Perspire Sauna Studio is expanding its Southern California footprint, bringing new studios to eight area cities.

Founded in 2010, the Costa Mesa-based sauna franchise operates 12 locations, including Irvine, Huntington Beach and Santa Monica.

The expansion into 2024 will include eight new studios in San Clemente, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Calabasas, Manhattan Beach, Brentwood, West Hollywood and Venice. Three additional locations are coming to Berkeley, Chico and West San Jose.

Most Perspire studios are located in spaces that were previously occupied by other retail tenants.

Perspire founder and CEO Lee Braun said California is the company’s biggest market because of the state’s health-conscious communities.

“If you’re living in California, you generally want to be outdoors exercising and enjoying that kind of lifestyle,” he said. “Our studios offer the opportunity for a bit of recovery.”

Perspire offers infrared and red-light therapy that, unlike traditional saunas that heat up the air around you, heat up the body without warming the air. The company says the infrared waves, which penetrate the skin, muscles, joints and tissues, are designed to improve circulation, oxygen flow and help to detoxify the body, according to Braun.

“It’s really like an improvement on traditional saunas,” he said. “With a traditional sauna, you stay in 15 minutes and your nose is burning and you’re overheating. But our saunas just warm up your core temperature by two to three degrees and you’re able to stay in longer. You have more of a cathartic, overall sweat experience.”

Perspire has 30 locations open with more under development throughout the U.S.

Maria Kirgan operates Perspire Sauna Studios in Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. In February, she opened another one in San Clemente. (Photo courtesy of Perspire Sauna Studio)

Maria Kirgan operates Perspire studios in Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. In February, she opened another one in San Clemente.

“We’re getting about 600 people a week at each location,” the 50-year-old Laguna Nigel entrepreneur said. “In January, we hit about 3,000 sessions in Dana Point.”

Perspire’s studios have individual rooms in which customers can sit or lie down, with 40-minute sessions ranging from $39 to $49, depending on the location.

A $59 monthly membership will give a customer four sessions a month, while a $139 monthly membership fee provides unlimited access.

Launching a Perspire studio requires an investment of $444,067 to $590,667, which includes a $45,000 franchise fee, according to the company’s website.

Patrick Findaro, co-founder of Vetted Biz, an online source that evaluates franchise opportunities, said Perspire franchisees should also be prepared to pay fees of $70,000 to $80,000 every four years for equipment and studio upgrades.

Kirgan, who endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments to successfully treat breast cancer, said she first visited a Perspire Sauna Studio as a customer. The experience prompted her to become a franchisee.

“When I was at the tail end of my treatments it really helped with pain, anxiety and depression … all of that stuff,” she said. “And when I got laid off from my job as an executive in technology I decided I really didn’t want to travel anymore, so I changed my quality of life.”

Expected timeline for the newest Southern California openings:

San Clemente (Early 2023)
Irvine-Orchard Hills (Summer 2023)
Calabasas/Porter Ranch (Summer 2023)
Manhattan Beach (Spring 2024)
Brentwood (Spring 2024)
Laguna Woods (Spring 2024)
West Hollywood/Studio City (Spring 2024)
Venice (Spring 2024)

“We’re growing like crazy,” Braun said. “There is so much demand for people taking wellness into their own hands. Our goal is to have 500 locations nationwide by 2027.”