Beauty and wellness destination: the heavenly HANA

If you visit here regularly, you’ll know I’m a HUGE fan of LED Light therapy. One of the quickest fixes I’ve found for irritated skin and seasonal mood swings, it’s one of my favourite indulgences when I can for so many reasons. Gentle and painless with zero downtime, light therapy has been used by beauty experts for years to treat everything from breakouts to rosacea and collagen breakdown. It’s one of the few treatments that has seriously made a difference in times of trouble when I’m dealing with rosacea, and gives my skin a major boost to boot. Overshadowed (pardon the pun) over the last few years by more invasive procedures, it is now firmly back in almost every beauty clinic and I am SO here for it.
It's also of the many healing and energising modalities on offer at HANA, a new wellness space in the Scrapyard development in Grey Lynn. HANA, which means in “to shine, glow and radiate” in Te Reo Māori, opened in​ early June - just in time for Winter – offering the aforementioned LED treatments for the whole body via red light therapy pods, as well as infrared saunas, massage, Pilates and more.

It’s a beautifully warm and inviting space, with eco chic stylist’s touches and a carefully curated collection of wellness products on offer as well. It’s the work of ex-pharmacist Sara Higgins (above), who says her key focus is to provide a space that allows clients the freedom to slow down. “Looking after your health is so important and should be prioritised,” says the super passionate Sara, “and with HANA my aim is to create a calming and healing sanctuary that encourages people to relax and take time for self-care.”
The main attraction for many is most definitely the private infrared saunas that can be booked for up to 45 minutes, and the Photobiomodulation (red light) therapy pods, which you can lie back and enjoy for up to 20 minutes. I visited last week to try a combo of both, and left feeling seriously on top of the world. People who saw my Instagram stories and hadn’t heard of the aforementioned modalities asked me: what are they, and what are they for? My answer was: well where do I start?
While hugely popular in New York and London, the concept of a wellness space dedicated to infrared sauna is completely new to this country, but its use is proven to provide head-to-toe benefits such as full detoxification, ultimate relaxation, alleviation from pain, glowing skin, more energy, improved circulation and a strengthened immune system.

While traditional saunas raise the air temperature to very high levels, infrared saunas heat the body directly, so that only around 20 percent of the heat goes to heat the air. Instead, infrared waves penetrate deep into the body for a deep heating, which allow the body to activate sweat glands and eliminate toxins.
Post sweat at HANA, clients pop into private showers with filtered water - a critical component post sauna - and complete the spa ritual with premium bodycare offerings from my go-to, Sans(ceuticals) and luxury towels by Baina.
The full body Photobiomodulation (red light) therapy pods use red and near infrared light to help mitochondria (the power house of our bodies cells) to function better. Better functioning mitochondria means more energy and less risk for disease, and the treatment comes scientifically backed to also repair sun damage, reduce wrinkles, speed muscle recovery, heal scarring and stretch marks, reduce inflammation, boost testosterone levels and enhance collagen. Can you see why I’m so obsessed now? Time spent in a pod also feels like being on a tropical holiday to me, something we could all use a bit of right now!
Sara first discovered the powers of infrared saunas and light therapies when she found herself suffering from unexplained fatigue for over five years. “I spent years seeking answers from multiple health practitioners, trying to get to the root cause,” she says. Through the process, she spoke to integrative health practitioners about alternative options to conventional treatments, and came across the healing benefits of saunas and more recently, red light therapy. A pharmacist with nutritional and environmental medicine training, Sara is a mine of information when it comes to living life to the full and can definitely advise you on which of HANA’s offerings are best for you. Right now she is running some great introductory offers if you’re new to infrared saunas or red light therapy, or if you’re just keen to come and check out what is a seriously special space.
“My passion then and now is to guide people on their own journey to full wellness,” she says. “Our bodies detoxify through our skin, and infrared saunas and light therapy help to activate and encourage the process. Sometimes we just need to give it some time, heat and space to heal.”

Photos by Jono Parker


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