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Something New: Mandi Does (and Almost Dies Doing) an Infrared Burrito

Welcome to our new January series, Something New! In Something New, each member of the LeCC team will try something they’ve never done before in the spirit of personal exploration and growth. This time, our CEO, Mandi, tries an infrared sweat session..

Leading up to my trip to Shape House I was nervous. I’d done some reading about people’s experiences there. I knew enough to wear clothes that would handle my after-sweat body (no thank you crushed velvet) and expected at least drop-dead gorgeous skin. Among the other benefits, they tout a full body detox, a good night’s sleep, and weight loss.

I was most worried though, that I might pass out. One blog post I read went on and on about the brutal yet crucial final 10 minutes. During those last few minutes, the heat got so unbearable that your breathing suffered and some can’t even make it through. Not to get too dramatic, but in trying out this new spa treatment, I was getting the same vibes as drug commercials. The ones selling high blood pressure medication with side effects include “death, sudden heart palpitations, sudden loss of vision” and say things like “do not use [insert drug name] if you are allergic to [insert the same drug name]”. How would I know until after I tried it!?!

For context: I gave up Instagram this year. Started journaling. Signed up for an 8-week pottery class. I am out here trying to live my most authentic life, so I was interested in exploring something new, but wary that it was more millennial snake oil than a truly centering practice.

Here goes nothing.

When you step into the entry room of Shape House, you’re plunged into what I can only describe as a post-modern Scandinavian lair. All the lightbulbs glow orange, the furniture is gray, as is the carpet, as are many of the walls. The space is mostly empty save for a single desk where a greeter waits and the 2 pillow chairs on the ground. She ushers me to the back where I’m given an orange crate, the Shape House sweats uniform and left to my own devices.

After changing, I got settled into my infrared cocoon and was handed a Roku remote. I decided to explore a new show – The Sopranos. It turned out to be a really steamy episode (Season 1, Ep 5). Father Phil drops in on Carmella on a dramatically stormy night, nearly biblical rain, while her husband and kids are out of town. Over the course of the night, they watch a movie, eat baked ziti and practice the holy sacrament all by the fireside. They nearly plunge into full sinning when… I’m burning up! My body is screaming at me to get out of this death trap, but much like Carmella, I resist my urges and keep it together.

I later learned that the sweats uniform is specifically designed to show off all my embarrassing sweat patches in addition to being comfy.

I came out feeling like a post-resurrection Darth Vader...and sounding like him too. I only had a minute or so to hang out in the post-sweat relax room. They offer you water, tea, and a wicker chair to contemplate the mental and physical journey you just completed.

Before you go:

I recommend you eat a light snack. I was starving afterward but was too nauseous to eat anything for a few hours.

Drink a lot of water. I thought I drank enough water beforehand and was sorely mistaken as a headache crept up halfway through my sweat. Which meant I was constantly trying to chug water during, to no avail. Drink more than you think you need to. The entire experience is designed to dehydrate you, so be careful.

Later that night:

I slept like a baby. It wasn’t one of those post-partying, so-intoxicated-I-slept-like-a-log sleeps. It was more like my bed transformed into the bed of my dreams, my body felt it had all the time in the world, and slept like there was nothing to worry about – not the economy, not my pores, not nothing. It was definitely one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had all year (even if it’s only been a few weeks).

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