Sweat lodges like Shape House have made headlines for helping celebs get camera ready. They claim to remove toxins from your body and mind, enhance fitness and weight loss, and improve your sleep and complexion. While detoxification is an important bodily process, it has to do with internal organs, not the beads of perspiration on your forehead. And fitness happens in a gym, not wrapped up in heated blankets. We know you aren’t scared of a good sweat, NYC, but this is one trend you might want to be scared of. Here are some questions to ask before you buy into the fad.
What Do Sweat Lodges Do?
Sweat lodges have you lay on a table heated by infrared energy, wrapped in heat-conductive materials and covered in thick blankets. In short, they make you really sweaty. They offer lymphatic drainage in full-body suits, with no scientific evidence behind it. In fact, when you click on Shape House’s link to learn more about the science of sweating, it takes you to a page that says, “not found.” They make bold claims which play into our wildest dreams that you could lay in a blanket watching movies and still magically get physically fit. Not so much. What you CAN do is dress up like a foil-wrapped baked potato and lay in a bed tons of people have sweated in before you- yuck. But you also run the risk of organ damage, heat exhaustion, stroke, or even death.
Can Sweat Remove Toxins from Your Body?
This is one of the most overstated and under-proven claims of sweat houses and classes like hot yoga. Sweat’s primary purpose is regulating your body temperature. Our bodies need a way to reduce excess heat so we don’t overheat with things like fever or 100-degree weather. Sweat is comprised primarily of water with trace amounts of salt and other natural elements. By its very nature, it is non-toxic. So, the concept of sweat removing toxins is false. It can cool you down, but it can’t purify your body, since it’s not an excretory organ. Organs like the liver collect and rid the body of toxins.
So how do you remove toxins? Well your body does it all by itself, but you can help the process with physical exercise. Vigorous activity increases circulation of lymph fluid and blood, which are then cleansed of toxins by the lymph nodes and kidneys. Sweat lodges claim sweat removes heavy metals, but those are primarily excreted in your urine. The liver also eliminates waste in the bile it releases to the intestines. Toxins are processed by various organs, not by overheating.
Can Sweat Remove Toxins from Your Mind?
This is one of the more fictitious claims sweat lodges make. Toxic mental energy is an intangible thing that has nothing to do with sweat. It would be great if we could sweat away that pesky coworker, opinionated mother-in-law, or low self-esteem, but that’s just not a thing. There are ways to detoxify to improve mental health, but overheating yourself isn’t the ticket. Psychologists recommend detoxifying by eating correctly and exercising, and this process is done through the liver, not through a sweaty blanket.
Can Sweat Get You in Shape?
It would be nice if sweat could tone muscles and blast fat, but sweat by itself does neither. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you’re lounging beachside at the Hamptons or laying poolside in Miami, glistening with sweat, your muscles aren’t getting a workout. Nor do you get any fitter or stronger laying in a sweat lodge.
Plus, if you want to buy into that false claim, wouldn’t you rather do it under a palm tree sipping from a coconut? How sweat does get you fit is when it’s produced by a killer workout. HIIT training at Sweat440 packs the most fitness into 40 fun minutes, so you can get back to that hammock by the sea.
Can Sweat Make You Lose Weight?
This is an age-old gimmick made popular by celebrities and wrestlers trying to “make weight.” Excessive sweating does remove some water weight temporarily, but guess what? You’re gonna have to drink it back in. In fact, sweat lodges recommend intense rehydration to ward off dangerous effects. Weigh yourself when you step out of their sweaty beds and you might see a small change, but weigh yourself the next day and see how short-lived it is.
You might be tempted to try this approach for a big event, but it’s not worth the risk involved.
Death is a more frequent outcome than sweat lodges like to mention. Just ask the man charged with 3 counts of manslaughter from one sweat lodge session he ran. A great HIIT class reduces water retention without all the risk, and blasts fat for lasting weight loss, rather than dehydrating you for the day.
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More Sweat Lodge Claims: Fact vs. Fiction
3 Misleading Things Sweat Lodges Claim
- Sweat Lodges Improve Your Sleep- Sleep is tied to your Circadian Rhythm, not to how much you sweat. Sweating results from an increase in your body’s core temperature, but it’s the subsequent cool down that actually aids in sleep. In fact, if you visit a sweat lodge in the evening, your body might not have time to sufficiently cool down before you try to sleep. The best trick to a good night’s sleep is a workout that releases endorphins and helps you process your stress so you can sleep soundly at night.
- Sweat Lodges Reduce Stress- Excessive sweating actually stresses your body, including your heart and vital organs. People often think of stress as mental, but physical stress on your body is also very real. Not to mention, sweat is often linked with emotional stress- think how often you break into a sweat before a big meeting, an important speech, or a first date. Sweat itself doesn’t reduce stress, in fact, it often creates it. But exercise that produces sweat reduces both physical and mental stress.
- Sweat Lodges Improve Your Skin- Skin breaks out due to hormone fluctuations and clogged pores. Sweat contains salt that irritates skin and leaves bacteria that contributes to acne. Sweating in and of itself will not improve skin. Sweat lodges are also notorious for heat rash and drying out skin. But working out increases blood flow and oxygen production, both of which create a rosy glow that lends to beautiful skin. Rather than laying in a blanket trapping bacteria and salt against your skin, try a class that creates a post-workout glow. At Sweat440, we even have a photo booth to capture that glow, and showers to rinse your sweat away.
Three Truths About Breaking a Sweat
- Sweating Can Be Good for You- People sweat for different reasons- fear, heat, exertion, hormones, or even spicy food. Sweat lodges employ overheating techniques that aren’t safe or effective. Just because you’re sweating doesn’t mean you’re getting fit. Gyms like Sweat440 make you sweat for all the right reasons.
- Exercise is the Best Way to Sweat- When you combine cardio and strength training in HIIT classes, you make the most of your sweat. Interval training strengthens your heart, rather than taxing it. It burns fat, not just drains you of water. It builds muscle, rather than depleting your muscles of hydration. It helps your organs work more efficiently rather than putting them at risk. It helps your body detoxify through excretory organs.
- HIIT is the Best Form of Exercise- HIIT is scientifically proven to produce the quickest results. It’s recommended for people at all fitness levels, and combines resistance and cardio for an all-inclusive health boost. Bonus- it also happens to be the most fun!