CELEBRITIES were in Blackwood on Saturday trying out a new type of sauna, while raising money for cancer patients who could benefit from the treatment.

Undefeated world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe, his Strictly Come Dancing girlfriend Kristina Rihanoff, and his trainer dad Enzo all spent time relaxing in infra-red saunas at a new shop on Bridge Street.

Another Calzaghe clan member Melissa Calzaghe-Thorne is behind Wow the Sauna Shop, Bridge Street and is hoping her new venture can transform the health of Valleys folk, with the wooden units credited with treating cancer and arthritis and weight loss.

While the wooden saunas are widely used in Asia and the USA, they are not available here, with Mrs Calzaghe-Thorne, 37, paying over £10,000 to import five units from China.

She has been inspired to help cancer sufferers by her father-in-law David Thorne, who died on January 17 after battling the disease.

Saturday’s fundraiser saw people given free goes of the saunas, with all tips given to Velindre hospital, Cardiff, which treats cancer patients.

Organisers are still counting the amount raised and will continue to fundraise by donating customer's tips to the charity.

Mrs Calzaghe-Thorne said: "I’ve been using one at home and they are really good for de-toxing. I have been suffering from flu and it helped that and I’ve been using it for weight loss as well.

"I think it’ll be the first shop of its kind in Britain and it’s a really healthy way forward. It can help people with drink and drug problems detox as well as smokers."

The saunas are wooden boxes that people sit in, with their heads outside and the infra-red radiant heat that is emitted is absorbed by their skin.

Research in the USA has found the high temperatures can kill or weaken cancer tumour cells, while it also aids weight loss as users can sweat off the equivalent of 300 kcals in a short space of time.

Other studies show they reduce the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and the increased sweating gets rid of toxins.

Mrs Calzaghe-Thorne, a beautician, is now speaking to health centres about making them available to sufferers.

It costs £1 to use the saunas for five minutes.