- “I discovered this when I lived in New York. It is hugely popular in the fashion industry. After just one session, I even got hooked.”
Sophia Lie has for many years been successful as a model, both nationally and internationally. The 30-year-old has fronted all the most important Norwegian fashion magazines, in addition to a number of foreign ones, and has been a campaign model for brands such as Match, Dermalogica and ByTimo.
A few weeks ago came the news that the Norwegian model is now starting a so-called full spectrum infrared sauna salon called "Heat by Sophia Lie" right in the heart of Stockholm - the city she has lived in in recent years.
- Not enough to just eat healthy and exercise
The background is the enormous effect she herself has had after these sauna treatments. During her eleven years on a constant journey in her job as a model, she tells Melk & Honning that she has been looking for effective ways to charge the batteries and become "camera ready."
- “It is not enough to just eat healthy and exercise when you live a life with constant jet lag, few routines and little sleep. As a model, you have to be a little ‘on’ all the time, because the jobs often come at very short notice and then it is important to be able to throw yourself around to be ready for the shoot in a short time,” says Lie.
-“Unfortunately, I have been much bothered by inflammation and am easily inflated both in the face and on the body. It has been a non-stop struggle. I cannot be completely ascetic all the time either; I am on a strict regimen in relation to food and exercise 80 percent of the time, and 20 percent I get to do as I please. It works well for me. But then I also had to find a couple of ‘quick fixes’ that give me the opportunity to spoon out.”
One of the most important tools has therefore been regular treatments with this form of sauna.
A wake-up call
- “I discovered this when I lived in New York. It is hugely popular in the fashion industry. After only one session, I was hooked and bought a 10-clip cutting card on the spot. It was actually amazing how immediate effect it had. Not only when it came to ‘de-puffing’ the face and body, but also pain relief of the back and neck, and not least the energy aspect. I felt completely run down, went into the infrared sauna and came out again as a new human being.”
She says that this was during a period when she was about to be completely burned out.
- “I decided to go on a medical detox with an incredibly skilled doctor in Germany. Among other things, he has also helped my mother with detox and immune therapy after many years of cancer.”
During her stay at the clinic, she underwent a number of different detox treatments; and was recommended by the doctor to also try the infrared sauna.
- “I was told that if I did not change my lifestyle, I would stay in bed for several years. This was a real wake-up call. I ended up taking a very moving load from New York, where I had been based for ten years, with over to Stockholm where my boyfriend lived. It actually took a whole year with a focus on health to get to grips again.”
Controversy over the effect
Among those who have spoken warmly about infrared sauna is the successful American doctor and businessman Joseph Mercola, who on several occasions has pointed out the positive effect it can have on heart health, that it can lead to increased production of mitochondria in the cells, reduce stress and stimulate growth hormone in the muscles.
A major Finnish study published earlier this year in the publication Nature - International Journal of Science also had striking results in terms of improved heart health in those who took a sauna.
The same has been pointed out by Norwegian Health Informatics, Scandinavia's largest health website written by doctors. They could also refer to studies that said that sauna is beneficial for people with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Ola Lillenes, information manager for the National Research Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), tells Melk & Honning that they have a high threshold for what they consider to be sufficient, solid and reliable documentation of effect.
- “Individual studies are often not enough to claim that the treatment works. We deal with international and independent research libraries. When searching these on December 3, 2018, we found no summaries of knowledge that support such effect claims.”
Lillenes points out that this does not exclude that someone experiences improvement in their symptoms with such treatment.
- Heat can, for example, relieve symptoms of various musculoskeletal disorders. In addition, enough heat treatment can make it easier to live with ailments, and it can increase the quality of life.
- “Many will probably also say that saunas, saunas and other heat can ‘charge the batteries’ or give them ‘refills of energy,’ but these are not scientifically manageable quantities,” he explains.
He is somewhat more skeptical of the claim about the detox effect.
- Many providers of heat treatment claim that it stimulates the excretion of toxins or waste products through the lymph - and that sweating is a sign of this. However, human sweat consists mostly of water, and our sweat glands are not part of the body's waste management system. In this sense, there is no evidence in research to say that detox through heat provides significant health effects beyond placebo.
Sophia Lie points out that she has created HEAT solely from her own experience.
- “It is built on the enthusiasm I have for the effects I myself have felt on the body.”
Will open in Oslo
When Lie moved from New York to Stockholm, she quickly found out that they did not have a similar sauna offer either there, anywhere else in Sweden or in Oslo.
- “I felt a huge difference in my body with and without this treatment.”
The idea of starting something of her own therefore gradually began to grow in her during last year.
- “This summer I finally found the right venue for Heat, in the middle of Stureplan in Stockholm. The reactions so far have been absolutely overwhelming,” she says.
- “I knew that the need for this type of treatment was great, but that there have been so many visitors in a short time I had never thought. It confirms that I was right and it's very rewarding.”
To Melk & Honning Lie she reveals that she initially also looked for premises in Oslo, but that she could not find the perfect place this time.
- “The plan is still to open in Oslo in 2019. I am really looking forward to sharing Heat with the world's best city and the world's best people then!”