When I arrived at my appointment, there was a large Mountain Valley water (of Gwyneth Paltrow fame) and two Chill Chews, HigherDose’s stress-easing gummies, waiting for me. After taking two of the gummies and a swig of water, I slipped onto the massage table for my lymphatic drainage massage. The massage therapist kneaded and prodded my body in a downward motion to promote drainage and then sprayed my body down with the brand’s Get Salty Spray. The Get Salty Spray is a magnesium spray designed to replenish electrolytes and is the perfect supplement to a sweat sesh. She wrapped me up to keep the spray close to my skin, and I headed to the sauna, water in hand (which was newly dosed with Detox Drops, a chlorophyll solution).
The sauna itself was a wooden booth lit up with red lights. I spent 30 minutes in it, and at first, I worried it wasn’t hot enough because I didn’t start sweating immediately. After about 10 minutes, however, I started—apologies for this—absolutely pouring sweat. It was more than I was used to sweating at a typical hot yoga session, which makes sense after learning about how infrared saunas work.
Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas actually heat your body from the inside. “Normal saunas use flames or steam to generate heat in a small area,” says Sara Hogan, MD. “Infrared saunas utilize lamps that emit electromagnetic radiation that penetrate the skin and warm the body directly. Infrared saunas are therefore able to exert effects on the human body like increased heart rate and increased sweating at lower temperatures than those of regular saunas.” Regular saunas may get up to 150° Fahrenheit, while infrared saunas just get up to anywhere between 110° and 130°.
This is crucial to the way an infrared sauna works. “[It] actually detoxes about seven times more than traditional saunas. And it’s a very oily kind of sweat—a very different sweat than you would experience with a traditional [sauna] because you are pulling out of the fat cells, which is amazing on top of the cardiovascular benefits and burning calories,” says Berlingeri. Considering my experience, this tracks.
The act of sitting in the sauna itself felt rejuvenating, but it wasn’t until after I left that the real benefits started kicking in. On my way home, my mind felt truly blank. I imagine this is what people who meditate feel like on a daily basis, but as an impatient, jittery person, I know I’ll never know what that actually feels like, so my post-sauna high will serve as the closest thing to meditative zen.
I went in the morning, and I spent the rest of the day totally blissed out—everything at work that might have normally been a fire drill suddenly felt like a minor issue that was easily solvable. I didn’t have a pit in my stomach, which is just a baseline for me. I was in a good mood all day long. It truly felt like someone had put a weighted blanket on my brain.