I recently tried Shape House Los Angeles on Broadway @ 10th Street in Santa Monica (there is also a Larchmont location). The only thing I knew about it was it was an “urban sweat lodge.” I didn’t do any research and I did not know anyone who had been before. I like to sweat and I like to try new things so I figured I’d give it a try. I bought a coupon on Yelp thereby getting me the sweat session at a discount. I didn’t bother to read the reviews. I booked my appointment and I showed up excited to sweat away stress and toxins.
Upon walking in the door I felt like I entered a “boutique hotel.” I think it was the color scheme – orange and gray. The relaxation room that I had the option to use after was directly in front of the reception area. The chairs didn’t look very relaxing and I found it a bit odd that from where I was sitting I was staring directly into the relaxation room. That being said, the woman I saw in the relaxation room did look very sweaty.
The women who worked at Shape House were nice and the facility very clean. One showed me where to change into my sweats (I brought my own but I believe they also had them available for a fee). Dressed in sweats, socks, and a long sleeve shirt I was shown into my little area. There was a curtain surrounding a special bed and a private TV mounted on the wall in front of the bed. I was instructed to get in the bed which had some plastic and metallic like material to wrap around my body. This is when I began to freak out inside. I hate sleeping in a bed with a flat sheet firmly tucked in to the corners. In my own bed I don’t use a flat sheet and the first thing I do at hotels is untuck the sheet. Sleeping bags forget about them – totally out of the question. I need to be able to move freely. So now I’m laying with my arms by my sides feet firmly enclosed and material on top of me. It is warm and it proceeds to get warmer. I’m given headphones and a remote. The TV has ROKU so there is no shortage of things to watch. Mentally I’m talking myself through my distress and trying to distract myself with the programming on TV. I decide to watch a documentary on Chipotle – the Mexican fast casual (I learned that phrase) restaurant. It was interesting and motivating in a way. In my head I was thinking that all this sweating would definitely earn me some Mexican food. (I also learned that Chipotle is an interesting and socially responsible company). Each time I took my arm out of the bed to drink water (they provide endless supply of alkaline water) I was calmed by the cooler air temperature and reminded that I could leave at any time. However, there was a part of me that was determined to overcome my phobia and see how long I could stay in a mummy like position. When I started the woman explained the bed would only get hotter and that she would be by often to check on me and offer me more water. In the 45 minutes I was in the bed, I drank 3 Liters of water. I got sweaty, very sweaty. I never felt relaxed as I was trying to talk myself through the experience. I didn’t last with my entire body wrapped under all the material. I had to keep my arms out as I was too hot and felt too confined. You know what it is like when your in a hot tub and so hot that you decide to sit on the edge but still keep your legs in the water, that is what taking my arms out was doing for me. When the session ended I wasn’t sad. I went into the relaxation room to cool off and was treated to more water and delicious orange slices. I kept thinking of the movie Cocoon but I think that is only because I felt like I had been in one for the past 45 minutes. While I do like to sweat I realize sweating while exercising is my preferred method. Second would be going to a spa where I can walk in and out of a steam room or sauna at my leisure.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I went. I love to try new things. Shape House LA just isn’t for me. If you go or if you’ve been, I’d love to hear about your experience.