Meet the Premiere Sweat Lodge in the Heart of Seattle
The other day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and genuinely wondered, when is the last time that I washed my hair? This is pretty standard in the yoga teacher realm. Since we spend so much time hopping from one sweaty class to the next, the urgency to shower slowly starts to wane. The need to bathe becomes so weak that many a yoga teacher has been known to just give up the whole thing and opt instead for a baby-wipe shower to make it through the day. Is this disgusting? Oh, absolutely. Is it normal? Definitely.
Between wedding planning, preparing for a new job (more on that later), teaching yoga, and running my own business, self care tends to run pretty low on my list of daily priorities. I usually don't know how badly I need to take a moment for myself until somebody else points it out to me. This usually means my fiance begging me to get out of the house and go to a damn yoga class before I drive us both insane. What can I say? I'm working on it.
Recognizing my recent need for a little down time, I ventured to City Sweats. If you haven't heard of them before, City Sweats is a luxury sweat spa experience nestled right in the heart of Seattle. They have two locations- Madison and Wallingford- that are both absolutely delightful, ridiculously relaxing, and well worth every minute.
My experience started with a 45 minute Lymphatic Drainage Mechanical Treatment. I know what you're thinking- WTF is that? The treatment is designed to clear the lymphatic system, which, according to the City Sweats website, "works to sweep away excess fluid, toxins and debris from the bloodstream. It’s also a big player for your immune system and protection against infection. In other words, it’s good to keep the lymph flowing well and free to stay healthy." Umm yes, sign me up.
For the Lymphatic Treatment I was essentially swaddled into a mechanical sleeping bag, with special sleeves for my arms and legs. I was nervous about sitting still for 45 minutes, but was assured that pretty much everybody falls asleep in the process. I have the unique superpower of being able to fall asleep pretty much anywhere, so I predicted a solid 5 minutes before I knocked out. From what I remember (you know, before I fell asleep), the treatment felt like slowly being kneaded by a million gentle kittens. It was soothing, satisfying, and so calming that I did- in fact- fall asleep. When the treatment ended, I was gently woken up by a staffer and felt surprisingly spry for having just enjoyed a midday siesta.
After removing me from my adult-sized swaddle, I was led to the next room for my Infrared Sauna Wrap. Despite being a hot yoga instructor, I was exceptionally nervous to be a human burrito for the next 45 minutes. I'm not good at saunas. I can't sit still, I get way overheated, and I always start to feel completely claustrophobic. I imagined a sauna wrap to be even worse. I nervously laughed and made what I can only assume was terrible small talk as I was prepped for my next session. I sent up a silent prayer that I wouldn't fail my sauna session and have to run out gasping for fresh air.
Despite my nervousness, City Sweats knows what they are doing and they do it well. I was given a big bottle of cool, crisp water to enjoy during my sweat session. I was gently folded into the large, squishy sauna wrap. I'd been a little anxious about what to wear, but I got to keep all of my clothes (and socks!) on to help me get extra sweaty. One of my arms was only lightly wrapped so that it could easily escape. There was a TV mounted on the wall while my body slowly melted, and I was gifted with headphones to watch Netflix with. Midway through my 45 minute session, a cool lavender towel was placed on my forehead. Despite almost being too nervous to go, by the end I would've been happy to spend the rest of my days as a toasty human burrito. I eat enough guacamole anyway, so I'm basically 50% there.
My session ended in the relaxation area where I was greeted with tea, detox shots, and orange slices that felt decidedly much classier than the ones I enjoyed in my youth soccer days. I enjoyed a quick cold shower and contemplated whether it would be appropriate to register for more sauna treatments. I left City Sweats feeling like a more sparkly version of myself, which was exactly what I needed.