Contrast Wellness Studio has quickly built a loyal clientele for its private infrared saunas, contrast therapy and cold-water baths, which sit at a chilly five- to seven-degrees. We spoke with Hamdan Al-Khafaji, Co-founder of Contrast Wellness Studio, a first-of-its-kind sauna and ice studio located on Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile 6.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting a Contrast wellness center focused on Finnish Saunas, ice bath, infrared sauna, and IV drips?
As avid sauna goers and health and wellness advocates, we noticed there was a void in the local market when it came to a clean and click design with state-of-the-art machines that gave you a private experience where you could be in and out at prices that made sense. We believe wellness should be accessible and we’ve gone the extra step to make it Zen in a beautiful and calming environment. The feedback from our clients has been that this is what they’ve been looking for in Dubai.
What sets your wellness center apart from others in the industry, and how do you envision it making a lasting impact on the well-being of your clients?
Our place is a bio-hacking studio bringing ancient healing practices to the modern world. We believe greatly in the power of Infrared Sauna and Cold plunge to reach your optimum health levels and increase life expectancy. Working out and eating well is no longer enough. You need to sweat out the heavy metals and the toxins and work on circulation to ensure longevity. Our set up makes it easy for people to book, come-in, do their session in a beautiful space while they watch their favourite show on Netflix or a biohacking documentary on our channel, shower and leave – all for a very fair price. We’re not expensive like most in the market and we give you a great experience with towels, clean beauty products in your private shower and a complimentary herbal tea when you’re done. You can even come with a friend.
What unique benefits do Finnish Saunas offer compared to other types of saunas, and how do they contribute to overall well-being?
We believe more in the power of infrared saunas as studies have shown them to be far superior, but the Finnish saunas are also amazing for the contrast therapy – we have a room with a Finnish sauna which also has Himalayan salt wall and a cold plunge in the same room where you can go back and forth into the hot and cold. This is an ancient practice which has many benefits including muscle recovery, reducing swelling or inflammation and pain, giving your skin a more youthful and tight appearance, and improving circulation leading to a healthier heart. It also assists with cellulite and uneven skin tone textures. The finnish sauana itself reduces hypertension, cardiovascualar disease, dementia and respiratory conditions as well as being amazing for musculoskeletal disorders.
How do you ensure a safe and comfortable experience for individuals using ice baths, and what are the potential health advantages of incorporating cold therapy into a wellness routine?
We have provided railings for the ice bath goers and instruction videos as well as our staff guiding first-timers. We have non-slip on the stairs of the ice bath and support wherever needed. The benefits are great – reduced stress, stronger mental capacity, better circulation, a heathier heart, better skin appearance, less inflammation and swelling.
There are so many health advantages as mentioned above but mostly the positive impact it has on your overall health, immunity building, regulates the nervous system, improves circulation, reduces swelling and inflammation, muscle recover, helps with pain management, improves cardiovascular health and reduces stress. It can also help with weight loss and stress management.
Infrared saunas have gained popularity in recent years. Could you explain the science behind their therapeutic effects and how they differ from traditional saunas?
Unlike traditional Saunas, infrared saunas don’t use steam or flame-stoked heat, they have infrared lamps and electromagnetic magic to create warmth – they warm you from the inside out operating at a lower temperature but penetrating through your skin making your blood cells widen and increase blood flow. Infrared saunas can help boost your heart health and reduce blood pressure as well as speed up muscle recovery – regular use can help athletes improve performance. Research suggests that infrared sauna can be a great method of treatment for chronic pain and decreased depression. It also helps with sleep regulation, boosting your immunity and fighting off illness. Saunas reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative diseases like dementia.
Not to mention the detoxification process – sweating out heavy metals and toxins – and burning up to 600 calories per session. All the biggest names in health and wellness like Dr Mark Hyman and Dr Andrew Huberman are huge advocates for infrared sauna.
IV drips have become a trend in wellness practices. How do you personalize IV drip therapies to cater to individual needs, and what specific health goals can they address?
We work with a very reputable IV company called Elixir Clinic to provide our clients with the best quality and most suitable IV drips. They do a mineral analysis to check your mineral levels and can then tailor the IV drip accordingly.
Maintaining a wellness routine can be challenging for some individuals. How do you educate and motivate your clients to adopt a holistic approach that includes Finnish Saunas, ice baths, infrared saunas, and IV drips?
We constantly remind our clients of the benefits on social media and through our newsletters. Most of our clients have a very healthy mindset and practices, but we all need a little reminder sometimes. For updates you can follow us on @contrastwellness
The wellness industry has seen rapid growth. What steps do you take to stay updated with the latest research and trends in sauna therapy, cold exposure, and IV drip therapies?
As husband and wife and founders of this business, we are constantly listening to podcasts, attending seminars and retreats as well as visiting health centres all over the world – not only to keep our finger on the pulse for the sake of our business but also our family. We consult with holistic doctors and health experts regularly to ensure we are up to date.
Creating a serene and inviting atmosphere is crucial for a wellness center. How have you designed your center to enhance relaxation and promote a sense of well-being among your clients.
The interior design and flow is super zen and the tones just put you in a state of calm. We have low lighting and soft music playing as well as a seating area where you can sit on a comfortable lounge and sip hot herbal tea, which is complimentary. Also our saunas have tv’s and audio so you can play your favourite zen tracks and meditate.
Many people may be new to the concept of Finnish Saunas, ice baths, infrared saunas, and IV drips. How do you address any concerns or reservations potential clients might have about trying these therapies for the first time?
We don’t give any medical guidance and we always suggest our clients seek medical advice if they have any health concerns, but we are always ready to support with breathing techniques and tips on how to get the most out of your session. Our team is friendly, compassionate, knowledgeable and supportive.
Sustainability is an important consideration in modern businesses. How do you ensure that your wellness center operates in an environmentally friendly manner while providing top-notch services?
We offer water in glass bottles and glasses, use organic cleaning products, encourage short showers, offer only one towel set per person, and do not have a printer – all our documentation is electronic. We also try to minimize waste and sell retail products mostly in glass.
Collaboration with experts can enhance the credibility of a wellness center. Do you work with medical professionals or specialists to develop customized wellness plans for your clients?
We do work with breathing experts and meditation coaches to assist our clients with their ice bath experience. We will also have visiting holistic doctors in the future. Wellness is a holistic concept encompassing physical, mental, and emotional well-being. How do you integrate mindfulness and relaxation practices into your offerings to support the overall health of your clients? In each private room we have a TV where we have handpicked some of the best meditations and breathing exercises to assist on the wellness journey from mental to physical. We also have hand-picked books and notes on the counter for people to be reminded of the grounding and simplest of life’s pleasures.
Can you elaborate on any future plans or expansions for your wellness center, including potential new services or innovations you’re considering?
We want to keep our model simple, not complicating the offer and focusing on what we know and do best. We plan to open 3 more locations across Dubai in the next 6 months.