I Sweated in an Infrared Sauna Room to See If It'd Relieve My Stress

When I walked into the dimly lit, palm tree–painted room decked out with an extra-large flat-screen TV, private shower and bathroom, and a sauna pod equipped with surround sound, I thought, Damn, this is legit. I wasn't completely blind to what I was about to experience, but I didn't know what it would actually be like. Infrared saunas are one of those things you just have to experience for yourself. I've read so much about them since influencers and celebrities alike are regulars at popular NYC-based spot Higher Dose. I wanted to see what all the hype was about since it's supposed to have insanely amazing skin and body benefits. Studies show that infrared saunas help with diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome as well as depression and anxiety.

"Infrared is a light that turns into heat as soon as it hits your body. Compared to traditional saunas or steam rooms that heat air, an infrared sauna never heats air, it only heats your inner core body temperature," Richelle Oslinker of Higher Dose explained to me. "It's a really great detox for your body. When you're sitting in our sauna for 30 to 40 minutes, you're going to have a deep, intense sweat. A lot of heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and anything that's stored in your fat cells that you can't get out is released through infrared light." You can burn up to 600 calories in one session because your heart rate increases so much. 

Aside from the detox aspect, I was of course intrigued by its skin benefits. "It boosts collagen production, so if you have any sagging spots or areas on your body that need a little help, infrared helps with that," says Oslinker. "It's literally like putting a steamer on your face, deep-cleaning your pores and leaving behind a plump effect. A lot of people who have acne scarring love going because afterward your skin looks noticeably brighter and feels baby-soft."

Oslinker confirmed that the technology of infrared saunas originated in Europe and then were used in baby incubators because the light is safe and nurturing and helps heal the young internal organs of a child. "So we like to call our infrared saunas adult incubators," Oslinker said, laughing.