The Urban Sweat Lodge – Too Good to Be True?

When my friend (Iliana) first told me we were going to a place where we’d lay in bed and sweat for an hour under extreme heat, I said, “Uh, no thanks. I’ll wait for you in the lobby.” But she is a super fit and healthy woman who knows what she’s talking about, so I agreed to give it a try.

Experimenting with an Urban Sweat Lodge

source: Getty images

Shape House is and “urban sweat lodge” offering 55-minute sweat sessions that promise to:

  • Burn calories (about 800 during the session),
  • Make you sleep better,
  • Brighten your skin and
  • Make you feel better emotionally by inducing endorphins

Source: Shape House

The premise of Shape House seems to come from Shamanic Sweat Lodge Experiences, multi-hour rituals to cleanse the body and mind through chanting and sweat. I have been hearing about people going away on retreats for this purpose but wasn’t sure about the details. Click here for an example of a company in Costa Rica with sweat lodge services as part of their spiritual retreat.

The Hype

Selena Gomez recently raved to Elle about how much she loves sweating in a sweat bed – she credits it with changing her skin and her body.

Other celebs like Demi Moore, the Kardashians and LL Cool J are all fans. The Shape House has been featured on Ellen, E! News, Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Doctors and Good Morning America. I’m thinking, what marketing guru is behind this place? Their exposure is massive and brilliant!

“Feeling like death at the end of sweat is normal,” says founder, Sophie Chiche. “Most of it is comfortable—It gets hard at the end because the heat has penetrated through your skin and muscle, and now it’s hitting the bone. The first 40 minutes are so you can have the last 20. That’s when a lot of the work is happening.”

source: People Magazine

Process of Urban Sweat Lodge Session

  • Change into sweats provided to you
  • Lay down in bed with sleeping bag like contraption
  • Your body is fully covered, minus your head and your right hand to reach a TV remote control and water.
  • Lay still for 55 minutes under 157 degree infrared heat and watch your favorite show.
  • Intermittently, an attendant puts a cool lavender towel for your face which is heaven. But the towel loses its effect quickly.
  • Last 10 minutes are almost unbearable to the point of wanting to throw off the covers and jump out. Heart rate speeds up towards the end.
  • Sit in the relaxation room for 5-15 minutes post sweat to bring your body temperature back to normal. You are served a few orange slices and tea.
  • Don’t shower until later to allow full effects of toxin release.

Watch this 2 minute video of our sweat visit!

My Experience

  • I felt endorphins after the session similar to after I go for a run.
  • I slept very well that night.

To properly assess whether there are benefits to this cleansing process, I would need to go at least once or twice a week for a while to see how my body responds. For instance, one of the benefits the company claims is that it will make you want to eat better and drink less alcohol. Well, I would love that! Didn’t happen for me from one session. I can only dream!

source: Shape House

There are skeptics on the sweat theory as found in Health.com. Who knows if this is a fad hyped up by celebrities along with great marketing? We all have such different bodies and systems for what works for us. At $50 (yelp has coupon deals for first timers) a session, I say it’s worth a try.

Have you heard of an Urban Sweat Lodge before? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

“Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt.” A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak