We Sweat West Seattle is more than just saunas; Health benefits of heat keep coming
What if you were told that regular exposure to heat in a controlled way could extend your life and make you feel better in the process?
That's more than a claim. It's backed by real science and available at We Sweat West Seattle in the Admiral District.
Owned now by Ali Atri the business was purchased from its founder last October and offers a form of sauna you may not be familiar with.
There are traditional saunas, sometimes referred to as Finnish style (where they were popularized) that use moisture and can reach air temperatures around 180 degrees. The type at We Sweat utilize Infrared systems that heat the body, gently, up to 158 degrees. There are three types of Infrared light used, near, mid and far, referring to the frequency of the light waves.
The full-spectrum saunas at We Sweat utilize all three waves. While near-infrared saunas can promote topical healing (think sore muscles) and mild pain relief quite effectively – far-infrared (with higher temperatures) are effective at removing toxins, can improve circulation, and work a little faster but still provide plenty of mental and physical benefits. It just doesn't affect your cardio system quite as much. With near-infrared light it can feel like you’re out on a run after you’ve been in the sauna for about 30 minutes. Your heart rate will elevate to about 130-150BPM in a full-spectrum infrared sauna, and about 100-120BPM in a far-infrared sauna."
What he's referring to is the fact that your heart rate does go up as your body responds to the heat. Just like any kind of controlled stress, the body responds, but how it responds is what is unexpected. It's a lot more than just sitting in a hot room. The effects afterward can be profound, especially with regular use.
"We’ve read the studies and we’ve invested in the technology. We truly believe that you can extend your mental wellness, physical wellness, and health span."
In fact a 2015 study determined frequent sauna bathing decreased all-cause mortality rates by 40%.
In a fascinating video by Dr. Rhonda Patrick Phd, (see below) evidence is presented that the use of a sauna produces something called "heat-shock proteins" which have remarkable effects on the body.
In the notes for the video they state:
"In addition to lowering cardiovascular-related mortality, sauna use may have benefits for overall longevity. For example, using the sauna 2-3 times per week is associated with 24% lower all-cause mortality and using the sauna 4-7 times per week is associated with 40% lower all-cause mortality. Sauna use is also associated with a lower risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
People that used the sauna 2-3 times per week had a 20% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and those that used the sauna 4-7 times per week had a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, compared to men that used the sauna 1 time per week.
Some of the longevity benefits of sauna use may have to do with an increase in heat shock proteins, which is one of the protective adaptive responses to heat stress. Heat shock proteins have been shown to prevent and slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, slow human muscle atrophy, and are associated with human longevity."
Atri said, "I came in here as a runner, and my kind of initial track on it was to get in athletes, runners, people training. And it didn't take that long for me to have a couple stressful days here where I was overwhelmed and I realized if I got into a sauna, it could relieve that stress.
I realized that if I got in the sauna for an hour, I came out with clear head. It definitely reduces my stress and anxiety. Also it's kind of apparent right after you get out and take that first shower, your skin just feels incredibly soft. "
In distinct contrast with the Finnish style sauna, these are extremely low humidity and they operate at lower temperatures. Atri said, "Once you are in there it feels as if you were in a patch of sun on a sunny day."
The saunas at We Sweat are all made by a company called Clearlight and in fact some people like them so much they buy them. We Sweat is also a dealer.
They have single person, two person and four person units (some even do yoga in the largest one) and a refreshing shower with large ample towels when your sauna time is over. Because Saunas make you sweat you can lose electrolytes and We Sweat has you covered with a variety of flavors of electrolyte additives for water when you come out.
Each of the saunas is carefully cleaned and sanitized between sessions and an hour is left open after each use.
While the health benefits of infrared saunas continue to add up there are two other forms of therapy available at We Sweat West Seattle.
The first is the opposite of the heat. It's a cold plunge in a tub of 40 to 42 degree water. It's called contrast therapy and is common for athletes. It can help with edema, stiff joints, inflammation of soft tissues, muscle spasms, and painful limbs Many people use it to treat muscle damage, sore or painful muscles, and to speed up recovery after injuries.
The other, less supported by studies but loved by many is Chromotherapy. Otherwise known as color therapy. You can control the colors you see and are bathed in from inside each sauna. While some of it may be the placebo effect, there's no question that it's very pleasant Atri explained, "Green is considered to be relaxing sleep promoting, red is considered to be energizing.
Red light therapy is the really popular one that a lot of people use in the far infrared saunas. Only some of the units there have what are considered "medical grade" chromotherapy."
Those units are very powerful using 96 LED lights with an array of 12 colors - red, strong green, strong blue, orange, green, blue, strong yellow, strong indigo, strong pink, yellow, indigo and violet. It's well known that Seasonal Affective Disorder can be relieved through light therapy but the point is that light does affect mood and mood affects belief.
The saunas are also equipped with bluetooth speakers that let you transmit your phone (left in the outer room) so you can listen to a book, music or a podcast.
Coming soon to We Sweat West Seattle is a new patio area in the back they are renovating for the summer. They recently got their beer and wine license so customers can chill (literally) with a tasty beverage outside.
We Sweat West Seattle has Sauna Packages starting at $120 for a three session pass and memberships that range from $120 to $280 per month
You can reach them at 206-453-5602 and learn more online at www.wesweatws.com