We’re on the third installment of our Try It series where we try different popular wellness practices and report back with our honest takeaways. We recently went to City Sweats, cellular level health and Washington’s first infrared wellness spa. Actually City Sweats is a group of 4 spas in the Seattle area, and we went to the one located in Bellevue.
The reason that we wanted to try out City Sweats was that they offer different treatments that focus on the lymphatic system (lymphatic drainage massage and therapeutic massage) as well infrared sauna cabin and chromotherapy – all practices that we’ve shared our interest in before on our blog and social media channels. We also thought these treatments would be beneficial for some of our autoimmune symptoms such as joint/muscle pain, swelling etc.
City Sweats says that all of their treatments encourage the body’s ability to heal through its own natural filtration system. Of course some of us don’t do well with heat or sweating but City Sweats also offers a variety of other intriguing services (besides those we mentioned above) such as infrared sauna wrap, dry brushing, holistic facials, ultrasonic cavitation and even acupuncture.
*Anytime we hear anything aiding in lymphatic flow, our ears perk up a little- because we think it’s such a beneficial thing for the body yet is not often talked about.
City Sweats is lovely, super clean and inviting. You can have your own individual cabin or get a larger cabin to sweat it out with a friend (this is what we ended our session with). The cabin is a treat in and of itself but when following a therapeutic massage or a lymphatic drainage massage (which are the treatments we had) it’s an awesome combo. In addition to infrared saunas, they also offer other “good for you” services. Plus, in the sauna, you can have a choice of light treatments that are said to focus on various health issues such as relaxation, digestion and pain.
We booked two slightly different sessions for us to experiment with. I (Emily) tried out the dry brushing service followed by an infrared sauna sweat sesh, and Kate tested out the mechanical lymphatic drainage massage, also followed by an infrared sauna sesh (again, heat is not her friend so this part didn’t last long).
EM: Dry brushing is something that, if I’m on top of my game, I will do quickly for a few minutes before I shower. But the idea of having someone spending an hour doing it for me sounded heavenly. Dry brushing consists of brushing your skin with a natural bristle brush in a short, sweeping motion in the direction of the heart. This supports lymphatic flow and helps discourage swelling while ridding your body of built up toxins. It also improves circulation and nerve transmission, and promotes healthy functioning skin.
Following this with an infrared sauna session only further aids the detoxification. I absolutely loved the treatment, it was mixed in with a manual lymphatic massage and, I’m pretty sure, this was the first time I’ve been touched by someone outside my covid bubble in way too long (a sad realization I had at the time!). It’s a treat I would indulge in way more often if it were feasible, because effective lymph treatments almost let you see a change in water weight right after you’re done, and it’s always oddly reassuring to have visible results.
As far as the infrared sauna sweat goes, if you’ve been following us for a little while now you know that, when my POTS permits it, I love a good infrared sauna. Heat makes my muscles feel great and I’m often in less pain afterwards (though I know everyone is individual with this – for example, Kate does a lot worse in heat than I do). I really liked this infrared sauna because it was big enough for us to go in together, you could control the heat setting, and you could control the light feature as well (different colored lights focus on different aspects of wellbeing). My tip for after body work like this would be to drink a ton of water because you just got everything moving and you want to continue to flush things out over the next 24 hours or so.
KATE: On our appointment day I had a decent amount of muscle pain so I was looking forward to my treatment of a Lymphatic drainage massage. I also tend to swell (especially in legs) so it seemed like a good fit for me and would be beneficial.
It reminded me of the Rapid Reboot machine that we have used at home but a full body version that did all of my extremities. I was given an option to watch tv while my machine was working it’s magic, and I happily accepted so I ended up watching Schitt’s Creek (with headphones on) during my session. Once you get over the somewhat unusual sensation of being squeezed, it becomes super relaxing and I almost dozed off. While I didn’t have the typical “massage” that you’d normally think of when someone is physically working on you, my body felt just as relaxed once my session was over.
I knew going into our appointment in the infrared sauna cabin that I was probably not going to be as gungho with the idea of “sweating” as Em. Normally I have a harder time than her tolerating heat, and saunas were never my thing growing up.
The lymphatic drainage massage was what I was more excited about. I enjoyed our time in the cabin together and loved that they had them big enough to share with a friend, but I definitely didn’t last the whole allotted time. I waited in our enclosed space (right outside of the glass cabin door) for Em to finish her full session. Even though I didn’t do the entire sauna time, I’m still glad I was able to get some sweat on and detox my body to my own comfort level.
After our sessions at City Sweats, we had tea and a cutie (tangerine) waiting for us in their beach room! They have sand and low light with candles going for the perfect blend of relaxation. it was a super soothing way to end our treatments and we loved the cute personalized touches.