Like most millennials who work hard, play harder and then try and undo the damage, I’ll do anything in the quest for wellness. Desk full of crystals? Check. £60 splurged on a Himalayan salt lamp? You bet! Daily juices packed with ayuverdic powders I can’t even pronounce? Obviously.
So, when Glow Bar, a new wellness haunt, opened its doors in central London, I *had* to try it.
Glow Bar, which is the most Instagrammable venue I’ve ever set foot in, is a wellness company for women created by Sasha Sabapathy.
Sasha created Glow Bar to help other women manage their stress levels using techniques she’d learnt to battle her own anxiety, including infrared saunas, ‘moon milk’ drinks packed with adaptogen herbs and, of course, crystals.
I know what you’re thinking: heard it all before. However, Glow Bar is unique courtesy of the main attraction: its private infrared sauna pods.
Like most great wellness trends, this one hails from LA and New York. It involves you sitting (and seriously) sweating in an infrared sauna for 45-minutes.
I tried the workout that Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian are obsessed with – and all it requires is lying down
“Sweating as a means of healing has been used for centuries in cultures from South America to India. Utilising the most modern of technologies, our infrared saunas allow you to have a similar experience with maximised benefits,” says Sasha.
Glowing skin: Infrared therapy stimulates collagen production while healing your skin from the surface to deeper levels. The action of profusely sweating at a lower temperature means that your skin literally glows from the moment you leave, according to Sasha.
The infrared saunas have been proven to release endorphins in your brain, helping to lower cortisol levels. This leaves you feeling a “runners high” when you’re done giving you the same benefit as a workout without the hard work. Sign us up.
45-minute long infrared sauna sessions help your mind and muscles to relax in a substantial way, helping you to have a better nights sleep and reset bad sleeping patterns.
Increased circulation, detoxification and immune system boosting are all wonderful effects from infrared therapy. Research has shown that profuse sweating can reduce mercury levels in the body in addition to fighting infections, making our saunas the perfect lifestyle choice for those with a seafood heavy diet or if you’re fighting a cold.
The best part about the pods is that you can take a friend in with you and trust me, you’ll need the moral support.
We were led into possibly the chicest changing room I’ve witnessed and given branded dressing gowns before heading into the pod itself. There’s a waiting area kitted out with an aromatherapy diffuser and bottles of Fiji water, as well as charcoal-infused water, which you’ll get through *pretty* quickly. They advise you to sit in the sauna naked but my friend and I opted for bikinis. You can plug your phone in to play your own music or a podcast, take a book in or just sit in silence.
Optimistically, we started chatting away but after the first 20 minutes went by, we were so hot we couldn’t stifle a word of conversation.
I’ll be honest, I left the room approximately 5 times to catch my breath but the 45 minutes did pass pretty quickly.
After our ‘sweat sesh’, we were treated to super refreshing ‘moon milks’ – a concoction of delicious macqui Berry, ashwagandha and lavender – and perused the carefully curated self-care products available in the shop.
The pods cost £40 a session (but you can get the first two for £55 or add a friend into yours for £15) and considering my friend and I would usually splurge over £50 each on a prosecco-fuelled meal that we probably wouldn’t remember, we agreed it was a worthwhile investment.
After a two-week holiday full of too much sangria and tapas, my evening at Glow Bar left me feeling revitalised and upbeat. It was honestly the perfect mood boost. I had trouble sleeping (possibly due to the endorphins) but my colleagues all noted my skin was glowing the next day.
Want to get your glow on? Glow Bar is open now on Mortimer Street, London.
Meet Sasha Sabapathy: The beauty boss behind Glow Bar
These days you’ll find 28-year-old Sasha Sabapathy drinking matcha tea in her cosy North London home; a ginger cat and fluffy Shih Tzu within patting distance. The soundtrack of Hamiliton is blasting in the background as she goes over the plans for her modern wellness brand, Glow Bar.
It’s a long way from the stressed and anxious 20-year-old – unhappy and far from home in New York – that she used to be.
But then she always had that entrepreneurial spirit, it just took some really sh*t times to spark the idea of something good.
Here, she shares her story of how she improved her mental health, the life moments that led to the beginning of her business and what gives her the mental stamina to keep going.
My first ever job was selling rocks for charity – yes, really!
Sasha’s success started young, with a booming paperweight business that she sold like contraband in the schoolyard.
“I would literally go hunting for pebble shaped rocks in my garden, give them a good clean, paint them, and rebrand them as paperweights.”, says Sasha. “Even as a child I was really aware of unfairness in the world and used the sales to raise money for charity.”
When she couldn’t peddle her school friends for money, she would sell her leftover “stock” to her Dad.
My early 20s were a struggle…
Stuck in a draining job and trying to keep up with the fast-paced big city life, Sasha’s wellness reached a low point while living abroad.
“Stress and anxiety was something that I really struggled with when I was living in New York”, says Sasha. “I constantly felt like the worst version of myself and was really unhappy. My skin was terrible and my energy levels were low.”
Sasha says she has her friend Izzy to thank for what happened next…
“When she discovered I was suffering from anxiety, she told me about Ashwagandha – a herb to relax and calm the mind, encourage better sleep and uplift your mood – she was the one who told me to give it a try.”
Ashwagandha root has typically been used in Ayurveda for centuries. The mind-body system, which began in India, is often sought out as a complementary or alternative medicine for those looking to improve their mental health.
Growing up in Malaysia, Sasha was familiar with the use of natural plants as a way to heal and embraced Izzy’s suggestion.
“After taking Ashwagandha for a few weeks, I realised that I was coping with stress in a different way, and as a result began taking other adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms.”