The sauna is my go-to place to chill out and ease my aching muscles after hitting the gym. The recent lockdown has meant I have not been able to go, so instead I tried the new infrared sauna blanket by Smomar. A bit like an infrared sauna, the blanket uses infrared rays that heat the body directly and promise to deliver all the same benefits but in the comfort of your own home.
The pandemic has seen a surge in sales of at-home wellness equipment. The beauty with the sauna blanket is it is compact and folds away so does not take up lots of space, unlike some gadgets. The at-home sauna equivalent looks like a sleeping blanket. You simply plug it in to the socket, let it warm up for around five minutes then hop in. It recommends you wear loose clothing with long sleeves and socks. You start by setting the blanket at a low temperature and gradually turn up the heat as your body gets used to it. The optimum session is between 30 minutes to one hour.
Infrared sauna’s have been around for a while but only recently become a feature in the wellness routines of celebrities like Lady Gaga, Megan Markle and the Kardashians. The benefits include reducing stress, supporting sleep, soothing muscles as well as burning calories and releasing toxins from the skin. Infrared sauna blankets harness the wellness benefits of infrared light therapy, using specific wavelengths to permeate the skin and improve both cellular function and body balance without producing heat.
I had been smashing my workouts and runs during lockdown but really suffering with stiffness and aches as a result. I was banking on the blanket delivering the same results as a regular post-workout sauna and I was not disappointed. Straight after training I rolled it out on the floor and wrapped myself up in the cosy, warm cocoon. At first, I felt like the sausage filling of a sausage roll but soon got over that and once you relax it is a calming experience. I swiftly introduced it into my daily ‘wind down’ ritual and found it was 45 minutes where I could switch off, take a breath and listen to a podcast. It quickly gets hot in there and because you are wearing clothing you come out a bit of a red, sweaty mess. You can set a timer and there is also an automatic ‘switch off’ button just in case you fall asleep. I ended up nodding off a couple of times. After a wet, cold run in the evening the blanket was the perfect retreat to envelope my aching bones. I finished each session with an ice-cold shower which left me feeling amazing. Cleaning the blanket is easy, once it is cool just wipe it down with some anti-bac spray and as soon as its dry you can fold it up and store away.
I was using the blanket most days and I felt the benefits post-workout. Any tension I was carrying across my shoulders eased away, and I found my legs did not have that heavy ache I usually get the day after a run. I also noticed I was sleeping well. Whether this was down to an overall healthy wellbeing routine or the blanket, I am not sure. The 45 minutes I was spending in the blanket forced me to put down my phone and switch off from general distractions. I started to look forward to having that time to tune out for the day and decompress which was a boost to my mental wellbeing.
If you love to unwind in the sauna and are looking to upgrade your daily wellness routine, then a sauna blanket will be a great investment. The Smomar Infrared sauna blanket is available from £374.