I’m kicking off a new series! It’s that time of the year where I’m really into trying some new things and dishing about the habits that have worked for me over the last few months. So let’s continue with habit #2…
2. far infrared sweating on a weekly basis
Why? To reduce inflammation, chronic pain and promote deep detoxification
In 2014 I went back to school to study nutrition and as I was learning, I was also tuning inward and working on my own health.
I had a lot of work to do. I had spent the last 7 years not treating my body very well. Lots of dieting, disordered eating, unhealthy habits and an overall sense of always feeling like my body was not on my side. Over the years I was anxious and depressed, had a lot of undiagnosed health issues and got sick all the time. And since the beginning of 2014 I was also trying to heal from a very serious back injury that turned chronic.
Nutrition school was the best decision I ever made because it allowed me to make the dedication to work on myself both inside and out.
Very quickly into my program I changed my diet and stopped counting calories, being afraid of fat and relying on wheat and dairy as staples. I focused on nutrient-rich foods over the numbers and eliminated inflammatory foods and quickly by body and mind loved it. I started seeing holistic practitioners, did Reiki, focused on meditation (as much as I could get myself to do it. I did Yoga Nidra- which is guided mediation from an app on my phone) and started unraveling issues from my past that were preventing me from self-growth.
I worked on myself and grew quite a bit.
With learning more about holistic health and wellness in school I was constantly curious about all the things I could try. I’m lucky enough to live in Los Angeles- and had seen this place Shape House advertised on a few TV shows I watch. I was CURIOUS.
Shape House is an urban sweat lodge with individual FAR infrared beds that create a deep detoxifying sweat which can help you reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins, deepen sleep, balance mood and promote overall health (only to name a few).
I was extremely active all of my life and in 2014 I had to dramatically cut back on my exercise due to my back pain. Learn more about this on a recent episode of The Well & Balanced Podcast: breaking up with over-exercising. This was pretty devastating for me and a huge adjustment.
Upon my research I saw that one of the benefits of Shape House was that it could emulate the same type of cardiovascular conditioning that regular exercise does, and provide many of the same benefits. Like the release of endorphins and metabolism boost.
And actually the type of sweat released from a FAR infrared sweat can be more beneficial than what is released during exercise.
I was super excited to give it a try, so 2015 was the first time I went and I absolutely loved it. I went twice a week for about 6 months until I started working with a functional medicine doctor that told me to stop going because of my adrenal health. She said she didn’t want me doing anything that would stress my body out. Looking back I wish I hadn’t listened to her!
I finally got around to coming back earlier this year. I found out results of a hormone panel and learned I was estrogen dominant, and having a hard time releasing stored toxins from my body. I was also still dealing with digestive issues which I know now is due to my Bartonella and Lyme disease diagnosis. So I knew I need to get back to Shape house and work on detoxing.
When I was signing out from my first session back I was about to purchase a package of sessions so I could keep coming back consistently and a regular overheard me. Without knowing me, he offered to gift me 10 sessions. I suppose he had a bunch of extra sessions, but for me this was one of the NICEST and most surprising things anyone had ever done for me. I had been going through so much with my health and he didn’t have any idea the weight of this act of kindness. I wrote him a thank you note and left it at the front for him next time I went in and I’ll never forget that kind gesture!
When my ten sessions were up I walked in the door to Shape House one day to see Sophie, the owner. She is LOVELY and I was lucky enough to meet her in 2015 when I was going regularly. She somehow remembered me and when I told her my story- that I had taken time off due to my health but was now struggling with new issues and really want to heal and how much I loved coming here, she gifted me 5 more sessions out of the the pure kindness of her heart!! This is the type of positive vibes this place offers!
I now have a monthly membership with Shape House and have 8 sweats a month, which means I can sweat about twice a week.
Since I got diagnosed with Lyme and Bartonella disease two months ago, I’m appreciative of my membership even more than ever. I’m on a very intense herbal protocol to get rid of my systemic infections and detoxing is essential.
