Drenched from every pore at the Urban Sweat Lodge
Why would anyone in their right mind ever pay to sweat? I have done everything in my power to prevent sweating, including getting Botox injections. (They were great, by the way, and see this blog post for more on that.) So how did I go from trying not to sweat at all to encouraging every sweat gland in my body to go into overdrive? It's called the desire to burn extra calories and make my skin glow. And so began my adventure at the urban sweat lodge Shape House...
Traditional sweat lodges have been used by Native Americans for centuries as a means of purification. Well, the latest generation of these lodges are not on reservations, but rather in your local neighborhood (at least if you are in New York or California). The goal of the urban sweat lodge is to bring the benefits of sweating to a city near you. I first notice Shape House in my neighboorood. It is located smack in the middle between my kids' school and Dr. Z.'s office. After passing by it for the zillionth time, I was intrigued. The website reports that treatments "burn calories, deepen sleep, improve skin, lift mood, and change lives." Ooh. I want all that.
So without any preconceived expecation, I made my appointment. And here's what happened...
You fill out a health waiver, answering general medical questions
They give you sweats to change into so you don't have walk home afterwards drenched.
They lead you to your cubicle, with a bed, a TV, a bottle of water, and curtains on either side giving you privacy.
You get wrapped up in a heated sleeping bag with one hand inside and the other free to move around. (Very important so you can use your TV remote control.)
You must make a tough decision - TV or Music. What to do for 55 minutes of uninterrupted relaxing sweat time? What was the perfect show to pass the time? I choose my show and now the adventure begins...
While I am enjoying my show I keep wondering when I am going to feel hot and start sweating. After lying there for 20 minutes I didn't even feel hot. I thought I could sit here all day. Was my sleeping bag broken? But they checked on me and said it was in perfect shape. And boy, they were right. All of the sudden the heat sneaks up on you like a wave hitting you in the ocean. It got hotter by the minute and before I knew it, beads of sweat started to drip from every inch of my body.
Single drops of sweat didn't last for long. This turned into full pools of water. The crazy thing about it is that being wrapped up, you don't even feel that you are completely drenched. The only place you really notice it is on your face and neck. The best to describe it is like sitting in a steam room without the steam.
I tried to relax and enjoy my show, but I felt like I was in there forever. After about 40 minutes, I secretly wanted it to be over. I think I was just was excited to see how I would feel after the session was done.
After my 55 minutes, they unwrapped me from my cocoon. Sitting up, I could not believe how much I sweat. Every inch of me was literally wet, and I could see through my clothing. I looked like I just finished a 6 mile run, but hadn't moved an inch.
I moved into the relaxation room, where there was a choice of water, orange slices, or hot tea. Hot tea? I couldn't even look at it being as hot as I just was. Cool water it was, and I finished a liter in a matter of seconds. (Oh shoot, did I drink back everything I just sweat out?)
I changed back to my clothing, and left feeling bouncier on my feet than when I walked in. I felt clean inside, but actually couldn't wait to shower when I got home.
That night I certainly did sleep well. Was it the sweating? Or was it exhaustion from my two kids who refused to get in bed when they were supposed to. I guess I will never know.
So what's the verdict? It was definitely a fun experience, and I am glad I tried it. And the cathartic feeling after a good sweat session is #TheDermWifeApproved.