I’ve been obsessed with the whole infrared sauna thing lately. Call me crazy, but I love the heat. And I’ve heard great things about infrared saunas for detox and weight loss. So when I got a coupon for a free sweat session at Shape House in Larchmont, I was super excited.
I’d been honestly planning to try Shape House for quite some time. Shape House has recently been in the spotlight due to endorsements from some celebrities like Selena Gomez and The Kardashians. But that’s not why I wanted to try it.
As someone who lives in La La Land, I make it a point not to go where celebrities go. But as someone into holistic health, Shape House seemed definitely up my alley. And in the end, my curiosity won. Because an infrared sauna session had been on my bucket list for a while.
What’s the hype about infrared saunas
If the only sauna you’ve ever tried is the one at your local gym, you haven’t had a full sauna experience. Those saunas are mainly for relaxing in the heat. But a true sauna experience can have medicinal benefits.
An infrared sauna uses light to heat you up. And it will really get you sweating. The theory is that when you sweat, your body releases toxins. So if you can get a good sweat going, you can get all those icky, nasty chemicals that have been lurking in your bloodstream.
Shape House says that their hour-long sweats provide all sorts of benefits. They help with weight loss, detox, better quality sleep, brighter skin, and so much more. But are these saunas all they’re cracked up to be? Or is this just hype? I had to find out.
The Shape House difference
Going in I knew that Shape House was going to be a unique experience. Because they don’t use traditional saunas. A traditional sauna is a heated box. So you’re sitting in room where the temperature for the entire room has been cranked up.
With Shape House, you’re in a room that’s room temperature. And your body goes into something like a sleeping bag. And so you’re tucked in like a burrito while your body heats up. But you’re breathing air that’s room temperature.
The day of my sweat session
OK, I’m gonna admit – I woke up a bit nervous. While the reviews for Shape House were really positive, people said it could get tough. And some even said their heart was racing once things got hot. I wondered if I was going to have a panic attack!
My fears were calmed as soon as I walked in. The place was so calm and friendly. And I learned that I could rip my sweating burrito open at any time and be free. So I was in control. That honestly made me feel better. Plus everyone I met was so welcoming.
(Sitting outside – nervous to go in!)
And it’s showtime!!
They provided me some clothes to sweat in so I didn’t mess up my current duds. And once I was changed, it was showtime. I was wrapped in the burrito, shown my bottle of water and emergency call button, and the heat commenced. But not after I was given the remote for my own personal Roku TV so I could distract myself as I sweat.
They actually encourage you to get involved in a show while you’re there. It helps relax you to get the most benefit from your session. You detox most in the last 15 minutes of the session so you want to help your body stay in the process.
I chose to watch Pen15 on Netflix. Honestly, I’d had no desire to watch that series – it just seemed odd. But I figured I should watch something that I wouldn’t mind leaving mid-episode when my session was over. And I’ll let you in on a secret. I didn’t love it – but I was somewhat entertained. And I might consider watching it at home – maybe.
And then things started heating up
For the first 20 minutes, I thought maybe I was doing it wrong. The burrito felt only slightly warm. Was mine broken?
Then at about 25 minutes in, I felt like I had sweaty palms. Well, at least my left hand was sweaty. My right hand had been out of the burrito, holding the remote. Better put my right hand back in.
They eventually came and put a cool lavender towel on my head. From reading reviews, I knew that was something they do near the end. It smelled wonderful and felt great, but I got kind of worried. I was still only ‘glistening’. I was promised a good sweat. But then…..
Things REALLY heated up
All of a sudden, the sweat beads started rolling. I could feel beads of perspiration dripping down my back. The hair on the back of my neck felt wet. And I was sweating through my clothes. And while this would normally gross me out, I knew this is what I came for.
The burrito around me got super hot. I kept shifting my back and my legs because certain areas of the burrito were too hot to touch. I felt like a potato, baking in a bag. And the heat just kept getting hotter.
For the last few minutes, I found myself anxiously listening for any sound that would indicate an end. And when they did finally give me the time’s up, I was happy to rip myself out of my personal oven. But it had never been unbearable. I left in a good sweat place.
The ‘cool down’ reward
One of the best parts of the treatment was the cool down. I went to peaceful room to relax and wind down. There I had a nice pot of turmeric tea.
Warm tea after sweating? Trust me, it works. And this was such a peaceful way to end the session.
So did the infrared sauna experience work?
Well, I imagine you have to go more than once to get the real benefits. But here’s what I did notice.
First, they say that these sessions can help with weight loss. This makes sense. Because detoxification helps lower body inflammation which helps with weight loss. Plus, I imagine you burn some calories with all that sweating.
While I’m sure I didn’t lose any weight in just one session, I’ll tell you this much. I left there ravenous. I went to brunch afterwards and licked up every crumb on my plate. So maybe I did burn some calories.
Plus, I’d had itchiness on my back during the weeks before the session. And after sweating, the itching went from annoying, to barely there. I would love to try another session and see if it disappears completely.
Would I do it again?
I’ll definitely give Shape House another try. I felt really good afterwards. And it was something different. And 2019 for me is all about trying different.
I spoke with a woman in the ‘cool down’ room who’d just come out of her second session. And she pointed out that it’s a relatively cheap spa day. A single session is $50. And things get cheaper if you buy a package or join a membership. So not so bad comparatively.
It’s hard to know with alternative health treatments whether they are hype or helpful. But I think you just have to try and see how it works for you. I felt transformed afterwards. So I’m definitely intrigued to try it again.
Have you ever tried an infrared sauna? Have you don’t anything else unique for detox or weight loss? Let me know in the comments!