Aaron Zack on 2014-04-02 at 11.34 For Internet
Ari Meisel: So now I’m speaking with Aaron Zack who is the CEO of Sunlighten. So Aaron,
thank you for speaking to me.
Aaron: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Ari Meisel: So we’re going to talk about two things here mainly. First of all, the awesome
infrared saunas that you guys make first of all, first and foremost, but then I
really get into the technology of infrared and how that kind of works.
So how did you get with Sunlighten and how did this sort come about? Tell us a
little bit about saunas themselves.
Aaron: Sure. So my brother in law had high levels of mercury and he was unable to
work. He was debilitated. He went to all these different doctors to know, to
figure out what was wrong with him but yeah he would wake up every morning
feeling nauseous, dizzy and just didn’t enjoy life.
It wasn’t until he went into a dentist and the dentist realized that he had
amalgams in his mouth and he was leaking mercury into his blood stream and
the dentist suggested that he purchase a far-infrared sauna at the time and he,
our money from friends because he wasn’t working, purchased an infrared
sauna and within 6 months, he was able to start jogging, he was feeling better,
he was at a good job, and so he said, you know what I want to make a difference
in other individual’s lives. This has been so impactful to me. I need to get this
out to the world and that is how Sunlighten was formed.
Now, parallel past, I was at Procter & Gamble on the pharmaceutical side. I
started in sales and moved into marketing and same with Connie who was my
partner and together we both realized what a great opportunity this was to
make a difference in people’s lives which is what we’re all about and so we both
left Procter & Gamble and joined forces and the rest is history.
Ari Meisel: Wow, okay. So I wasn’t actually aware that infrared could help like with
Ari Meisel: That’s pretty cool and I mean I don’t like it but I do like it that it sort of started
with the health crisis that somebody’s great idea always come out of. Okay, so
you said far-infrared first of all so why don’t we just start there. What is far-
infrared as opposed to infrared in general?
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Aaron: Sure, sure. That was one of our key learning in our new technology so far-
infrared is a great technology. It’s excellent for increasing circulation, decreasing
blood pressure, but it’s most notably has its impact in our industry is for
detoxification. It’s a much longer wavelength and when you truly think about
far-infrared, it’s actually cooling. So the best and the most effective far-infrared
is not hot at all, but what it does is it penetrates deep into your core body
allowing you for a deeper sweat.
Ari Meisel: Okay, so how is it doing that really? I mean we’re just talking about light here
obviously so I just want to explain this well to everybody.
Aaron: Sure. It’s a wavelength, a wavelength of light and all we’re doing is we’re trying
to emulate the most effective wavelength and by doing that you want to have
what we talked about is black-body radiation and making sure we have the
highest amount of emissivity, and so when we look at that there’s all different
types of far-infrared heaters that are out there but we tested ours and shown
that’s 95% emissive. Meaning that, 95% of the heat coming off of our heater is
Ari Meisel: Gotcha. Okay. So just again, I want to clarify this for some people. You know this
isn’t like you’re microwaving yourself. You are basically, I think right almost at
the mitochondria level, you’re getting heat generating.
Aaron: Correct. Right.
Ari Meisel: And for everyone, the mitochondria are like the engines of our self basically and
that’s what I’ve talked about before and you probably heard before how you
can run on glucose or ketones. The mitochondria are really the things that are
basically burning that and oxidizing it essentially. So the more effectively your
mitochondria function, the better yourself will function and this definitely a very
good way to do that.
So let’s get into some of the benefits Aaron. So first of all, chelation, I had no
idea that it was helpful for that and is that just because it helps with cell repair
or how’s that? How is that helping for chelation?
Aaron: Sure, sure. So chelation is one way to eliminate toxicity from the bloodstream
and some say that there’s a safer and effective ways and we feel like our
So what we say is that, toxins get trapped within water molecules and as the
infrared heat penetrates, it vibrates the water molecules and helps to release
the toxins through sweat. It’s going to be in your largest organ, being one of the
most effective ways to detoxify.
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Ari Meisel: Okay and this is a big part of this. It’s really helping you detoxify and you can talk
about sweat as a way to sort of getting things out of you and that’s one thing,
but not necessarily seeing toxins in the sweat because your sweating. So what
you’re talking about Aaron really is that you’re actually getting a break that free
of what’s binding in some way so that it can really get out of you.
Ari Meisel: So what are some other really great benefits? I mean, personally I think the
infrared sauna is amazing for recovery.
Aaron: Sure and that’s one of the things that we learned. So let’s go back a little bit,
2008, we setup a cross functional team and we said, far-infrared is great and
we’ve seen a ton benefits but there’s so much more out there and what we
didn’t realize until we did our deep dive into the research is that there’s
different wavelengths within infrared.
