Red Effect combines infrared therapy with group fitness

Classes at Red Effect Fitness are taken in infrared enhanced studios.

A new fitness trend is catching heat in Carmel Valley with the opening of the Red Effect Fitness. Located in Torrey Corner Shopping Center on the corner of Carmel Mountain Road and East Ocean Air Drive, the new boutique fitness studio includes studios enhanced by infrared light for cycling, kickboxing and interval training classes as well as personal infrared saunas.

A Red Effect class feels the burn. Courtesy

Infrared panels in the ceiling warm each fitness studio—Manager Olivia Murphy said with access to infrared therapy during a workout, the body can soak up the benefits of detoxification, faster recovery, reduced joint pain and stress relief. As the body works to cool itself, there is an increase in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate which causes the body to burn more calories.

During each fitness class, individual heart rate monitors are used to track workout stats that are then emailed to users after class.

“Carmel Valley is a great community, the demographic is perfect for what we’re offering,” said owner Josh Epstein. “Wellness is very important to the community here and I think they needed an offering that provided more than just a single concept.”

Epstein, a Del Mar resident, owns and operates the business with his brother Hayden, a Torrey Pines High School alum. The entrepreneurial brothers had previously started a pet food distribution company that they sold in 2015.

While living in Chicago, Hayden learned about the Red Effect concept, which had started in Michigan. Once the brothers were sold on the infrared effect, Hayden moved back to Orange County as they bought the rights to launch the concept into the entire Southern California market.

“I had been looking at and watching the fitness market for the last eight to 10 years and I’ve been very familiar with the use of infrared therapy for 12 years,” Josh Epstein said. “When this concept came to me, my brother and I decided this was a disrupter in the industry—multiple concepts under one location in the boutique fitness space. Adding the infrared just put it over the top.”

The large space in Torrey Corner, which used to be a Rush indoor cycling studio and a Massage Envy, has been reconfigured to house the three separate fitness studios and two personal saunas.


The 60-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) class combines treadmills, water rowers and the weight floor. The cycling theater uses Schwinn bikes that are equipped with instant data and performance metrics. The kickboxing studio is filled with heavyweight bags for a group workout of choreographed punches, kicks, body weight exercises.

Epstein’s favorite class is the kickboxing, “It feels like the hour goes by so fast”, but his true favorite thing at Red Effect is the infrared sauna for relaxing and recovery.

The private sauna room comes with chromotherapy lighting that the user can control, choosing from the seven colors of the light spectrum. Alternative medicine practitioners who use chromotherapy often relate the different color frequencies to specific body areas—as an example, green acts as a relaxant while the yellow is believed to reactivate and purify the skin and can help with indigestion and bodily stress.

All of the colors and their benefits are listed for the user and the sauna also comes with a port for people to watch an iPad or plug in their devices during a 40-minute session.

While the Epsteins have an “aggressive” development schedule to roll out Red Effects in Southern California, they do not want to lose sight of their debut location.

“It’s important to be involved and be at the studio and make sure we’re supporting our members and employees,” Epstein said, noting he believes they have all the pieces in place to successfully bring the red hot, unique concept to market.

Red Effect offers a monthly unlimited subscription for all four concepts. For more information, visit Red Effect is located at 11130 E. Ocean Air Drive, suite 105, San Diego, 92130, 442-777-5030.

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