Trends, as we all know, come and go. But once in a while there are the trends that have staying power and eventually develop into established cultural norms.
In a time when health and wellness awareness is rapidly growing, we find ourselves seeking out ways to lead healthier and more balanced lives. Trial and error is often the best way to see if something works for you.
As Food + Mood NYC continues to scour the streets of New York City to discover wellness experiences, we have found an increasing interest in the holistic healing remedies that use hot and cold temperatures on the human body. In particular, infrared saunas and cryotherapy seem to having a moment.
Infrared saunas use light waves to create heat. The benefits of sweating insides a closed, heated space have been known to mankind for thousands of years. The skin is our largest organ and sweat is one of the most important ways we can eliminate toxins.
On the other end of the thermostat, if you have ever put a bag of frozen peas on an injury, you have experienced the benefits of cryotherapy. Extreme cold treatments have long been used to assist in the recovery and rehabilitation process. The practice of whole-body cryotherapy has recently emerged, which involves stepping into a body-sized chamber up to your neck and having liquid nitrogen sprayed into the air that can bring skin temperature down to below -200ºF.
To better understand the inner workings and benefits of infrared saunas and whole body cryotherapy we sat down with the experts, Lauren Berlingeri of HigherDOSE and Alain Palisky of The Alchemist Kitchen.
*** Lauren Berlingeri, co-founder of HigherDOSE, an infrared sauna spa with three locations in New York City, helps us better understand the experience.
F+M NYC: How did the idea of HigherDOSE begin? How did you come up with the name?
LB: HigherDOSE began in 2015. I was working out a lot and my body was really over taxed and exhausted. I was having some hormonal issues and my skin was breaking out. That's when I was introduced to infrared saunas by an incredible doctor. It immediately made my skin softer, clearer and more glowing and I slept like a baby that night. The next day I started researching infrared saunas and learning about all the benefits and was shocked on how great it is for you.
I literally spent months in a board room working for another start up trying to create a product that was detoxing, distressing, anti aging and helps with weight loss. And there it was right in front of me and I just knew it was going to be the next biggest thing in the Health/Wellness and Fitness industry.
I was introduced to my future partner, Katie Kaps, though a friend and when I pitched her my idea and she went to try the sauna she was immediately hooked and on board.
DOSE stands for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins; which are the feel good chemicals. We wanted to name our company something different than most Health and Wellness companies as they didn't resonate with Katie and myself. We're much more into health and wellness because it makes us feel good not because we were sick or trying to heal something specific. We both felt like this is the way most people should think about wellness as more of a lifestyle and not just something you do to be healthy.
HigherDOSE is a play on the experience—during your session you release higher levels of DOSE during and after your session, and that’s the experience we highlight for our guests.
F+M NYC: What is the difference between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna?
LB: The difference between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna is that infrared saunas rely on near infrared rays to heat your body and not the air like traditional saunas.
Our saunas are complete with near and far infrared heat—which allows your sweat to be comprised of 20% toxins. In a traditional sauna, your sweat will be comprised of 3% toxins. That’s a big difference.
F+M NYC: Is one thought to be more beneficial than the other?
LB: Infrared saunas definitely trump traditional saunas.
In an infrared sauna you experience greater levels of detoxification, improved circulation, collagen building, muscle recovery, reduces pain, releases stress, downs cortisol levels and releases a lot of serotonin. Our saunas also have medical grade chromotherapy, which is another great light therapy that boost mood, works on different ailments within the body and balances chakras.
A traditional sauna won’t cause you to feel like you’ve been lifted into a better state. Typically, you will feel drained, dehydrated, and exhausted—that doesn’t happen in our saunas if you pay attention to the way your body is reacting to the heat.
F+M NYC: You have a sound system in your saunas. What kind of music do you usually listen to while sweating it out?
LB: I like to listen to artists like Hippie Sabotage—she loves “Stay High.”
We have curated playlists for our saunas on our website. We make it easy for you so that you can just hop into the sauna and hit play. Check it out on HigherDOSE.com.
F+M NYC: Besides saunas, how do you take care of yourself both on and off the plate?
LB: I love to feed my body with nourishing leafy greens and clean high quality foods. I also make my own healthier version of bullet-proof coffee, and sleep a lot and don't drink much alcohol. I'm usually working, working out, eating healthy food, hanging with my boyfriend at home and with close friends or sleeping.
F+M NYC: You currently have three successful locations in New York City? Any plans to expand to other cities?
LB: Absolutely! We would love to bring the benefits of infrared to cities across the world. We don’t discuss our operations publicly, but we can say that there is a desire. Keep your eyes open for future announcements on our website. ;)
*** The Alchemist's Kitchen in New York City is a botanical dispensary and a whole plant tonic bar serving elixirs, plant-based food and healthy treats. They also have a lower lounge with spa services that includes KyroLounge’s Whole Body Cryotherapy and Facial Cryotherapy. Owner Alain Palisky explains the treatments and the process for us:
F+M NYC: What cryotherapy treatments do you offer?
AP: We offer Whole Body Cryotherapy and Cryo Facials.
F+M NYC: What are the benefits of each?
AP: Whole Body: much like a cold plunge, a cryo chamber helps to kick-start metabolism, your immune system and burns calories. Athletes use it for muscle recovery and joint pain. It circulates your blood and gives you a nice burst of energy and helps with sleep as well.
Cryo Facials: evens overall skin tone, tightens pores, gives a bright glowing complexion immediately after use. Over time it reduces acne, diminishes age spots as well as sun damage and fine lines.
F+M NYC: Why do you believe the interest in cryotherapy has grown recently?
AP: The health and wellness sector is growing, and people want to try new things that will help them look and feel their best. Cryotherapy is the next step in living a healthy lifestyle.
F+M NYC: Do you recommend using cryotherapy in conjunction with infrared sauna? If yes, should one come before the other?
AP: Yes, hot and cold therapies go hand in hand. The whole body cryotherapy can come before or after the sauna, although most people like to use it to cool off. The cryo facial is best after the sauna to close your pores and diminish any inflammation caused by the heat.
F+M NYC: Anything new coming to The Alchemist's Kitchen in the coming months?
AP: We have a couple new companies joining the collective. In September, we are launching a new company called TUNE and we are looking to bring in a salt room.
Stay tuned for more exciting services to come!
*** Go experience it for yourself! Visit http://www.higherdose.com/ and https://www.thealchemistskitchen.com/ to learn more and book your sessions.