Michael Browne is a believer in the health benefits of Sisu Sauna Studio. For him, it's about the holistic wellness experience.
"It's to improve my body for the fitness teaching I do for a living, but it's also for improving my mind, my muscles, my skeletal system, my circulatory system," says Browne, who works as a fitness instructor for Echelon.
"And there's the ambience. Sometimes I enjoy the silence, sometimes there is background music that kind of gets you into a state of Zen."
Sisu is in Chattanooga's Southside, located at 26 E. Main Street, across the street from Alleia Restaurant and adjacent to Alex's Thai Food. Inside, guests will find several private infrared sauna rooms, a cold room, and a cold plunge (a tub filled with 39-degree water).
Devon Sucher joined the spa in 2021 as a managing partner, about five years after it originally opened in 2016. Sucher was first introduced to Sisu through a friend who had been a mixed martial arts fighter (MMA), and who had found relief for his aches and pains through the hot and cold treatments.
Sucher, a former Marine with experience in Afghanistan, has for years dealt with chronic pain in his knees and neck, as well as anxiety brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The hot-cold therapy has become his remedy for wellness.
"Out of everything I've tried, it's the only thing that literally takes away all the pain," Sucher says. "It just decompresses me, resets me. It makes me forget about everything that was wrong with the day.
"I feel rejuvenated, like a new person every time I do it. It's the only thing that makes me feel actually good."
The health benefits of the hot-cold therapy are numerous, he says. It is known to help reduce muscle and join inflammation, improve circulation and heart health, help remove heavy metals and toxins, relieve pain, improve skin clarity and hormone regulation, boost immunity against cold and flu, release mood-enhancing endorphins and help with sleep.
The studio is a sanctuary for mental health too, he adds. With its natural woods, soft lighting and ambient music, Sisu's atmosphere is almost a therapy of its own.
While some may hesitate at the thought of moving from an intensely hot sauna to the icy plunge, Sucher describes it as a revitalizing mixture of pleasure and pain. The drastic contrast feels something like lots of prickly needles, he says -- but once that's over, most people say they feel great.
For Sucher, the sauna room with covered beds is his personal favorite.
"It's like undergoing a metamorphosis," he muses. "You enter like a caterpillar and emerge like a butterfly."
For rates and sauna proceedures, visit sisusaunastudio.com.
What to Know Before You Go
* Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water before and after your session. Complimentary water will be available.
* Skin care – For optimal benefits, cleanse your skin of all makeup, lotions and oils. There is a shower to rinse before and after your sessions.
* Infrared sauna experiences – Let the staff know about your previous sauna encounters and how your body responds to higher temperatures.
* What to wear – You'll have your own private room and can decide what to wear during your session. The cold plunge area is also private.