Sisters (from left) Kris Mutlu and Michele McMasters opened Urban Sol Infrared Sauna Studio last month at 15912 N.E. 83rd St. in downtown Redmond. Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

Infrared sauna owners want to ‘create an escape for people’

Kris Mutlu lived with daily pain for about two decades.

Since her mid to late 30s, she had back and neck pain and would take up to six to eight ibuprofen pills a day. This would have a snowball effect and affect her overall life. Mutlu became more sedentary, which led her to gain weight. She was unable to fully participate in life. For example, when she traveled, she wasn’t able to fully enjoy the experience.

“I couldn’t walk,” Mutlu said.

Eventually, she realized she had to make a change and began researching non-pharmaceutical methods of pain management and stumbled upon infrared saunas. She gave it a try about a year ago and it worked. She was able to stop taking ibuprofen within a month and since then, Mutlu said she was able to get back her quality of life.

She began thinking about how infrared could help other members in her family and from that came Urban Sol Infrared Sauna Studio, which Mutlu opened with her sister Michele McMasters on March 7 at 15912 N.E. 83rd St. in downtown Redmond.

The sisters moved up from California’s Bay Area — McMasters first in September 2016, before Mutlu followed her in December 2016 — and while they grew up in the Golden State, they had relatives who lived in the Pacific Northwest.

“It’s a place that’s kind of close to our hearts,” Mutlu said about the region, adding that they would come up to visit often throughout their childhood.

She said Redmond was a good size to open a business — “city-ish” but not too big.

As a downtown resident, McMasters found the space where Urban Sol is located and suggested it to her sister. Mutlu was still living in California at the time and discussed with her husband the idea of opening an infrared studio in the Pacific Northwest. The couple owned — and still owns — a furniture store in California, but they decided to go for it.

Mutlu said after making that decision, everything fell into place.

“I love our space,” she said. “I’m very proud of what we’ve done here.”

The two sisters wanted to create an escape for people — somewhere they can rejuvenate and receive health benefits.

McMasters explained that infrared rays are part of the sun’s light spectrum that every living thing needs to live.

Infrared waves penetrate human tissue and heat the body from within, producing a “more efficient sweat,” she said.

Mutlu said when a person sweats, it is usually about three percent toxins and the rest is water. Sweat from infrared waves is about 20 percent toxins.

She and McMasters said at Urban Sol, their saunas provide the full spectrum of near, mid and far infrared rays — whereas other studios may only provide far infrared rays.

Health benefits from infrared can include detoxification, weight loss, pain relief, wound healing and improved skin.

“That good stuff can also snowball,” Mutlu said, adding that infrared is not a quick fix but described it as a “gentle fix.” “It’s a journey.”

She also recalled when she was experiencing back and neck pain how she would get frustrated whenever she went to the gym because she couldn’t move for very long. Mutlu said infrared could help people who are in physical pain like she was or assist people who struggle with moving due to mental health issues.

“It’s like a passive workout,” she said.

Mutlu added that infrared is also “very safe” and even used with newborns to keep them warm when they are away from their mothers.

Sauna sessions at Urban Sol range from 30-45 minutes, depending on what a client’s health goals are.

This month, the business has also added Migun therapy to their services, which combines and is inspired by five therapies: acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, heat and massage.

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