Ozone therapy - What to know about Connie Ferguson’s wellness pod that confused followers

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Connie Ferguson had her followers curious when photos of her in an Ozone Therapy pod were circulated.
Connie Ferguson had her followers curious when photos of her in an Ozone Therapy pod were circulated.
Photo: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

Connie Ferguson caused a stir on social media when she posted snaps of herself relaxing in a pod with nothing but her head showing. 

It's not a computer mouse or a power bank, as some fans guessed in jest.

The legendary actress was actually getting a one-of-a-kind spa treatment. A lot of people on social media were curious to know what it does to the body and if it costs a fortune, while others poked fun at the pod.

But what is it, exactly?

We speak to an ozone therapist Chris Porter from Salvagente - a spa establishment in Pretoria - who explains it all for us.

“It is called ozone sauna therapy or transdermal ozone steam therapy. It is where ozone (O3 molecule) is absorbed into the body through the skin to improve your wellness. This is done inside an ozone steam sauna, a pod where your body is covered but your head sticks out,” Chris says.

When asked about the function of the treatment, he says as soon as you get into the pod you are greeted by a clean white sauna, which starts rejuvenating your body.

“As much skin as possible should be exposed, so once you get in, with your bathing costume or underwear, the doors will close around you just below your chin. A towel or covering will be added around your neck to ensure excess steam and ozone stays in the sauna. The unit will then start steaming to your desired temperature, normally between 38C-40C, and a relaxing 30 minutes will pass while steam and ozone mixture is pumped into the sauna.”

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He tells us, whoever tries it gets to reap the benefits such as boosting the immune system and detoxifying the body, among other benefits.

“Ozone is an incredibly strong oxidiser, 55 times stronger than chlorine and it works 3000 times faster. Once it comes in contact with viruses, fungi, bacteria etc, the highly unstable and reactive ozone will attach to it and oxidise it, rendering the virus or bacteria harmless to replicate itself, thereby eliminating it.

“This in turn assists the body to detoxify, stimulating the immune system and boosting its natural defences. Ozone therapy has been used for weight loss, improving skin purity, and slowing down degenerative diseases. In sports, it is used to loosen and relax muscles, reduce lactic acid build-up and shorten recovery times, and even increase oxygen absorption to improve performance.”

How does it work?

Chris further explains, “An ambient air from the room is converted to 93 percent pure oxygen by the oxygen concentrator ‘sometimes oxygen cylinders or bottles are also used’. The pure oxygen is then pumped through a built-in ozone generator which under high voltage creates ozone. The ozone is then introduced into the sauna itself where you are sitting. The steam is generated by the built-in kettle and pumped into the sauna from below the footrest.” 

While this treatment boasts a list of benefits, safety is important. 

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Always check that your ozone therapist uses the correct equipment, Chris advises, adding that the therapist must be able to regulate the temperature of the sauna “and must use a medical oxygen source like an oxygen concentrator or oxygen bottle”.

He tells us the fun facts that Ozone therapy has been around since the 1800s and was even used to treat wounds during World Wars. He says the spa treatment therapy has been around in South Africa since 2005 and is gaining popularity every year.

It is luxury but does not really cost a fortune as it seems, he says.

“Ozone session prices vary by location and outlets but the average is around R300-R350 per 30-minute session, with many places offering discounts if more than one session is booked. It is best to start with packages of 10 sessions to start seeing results.

“The therapy is safe for all ages but it is recommended that children are constantly supervised by adults, and that children must be able to speak and inform the parent and/or therapist when they are uncomfortable. For precautionary reasons, many places will not treat children under the age of seven,” Chris says.

He says he recommends it because it is a proactive way of maintaining good health.

“Our health is our most important asset, yet one of the most neglected components of our lives. We are reactive when it comes to our health, only acting once we are already sick. Yet with this revolutionary alternative wellness treatment, we can be proactive and decrease our chances of falling ill in the first place. Prevention is after all better than cure.”

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