We went to Shape House, a trendy infrared sauna. Here’s what happened.
In LA, we have access to cutting-edge wellness trends. Cupping? All over that. Crystal chakra balancing? At least once a week. Now, the latest “it” treatment is the infrared sauna. These saunas use infrared heat to help visitors sweat out their sins. It claims that one session can burn 800 to 1,600 calories. (This calculation includes the time you’re in the bed plus extra calories from the metabolism boost that comes with it.) The idea is that the infrared light makes you sweat because your body is trying to maintain a normal temperature, which requires a lot of energy. They say this leads to weight loss. Other purported benefits include better sleep, stress reduction, and healthier, clearer skin. Shape House, an “urban sweat lodge” in LA, calls itself “a movement, a crusade of sorts, which grew out of our desire to contribute to wellness.” And yes, it sounds like something off of @overheardla‘s Instagram account. But all skepticism aside, we were intrigued. A treatment that only requires laying down and can magically make weight fall off? We had to try it. Here, Amy, Head of Growth and Marketing, and Vanessa, Head of Sales, sound off on their experiences.
THE NOT-SO-GOOD:reviews promised. I’d read Gisele had even slept through her session, because of course. If others can do it for the full time, so can I. 0:48-0:54 – I’ve blocked this out. 0:55 – Done! I’m unwrapped and led to the relaxation room, where I receive some orange slices and hot tea. I can’t think of anything less relaxing than spending more time hanging out covered in sweat. But I briefly sit to reflect on how I spent the past couple hours. I’m left bright pink in a sweat-soaked, borrowed orange jumpsuit. I proceed to devour my orange. Sadly they only have one bathroom, which also houses the shower and it was in use. So no shower for me. I just couldn’t deal anymore and made do with the face wipes I’d brought and headed home. Pros: – Slept really well that night. – Lost two pounds (which lasted one day). – The experience (paired with an ill-fated silent retreat shortly after) helped me to not be so competitive and smug when it comes to wellness, and to trust my body and myself. Cons: – See description. – I broke out the next day on my chest (?!) and chin.
VanessaFor my first sweat, I went to the Santa Monica location. I had a lot of questions. How long will I be in there? What happens if I overheat? What do I do for all that time? The staff answered my queries thoroughly. Basically, you’re in a heated cocoon for 55 minutes. During that time, you can just zone out and watch TV. If you get too hot, it’s no… ahem… sweat to simply get out. I chose my show, laid back, and tucked into my cocoon. The first few minutes were okay. I mean, is there anything better than cuddling up under a warm blanket? By minute 15, though, I was dripping in sweat. I started to feel uncomfortable. Luckily, a woman dressed in an orange dress came around and put a cold, lavender-infused towel on my head. The next half hour passed without incident, as I actually do love a good sweat. But once 45 minutes rolled around, I was anxious and ready to hop out of that bed and dry off. For some odd reason, my toes started to itch. (I forgot to ask if that’s normal.) After my session, I was led to a room to relax and let my body temperature drop. They offered me tea and orange slices, and told me not to shower, so I didn’t. [Editor’s note: the reasoning behind this is, since your body has eliminated toxins through your sweat, you may end up inhaling them thanks to shower mist.] I went home, crawled into bed, and slept hard. Since my first sweat session, I’ve been back at least four times. I usually go if I have a few restless nights since I found that the sweat is a great way to help me sleep. Sometimes, I do my own detox then include a sweat session. I wanted to go once a month, but that never happened. Maybe for 2017, I’ll include a monthly sweat in my wellness routine! Pros: – Sleep quality was amazing. – I love a good sweat, so this was right up my alley. – Relaxing. Cons: – It lasted a tiny bit too long. – It made my toes itchy for unknown reasons.
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