I used to love the sauna. My roommates and I would sneak into the communal hammam in our residential complex late at night, play music through a crappy JBL speaker, and we’d really get high. As we sweat our woes, we pass the helper cord to take turns picking songs, and sometimes break our stunned silence to talk about the nature of consciousness or, like, drugs. Dj shadow was or something. I have never felt more at peace.
Smash cut to whatever the hell is To go sure these days, when I’m eager to improve the overwhelming and desperate fear of pandemic stress and feel that feeling of calm again. So when a public relations rep for Australian company MiHigh brought up something called a sauna blanket, I said I was interested. After all, it is said that saunas reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, and potentially reduce blood pressure. My acute aversion to Covid-19 kept me from calling for unfamiliar saunas. My apartment is too shabby to leave room even for a pop-up steam room. Something with a smaller footprint sounded right.
MiHigh’s sauna blanket is exactly what it looks like: a blanket that is also a sauna. Imagine sliding into a giant hot pocket. You wrap it around your body, close the Velcro flaps, and lie down in the warm embrace of a stuffy sleeping bag. Then it folds up like a blanket for easy storage. It is designed to be used on any flat surface that can withstand heat, but it is more comfortable on a bed. The interior is polyurethane with a waterproof liner that keeps your sweat from soaking up your surroundings. When I first opened the bag I noticed the inside smelled and smelled like a brand new inflatable pool.
When MiHigh launched last year, he was able to ride the wave of demand for home wellness equipment propelled by the pandemic. Sauna blankets were greeted by Goop and used by everyone from TikTok influencers to rugby players. MiHigh cover is not the only product in its particular niche, but it is perhaps the most refined.
The blanket is electric, so it has a power cord that plugs into a regular wall outlet. You operate it by booping the buttons on a rounded control box that is attached in line to the lanyard. The box is about two smartphones wide and three deep. It looks a bit thick when you fiddle with it, but it’s nothing compared to the big blocks that house the controls of some comparable products. In fact, the entire MiHigh unit is quite compact. Folded, you can stow it in a carry-on suitcase if you fit into it just right. It weighs 17.6 pounds.
Testing a portable zippered sauna raises operational issues. I mean, people tend to get naked in saunas, don’t they? Am I supposed to wear a towel around my waist? Do I just get in there naked? Will the heating elements cook my beans?
Fortunately, MiHigh answers most of these questions. Immediately after opening the box, I found a prominent note card with functional tips and a warning saying, “Do not use the blanket without wearing clothes.” He recommends “long-sleeved sportswear and socks”. Following this instruction, I ended up putting on extra clothes to get into the sauna.