So you have your near infrared, you have your mid infrared and we were just
touching the surface of what and how we could help individuals by the far-
infrared. So we looked at [0:05:58] such as Dr. Whalen who was the world
renowned expert in near-infrared.
We looked into some of the benefits of mid-infrared and we thought, okay what
if we’re able to build something that can revive all 3 spectrums and tap into the
benefits of all those 3 different spectrums. What a difference in impact that
could make. So do you want me to go into, I can talk a little bit about near-
Ari Meisel: Please. Absolutely. Yes, let’s do it.
Aaron: So with near-infrared, it’s really, really cool because you can’t even feel it. So it’s
an invisible light that doesn’t even give off heat and it’s just a great short
wavelength through your body that’s excellent for wound healing, it’s excellent
for pain relief, skin rejuvenation. Those are probably the three highlights to
The next one would be mid-infrared which is more your passive cardiovascular
workout. It’ going to be great for weight loss, improving circulation and it also
has a lot of benefits with pain relief as well.
Ari Meisel: And then of course you’ve got some of the far-infrared.
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Ari Meisel: So now, in your thoughts you have the far-infrared sauna, you have the full
spectrum sauna, so are you getting all of those wavelengths at the same time or
is it cycling or how does that work?
Aaron: Correct. So we developed different programs. We have skin rejuvenation, pain
relief, weight loss. So we have different programs and what we did is we went
through I would say about 300 clinical trials that have been conducted and what
we did is we worked with different thought leaders.
We have a computer brain within our sauna and what we did is we developed
programs that emulate the clinical trials that have been already out there and
we based it upon the surface temperature re-heater and the [0:07:42] density,
the size of our heaters to ensure that the consumers get the same amount of
protocol jewels or energy from our heaters that they would’ve if they were
doing the clinical and so all they have to do is push a button to get the benefits
with our product.
Ari Meisel: So that’s something that I want to plan asking people and we’ll try to put an
image in the show notes for this, but you guys have a really cool interface that
as you said you can choose pain relief, you can choose rejuvenation. It’s really
cool. It’s not just getting into a room with hot rocks which is nice too but this is
really targeted therapy.
Aaron: Correct. We try to make it as simple as possible where you could push a button
and get the benefit that you’re looking for or you could be kind of geeky which I
tend to be at times and we have a custom study where you can actually specify
how much near-infrared, how much far-infrared and mid-infrared you want on
Ari Meisel: Okay, so we’ll look on that a little bit then. So when you’re doing that, like you
personally you know, so you just want to relax, what do you do?
Aaron: I just do the relaxation study.
Ari Meisel: Okay, so when…
Aaron: So I keep it simple.
Ari Meisel: What are the circumstances then where you’re actually like you know breaking
it down a little bit and choosing different wavelengths over others?
Aaron: You know for me, I just run the programs and probably part of that is because I
know what went into developing the programs and I know how beneficial they
are. So when I run the treatments, I just choose a program that’s going to fit the
need that I’m looking for and that’s why I run the way.
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I would say the only time I use the custom settings for me personally is I’m
showing the customer how the sauna works or if I’m just going in for a couple of
minutes where a programs is going to be irrelevant.
Ari Meisel: Gotcha! Now one of the things that I really like that you have included and this
is sort of one that you’re offering is the biofeedback aspect of it. So that’s
something that I actually haven’t seen that in anywhere else, so how are you
combining biofeedback with the sauna therapy?
Aaron: Sure. So one of the aspects that we’ve seen in our industry is that there have
been claims that you can burn up to 600 calories in a 30-minute sauna
treatment and that doesn’t really soothe well with us.
What we wanted to do is to show kind of reality. So we worked hard with
engineers to come up with an algorithm that would emulate bean inside our
sauna and take your heart rate and kind of bench mark it off of the leading data
that’s out there of the algorithms of heart monitors to give you a realistic
function of how many calories you would burn in a sauna session.
So with the heart rate monitor, you connect it to the LCD and you can see
exactly how many calories you are burning. You have to enter in your age, you
have to enter in your weight and your sex, but it will give you a realistic quantity
of calories being burned.
Ari Meisel: Yeah, and that’s really awesome. You know it’s one of the things that I always
want to talk about and when people ask me what trackers I like there’s a
tracking device called The Basis and one of the reasons is that it’s one of the few
or maybe the only one’s that really has the skin temperature and also sweat,
and so I tried to explain it by noticing a big difference between sitting in a desk
and sitting in a hot room or sitting in a cold room for that matter, but most
trackers won’t see the difference between that.
So I think that’s really great that you’re able to include the information and the
other thing that I also like that you’ve included is chromotherapy.
