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I highly recommend the hot stone massage at City Sweats. The combination of the heat and pressure of the smooth stones was amazing. I definitely want to do it again! (Image: Melanie Biehle/Seattle Refined)

City Sweats: An Urban Sweat Lodge in Madison Park

When Dee first invited me to visit City Sweats in Madison Park, I was a bit skeptical. Having grown up in the South, I do anything physically possible to avoid any type of heat. I'm the one over here squealing with joy when the gray clouds and crisp fall temperatures descend over our fair city, transforming it to what the rest of the world thinks of as, "Seattle weather." Shhwe don't tell them about the summers, right?
I told Dee that I'd like to try a hot stone massage, since I've never had one, and that I'd spend a few minutes in the infrared sauna cabin. Oddly enough, even though I grew up in a climate that is basically a constant steam room in the summer, I have a very low tolerance for heat. I get headaches and rashes and it's just not awesome. I am a terrible Southern Belle.
When I first arrived, Dee showed me around the spa and offered me a Circulation Shot (cayenne, alkaline water, and aloe) from their tonic menu. In addition to being a terrible Southern Belle, I'm also really lousy at taking shots (says the person who sipped Jaegermeister, back when she did those kinds of things). However, I wanted to try it and managed to gulp it down in only three big sips. The elixir was created to promote circulation and reduce inflammation while preventing illness, and detoxifying the body. The burning sensation of the cayenne made me feel like it was working!
Next stop was the massage table. I had scheduled a hot stone massage, but since I came in with a bit of a headache, my therapist started with a lymphatic drainage massage for my face and sinuses. It seemed to help, at least while I was there. Then it was time for the hot stone massage, where hot stones of various sizes are heated up and used to massage the body. The combination of the heat and pressure of the smooth stones was amazing. The heat made me feel like my muscles were being worked on even deeper. I definitely want to do it again.
Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to check out the infrared sauna cabin that day, but here's how it works according to City Sweats.
"Infrared saunas heat the body directly and deeply. They prompt what is called an 'artificial fever' that encourages a natural healing response, detoxifying the body holistically. Daily dirt, heavy metals, bacteria, and all manner of toxins are cleansed from the system with the high temperature and dry environment of the infrared sauna."
Back in 2009, Dr. Oz shared the benefits of the infrared sauna with Oprah Winfrey on her Extreme Life Extension show. He said that it could increase longevity, burn calories, lower blood pressure, raise metabolism, and release toxins.
City Sweats opened in Seattle earlier this year in Madison Park at 1928 43rd Avenue East. They're planning to add a smoothie station soon, and an additional location in Ballard is in the works for sometime in the next six months.