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Here at T&C, we pride ourselves on our discerning eye for quality. With Tried & True, our editors will give you an inside look at the pieces they simply cannot live without.
I'm what you'd call a low-maintenance-high-maintenance woman. I have a lot of steps to my daily routines that I do purely to take care of myself, but I'm not one to make a fuss about it. I have my creature comforts that, you guessed it, comfort me when I'm stressed, tired, or feeling just plain run down, and those range in everything from aromatherapy tablets in my shower, to dry brushing (though almost never on a regular basis), to the very easiest and somehow hardest of integrations... daily movement.
In essence, it's pretty hard to get me to deviate from what I know already works from me, which is why I was shocked a few years ago when I became addicted, and I mean addicted, to going to HigherDose to sit in their infrared saunas. The dry heat and the sweat really made the darkest of winters more bearable for me, helping me manage my stress and improve my mood—maybe because of infrared treatments's purported ability to help with everything from sleep to circulation to muscle recovery.
Obviously, this was all foiled by COVID-19 until I got my hands on one of the brand's sauna blankets. In the peak pandemic winter months, I was able to cozy up in my studio apartment and get a good sweat while I lounged and caught up on TV. So when HigherDose launched their Infrared mat, I knew that I probably wouldn't need another at home infrared gizmo, but it would likely be something that made me feel really, really good. And it turns out that while the Infrared Blanket and Infrared Mat both deal in infrared heat, they serve very different purposes in my life. As such, the Infrared Mat is now an essential part of my morning practice, whether I'm doing a light flow after a walk, some streamed pilates, or just need something to gently shift me into my day.
I'll explain. The Infrared Mat, as HigherDose has intended it to be, is not made to make you sweat like the sauna blanket—it's simply not as cardiovascular. You plug it in and select your heat setting and it is warming. But it's not just a fancy heated workout mat (though I would argue that's reason alone to add it to your wellness brigade.) Not only does it have infrared heat to help wring out aches and pains and considerably loosen tightness—and because I am irresponsible and insist on sitting on my couch, my hips are so tight that it has caused a ton of daily pain for me—but there are also PEMF settings that you can turn on to take the good feels to the next level.
PEMF aka pulsed electromagnetic field technology, is delivered in low frequency bursts—and different wavelengths have different effects. For example with the Infrared Mat, the first two settings are more relaxing and help you fall asleep, whereas the higher two are better for energy and getting focused. So, depending on the time of day I use it, I will change the setting, but trust that you feel different when it's on. And just to be sure, I had my mom come lay on it a few months ago and she even felt like it helped with some joint pain she was having and in general helped her ease into relaxation.
It's no exaggeration when I say that, though I can't make any claims that it will heal you of chronic ailments, it really does make a noticeable impact on my morning. When I wake up and it's still dark and cold, I pull it out and let it heat up while I'm making my coffee. Honestly, sometimes I don't even move on it; I just pop on a meditation and lay there for as long as I have that morning. I notice that I don't feel quite as sharp on the mornings that I skip, and further more, I definitely feel achier.
It must be said though, that this is not a small wellness device—and it's heavy. Because it has amethyst crystals sewn into it, it weighs about 20 pounds. So if space is an issue, the travel version of the mat may be a better option. But other than that, it's easy to clean and fold up, and I simply tuck it under my bed until the next use. File under: luxuries that I didn't know existed and now can't live without.
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