Gina M. Insalaco
The Start of Saunacuse
Gina M. Insalaco's interest in health and wellness began in 2008. Unconvinced that prescription medication was the best way to address her stress-related muscle tension and anxiety, Gina explored alternative treatments.
Her research pointed to natural health solutions. She also began working with Dr. Chris Montanaro, a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist known for his holistic perspective on health. “Talking with him about my struggles enticed me even more to learn about alternative ways to deal with pain and anxiety,” Gina shares.
Combine this strong interest in natural health solutions with a lifelong dream to start a business and you’ve got Saunacuse, Central New York’s premiere infrared sauna studio.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Gina never felt fulfilled by the careers she pursued in the past. So, she decided to nurture her instinct for starting a business. “I think it’s in my blood,” she says.
It also runs in the family. In 1982, her grandparents opened Patsy’s Pizza, a now-popular Italian pizzeria in Syracuse. Today, Gina’s mother and uncle own the restaurant. Gina also has a cousin, Erica Abdo, who owns a make-up company based in Syracuse.
In fact, the idea to start Saunacuse came in May 2012 when commercial space attached to Erica’s make-up company unexpectedly opened up, a space Erica hadn’t previously leased but was forced to take over. At first, the extra space put Erica in a bit of a bind; it was more than she needed for her make-up company. But eventually, it proved to be serendipitous.
“We sat around the dinner table one night, racking our brains for a business to put in place that would allow me to live the dream of starting my own business and benefit her as well,” Gina explains.
Gina pitched the idea of subletting the extra space to open an infrared sauna studio. Erica went with it. “I knew that if I started my own business, I didn’t want to take over where someone else left off. I wanted to start from scratch," says Gina. "People have come out of the woodwork to help me. Each day, I am so amazed and so grateful for all of the extraordinary people in my life.”
Gina loves infrared sauna for the way it complements her yoga practice. “The heat feels wonderful on stressed muscles,” she shares. “Days later, you just feel lighter.”
Infrared sauna sessions also come in handy when the weather in Syracuse turns chilly. “Syracuse winters can be brutal. The warmth of infrared is the best thing we can do for ourselves when we haven’t seen the sun in weeks,” Gina says.
In addition to reaping the benefits of yoga and infrared sauna, Gina does a 21-day cleanse once a year, swims, treats herself to the occasional massage or pedicure, and goes out salsa dancing. “Stress creates havoc in a person’s life,” she says. “We all need opportunities to feel good about ourselves and take care of our bodies.”
Visit Saunacuse and experience the benefits of infrared sauna for yourself!