Get High, Naturally: Higher Dose East Village Infrared Sauna Review

I first saw Higher Dose on Instagram and was immediately enticed by the vibrant saunas brightly lit with multi-colored lights. I have always loved saunas and steam rooms so without even knowing the physical and mental benefits, I was on board. After I did a bit of research, I realized that there are some serious advantages to infrared sauna’s for cancer patients. Note, if you have a picc line like me you should be completely fine in the sauna. I simply brought an extra towel in with me to dry my arm regularly to prevent my line from getting moist with sweat. However, please consult your doctor if you are a cancer patient looking to check out infrared saunas as every patient is different.

Why Sweat it Out in an Infrared Sauna?

  • Relaxing – the infrared wavelengths and lights seek to increase serotonin. Each color in the sauna cleanses a different emotional energy (e.g. green produces a sense of renewal, peace and harmony).
  • Cleansing – Infrared saunas are 7x more detoxing, aiding to purify heavy metals, radiation (key for cancer patients), and environmental toxins.
  • Medical rehabilitation – The infrared rays help relief aches and pains. Light therapy has also been said to decrease inflammation (think after a big surgery) and increase wound healing.
  • Circulation – stimulates circulatory system and cell rejuvenation.
  • Skin detox – The Infrared wavelengths can boost collagen production to combat aging and leave your skin supple and radiant.
  • Weight loss – You can burn some serious calories in these bad boys (think up to 600 calories from just relaxing!).

Now that you know a bit about the benefits to infrared saunas, lets dive into my experience at Higher Dose NYC.

Location: Can you successfully get there without staring at Google Maps for 10 minutes?

Between you and me, I am directionally challenged (I get it from my mother), so I was a little turned around because they are located inside a café– The Alchemist Kitchen to be exact, which I am now obsessed with. I actually had to call to make sure I was at the right place when I walked in because you have to make your way through the café and down the stairs and through another café to finally arrive at your destination. I also missed the somewhat camouflaged sign on the cafe window (see above). At the end of the day, I found it just a little difficult to locate if it’s your first time, second time around though you should be good to go!

Ambiance: Is it chic enough to put on your snap story?

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say the “lobby” is social worthy. It is essentially a folding table with a logo table cloth on top of it. Step into the sauna rooms and by the looks of the jungle themed wallpaper you are transported to Indochine on Lafayette. The sauna room itself is definitely social worthy. It’s like your own little Charlie and the Chocolate Factory elevator with a floor to ceiling glass front. Once the light show starts, you can snap a selfie of yourself while you’re in the sauna and store your phone in a “tech-safe” box with an aux chord so you can relax while jamming to your very own tunes. Definitely a plus!

What to bring: Should you wear a mini cross body or your workout bag?

I would say something in the middle, like a large handbag, to fit your essentials plus possibly a change of clothes dependent on your situation. You will absolutely sweat (unless you’re a freak of nature) and there is a shower, but I wouldn’t recommend using it – I’ll touch on that later… See below for a handful of smart items to bring with you:

[Schmidt’s sensitive skin geranium deodorant stick, $11 / Herbivore rose hibiscus coconut water hydrating face mist, $32 / LILA organic hair ties, $15 / RMS Beauty the ultimate makeup remover wipes, $16 / S’well blanc crocodile water bottle, $25]

Shower Situation: Is it legit, like Equinox, or should you just wait?

I would say hold off on the shower if you can. This location seems to be a work-in-progress. The front-desk associate mentioned there was a shower and I expected a private locker room, but it was far from that. I changed into my clothes (because god forbid I was going to walk into an open café in a towel) where a woman led me to a corner off to the side of the café downstairs where I stared blankly at an elevated stone corner with a shower faucet attached to the side of the wall. There wasn’t even a shower curtain! There was, however, a Chinese folding wall (thank god) that she propped up, but I was still so stunned and self-conscious about the entire situation. Through the cracks of the divider I could see the crowd of people chatting and plates clanking 5 feet away. There was a hook to hang my towel and a bathroom to the left of the shower to change. I’m not that high maintenance (and I’m bald…), but I did need a quick AM rinse to get ready for the day so I popped in for about 20 seconds while I eavesdropped on conversations in the cafe. I quickly changed back into my clothes and was out the door within 5 minutes. The shower was a complete turnoff, so I would opt-out and wait until your home or at the gym!

Kara’s Last Quick Tips: A few thoughts before getting high (naturally)

  • Book early – time slots go fast!
  • Be prepared to hop in ASAP as the time starts as soon as you enter.
  • Remove makeup before – you don’t want to look like Cruella Deville.
  • Pick out a playlist prior (I listen to my chillax playlist on Spotify) so you can press play as soon as you step into the sauna.
  • Best in the PM. I did love it in the AM, but you need to commute home to shower/get ready for the day so I think it’s best after a workout or long day to decompress.

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