Illume's individual treatment rooms offer everything from Himalayan salt therapy to LED light therapy. Photo courtesy of Illume.

Jennifer Ferris-Glick had always envisioned adding a wider range of wellness services for clients at her popular Downtown yoga and meditation studio Exhale.

Photo courtesy of Illume Pittsburgh.

When the first-floor space became available just three flights down from Exhale, Ferris-Glick says, she and co-founder Michael Decosmo knew it was time to expand. After 19 months of renovation, Exhale has now grown and become Illume Pittsburgh at 222 Boulevard of the Allies.

Sacred yoga and meditation are still priorities, but they’re joined by a wide variety of healing treatments that Ferris-Glick says are supported by a range of academic studies on their health benefits.

Among the most relaxing:

The Vibroacoustic Sound Lounge is a small private room with a treatment bed that vibrates in time with audio frequencies played through a lightweight headset. Nestled under a weighted blanket, you hear instrumental music and sounds while the soft surface underneath you is channeling the same vibrations.

It’s a bit like riding along inside the dramatic soundtrack of a science fiction movie, as the otherwordly sound and sensation envelop you.

Sessions are normally at least 30 minutes. I gave the Sound Lounge just a 10-minute trial run, but I emerged feeling like I’d been meditating and relaxing for much longer.

Depending on the specific audio and tactile treatment you choose, Ferris-Glick says the Sound Lounge can be valuable for treating a range of issues including anxiety and depression, lowering stress hormone levels or enhancing focus.

Illume’s “wet pod” infrared steam treatment. Photo by Melissa Rayworth.
Illume’s “wet pod” infrared steam treatment. Photo by Melissa Rayworth.

Another immersive treatment is the Cocoon Aqua IR Hydration Pro Pod, which Illume calls their “wet pod.”

Its steamy hydration feels like the perfect antidote to dry, chilly days in Pittsburgh. After undressing, you lie down inside what looks like a tiny rocket bound for Mars and close a lid over your body.

Your head is outside the pod (which helps if you’re at all claustrophobic), with cool air gently blowing on your face. Once you press the start button, infrared light and warm, vitamin-infused steam begin to hydrate your skin and relax your muscles.

The colors of light slowly change and the temperature rises to over 100 degrees. But with cool air on your face and moisture on your skin, you get a calming sensation of warmth rather than feeling like it’s a hot day at the beach.

And you get a measure of control: While inside the pod, you can reach a small touchscreen to adjust the temperature inside the pod and the speed of the air on your face.

And although it’s called the “wet pod,” you only emerge just a bit sweaty and with relatively dry hair. Illume offers showers and changing rooms, so it’s a half-hour treatment that could be squeezed in during a lunch hour.

Other services include Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna and a Halotherapy Salt Chamber and more, and a flotation tank is coming soon.

Illume is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends by appointment.

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The Associated Press. Find a selection of her work at