Having lived in L.A. for a number of years, I've heard of just about every kind of treatment and holistic remedy for weight, skin, pain, whatever. So when a coworker, in a fit of pre-wedding pampering and preparation, told me she'd been getting regular infrared body wraps, I barely batted an eyelash. These treatments, done at spas and tanning salons, involve little more than being wrapped up in silicone strips, which heat up, and over the course of a 50 minute session, increase circulation, decrease water weight, relax muscles and burn calories.
While I was intrigued, the nearly $100 per session fee pretty much guaranteed I would never give it a shot.
But then Groupon, which I love love love, advertised a special of only $25 for one session at On The Beach in Toluca Lake. For $25 would I wrap myself up like a sweaty burrito? Heck yeah! And because I'm now roping Devin into all of my experiments, I bought him a session too.
So on Sunday morning we made our way to the salon for our back to back sessions. It was decided Devin would go first, and so he was provided with a navy blue sweatsuit to change into. The outfit made him look very cozy, and also sort of like he was in a cult.
Then Logan, the very helpful and very friendly woman working there, strapped Devin in. I was relieved to find there were only a few bands involved, and that the bands weren't also attached to the bed. I'd sort of envisioned being covered from neck to ankle, unable to move, but as it turns out there was just one around each thigh, around the butt, waist, and both arms.
While getting Devin set up, Logan explained some of the benefits and mentioned that we'd burn 900-1200 calories. This pleased me because just that very morning I'd been fretting over the discovery that although I've been running 20 miles a week, I appear to be getting somehow flabbier. [My whole life older women have always warned me that one day, suddenly, my metabolism would grind to a halt, I'd lose all muscle mass, and that I would have to go to Curves and never so much as look at a french fry and be on Weight Watchers until I died. I've recently wondered if, at 27, I've finally landed on the other side of that fence.]
Leaving Devin to roast, I walked down the street to Coffee Bean to work on my laptop and judge all of the other people working on their laptops. When I returned, I peered into Devin's room.
"How you doing in here?"
"I'm ready to be done."
"Well that doesn't sound enjoyable. Did you find anything to watch on TV?" I gestured to the small television mounted near the ceiling, hospital room style.
"It only gets local channels. I've been watching Power Rangers."
Now that I was far less enthused about the whole process, it was my turn. I changed into my gray sweatsuit and lay awkwardly on the bed while I was wrapped up. The bands were still warm from Devin's session and I was informed that overall I'd experience more heat than him since they hadn't had a chance to cool. "But that means more benefits," I was reassured. Huzzah! Say goodbye, recently discovered fat over my shoulder blades.
For the first 10 minutes the warmth was relaxing, like a nice bath. I felt sleepy. Minutes 10-20 went by incredibly slowly and I soon grew restless. Oh, and hot. Really hot. Trying to take my mind off the toastiness, I shifted my attention between the Spanish language infomercial on the TV and the novel I'd brought, but which I couldn't really hold at a suitable angle for reading anything on the lower half of the page. With about 15 minutes remaining, I felt like my butt was burning. I called Logan in and said I could put up with it as long as there wasn't really a risk of burning myself. She assured me this would not happen, but adjusted the strap anyway. This helped. I thought about how, even if I had the potential to burn 1200 calories, sweating away in this room was harder than the 7 mile run I'd completed the day before.
Then Devin appeared.
"How is it?"
"I'm ready to be done."
As you can tell from this picture, I'm having a blast. Also, point of note, this may be just about the worst possible angle to have one's picture taken.
By the time the whole thing was over I felt calm, sleepy and light. I can't say for sure that I noticed any other results, and no one promised that I would without completing multiple sessions, but I like to pretend that it flattened my stomach.
In conclusion, not really my cup of tea. I could actually see committing to it if, like my coworker, I was prepping for The Big Day. But since I've got nothing on the horizon but getting older and fatter, I might as well save my money for the impending membership to Curves.