A former SunTrust employee is bringing a bit of sunlight to an upcoming Westhampton sauna.
Mary Woodbridge said she plans to open Purify, an infrared sauna, at 5609 Patterson Ave. in July. She has five-year lease on the 1,800-square-foot space.
Purify will have four private infrared sauna rooms, one room for massage therapy and two additional rooms. The saunas will have panels that project infrared light at up to 140 degrees. An hour-long sauna session will cost $40, less when bought in bulk or with a membership.
“In Richmond, I think people are focused on health and wellness and looking for alternative ways to help with health issues,” Woodbridge said. “Most people don’t really know what it is, but it’s definitely a growing trend.”
Woodbridge, 26, said she got the idea to open an infrared sauna while visiting one in Los Angeles. For the past two years, the Virginia Tech alum and former SunTrust employee has been researching the sauna industry and said she feels ready to let there be infrared light in Richmond.
Infrared light is an invisible part of light spectrum that Woodbridge said lacks harmful rays. It’s used in holistic health approaches and at least one forthcoming hot yoga studio.
Woodbridge said there are myriad health benefits to infrared light saunas, including detoxification and an elevated heart rate that imitates cardiovascular exercise. While typical saunas heat the room, warming the body in turn, infrared saunas heat the body directly through absorption of the light.
Woodbridge said that means lower temperatures and no dry heat that some find uncomfortable.
“The infrared light penetrates into your skin,” she said.
Woodbridge said it’s going to cost $150,000 to open Purify. She’s financing the venture with help from Union Bank & Trust. Dominion Construction is doing the work on the property, and Spaces Design Studio is designing the space.
Woodbridge said she initially considered launching her concept in Short Pump but wanted to go after a more residential market.
“When I looked at Short Pump, I saw a lot of people who preferred to come before work or after,” Woodbridge said. “And also the rent is affordable over there (in Westhampton) as opposed to Short Pump.”
Still, Woodbridge said she hopes to eventually open locations in Short Pump and Midlothian.