Chill out in an in­frared sauna.

Our health ed­i­tor heats up one win­ter evening.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - KATE MOONEY @yat­in­brook­lyn [email protected]

De­spite the mild win­ter we’re hav­ing in New York, the search for hygge never stops. So on a re­cent Mon­day night, I ditched the cof­fice for an in­frared sauna, a co­coon of warmth that I heard also gives you a detox and a work­out, just from sit­ting there.

I ar­rived at Higher Dose, a lux­ury spa on the Lower East Side, ready to heat up. Busy Philipps re­cently told me to check it out (“You’ll feel like you’ve got­ten a full body mas­sage,” she said when I in­ter­viewed her in late De­cem­ber.) I ap­pre­ci­ate a good sweat and hoped the ex­pe­ri­ence would bring good vibes to my Mon­day.

I en­tered into a pri­vate room that has a sauna within it — a wooden-pan­eled box with glass doors and a cush­ioned bench in­side. I dis­robed, grabbed a towel and filled up with wa­ter be­fore sur­ren­der­ing to my 30-minute ses­sion.

The qual­ity of the heat is dif­fer­ent than a reg­u­lar sauna, which uses steam to fill the room with hu­mid­ity. In­frared feels more like a dry heat that slowly in­ten­si­fies — up to 150 de­grees Fahren­heit, that is. Yes, I was drip­ping with sweat, but it was a more man­age­able warmth.

In­frared heat is ac­tu­ally light — emit­ted at a wave­length along the elec­tro­mag­netic spec­trum — that in­duces heat in the body, but is in­vis­i­ble to the eye. It’s said to have nu­mer­ous health ben­e­fits. It can pen­e­trate the pores, pu­ri­fy­ing the skin and loos­en­ing the joints, stim­u­lat­ing blood flow and in­creas­ing cir­cu­la­tion. It also burns calo­ries, as your body works to cool it­self and your heart rate in­creases.

Al­though fur­ther stud­ies are needed to cor­rob­o­rate th­ese claims, the treat­ment is pop­u­lar among both lay­men and celebs (Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams) who tout its feel­good prop­er­ties. I can at­test to feel­ing some kind of re­lease and re­lax­ation, if just from the cathar­tic act of sweat­ing and the com­fort of be­ing alone in my own lit­tle pod.

My fa­vorite part might have been the LED light ther­apy, which beamed down dif­fer­ent col­ors

from a square lamp in the ceil­ing. I se­lected the au­to­matic set­ting which cy­cled through ROYGBIV, each hue meant to in­spire a dif­fer­ent mood or en­ergy. Each color was pleas­ing in a dif­fer­ent way; I might liken it to spac­ing out as you watch your mood ring change. Pur­ported health ben­e­fits in­clude skin re­ju­ve­na­tion, pain re­lief and de­creas­ing swelling, (again, more stud­ies are needed); for me, I felt like I was sit­ting be­low my own pri­vate, very chill disco ball.

Lis­ten­ing to mu­sic helped, too. Within the sauna, I hooked up my iPhone to the speak­ers and put on re­lax­ing tunes from Cass McCombs.

I can’t say I felt rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent af­ter my ses­sion, but def­i­nitely bet­ter than my typ­i­cal post­work self. We need ev­ery chance we can get for a lit­tle soli­tude and self­care; an in­frared sauna is one way to do that.


In­side an in­frared sauna with vi­o­let LED light­ing at Higher Dose, a lux­ury spa in NYC.

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