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The Lymphatic Massage isn't as scary as it sounds! (Image: City Sweats)

What in the world is a Lymphatic Massage?

I had a gym teacher in 5th grade say something once I'll never forget: "Boys sweat, girls glisten."

Then he saw he me run the mile.

I'm a sweaty human, folks. I consider myself fairly athletic, and attempt to be healthy - but when I'm working hard, you can definitely tell. Once on my way back from the gym someone saw me and asked if it was raining outside. Nope friend, that's not rain soaking through my head - it's sweat.

For this reason, I stay away from hot yoga, saunas, hot tubs, and really any other fad that's supposed to detoxify you by sweating it out. I figure, why bother? I do that every time I head to the gym anyways. So you can probably imagine my initial aversion to a company called City Sweats. But when I found myself down a writer to experience their sauna cabin and something called a lymphatic drainage massage - it was time to confront my fear.

City Sweats has two locations, their original Madison Park spa and a newly opened residence in Wallingford as well. One of their missions is to de-mystify the stigma usually associated with sweating (guilty as charged). They use far-infrared saunas instead of traditional ones to intensify the toxin release, which is supposed to:

  • Normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Improve circulation
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce side-effects of chemotherapy and Fibromyalgia symptoms

While I was nervous for the sauna room, I was excited for the lymphatic drainage massage (although the world drainage was a little terrifying). How bad could a massage actually be? But I need not have worried - no needles, pumps or other scary drainage tools were used in this service. I was put in a cozy little room in the Madison Park location, on a cot rife with pillows and blankets. I was in leggings and a tank top, and then wrapped in - how else do I say this - huge gloves for my legs, arms and torso. Large cushiony boots were slipped onto my feet and legs, then the same in glove form were applied on my hands, and one corset-like belt applied to my torso.

It was a little cumbersome, but I didn't have to move or walk or anything - just lie there for 40 minutes, as the boots/glove/corset combo massage me. Yup, did I not mention all of the accoutrement has the ability to be plugged in, and turns into mini-masseuses? Think of the massage chairs you sit in while getting a pedicure. Then picture that all over your body. Lay back and enjoy, with the option of listening to music or watching a show on Netflix! Or you know, napping.

But other than feel great, what is this experience supposed to actually do?? This is where the medical jargon comes in. Basically the massaging machines work to stimulate your lymphatic system to push those toxin-filled fluids out of the body, applying certain pressures to specific places on the body to promote circulation. It's supposed to be especially beneficial for colds and infections.

The City Sweats team encourages folks to head to their sauna room directly after the massage - the idea being that the toxins that have been brought up to the skin are primed and ready to be released as soon as you start sweating.

This was the moment of truth for me, folks. When the attendant told me they encourage everyone to spend around 45 minutes in the sauna for maximum benefits, I literally laughed out loud. That is SO LONG TO BE SWEATY. But, I decided to give it a go - and impressively, I made it 27 minutes! I was incredibly proud. They let you come and go as you please to cool off outside with some water, then walk back in, etc. etc. You can choose your lights, and there is even a wifi code inside if you want to surf your phone or play some music. You're alone, in a secluded draped off room so you can be wearing as much or as little as you want.

Let's all give me a collective pat on the back here for facing my fears of intentionally sweating in semi-public (I know I know, I'm playing the tiniest violin in the world for myself). I finished off with a cold shower, fresh pressed juices and a smile from the friendly staff. I will completely admit to feeling less bloated - but in all honesty it could have been placebo effect after hearing that bride-to-be's are huge fans of the services to drop a few pounds before the big day.

As for pricing, it's nothing like the fancy massage treatments in other places where the minimum fee for anything is $150. In fact, if you combine both the lymphatic massage and infrared sauna treatments, it's 90 minutes for $90 ($45 for each treatment). Not too shabby!

City Sweats Wallingford location is located at 4222 Stone Way N., and their Madison Park location is at 1928 43rd Ave E.