Helps with relaxation

  • Aids with cell renewal

  • Boosts mood without medicinal side effects

  • Reduces stress

  • Provides relief of minor aches and pain

  • Pushes toxins out of muscles and soft tissues throughout the body (from the gentle pressure of the water!)

  • Promotes circulation in the lymphatic system, which helps remove toxins and waste

A few people were kind enough to share their thoughts with me about why they go to Gotta Sauna so I am going to share them with you:

"My sauna sessions have become an essential part of my self care routine! It's a time I carve out when I can shut off the notifications, put on a guided meditation, and just be. As a Realtor and Yoga teacher, it's important for me to incorporate rituals to calm my nervous system so that I can bring better focus, compassion, and presence to my clients and students. The mental, emotional, and physical benefits keep me coming back every week!" -Trisha Bird

"So relaxing-best thing ever. Love what it does for my body!" -Ginger Stanfield

"The sauna has been tremendously helpful for my general body aches, especially for the neuropathy pain in my feet. The pain associated with the neuropathy has greatly diminished since I started to sauna. The owner, Cheryl, is a gem! She is well-versed in the professional literature, and willing to share her knowledge and references related to questions." -Lynette Drake

The one that got me the most though...

"Since using the sauna, I have gradually reduced my blood pressure medication until finally my physician discontinued its use." -Lynette Drake

In fact, a guy came in to buy a gift certificate for his mom and said the following, "Since she has been coming here, she isn't in pain anymore and can do more with my kids. Thanks for giving me my mom back." That one just kind of hits you in the feels doesn't it?

Are you on information overload yet? I have been a regular Gotta Sauna customer for a little under a year and even I was overwhelmed with all of the information Cheryl shared with me. I just knew I felt, healed, and slept better after a surgery. I didn't know infrared sauna pods could do so much more for people!

Here's a bit more random bits of information for you if you're considering a session at Gotta Sauna:

  • Gotta Sauna phone number for both locations-(217)234-4569.

  • For your safety, Cheryl will go over a few things with you to make sure there is nothing medically prohibiting you from using the infrared sauna pods.

  • When you call to make your first appointment, Cheryl will go over everything (what to wear, to bring earbuds if you want to listen to your phone, etc.)

  • When you arrive for your appointment, Cheryl will check your temp at the door and give you a squirt of hand sanitizer. You can't get in a pod while with a temperature or you could get worse so she is very cautious about this.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog!  As a small business featuring another small business, we greatly appreciate you reading and sharing these blogs. Below are the website and Facebook links for Gotta Sauna and me (Kathleen Kidwell Photography). Please don't hesitate to reach out-we love hearing from you all and appreciate your support!

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