Glass warms up nicely at Higher Dose, New York

If  THERE’s a perfect time to go and sit in a sauna, surely it must be now. On top of having to deal with skin-numbing weather, you won’t have forgotten party season has just finished – so throw in a few hangovers, a tired demeanour, plus an expanded waistline to boot. So if you’re in New York, do yourself a favour and visit Higher Dose. Even the name makes you feel instantly better, no? Founded by Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps, these ladies have really hit on something that we need: a chic infrared sauna experience.

Unlike a traditional sauna, which uses heat to warm the air, an infrared sauna heats your body directly without warming the air around you. Consequently, the heat penetrates your body more effectively, which leads to a range of very enjoyable results such as skin purification, pain relief, increased circulation, and, of course, extreme relaxation.

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I was lucky enough to visit Higher Dose’s Soho location, situated at the fancy 11 Howard boutique hotel, which also houses the ultra-luxurious gourmet restaurant, Le Coucou, and a gorgeous bar called The Blond. This is real destination spot. After checking in with the lovely staff at the Higher Dose reception desk, I was led to my booth. By this I mean an apartment-sized private room, complete with bathroom, seating area, a tank of filtered water, palm tree-print wallpaper, and, of course, the star in question: the sauna capsule. This was like a little cabin in itself.

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Higher Dose spa at 11 Howard Hotel

It’s not difficult to get cosy in a well-designed space that is extremely warm and relatively dark. But here is what’s really impressive about Higher Dose: each sauna includes medical-grade chromotherapy lighting, i.e. coloured light, that is emitted via 96 LED lights – certainly not a common feature in most saunas. I had the most fun changing the light settings during my one-hour session – from green to blue to yellow to violet to red – depending on how I wanted to feel, both emotionally and physically. This is a truly special element of the Higher Dose experience.

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As well as this, you are surrounded by full spectrum rays – far, mid and near infrared panels that your body is exposed to from all sides. This is high-quality stuff and the difference it creates compared to your common steam room at the gym is huge. As Lauren Berlingeri points out, “When I first tried infrared saunas, I knew it was the real deal. I didn’t understand why everyone didn’t know about it.”

Thanks to Higher Dose, the infrared experience is now easily accessible, and, being lapped up by consumers who want to feel really good and gain health benefits at the same time. It is likely just a matter of time (one hopes) before another branch opens in NYC, on top of the two existing locations, because, as Berlingeri adds, “It should be a part of our lifestyle.” Definitely no argument there.

Keziban Barry-0559Higher Dose spa at 11 Howard Hotel

by Derby Jones

Photographs: Barry Kezigan