First things first: What is an infrared sauna? Conventional saunas heat the body using heated air (steam), while infrared saunas use infrared light (experienced as radiant heat), which is absorbed by the surface of the skin. Infrared raises your temperature quicker—and at a lower temperature—than traditional steam saunas, making you sweat more. And, good Lord, do you sweat. I know, because I tried it at the very cool, very laid-back Higher DOSE in Manhattan.
You feel the heat immediately, but it isn’t until ten or so minutes in that you really begin to appreciate the intensity. It definitely takes some focus and meditation to make it through the whole forty-five minutes, but if you can succumb to the experience and get out of your head, it is SO worth it.
Fifteen minutes in, I was drenched from head to toe—and it felt great! Thirty minutes in? Woof! Not so great. I felt light-headed and anxious and mildly claustrophobic. Good news is, each sauna is in a private room so you are free to step out at any time for a breather and a glass of water. I took a quick break and was back to business after just a couple of minutes.
So did it “work”?
Upon first stepping out of the room, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated, as if I had just completed a work out or gone for a run. Later that evening, however, I was hit with a brutal headache and fell into bed at nine o’clock. I felt nauseous and depleted. (Thus, this top tip: HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! Before, during AND after your sauna. Going straight to a 150-degree sweat-fest after running errands all day and not eating lunch is a bad idea. DUH!).
Headache aside, the following days are what sold me. Bloating is a constant battle for me, and after the sauna I went a whole week without any discomfort. My jeans fit better and my skin felt softer. 3pm came and went each day without any junk food cravings, and I felt energized, motivated and really really happy. (Is that the HIGH in Higher Dose?)
I’d recommend any first timers to try the thirty minute session for starters, and work your way up. ITake advantage of the pre-programmed playlists to help you get in the “zone”, and heighten the experience by trying the chromotherapy lighting.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! Winter bod be gone!
The FYI: Sessions at Higher DOSE start at $45 for a 30-minute session for one person. Sorry, preggos, but saunas are not safe for you or bubs. Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition before trying infrared saunas.
Other wellness trends we’ve tried lately:
- An hour in a zero gravity float pod.
- A digital detox on a floating retreat in Thailand.
- 33 minutes of digital meditation at NYC’s newest wellness hotspot, Inscape.
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