Sauna is somewhat synonymous with sweat, but what if your sauna sesh could pack more than just an easy way to sweat? What if it could detoxify your body, increase your metabolism, enhance your mood, and more!
Well, I had to find out more. If you haven’t discovered already, I’m a self-proclaimed wellness junkie and will try nearly any self-care trend at least once. Proof of my obsession can be found here from when I tried floating, 30 days of yoga, and an spent an hour in a salt room (all in the name of self-care, of course). I first found out about infrared saunas after attending a Well + Good Talk in the city and knew I wanted to try it for myself. Plus HigherDOSE gave us a discounted first time trial, so why wouldn’t I take advantage?!
Here are just a few of the benefits of infrared saunas:
Perfect for ridding your body of environmental toxins (hello NYC pollution), including heavy metals and radiation. Not to mention all the nasties that could be in your body from toxic beauty. The full-spectrum infrared rays have been known to detoxify up to 7x’s more than traditional saunas.
The combination of light and heat can relieve aches and pains by penetrating the tissues, joints, and muscles that have been over-used. It also kills bacteria and pathogens as well.
Get the most chilled out high from sitting in the infrared sauna. Your cortisol levels will decrease and serotonin will increase within minutes of stepping inside.
Because of the temp, your heart will begin to race. This is normal and average heart rates can equate that up to a light jog, thus getting a workout without actually working out…count me in! Some have burned up to 600 calories per session.
You’ll sweat, like a lot, and that’s okay. The turnover of cells will stimulate collagen production to improve overall skin appearance.
Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins: these are all happy chemicals your body will naturally produce while in the sauna. This is how you get that “high on life” type feeling.
What I thought after sweating for an hour.
Give. Me. More! First, I think it’s worth noting that I went during a brutal NYC winter and had literally been chilled to the bone for about 4 months straight at that point. I would have taken anything that made me feel like summer was nearing, but even so, I freaking loved everything about it.
I actually ended up dragging my husband along for the ride as well and we made it a date night. HigherDOSE has a few locations, but we ended up at the Bowery Location based on convenience. BONUS: it’s downstairs of this super cool shop called The Alchemist Kitchen which I absolutely fell in love with. It had tonics and potions galore, which were perfect for a post-sweat treat.
After checking in, we were escorted to our private room which enclosed the sauna. They are perfect size for 1-2 people. You can totally go alone, but it was extra fun with a friend. Think of it as a bonding experience and also a way to trap them into talking to you for 60 minutes (at least that’s what my husband did to me…I’ve been known to avoid certain conversations on occasion, so he took full advantage–insert me rolling my eyes here). The room, in addition to the sauna, has it’s own temperature control, water, a sink, and bench to change, etc. for your session. We chose to sauna in the buff, because we didn’t feel like hauling extra suits or clothes with us. Towels are provided to cover up and wipe down with as well.
Once inside we read up on the colors that we could choose to enhance our experience. We ended up on green which was for extra calm and serenity. It just felt right the day we were in there. It’s a dry heat and about 10 minutes in, we both began to sweat pretty good. I felt my muscles and body go completely mush (in a good way) while relaxing under the heat and lights.
At about 20 minutes, the temperature was at about 140 degrees, but didn’t feel like it since it heats your body, not the air. At this point we could feel our heart rates increasing. I felt a little winded, like I had in fact been on a light jog. I was pumped because I felt like I was burning calories without even trying! This is much preferred over a 60 minute HIIT workout 🙂
Just after 30 minutes we both were in need of some hydration. They provide cool water and glasses inside the room, so we sipped and sat for the remainder of the time. I would highly recommend this, as I felt it further encouraged the detoxification process while I continued to perspire. We truly felt like we just spent a nice afternoon in the sun on a beach, despite it being like negative 100 outside (probably).
Following the 45 minutes, our time expired and we got outside the sauna. It was crazy the difference in temperature just from opening the door to the room. It felt good to feel some coolness on our skin. We continued to hydrate and returned upstairs for some nourishment to replenish our bodies. We browsed the shop and then had to return to the brutal cold, but we both noticed improved moods and were definitely more relaxed. It was amazing!
My final take: loved the infrared sauna and wish I had one at my house! Lucky for me, my mom just bought a portable one and I can’t wait to try it. The bad news…she lives over 1,000 miles away currently, so will only get to take advantage when we are together. She loves it though, and even got my dad to use it recently when he fell sick with a bad winter cold. If he tried this, you for sure can, and should! Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Have you tried an infrared sauna before? Tell me about your experience below.