Watch TV inside a swanky infrared sauna and then brave a cold dip at chic new studio Contrast…

Ice baths are having a moment in the world of wellness, and while the idea sounds mildly unpleasant, the concept itself is thought to offer a plethora of benefits, particularly for exercise enthusiasts.

The activity is hardly new of course: ice baths – or cold-water therapy – has been favoured by pro athletes for years, and claims about the purported benefits date back centuries. The theory is that exposure to cold helps to combat microtrauma in the muscle fibres and soreness caused by intense or repetitive exercise. However, bathing in an icy cold tub has become quite the trend, touted for its transformative healing properties, such as mental clarity and boosted immunity.

One place that’s zoning in on the trend is new Palm studio Contrast, which 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. The brainchild of creative husband-and-wife duo Layla Kardan and Hamdan Al Khafaji, Contrast is an aesthetically stunning space of warm neutral tones and curved arches. It has five large private infrared sauna rooms, an ice bath room, and a contrast therapy room, which comprises a cold-water tub and a traditional sauna complete with salt wall. Put it this way – it’s about as far removed from your bog-standard mega gym sauna as you could get.

With the Contrast Therapy room occupied, we signed up for a 45-minute infrared sauna followed by an ice bath treatment. The sauna suite is state-of-the-art, equipped with a 32-inch smart TV, which meant (to our flagrant delight) that we could watch Selling Sunset on Netflix while getting our sweat on. While traditional saunas raise the air temperature to very high levels, infrared saunas heat the body directly, with its waves penetrating the body, helping activate the body’s sweat glands and eliminate toxins.

Able to withstand just 35 minutes – and dripping in sweat – we make a beeline for the shower, dry off and head across the studio for the cold plunge. Another smart TV shows Netflix, this time screening a man sitting in the snow leading a guided meditation. We climb the steps up to the top of the big black cylindrical tub, take in a couple of deep breaths and make the plunge. Since our body temperature is warmer than normal, the initial feeling of cold is refreshing, but that swiftly changes as our body reacts to the freezing temperatures. A few long, deep breaths and we’re past the worst of it, and at 45 seconds, our body relaxes as we focus on our breath.

As we clamber out of the tub – after seven minutes or so – that invigorating feeling rushes over us – a feeling not too dissimilar to completing a hardcore workout. Blood rushes through our body, our mind feels sharper, our eyes alert and wide – and we feel ready to tackle the day. This is chic wellness at its best.

Contrast, Golden Mile 6, Palm Jumeirah, daily 7.30am to 9.30pm, Dhs95 per 30 min (ice bath), Dhs155 per 45 min (infrared sauna), Dhs185 per 45 min (Contrast therapy). Tel: (055) 449 7229. @contrastwellness