Monday, July 15, 2019

It's Fun to Sweat Out Your Stress at The Schvitz

A Schvitz is a sauna or steam bath. A place where groups of people gather to share in the ritual of sweating together, a ritual that dates back to ancient Greek times. The premise behind this ancient form of self-care is to embrace sweating to get all of the bad things inside of you out. Some people use steam baths for arthritis issues, some for skin issues, and others use it as a way to get over the last drinking binge. Bathhouses are very different from the dry saunas that you might have seen at your local gym so we want to tell you a little bit about our experience at Detroit's 100 + year old bathhouse called The Schvitz so that you know what you are getting into if you ever decide to go.

The Schvitz has been located in Detroit for over 100 years, but until a few years ago it was not very accessible to many different people, especially women. Oddly enough though, I was friends with a member and I had the chance to check it out a few times. The best way to describe it was lawless, the same way that I would describe Detroit 10 years ago. You could smoke whatever you wanted wherever you wanted and no one bothered with you if you didn't bother them. We would rent the space out on a Sunday and have a co-ed day with friends. This would include bringing in trays of food, bottles of alcohol, and all of our own amenities, including towels. It was fun, but it was dirty. Plus, women were only allowed if we rented out space or if you went with a date on a Saturday, so saying it wasn't really female-friendly would be an understatement. Thankfully, the new owner has completely turned things around and these days on Tuesdays and Sundays it is one of the most female-friendly places in town!

The new Schvitz is completely renovated from top to bottom, much more female-friendly has a lot more amenities and is all-inclusive and body positive. They have co-ed nights, as well as male and female only nights and they offer many other services throughout the week. My first visit was on a Tuesday night for a female only sweat from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. We got there around 6:30 and I would say that it was the peak time for people arriving for steam. When I arrived I paid my $30 fee to get into the club and was given 2 towels to start with (one to sit on and one to dry off with) and a locker key for a locker that I could store all my things in while I was there. I headed to the dressing room, changed into my swimsuit. and stored all my stuff in the locker and I was ready to go. I ventured down to the hot steam room with two friends, rinsed off. and went into the wet steam room where we hung out for around a half hour (as long as we could handle). While we were in the steam bath I observed some people getting a service that involved being hit with wet tea leaves. There were also a lot of women who were naked and proud, by this I mean spread out and unbothered. So, if you are uncomfortable with nudity. this might not be the place for you. After hitting the wet steam we visited the dry steam and jumped in the pool. We repeated this pattern over and over until we could take it anymore and then we headed back upstairs.

After changing out of our clothing and signing up for a late night massage I ordered food from the Coriander Kitchen's pop-up that they had in the house for the night. This particular pop-up offered a ton of vegan options, including a kale salad and chocolate mousse with blueberries that we couldn't pass up. The portions were hearty, the food was amazing, and the service was to die for. It was the perfect way to wake your body back up after spending so much time in the Schvitz. Finally, to end my night, I got a quick 35-minute total body massage from Joy, one of the therapists that were set up for the night. She was kind, she was thorough, and after hours of rubbing, she still had some really strong hands. I also have to say that getting the massage after the steam was really the icing on the cake. It was the perfect way to let go of the stress that I have been holding onto. In fact, I cried out of happiness and release on my way home and slept better than I have in months. So, I needed the steam session for a lot more than an article.
The Schvitz is open 7 days a week and you can see their schedule here. They have different pop-ups that are there throughout the week/year with lots of different services that you can take advantage of. This can include everything from tarot readings to Reiki. You can also still bring your own booze to enjoy, but you cannot smoke inside, you have to take that out to the amazing patio. They provide towels and robes for anyone that asks and have nice soaps and washes in all of their showering areas. So, you do not have to bring much. We do however recommend bringing a pair of flip flops and a reusable water bottle to keep filling up every time you need a drink. We also saw a few women using face masks in the steam room and we cannot wait to try that the next time we visit. And for the girls, we also recommend going on a girls only night if you can.  There was something really special about being around a bunch of awesome women for the night, it made me appreciate us and our bodies more than ever before.


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