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After my workout, there’s one thing I look forward to: Relaxing in my gym’s sauna. Unfortunately, my gym (that I pay $80 a month for) has not splurged on a spa-grade infrared box, so instead, you can fit three bodies in there, at most. As a result, I often wind up skipping the what is the best part of the whole gym experience.
There are plenty of reasons why you might not sauna as much as you want to. Maybe sitting in a small chamber with a bunch of half-naked strangers isn’t particularly appealing to you, or maybe you don’t have regular access to a half-decent facility. The only opportunity I have to properly sauna is when I treat myself to a $200 massage and am allowed to use the spa’s amenities (sauna, steam room, hot tub) post-treatment. And if you want to install a sauna in your home, expect to pay around 10k for your own personal infrared oasis. Saunaing seemed like an occasional act of self-care when I could afford it — until! — I discovered HigherDose, a female-founded, wellness tech brand offering a catalog of advanced wellness tools for relaxation, rejuvenation and recovery.
The brand’s first-ever product? An infrared sauna blanket designed for use at home. With nearly 2,500 reviews, it’s HigherDose’s best-selling product, and after a few sweat seshes in the thing, I can understand why. But before we get into specifics about HigherDose’s Infrared Sauna Blanket, you might be wondering why the hell you would want one in the first place.
When it comes to the health benefits associated with saunas, there are many researched outcomes and (as with lots of holistic wellness practices) many myths and misconceptions.
Saunas are designed, first and foremost, for relaxation. However, research has shown that saunas and devices that employ infrared heat might produce positive effects on the body. Sitting in a sauna increases your heart rate, and therefore, circulation. This has positive effects on your cardiovascular system, lowering stress and potentially negating any potential negative impacts on your heart. Increased circulation has also been shown to help with recovery. Muscle soreness, arthritis pain and stiff joint movement can all be eased with a sauna session.
However, you’ll also hear that elevating your thermal body temperature will yield some miraculous outcomes, like ridding toxins from your body and even burning calories. I don’t know who needs to hear this but the body detoxifies itself, and any respectable M.D. will tell you that you don’t need to undergo a cleanse or detox program or sweat anything out in order to remove toxins. Your liver and other organs do that all by themselves for free. And unfortunately, sweating in a sauna is not “like working out, without the workout,” a claim HigherDose makes on its site. It’s plausible to lose about a pound after a sauna session, however, what you’re losing is not a pound of fat but a pound of fluid, which you’ll soon gain back after drinking or eating anything.
- 71” x 71”, unfolded.
- Max heating time: 1 hour
- Nine temperature settings: 68-158 degrees Fahrenheit
- Uses a standard residential power outlet
- Body constructed from non-toxic PU leather with industrial zippers
- Grounded in low EMF (Electromagnetic Field) and in ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) for at-home safety
- Limited 1-year warranty
- It’s impressive how hot this thing gets. After cranking the Infrared Sauna Blanket up to a comfortable, but effective, temperature I was drenched in sweat by the end of my session. I’d say it’s comparable (if not, even more effective) to sitting in an actual sauna.
- The device is also very easy to use. which, in a world where almost every smart device comes packed with a bajillion features, multiple controls and an app you have to download in order to operate the thing, I really appreciated the simplicity of the Infrared Sauna Blanket. The device’s main and only control is a panel with a temperature dial used to set and manage the blanket’s heat level. No apps, no convoluted setup. Just plug the blanket in, slip inside and adjust as needed.
- At first, I was worried about how my clumsy ass would deal with getting in and out of the blanket, but the entire device conveniently zippers open and lays flat. Zipping yourself back up once comfortably inside is super simple as well, thanks to the industrial zipper ring. The blanket folds into a travel-friendly size for compact storage and easy transportation.
What kind of works (or needs work)
- Unlike your average sauna box, which you can lounge in totally nude if that’s your truth, you must be completely covered while using the Infrared Sauna Blanket. HigherDose recommends wearing “comfortable, casual, skin-covering clothes,” and suggests cotton and breathable materials. Your feet also need to be covered, so socks are required. To be honest, this through me for a loop at first. Even though I understand it’s for my own protection and safety(!), the idea of getting fully dressed before hoping in a sweat bag isn’t particularly appealing. To rectify this slight inconvenience, HigherDose sells a separate towel, priced at $89, insert for your sauna. This simplifies cleanup (otherwise you have to wipe down your device after each use) and allows you to wear as little clothes as you want while using your blanket. I feel the towel insert should just be included in the $700 device. I have it, and it definitely makes the experience more comfortable.
- This is a large device. One that must be placed on a heat-resistant surface. HigherDose cautions against using the sauna blanket on a waterbed, latex or memory foam bed or couch. This leaves you laying on the ground or a yoga mat (or a massage table, if you’ve got one of those laying around.) Next time, I’ll throw a yoga mat underneath the device because laying on the hardwood floors in my apartment left me with slight backache.
The ability to sweat in private, adjust the heat level to my needs and lay in a soothing, horizontal position, all make the HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket a premium, at-home relaxation tool. I hold a lot of tension in my body, so knowing I can cocoon myself in this heated blanket, wind down and de-stress after a tough workout or a mentally exhausting day, has honestly been a godsend. It’s become an essential part of my daily self-care and recovery routine, one that I especially look forward to. Obviously, $700 is a lot to spend on anything, especially a self-care tool. However, if you’re looking to treat yourself (or someone else) to one luxury wellness item, let it be the HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket and never subject yourself to a public sauna ever again.
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