Some get high on endorphins from spin classes, others from sauna blankets that trick the body into thinking they’re working out by making them sweat – all while lying down. Our editor (and her husband) review the Higher Dose Sauna Blanket V3 to see if it lives up to the hype…
As a sleep deprived parent, I barely find time to finish a cup of tea, let alone slide into a sauna blanket. Carving out “me time” isn’t exactly on the agenda right now. My husband however jumps at the opportunity to test drive, after hearing Joe Rogan speak about his experience in one as “life changing”.
Infrared Sauna Blankets are all the rage
With lockdown forcing many of us to get our wellness kicks at home – from Peloton bikes to home gym set ups, sales of infrared sauna blankets have soared. Popular with celebrities from Jennifer Aniston to Leonardo Dicaprio, sauna blankets aim to increase the body’s thermal energy, resulting in calorie burn, detoxification, relaxation and reduced pain and soreness. Simply put, it tricks your body into thinking you’re working out by making you sweat – all while lying down.
The Higher Dose Sauna Blanket V3
What makes the Higher Dose sauna blanket special is how it harnesses far infrared, which provides an uplifting sensation, with amethyst layers for deeper penetration of therapeutic infrared. It’s known as a “natural tranquilliser” known to relieve stress/anxiety and balance mood swings. In addition to this, a tourmaline layer provides a deeper penetration of therapeutic infrared. It is known to increase mental alertness, improve circulation and strengthen the immune system. While a charcoal layer amplifies the detoxification process.
What do you wear in an infrared sauna blanket?
We digest the extensive health and safety manual, which emphasises the importance of dressing head to toe in breathable cotton. This is because you can expect to sweat – a lot, so in the interest of comfort and safety, the manual suggests wearing something that covers every inch of the body, as it gets pretty sticky when it’s just skin-to-mat. (Just tell that to the woman in their Instagram ad looking serene in her bra and pants!). After 10 minutes of pre-heating the blanket, my husband emerges in what appears to be a kaftan and long johns and is ready to go.
I ramp up the dial to 7 and take delight in watching him turn swiftly to a shade of crimson, asking at regular intervals “how much longer?”, as I sit comfortably with my laptop, the temperature controller within my grasp. As he nears the 55 minute mark, he is gasping for water and appears desperate to get out.
He emerges hot, sweating and incapacitated, as if he’s completed a particularly gruelling HIIT class. This is because the blanket raises the body’s thermal energy, promoting a temporary increase in blood flow – mimicking a workout. You could always start on a lower setting but they encourage you to stay in the bag for close to an hour to reap the physical benefits.
What does the Infrared Sauna Blanket feel like?
He comments that his heart is racing and he looks red and slightly stunned as opposed to calm and serene like the model on the box. He looks ripped too with his veins close to the skin like he’s got a pump on, possibly due to dehydration. Sporting a look that is more hot mess than “post-run glow”, he dashes for a cold shower. I can’t make out if he likes it or not. But the next day, he’s raring to go again. As someone who despises hot baths and insists on sleeping with the window open, this is revolutionary.
How can an infrared sauna blanket reduce inflammation?
The arrival of this blanket coincided with his decision to eliminate sugar from his diet due to how inflammation was affecting his joints. Whether it was down to the blanket, cutting sugar or a combination, by day two, he wakes to no pain whatsoever.
He repeats the process, 55 minutes in the blanket followed by a cold shower before bed. He notices that his sleep begins to improve. In the following days, it’s much the same, he emerges hot, sweaty and rather desperate but with noticeably reduced muscle soreness. This is what spurs him on to continue.
While each session doesn’t appear to get easier, or leave him “beautifully buzzed, refreshed, rejuvenated, balanced, and ready to take on the world”, as the marketing blurb suggests, he perseveres for the muscle recovery benefits. His skin looks pretty good too. And judging by how eagerly he leaps in there each night, I’m guessing it’s pretty addictive. Must be down to the endorphins. Our bodies “in built pain relief”, also associated with feelings of joy and euphoria. As psychologist Kimberley Wilson puts it, “Your body says, if you go through this stressful thing, it’s important and valuable for you. Exercise [and this blanket by the look of it], is not comfortable when you’re doing it. But to take the pain away, the body gives you a high, as an incentive for you to do it again, because overall it’s really valuable for the health of the system”.
Do infrared sauna blankets live up to the hype?
It’s easy to see why the Higher Dose Sauna Blanket has become a coveted wellness tool – especially in lockdown. My husband says that the blanket helped to reduce DOMs, and left him feeling like he’d done an hour’s worth of stretching and foam rolling. He’s noticing a positive effect on his skin tone and texture and decreased inflammation too.
How often can you use an infrared sauna blanket?
As for how many times a week should you use an infrared sauna blanket, Higher Dose suggest they are fine to use every day. So long as you listen to your body and how you’re feeling and use your best judgment.
Our blanket has taken up a permanent residency in our guest bedroom, spread out on the bed ready for nightly action. In his case, a little bit of discomfort seems well worth the reward for his desired goal of muscle repair. Yes it’s pricey at £399 (you could just get in a hot bath for a fraction of the price – though he really wouldn’t). But it’s worth it for that feeling of waking up each morning without aching joints. It’s quite literally the hottest thing in wellness right now. So if you can afford one, it’s worth the investment – if not, saunas are opening again soon.
Available at higherdose.com (Now available and shipping from U.K)
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