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The Go Mat pairs electromagnetic fields and heat with healing crystals for at-home relief.
THERE’S A REASON New Yorkers are early adopters of wellness offerings: Living in a fast-paced, high-stress, overstimulating environment predisposes you to promises of personal tranquility. Such was the case for me in 2016, when sweaty, red-tinted sauna selfies began propagating my Instagram feed, seducing my inner peace-seeker. Their location tag? HigherDose spa on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. After learning that DOSE stood for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, I booked an appointment and was rewarded with extreme relaxation.
As infrared radiation’s favorable reputation spread, the spa’s co-founders Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps began installing their saunas in New York- and Los Angeles-based yoga studios and spas, eventually establishing a homebase at the 11 Howard hotel. Then the pandemic arrived, and the company developed at-home devices: the Red Light Face Mask and an infrared pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) mat layered with healing crystals and designed to provide relief from chronic pain, facilitate meditation, and induce total body relaxation.
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I felt my exhalation elongate — a great litmus test for sincere repose.
Initially used by NASA to help astronauts rehabilitate after space travel, PEMF devices mimic the Earth’s magnetic field to stimulate cell repair, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation. Despite the appeal of serene vitality, I was concerned that HigherDose’s 43-pound PEMF mat was too bulky for my urban home. It turns out I wasn’t alone in my reservations, so Berlingeri and Kaps created a more compact, travel-friendly version called the Go Mat.
Thirty-two pounds lighter and half the size and price of its predecessor, the Go Mat fit my apartment well, but its user manual pairing a naked woman in a picturesque cave with extensive safety precautions left me skeptical. After carefully reading the instructions, I selected the mat’s lowest temperature and set the PEMF to level three, aka “Alpha.” 20 minutes later I folded up my crystal-lined mat calmed but unsure whether this outcome was determined by the device or by the simple act of lying still and focusing on my breath. And then I threw my back out.
While lifting my 4-year-old daughter, I experienced an excruciating muscle spasm that forced me to remain sedentary. I returned to my Go Mat, this time set at a higher temperature, with my feet elevated on the couch to better activate my parasympathetic nervous system (a network of nerves that encourages rest after your body has been stressed).
The relief was rapid. The heat helped release my contracting muscles, and I felt my exhalation elongate — a great litmus test for sincere repose. I recovered from my injury quickly but have continued meditating on my Go Mat, opting for level four (the highest frequency) for focused mornings and level one (the lowest frequency) for pre-bed relaxation. I also now keep the mat in my living room, as seeing the device reminds me to do less. Instead of multitasking on my phone with the TV on in the background, I make the most of my 20-minute, infrared-infused session by pairing it with ambient music or a guided meditation and wearing a scented eye pillow. The result is that elusive, sensorial serenity that hooked me in the first place.
Jenn Tardif is the founder of the mindful collective 3rd Ritual, a certified aromatherapist, and a writer. A devout student of Taoism, yoga, and mindfulness, Tardif is a firm believer that wisdom lights the path to well-being, and has made a lifelong commitment to share the teachings with anyone curious enough to learn more.
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.
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