Ari Meisel: So let’s talk about how that plays into it.
Aaron: Sure, sure. So chromotherapy is very, very popular with our customers. We
don’t have a ton of substantial data to support the chromotherapy but it’s been
more customer feedback that they really appreciate. So different levels of
colour provide different moods which enhances your experience. So some
people like to take sauna treatments with blue, some with red. It just allows you
to have an overall, more relaxing experience.
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Ari Meisel: So it’s funny because there is very or limited real data as far as I’ve seen, but I
personally I haven’t turn off right now but when I’m working in the morning or
the night, I usually have a red light facing up and I even have this LED strips right
here in the wall that I can change the colour.
I mean during the day, you really want blue and that just helps with circadian
rhythms but what you find and I actually just did an interview with Helen Irlen
from the Irlen Institute and they do these colour lenses where it’s basically
everybody has a very different need as far as sort of colour inputs in the colour
So you can find that for me, [00:12:22] green would be very relaxing and for
someone else a deep purple maybe that sort of helps them get into that mode.
Ari Meisel: I feel like with chromotherapy, it’s one of the situations where perception is
reality. You know what, it’s making you, if you think it’s making you more
relaxed, then it probably is making you more relaxed whether you can sort with
that with data or not.
Aaron: Right and that’s the important aspect.
Ari Meisel: Right, exactly. So another thing also attending with another thing I want to point
out to with people is unlike a sauna that has a real heater in it, you’re not
actually really sitting on a hot room with it.
Ari Meisel: So that’s what I think is important. This is really generating like inner heat.
Aaron: Correct. We’re not about heating the air. We’re all about keying up the core
body temperature. So one of the things that make us special is that we can heat
your core body temperature up to 103 degrees, so we’re creating that, an inner
fever within your body and that’s where you’re getting a lot of the different
Ari Meisel: Yeah and I just want to point out about that for someone, for instance like my
son who is 2 years and 3 months old like for hot air in our house is really bad for
him. We see it right away like he gets very stuffy and dried out and his skin
shows that. So we actually keep the house rather cool but something like this
where you’re generating that inner heat is a very, very different situation.
Aaron: Yeah. One way I like to describe that might be helpful for your listeners is it’s
like being in the sun. So if it’s 70 degrees outside and you have infrared shine on
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you, you feel that nice warm peaceful heat and then the cloud covers. It’s still
70 degrees but you feel cool. It’s that gentle warm infrared heat that you’re
receiving naturally from the sun. That’s what you’re feeling when it feels so nice
to have that sunshine on you.
Ari Meisel: Right and then another to point out regarding that specifically is that I think
actually, correct me if I’m wrong, you can spend a little more time infrared
sauna than you could with the traditional right?
Aaron: Correct. We recommend 40-minute treatments.
Ari Meisel: Yeah.
Aaron: And in fact, it’s better to stay in for 40 minutes than it would be to stay in for
10 to 15 minutes.
Ari Meisel: Right, right.
Aaron: Typically, in a traditional sauna it’s so hot and oppressive that you can’t stay in
for longer than 5 to 10 minutes before you’re getting out versus in an infrared
sauna and our technology 40 minutes is what’s recommended and you kind of
build up towards the end of the 40 minutes you’re ready to get out as your core
body temperature increases, but the first 15 to 20 minutes is very peaceful and
Ari Meisel: Yeah and that’s nice because you know anyone who seems like a real hot
traditional sauna like a Russian sauna whereas that you’ll often, usually a piece
of it is a good place, you’ll see a sign that says you shouldn’t be in there for too
long if you have a heart condition or part of something and that’s for that
reason, and then what about contrasting cold therapy with the infrared sauna?
Have you played around with that at all because the cold therapy that you
would do won’t be external, so how do you do that, because I’m a big fan of soft
of cold therapy for reducing inflammation of everything, so how does that
Aaron: Sure. We haven’t experimented a whole lot with cold therapy. All of our hopes
have been more on the warm therapy but there’s a ton of advantage to using
cold therapy with the infrared.
Ari Meisel: Yeah, great. So Aaron that’s really, I mean thank you for sharing all that
information with us. You know for people to find out more the URL is, tell them
what the URL is.
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Ari Meisel: Yeah, and we’re going to have a link to all in the show notes and also some of
the research that you post on your website as well and for those listening, I’m
not exactly sure when this podcast is being released but I have noticed that you
guys offer specials quite a bit.
Aaron: We do, we offer specials and mention the show and we’ll definitely ensure to
take care of you.
Ari Meisel: Thank you very much for that for everybody. So Aaron, thank you very much for
talking to me.
Aaron: Thank you. We appreciate it.
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