I didn’t know what to expect when I first made my way into Shapehouse a few weeks ago. All I knew is that a long list of celebrities and athletes swear by it to help them shed water weight, relax, recover, and overall just boost wellness and detoxification – all of which sounded great to me, obviously. Shapehouse bills itself as an urban sweat lodge and that’s basically what it is. They’re only located in Los Angeles and New York as of now, but they’re quickly expanding. In fact, the week I went they were opening two new locations in NY!
So what’s the buzz about?
Basically these are like luxe saunas on crack. You go into a dimly lid room (they have ones with space for up to four people so you can go with friends or opt for a single room), lay on a super comfy infrared bed and the attendants wrap you in what looks like a heated space suit. They then put noise-canceling headphones on you and you lay watching TV for 55 minutes as you sweat your ass off (you can also listen to music). I thought it would be easy. I’ve done hot yoga for almost a decade in over 100 degrees, but after about 25 minutes you really start to SWEAT… and smell. When I spoke with the founder she told me that it’s normal to “smell” at first because you’re sweating out toxins, but that after you do it regularly that smell goes away. Mind you the founder lost 200 pounds about a decade ago and credits sweating in large part, which is why she created Shapehouse; she wanted a luxe and relaxing alternative to boring, stuffy saunas.
Nearing the end of my 55 minutes I couldn’t imagine going outside into the NYC grime! But a magic thing happened when I left the room. I sat drinking tea in their relaxation room and within a few minutes not only did I feel cool, but on a total high. Zen, relaxed, happy… and yes also slimmer. Unsurprisingly most people who come have signed up for memberships and come weekly… it’s definitely a healthy high I’d love to get used to!