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I've always said, "If it's good enough for a reality star, it's good enough for me." Okay, I've never said that, but as evidenced on this site, I've proven my willingness to explore the kooky and experimental beauty trends popularized by the likes of the Vanderpump Rules cast and the Kardashian-Jenner squad (unless they involve needles or scalpels) time and time again.
That said, when I learned that those aforementioned beauty-holics have stopped into urban sweat lodge Shape House as a means shedding an inch or two from their waistlines in a flash—with super-minimal effort—my interest was piqued to say the least. And these girls aren't the only famous fans of this (literal) hot spot; Emma Roberts, Demi Moore, and even LL Cool J have pledged allegiance to the location's infrared treatments, so naturally I had to give it a shot.
Let's be clear: Shape House's goal isn't simply for slimming (though the 55-minute sweats can burn between 800-1600 calories). Both the sweat sessions and the other in-house offering, lymphatic drainage, have a crapload of health benefits including improved metabolism, glowy skin, better digestion, and deeper sleep. I scheduled both treatments back to back—which is recommended for achieving maximum results—and headed to the Larchmont location (Shape House also has spots in Pasadena and Santa Monica), ready to heat things up.
After filling out a bit of paperwork (nope, not pregnant and yep, my body can produce sweat), draining my bladder, and changing into a provided uniform of sweatpants, long-sleeved tee, and athletic socks (germ freaks can bring their own change of clothes, btw), it was time for the lymphatic drainage portion, which was an awful lot like getting your blood pressure taken at one of those free machines in CVS—except all over your body. For 55 minutes, pressure undulates on your limbs and abdomen. It's not at all painful, and if anything almost made me a little giggly at its little loving squeezes. I opted to pass the time with two episodes of Transparent (Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Go and more programming options are all at your stiff-armed fingertips).
Not only was I psyched to try this treatment because I tend to have poor leg circulation and had been suffering minimal tummy troubles (was it the gluten free ecIair I ate the day before?), but also because—drumroll please—it's said to help minimize cellulite.
After the lymphatic, I was immediately moved to another bed to get to sweatin'. For the infrared treatment, you're zipped into a silver sleeping bag heated to nearly 170 degrees. Total #bakedpotato status. As a girl who admittedly takes showers hot enough to cause third degree burns, the temp didn't bug me—until, that is, the last 10 minutes or so, at which point a saintly attendant brings you salvation in the form of a cool lavender towel. Most of my sweat began to pour out in that final stretch, and by the time I was let out of my cocoon, I was visibly drenched from head to toe.
Post-session, you're invited to (literally) chill out in a relaxation rooms with complimentary oranges, tea, and all the alkaline water you can guzzle—though I can tell you from experience, if you haven't pre-hydrated, all the water in the world won't save you from a mean headache a few hours after your treatment. Another top tip: unless you're cool with going commando (more power to you), don't neglect to bring a spare pair of undies, because everything you wear during your sweat will be soaked. TMI, I know, but you need to know these things.
Other than the slightly annoying headache (my own fault) there was no downside to the treatment. In fact, I got to lay in a toasty-warm bed, knocked out half of Transparent's first season, zipped up my jeans with a bit more ease, and slept like a milk-drunk baby. This is definitely a buzz-worthy beauty/wellness trend I can get behind! And with bikini season just around the bend, I foresee a lot of sweats in my future.
Curious to try for yourself? Shape House is graciously gifting 50 Racked readers a free sweat (a $45 value). Take advantage of this first-come-first-service offer by using the code "sweatonracked" in the notes when booking online or mention it upon arrival. If you're lucky enough to snag one, we suggest purchasing a lymphatic drain (also $45) for the ultimate combo body-boosting combo.