I know that this is a big investment in my health and even more important than ever.
Ok so how does it work!? Shape House is actually a house and you walk in the front door to such a calming aura and welcoming atmosphere. It’s incredibly fresh and airy and I love the way I feel from right when I walk in. You’re checked in by someone at the front, and then they walk you back to get clothes. When you sweat you wear a long sleeved shirt, sweatpants and socks. This is because the beds are HOT (158 degrees F) so you need to be protected and it helps promote a deeper sweat as well. You can bring your own clothes, but they also provide clothes for you that you change into before your session, sweat in and then leave in a hamper before you do. It’s super convenient. The first few times I went I brought my own clothes and had to carry them home and it was a mess. Because you sweat A LOT. I’m talking drenched through your clothes- so it’s nice that they offer this.
You change into the clothes (they’re just comfy sweats) and socks and put your belongings, clothes and shoes you came in, in a basket. You come back out to the front and someone will grab your basket from you and walk you back to a pre-heated bed. The location I go, there are 8 individual beds and they’re each separated by curtains so you’re almost in you’re own individual pod. No one can see you and you can’t see anyone else. If you came with a partner you can sweat next to each other with the curtains pulled back, but honestly I don’t see the point. I’ll tell you why in a sec.
Then you’re tucked in! There’s a disposable sheet protector between you and the bed, and each bed is cleaned and refreshed before each sweat so it’s very sanitary. It’s tough to explain by text, but basically you’re tucked in under the infrared blankets so everything is covered but your head. All to your preference, they adjust your headrest, get you a neck roll and put a foam roller under your bed as a knee bolster- all things to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. It’s really great.
The reason this experience is favorable over other places I’ve been and why I recommend sweating alone is you get to watch TV, or listen to music while you sweat! I always watch something because they have Hulu, Netflix and HBO GO so I just marathon a show. You’re in there for 55 minutes and believe me it gets challenging, hot and sweaty so the distraction of a great show is wanted.
A remote is clipped to your bed, and you can scoot your hand out and adjust things as necessary, and you also have a large glass water bottle to the right of your bed that you can grab. There is also an emergency button if you need to call someone back in case something goes wrong or you need to readjust.
So like I said you’re in there for 55 minutes. The first 10-15 you’re just cozy and warm and then you begin to really heat up. At 30 mins I’m always full on sweating- I can feel my clothes getting wet, and there’s lots of sweat dripping down my face. I can also feel my heart rate speeding up.
At around 40 minutes they come by with a cool lavender towel and place it on your forehead. It’s truly the best feeling in the world cause you are HOT and it feels amazing. You can use that to wipe some of the sweat off your face and I often alternate it back and forth from my forehead to the back of my neck.
Once your time is up they come and get you and signal that your time is up. If you have to leave right then you can head to the bathroom to change but I ALWAYS go to the Relax room. There are a few chairs in the relax room and they sit you down with a towel and ask if you’d like tea or orange slices. Sometimes I get tea and oranges and sometimes I just sip on my water. I usually sit there for about ten minutes till I catch my breath and cool down. Then you grab your stuff and head back to change. Like I said you throw the clothes in the hamper and then you’re on your way.
The things I’ve noticed most is stress release, improved digestion, better skin, more energy post-sweat, and deeper sleep. And of course I know I’m giving my body the change to detox toxins and stimulate my lymphatic system.
If you live in Los Angeles there are 4 locations- Larchmont, Pasadena, West Hollywood and Santa Monica. And they’ve just opened up in New York- the Hamptons I believe. So if you’re ever visiting, or of course if you live here I highly recommend giving it a go. It is expensive, but I feel like I’m treated like a queen there and look forward to every session.
There’s such huge health benefits to detoxing- whether you have health issues or not it is extremely important.
Book a sweat or learn more about Shape House and all of the benefits of this type of sweating on their website!