Dec 12, 2017 | By Clare Varga
Sep 19, 2017
Tucked away on the third floor of Aby Rosen’s 11 Howard Hotel in Soho lives HigherDOSE, one of New York City’s most invigorating hotspots. Here guests can indulge in a private LED light therapy sweat session in a state-of-the-art infrared sauna complex.
In a nutshell, HigherDOSE is an infrared sauna centre that promises to leave its guests with a natural high, while burning 500-600 calories per hour through perspiration, according to the website.
How does it work? Well, DOSE actually stands for: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins – aka the feel good chemicals that are released by your brain when you are inside of an infrared sauna, boosting your mood and quite literally helping you high off of your own supply.
Katie Kaps & Lauren Berlingeri, the dynamic duo behind HigherDOSE, met by chance after a friend introduced them at dinner just over two years ago here in New York City. Interestingly enough, the two have social and professional backgrounds that contrast like night and day but as Lauren tells it, she “won Katie over,” and now the two are set on disrupting the wellness landscape.
I had the pleasure of enjoying a HigherDOSE sauna session before chatting with Katie and Lauren. The hour long “session” left me drenched but unexpectedly rejuvenated – almost as if I had just awoken from a full night’s rest after eating a well-balanced and responsible meal – both of which I do not do regularly. I equate the experience to a workout without having to lift a finger – my type of workout. This novel spa treatment is quite timely as we have seen a rise in consumer appetite for wellness but the magic behind HigherDOSE’s infrared sweating lies not just in its innovative technology but in its community and sense of inclusivity that Katie & Lauren have imbedded deep into their brand.
Currently operating from 3 locations here in New York City, HigherDOSE seems poised to shift the way we think and feel about sweating.
What is the true purpose of HigherDOSE?
Lauren – I’d say getting our guests high naturally. We really want people to understand there are endless ways to do this, not just infrared saunas. There are so many happiness tools available that we want to bring light, so that if you’re feeling dark, you can break out your tool belt and light a candle.
Katie – HigherDOSE is a different way of thinking about health and wellness that is not so focused on exercise, diet or nutrition. As Lauren said we are keen on convincing and motivating people to get high naturally! It boosts your mood, but honestly it’s a great thing to do. It’s truly an untraditional social workout. We also want to provide a replenishing experience that doesn’t feel like going to the dentist or any other wellness chore. Finally, we want to disrupt the spa space to make it more accessible and contemporary.
What are the benefits of an infrared sauna?
Katie – You come out feeling high, amazing, and calm. Usually you have to put in hours to feel this good, catching up on sleeping or fighting through a tough workout.
Lauren – It’s funny because we are always asking each other how we can slot ourselves in throughout the week. It doesn’t matter if you go in stressed, tired, or hungover – you will come out recharged. I promise you will leave feeling amazing – calm, connected and naturally high.
Have your travels impacted HigherDOSE?
Lauren – Without a doubt! I’ve lived in many places – South Africa, Turkey, Germany, Italy and other parts of Europe as I modelled for 15 years. I’m pretty adventurous and wild and was never in a house when I was overseas. Turkish Hammams were a regular thing for me and I did sauna every week in Germany. When I moved to New York City from Europe I realized there was no sauna culture in New York or in North America for that. I would go to a local gym and the sauna wouldn’t even be on. I couldn’t believe North America was so far behind!
What is your definition of wellness / inner peace?
Lauren – Constant work but also being able to peel back layers and be present in the moment. Good things happen and bad things happen. We as humans always want to be in a state of flow but sometimes life has other ideas and we have to accept that.
Katie – That’s exactly it. Feeling connected in flow when your energy is aligned, that is peace to me.
How can the urban professional on a tight schedule find inner peace?
Katie – Well if they do not have time to come in, we do offer take home products, namely the Wrap – everyone has scheduling issues. The wrap is very portable and you can do it on your own time.
Lauren – My belief is that inner peace is about having boundaries. For example, No emails after work hours. Sometimes all it takes is disconnecting from everything and of course, there are way more tools for taking care of yourself now. Meditating always helps and will always work for anyone’s schedule. Going to yoga and the sauna are just examples of other tools you can use to take care of yourself.
What impact does music play on the HigherDOSE Experience?
Lauren – A Huge Impact! Music allows you to protect your own energy. You have control with the aux in your sauna. You set your own vibe and don’t have to listen to someone breathe.
Katie – Music is definitely a huge part of the pleasure because it allows you to curate your own experience. You can be your own DJ which makes the time go by. Also, our bodies release dopamine when listening to music so it’s all a part of your DOSE.
Has the retail Apocalypse at all affected your business?
Katie – The Retail apocalypse is working in our favour. That’s how the opportunity with ABC Home opened up for us. Smart retailers are realizing they have to offer elevated experiences to drive traffic and we are a concept that brings that.
Lauren – We’re all about sustainability rather than quick fixes and the retail industry definitely does not need a quick fix. A quick fix can turn into a very expensive renovation.
What wellness trends are here to stay and are more than just fads?
Katie – Anything that treats an underlying disease is here to stay. Things that have proven benefits and community backing like Soulcycle and Barry’s Bootcamp. Also for example, we’ve been reading up on the benefits of infra red and how it helps Lyme Disease sufferers.
Lauren – Yeah, just piggy backing off that the things that are good for you with no catch, will last. Products, experiences and activities that provide work/life balance are a must. One of the problems with the health/wellness industry is that you find out after the fact that things once believed to be good, can actually be bad for you. Whatever it is, it should be giving more than its taking.
What’s next for HigherDOSE?
Katie – Our Williamsburg location, which will be our first ever standalone post is set to open this Holiday Season. We can’t even express how excited we really are. The design will be very Millennial friendly with its own sound healing room – we want to keep it fresh. That will be our 4th location in just 16 months.
We also have those incredible body wraps that offer the takeout experience. Not everyone can put a sauna in their house or even has time in their day to make it into one, but everyone should have access because everyone should be able to feel this good.
Lauren – Strategically we want to look at other cities, but we want to be smart about expansion and have fun with it. We like the idea of doing Pop-ups, but it can be difficult as it takes time to properly set up and educate our guests before they indulge. We did a recovery room pop-up at SXSW in the artist lounge so it’s definitely something we see HigherDOSE doing more of down the lines. We also want to work within ourselves to optimize our process.
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