My HigherDose Red Light Sauna Blanket Review (2024)
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GOOD GEAR RATING — 7/10 STARS
Summary: The HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket is a good investment for folks who regularly enjoy saunas and wish to have a more private version at home (especially in households with multiple users). If you prefer a fully traditional sauna — true heat versus infrared heat — HigherDOSE is not the fit for you. It’s important to note that HigherDOSE does not get as hot as some research indicates necessary for true heat exposure benefits.
- Cozy, comforting, and calming, especially for me as a person who is always cold.
- If you currently pay for saunas at the spa or gym, this might be a worthwhile investment to get a similar experience at home (although see the note below on temperatures).
- Costs continue to go down the more you use it.
- Does not heat up to temperatures that some researchers recommend for ideal benefits from heat exposure. It goes up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, while research indicates 176 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit in a sauna is where health benefits are most impactful.
- Slightly large to store.
- The high price point, $699, doesn’t include a towel (which costs $99 extra) which I feel should be more of a standard inclusion.
Humans are wonderful, complex beings that can’t be categorized or explained simply — each individual’s experience in this life is wonderfully unique. However in a world full of radiant spectrums, there is one binary that I’ll always subscribe to: Some folks would rather be cold than hot, and others would rather be hot than cold.
“Some folks would rather be cold than hot, and others would rather be hot than cold. I would always rather be too hot than too cold.”
I would always rather be too hot than too cold. I’ll work in a stifling hot office space, taking on damage from the late afternoon sun, beads of sweat rolling down my back and still not turn on the air conditioner to avoid the shock of the cold air on my skin. I lose focus if my feet are chilly (and they too often are), and only turn on fans when I leave a room so I don’t have to feel the moving air. So it’s no surprise that I’ve always been fond of things like hot yoga, hot tubs, fireplaces, and saunas.
But aside from visits to my local yoga studio, I don’t have regular access to luxurious warm things in my small LA apartment building. I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a tiny hot tub for my patio but didn’t want to risk a run-in with the landlord — but then I discovered the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket. I couldn’t stop thinking about how nice it would feel to be wrapped up like a toasty little burrito in the comfort of my own home.
HigherDOSE was founded as a brick-and-mortar sauna experience in 2016 by Lauren Berlingeri, a certified holistic nutritionist, and Katie Kaps, an experienced startup CEO. The brand’s unique approach to sauna — by using far infrared light rather than heat or full spectrum light — was designed to support higher levels of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins (which, conveniently, spells out “DOSE”). By 2019, the brand had expanded into at-home products with the release of the Infrared Sauna Blanket and saw massive success during the COVID-19 pandemic when folks were looking for ways to get their favorite treatments in the comfort of their own home.
“The brand’s unique approach to sauna — by using far infrared light rather than heat or full spectrum light — was designed to support higher levels of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins (which, conveniently, spells out “DOSE”).”
Now a favorite of wellness and lifestyle influencers everywhere, you may have seen this $700 blanket pop up during your daily social media scroll. While a warm snuggle may seem priceless, I’ve been hesitant about whether this price point is actually worth it — and if all the benefits are actually legit. So I gave HigherDOSE’s Infrared Sauna Blanket a test. Here’s what I’ve learned, loved, and most importantly, lifted my eyebrows at.
What does HigherDOSE do?
HigherDOSE’s mission, generally speaking, is to help you “get high naturally” in your beauty and wellness rituals by activating the “feel-good” hormones in your body. In addition, this infrared sauna blanket is designed to be a compact at-home sauna experience with the following benefits:
- Elevates your body’s thermal energy for better detoxification
- Enhances deep relaxation using layers of crystal, charcoal, and clay
- Improves circulation by heating the body and increasing heart rate
- Promotes glowing skin thanks to increased circulation
- Burns calories “like working out, without the workout”
- Supports muscle recovery by using infrared heat
My immediate reaction to this list was one of hesitation — what exactly do we mean by “detoxing the body?” And, of course, the language surrounding calorie burning concerned me because it felt geared towards weight loss. As someone who’s had a complicated body image and relationship with weight my whole life (as many of us have), I wasn’t eager to put too much emphasis on this feature.
But feeling good? That sounds like something I’d love to have more of in my life. Turns out, there are some indicators that infrared saunas can support certain wellness facets — and don’t come with a lengthy list of side effects — making it worth a try.
How does the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket work?
Far infrared light (FIR) is named due to the hue of the red itself — it’s so far on the spectrum of light wavelengths that it is invisible to the naked eye. That means, unlike near infrared face masks you might see online, there isn’t a spooky red glow that emanates from the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket. FIR light is different from traditional saunas, which use heat to warm your body from the outside in — instead, the light heats you from the inside out. (And if that sounds scary, that’s fair; though HigherDOSE does mention that this product has low EMF and ELF field emissions which is a common concern for red light users in general.)
The blanket itself is made of high-quality sturdy polyurethane (PU), which is both high temperature- and water-resistant. The brand insists that this is a nontoxic material, and that it has undergone (and passed) stringent VOC testing.
