Infrared Therapy in the Strip


    A everyone knows, the Strip District is a great place to establish a business—with some having been in the Strip for many years while new businesses seem to sprout up every few months. One of the relative newcomers to provide services in the neighborhood is Aura, the region’s first and only dedicated infrared therapy sauna studio. Located conveniently on Smallman Street, Aura Sauna Studio opened for business in April 2023.

    Owners (and mother and daughter team) Bonita Juliette and Laura Early decided to open an infrared sauna in Pittsburgh after visiting the Infrared Therapy Wellness Studio while on vacation out of state. After their positive experience there, they soon knew they wanted to bring an infrared sauna studio to Pittsburgh. “We did some research on infrared therapy and learned that it was booming in other metropolitan areas; but there wasn’t anything here in Pittsburgh,” notes Early. After a year of planning and testing the market, the duo selected a space across from the Strip District Terminal. Early confirms why the two owners are so enthusiastic about their choice: “I just love the Strip! It has good energy and is super busy. We were looking for a location in the Strip for a while and this was perfect.”

    The name Aura seemed perfect for their studio, too. “We had a brainstorming session with a variety of names. ‘Aura’ by definition is ‘the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place.’ Regular use (and even single use) of the IR (infrared sauna) provides your body with enlightened energy and shifts your aura into a realm that is positive, calm, relaxed, and detoxed,” Early explains.

    Infrared sauna therapy heats the body directly rather than simply warming the air around you like a traditional sauna. Due to this approach, it raises the core body temperature and produces a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where most toxins reside. “Our units are FULL spectrum, meaning they have NIR (near), MIR (mid), and FIR (far) infrared light levels,” explains Early. Infrared light therapy is light that you cannot see—it is light that creates the heat and provides the majority of the health benefits. The clinically tested and research-based health and healing benefits include weight loss, reduced inflammation, deep mental and physical relaxation, sleep, and more. “A client can receive benefits from a single session that can last up to six weeks. However, the majority of our clients are coming in on a regular basis, anywhere from one to seven times per week. We do have some clients that come every day!” says Early.

    Owners mother and daughter Bonita Juliette (left) and  Laura Early.

    Owners mother and daughter Bonita Juliette (left) and
    Laura Early.

    Aura Sauna Studio is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of their customers. Potential clients should first check with their doctor if they have any medical concerns. “Sunlighten is the brand of IR Saunas that we have in studio, and they have a plethora of training materials that are science based and produced regularly. They are the top-of-the-line infrared sauna manufacturer in the market, and that assures us we are safely treating our clients in the most effective ways. Should a client have a medical issue that we are not familiar with, we consult immediately with Sunlighten.”

    Aura offers six spacious and private sauna suites that are heated to about 140 degrees. Clients can adjust the temperature if they desire, and they can relax and watch TV or listen to music while in the sauna. All sessions are scheduled and billed for 45 minutes. If for any reason a client decides to shorten a session, they are free to stop at any time.

    Some people prefer to use the sauna for 30-minute sessions as a quick refresh or way to decompress. Also, it’s important to note that clients must be 18-plus years old to utilize the sauna. “We do accept walk-ins, but currently evenings and weekends are busy so we recommend prescheduled appointments for those times,” says Early. Prices range from a single session of $45 (new clients, $35) up to unlimited monthly packages of $359. There are many options and a variety of packages, all listed on their website. Aura Sauna Studio also has a product line featuring bundles, gift cards, accessories, clothing, décor, beauty products, and more (which also can be ordered online).

    For more information on infrared therapy benefits, safety, what to wear, pricing, and more, consult their website at; visit/contact the studio at 2004 Smallman Street in the Strip / 412-502-2751; open weekdays until 8:00 p.m. and weekends until 4:00 pm.

    Denise S. Artman is a staff photographer and contributing writer for The Strip! magazine. See more of her Pittsburgh photography at FB: Denise S. Artman Photography.