Genius is one percent inspiration, 99% perspiration. – Thomas Edison
Just like acupuncture, ayurveda, and cupping, sweating for spiritual and physical well-being has been practiced by many cultures throughout history. My college friend from Sweden used to regale me with colorful accounts of vodka-fueled winter sauna sessions with his buddies. My husband and one of his best friends sometimes travel to the Santa Cruz mountains to participate in a Native American sweat lodge with a bunch of people crowded into a dark, steamy tent – an experience, according to my hub, that leaves him tired but with a calmer mind and an invigorated body. My own brand of sweat therapy usually involves spin or boot camp, but I was intrigued but when the CEO of Sweatheory, Olivia Doneff, invited me to try the FIR sauna for myself. My research on FIR saunas led to promises of detoxification, glowy skin, improved circulation, the easing away of pain, and – the best part – torching up to 600 calories. YES, GIRL. BY JUST SITTING THERE. It was enough to say, UM YES SIGN ME UP PLEASE!
I found out about Sweatheory thanks to Shauna Faulisi of Soul Wellness Method while researching infrared sauna therapy for an article I was writing for a client. While many of the recovery therapies that I’d been tasked with writing about were aimed at athletes, far infrared sauna (FIR) therapy is one that appeals more towards those more interested in holistic health – like me!
My best friend Syd and I happened to be in LA celebrating her birthday, and I figured what better way to end our weekend of eating and drinking than a spin class followed by sauna? Olivia (who is insanely gorgeous and has that glowy skin thing going on) greeted us in the beautifully serene lobby of Sweatheory to answer my questions about the therapy. She set us up for the double sauna, perfect for couples (or besties) who want to sweat together. One of the attendants gave us a cayenne pepper shot to jump start our inner warmth, and away we went – into the sauna armed with a liter each of ionized water.
The temperature for a FIR sauna is far lower than that of traditional saunas that rely on hot air to make you sweat. The infrared light reaches up to a depth of 1.5 inches below the skin’s surface, warming you from the inside out. We chatted, chugged water, sweat profusely – amazed by the waterfall of perspiration that appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I finished two liters of water up in there and afterwards, took a shower and looked in the mirror. I didn’t look like I had just gotten a boot camp beatdown – I looked invigorated, revived, and my skin glow factor was off the charts. We came out to the lobby and were given a lavender scented towel to inhale and put on our faces, and then did a mineral shot to replace the ones we lost via our sweat session.
The verdict? I love it. Like, if I lived in Los Angeles you can bet I’d be bringing myself here several times a week just to relax and take some time to be alone with my thoughts (plus, that calorie burn is real, y’all). The way I felt after that sauna session was similar to a workout high, without feeling taxed from physical exertion. There is something about the entire experience that also made me feel like I was doing something really nice for myself, which I think we forget to do sometimes when we get busy with life.
Sweatheory is a true gem – a sanctuary in the middle of the bustle of Hollywood. In addition to the saunas, they also offer an array of services ranging from reiki to IV infusions as well as a few beauty products by brands like Wild Care and Little Barn Apothecary (I’m obsessed with their stuff). Now they just need to expand up north – Marin County, perhaps – I think the ladies of Marin would totally be into this. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, please go check them out and see for yourself how awesome 45 minutes in a sauna can be. Tell them I sent you!
Sweatheory is at 1503 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028.