The blanket measures 71″ by 71″ unfolded, with a maximum interior circumference of 65″ and offers temperatures from 68°–158° Fahrenheit. The super-simple hand control offers temperature choices and an easy power-on switch. It automatically shuts off after 60 minutes but can easily be turned off sooner to suit your time preferences. Here are a few additional notes on the electrical usage of the product, in case you’re working with an older house or have specific electrical needs:
- Voltage | 100-120 Volt (US/Canada model); 220v (UK/EU models)
- Wattage | 350-420 Watts
- Amps | 4-5
One interesting feature I’m excited to continue learning more about is how HigherDOSE also includes various wellness-promoting materials in the layers of the blanket. Below the far infrared lights, there’s a layer of charcoal (which binds to pollutants to flush out “impurities”), clay (for negative ions and balanced heat), and a medical-grade magnetic strip (for better blood flow and circulation). Below that, there’s a layer of amethyst tourmaline, which is said to deepen the benefits of infrared and generate more negative ions.
Those negative ions, some research indicates, can help reduce symptoms of depression in some people. Sign me up for sweating away sadness — I’ll be sure to update this review as I use the device more long term.
Does the HigherDOSE Sauna Blanket actually work?
If there’s one thing the brand absolutely delivers on, it’s the sweat — my 50-minute sessions at temperature levels five or six have me looking like a freshly glazed donut. The blanket starts out a little snuggly and then sweat starts to really kick in. While the brand encourages you to go in fully clothed in cotton (including socks), I prefer to go without clothing and instead cover everything up with cotton towels. (Oh, and don’t forget a pillow that you don’t mind getting head sweat on!)
“My 50-minute sessions at temperature levels five or six have me looking like a freshly glazed donut.”
While it’s nice to be tucked in for a solid 50-minute stretch with no distractions other than a re-watch of my favorite TV shows, I will say there are a couple of discomforts you can expect. First, you either have to use your feet to keep the (kind of heavy) material tented — which I found cooled me down more than I’d like — or you have to duck-foot your toes in or outward to maintain a little more flatness. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s not my favorite thing either.
Secondly, the zipper feature (which is an upgrade from the brand’s original velcro design) is nice — but there’s only one zipper. I wish there was a zipper on either side of the bag so I could easily access a hand hole to skip commercials or grab my phone to check the timer. The single-zipper design means you have to unzip from your shoulder down and get nearly completely out of the blanket if you need to reach for anything.
But, after my 50 minutes are done, I have to say I thoroughly enjoy rolling out of the blanket, wrapping myself in a robe, and then heading to the shower for a moderately cold rinse off. My longer-term goal is to get a little more comfortable with a cold shock afterwards because I think that’d be helpful for my energy levels as well as my mental health.
“Like the brand promises, I leave my sauna blanket with a feeling of calm and — dare I say it — euphoria.”
Like the brand promises, I leave my sauna blanket with a feeling of calm and — dare I say it — euphoria. I’ve found it’s helped me to not reach for the wine, or at least not pour a second glass thanks to how calm I’m already feeling. So on that level of “detoxing,” I say it’s a win! Although I trust my liver more than a sweaty sleeping bag to do most of that work for me. (Thanks, liver.)
Still, there are some caveats that I came up against, depending on which outcomes are most important to you.
As I was doing further research on heat exposure, I came across Andrew Huberman’s episode on deliberate heat exposure. The research has indicated that spending 5–20 minutes in a sauna that’s heated between 176–212° Fahrenheit 2–3 times a week can improve cardiovascular health. But that’s where I raised an eyebrow — HigherDOSE only reaches 158° Fahrenheit. “Currently, there is insufficient evidence of [infrared saunas] having additional effects beyond those of a standard sauna,” writes Huberman. “More importantly, most infrared saunas do not reach the heat ranges outlined below for positive health effects.”
So while I like the grounding and calming effects of HigherDOSE’s Infrared Sauna Blanket, I am taking any heat-exposure-related benefits with a dose of skepticism. There are still simply too many hypothesis-only sources for me to feel they’re warranted. Instead, I think this device works best for folks looking for muscle recovery as well as relaxation and inducing better sleep.
Who shouldn’t use HigherDOSE?
“Before you become a human hot pocket, I do recommend speaking with your doctor.”
Before you become a human hot pocket, I do recommend speaking with your doctor. Especially if you’ve had heat sensitivity in the past, or are (or trying to become) pregnant. This goes for folks with sperm, too — high temperatures can negatively impact sperm count, although there is some research indicating near infrared light can support sperm motility.
If you’re a high-performance athlete who plans to use the sauna blanket for impactful recovery, I recommend discussing your options with a doctor first. While far-infrared light therapy has some promising indications for supporting our health, there still isn’t yet enough large-scale research to prove the findings in a significant way.
Final Takeaway: Do I Recommend HigherDOSE?
At the end of the day (and I really do mean at the end of the day — I tried the infrared sauna blanket in the morning and found it was way more relaxing at night), I think HigherDOSE is worth a try. That is, of course, if you’re already interested in spending money on a sauna or spa experience regularly. If you’ve never added deliberate heat exposure to your wellness and relaxation routine, I wouldn’t encourage you to go out of your way to add this to your regimen.
For me, I’m imagining the sauna blanket as a regular addition to my bedtime routine, where heating my body will trigger the natural cooling process and support some better sleep. I’ve tried it, and felt those benefits already. I’ll also cut my 50-minute time down into more like 20–30 minutes and crank the heat all the way up for a quicker, and higher, heat exposure practice.
Emily McGowan is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits and cat, or gaming. Say hi on Instagram!