The Treatment: A 55-minute, Shape House Sweat Session
The Location: An Urban Sweat Lodge.
The Promise: This modern day take on the Native American Sweat Lodge makes a lot of promises from glowing skin, weight loss and relaxation, to a better night’s sleep and complete body detox. “Shape House wants you to know how good it feels to sweat. To detox. To cleanse. To unpack your body struggles.” It wants to know “how clear your mind gets. How deep your sleep goes. How easily your weight melts.”
Shape House wants you to know how good it feels to sweat using their FAR infrared blankets. (Photo: Shape House)
The Backdrop: This little cottage oasis in Santa Monica reeks of serene simplicity. It is the perfect escape, as well as a great way to start or end your day. Upon arriving, you essentially tiptoe inside, and are peacefully offered a glass of alkaline water while you wait to sweat away your troubles and exhaustion. Depending on how long you wish to stay, you can be in and out in 60 minutes.
The Guinea Pig: I’ve been bouncing back between NYC and LA for the past year, and between the travel, the change in climate, and my career in the entertainment business, I was looking for a way to de-stress and work on sleeping longer and better. As an actress, the promise of getting camera ready with rejuvenated and healthier looking skin was a huge draw too.
The Experience: I was immediately sedated the moment I walked into the room and was surrounded by calming scents of lavender and nag champa, paired with soothing colors and a warm, friendly staff. Upon entering ‘The Living Room’, I received an intimate tutorial on the process and what was expected of me (avoid showering for two hours afterwards and avoid cold places/cold liquid). They dressed me in orange and grey ‘scrubs’ (socks included), and I was given a jug of alkaline water.
Next I was led to my ‘bed’ – complete with my own personal television and headphones. I was instructed to lie down in a sleeping bag, of sorts, made of FAR infrared blankets, and closed with Velcro everywhere around your body (a little Lila burrito, if you will) for 55 whole minutes. I can handle laser hair removal and played ice hockey for 20 years, so I told myself I could do this too. The first 20-minutes – lovely and cozy. The remaining 40-minutes - a game of psychological warfare - to get out or not to get out. So yes, even though I’m enjoying the latest episode of Narcos (the entertainment ranges from meditation videos and Pandora stations to Hulu, Amazon and Netflix) I am baking – literally. And my heart is beating faster towards the end, making my body think that I am doing wind sprints in the middle of Bikram Yoga… BUT I SURVIVED! And didn’t need to take breaks or let my legs breathe, as I had expected. My clothes are completely soaked in sweat.
At the 40-minute mark, one of the lovely staffers offers me a cool, lavender towel to place on my forehead. At the 55-minute mark, I am escorted to ‘The Relax Room’, where I am given a glass of Kangen Alkaline water, PH 9, to replenish all of the lost water, orange slices and hot organic tea. I can leave at any time now, but it’s nice to continue to decompress after my body has had a huge workout. With the calming spa music featuring the sounds of crashing ocean waves and Top Gun’s Take My Breath Away playing in the distance, I felt pretty chill.
The Results: The sensation of intense and utter peacefulness is hard to explain – especially when you are packed with exercise induced endorphins. Plus you continue to burn fat calories a full 36 hours after your treatment, and I have lost 4 pounds that seem to be staying off. Founder and Owner (and psychologist by trade fyi) Sophie Chiche says: “Shape House gives you what you are looking for. If you need energy, it gives you energy. If you need to feel calm, it does just that. It balances you out” all leading to the intense focused calm that enveloped me as I left the space. My glistening recharged skin was yet another awesome perk, leaving me totally LA camera ready! So I guess I’m hooked.
Warning: Do not wear tight leggings there, as you will have to SOMEHOW get them back on again before you leave. This was no fun whatsoever.