Growing up in Texas, going to the sauna was not a common activity, to put it mildly. The blazing heat and humidity felt as hot as a sauna, so willingly stepping into an actual steam bath seemed crazy.
But then, one winter, I found myself living in New York searching high and low for anything that felt like a Houston summer. That’s how I stumbled on HigherDOSE in the East Village. My love began after just one infrared sauna session.
What Is an Infrared Sauna?
Let’s rewind for a second - what is a sauna? It’s typically a small room used as a hot-air or steam bath that claims benefits including reducing inflammation, addressing acne, clearing pores, and detoxing. An infrared sauna, which is sometimes called a far infrared sauna, has all the same perks, but uses light to heat the body from within as opposed to heating the air in the room.
What Is the Treatment Like?
I’m now back in Houston, but I’m willing to brave the extra heat to get all of the great benefits. Having been to a sauna before, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and prepared by drinking a lot of water throughout the day and wearing loose fitting clothes to the studio I tried.
When I arrived, I was instructed to change into a shiny plastic suit that felt like a trash bag and lay on the bed sauna, which was essentially a massage table with far infrared sauna blankets that were then wrapped around me. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this bed sauna, but the studio’s team assured me it had all the same benefits as sauna rooms or personal home infrared saunas.
The half hour seemed to go by quickly and even though it was very hot and I could feel myself sweating, I was incredibly relaxed. Afterward, I did have a bit of a headache, but it was probably due to not drinking enough water beforehand.
Would I Do It Again?
So does visiting a sauna work? I definitely think so, especially if you are able to go consistently.
In the visits that followed, I felt even more relaxed and I didn’t have a headache afterwards. I started to notice that I slept better on the days I went to the sauna and that my skin was clearing up, and not just on my face. I especially noticed that my body felt smoother and there were less blemishes on my back. In the days after a treatment, I felt like I had a boost of energy and less brain fog.
When I was going regularly, I even felt like I had a much easier period with less cramps and soreness (although this is hard to verify since I was more active than usual during that time). Lingering muscle pains, especially in my neck and shoulders (definitely a symptom of text-neck and bad posture), also eased.
The benefits I noticed from this treatment made going outside in the blazing heat of a Texas summer to sit in a hot infrared sauna worth it.