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Health: Infrared Sauna Therapy

By Stephanie Stahl

DEVON, Pa. (CBS) -- A way to get more energy, relieve pain and even improve your skin. That's what some people say they're getting with a new kind of therapy.

Miranda Casalena says her skin is better.

"My skin tone is more even," said Miranda.

Jason Allen no longer suffers with pain from working out.

And Rita Lusen, a breast cancer survivor, says she has more energy.

"It's part of my overall health and wellness," said Rita.

They all say the infrared sauna, and its special kind of penetrating heat, at Devon Fitness is working wonders.

"Suffering various injuries while in the military, it just helps the tissues relax all over. And it's just such a great benefit. So it really does keep me going," said Jason.

Traditional saunas work by heating the air; this works with infrared technology. Using light, the temperature runs between 100 and 150 degrees.

Traditional saunas, which can reach 200 degrees, usually use an electric heater and rocks. Water can be added for steam.

"It's not as oppressively sweaty and moist. It's really like a dryer heat. I love it," said Rita.

Heat is known to improve circulation and help relieve pain.

The maker of the infrared sauna says this kind of heat is more penetrating and comfortable, and makes some pretty big claims, like improvements with blood pressure, inflammation, sleep and even weight loss.

"You can burn from 200 to 600 calories in a half hour session in here," said Lisa Hoekstra, the owner of Devon Fitness. She says it speeds up your metabolism but acknowledges there aren't extensive scientific studies to prove it works.

"If it only does half of what it claims that it does, I'm in. I'll do it," said Lisa.

"The healthier my skin, the less I have to do as far as makeup application," said Miranda. The 30-year-old make up artist says she no longer struggles with breakouts because of the sauna and her skin is firmer. And there's an added benefit for her.

"It makes me feel a lot better about myself. It keeps my stress level down," said Miranda.

There are several different kinds of infrared saunas, and they're often used by professional athletes to speed up recovery. There's now even a smaller portable version for home use that costs around $1400.

For information on Sunlighten Infrared Saunas, click here.

For more on Devon Fitness, click here.

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