The Norwegian model and founder of Heat shares the story behind her Stockholm wellness studio concept – and the exciting developments ahead – with Vogue Scandinavia
HEAT by Sophia Lie is a wellness treatment heaven. A pale turquoise mecca in a corner of NK Stockholm, offering the most cutting-edge detox methods. “It’s a lifestyle, an entire routine in one place,” says Norwegian model and founder Sophia Lie of her namesake studio, as she takes me through the brand new space. Lie opened the first HEAT location exactly five years ago – a concept that blossomed from her own personal rejuvenation routine, honed to counteract the ramifications of her whirlwind modelling lifestyle.
In a prior chapter of her modelling career, Lie was living in New York and travelling non-stop. “And I had all the issues that came with that. I was always jet-lagged and bloated. Ironically, everything that worked against looking fresh for a shoot,” Lie recalls. “So I started experimenting, trying to find the best ways to recover. It became a hobby, and I found the first infrared sauna place in New York." Infrared has many perks: reduced water retention and toxins, a boost in circulation and metabolism, and pain relief. "As soon as I tried it, I was hooked. Every time I got back from a trip, I’d go straight from the airport to the sauna!”
Lie’s health situation came to a head when she moved from New York to Stockholm. “It was as if my body knew it had room to rest. Suddenly I couldn’t get out of bed, I was seriously burned out.” She found a centre in Germany that tested for mitochondrial malfunction, “which new studies show is linked to all disease,” she explains. They found that the years of makeup and hair products had left chemical traces, blocking her production of ATP – in short, the energy that our cells feed off.
“It turns out the infrared sauna had been healing me for exactly that reason. Helping me produce ATP, literally giving me energy on a cellular level.” But there weren't any places in Stockholm that catered to that kind of recovery. “I got this impulse to open a space myself. That’s me, I get an idea and just throw myself into it.” HEAT’s first address on Birger Jarlsgatan was just three saunas across 20 square metres. Over five years and two studios later, it’s grown into a full fledged concept. Nothing short of an oasis for those seeking recovery.
It's clear every detail of HEAT has been chosen with care. From the rich menu of treatments – the infrared saunas of course, LPG massage for lymphatic drainage and body sculpting, cryotherapy, compression therapy, naprapathy, light facials, face workouts, restorative massages – to the sweet and well-versed therapists that guide you through them. Small luxuries that make the facility a step above the rest; breathwork to prepare you for the ice bath, and custom meditations for the infrared sauna. White robes, a whole range of skincare at your disposal and a shop of HEAT products that let you take your regime home – such as the body brush, infused with ion-charged copper bristles.
The ideal mix and match of treatments have been researched and bundled into neat packages. Whether you want to sweat, sculpt or recover; can stay for hours or just a quickie. “We build the regime based on your needs. A natural antidote to the inflammatory routines of our daily lives. That takes care of your health on a cellular level, but that you feel instantly,” Lie exclaims. Which is why people come running back after just one session. “Many have been regulars right from the start” – a loyalty that speaks for itself.
So it’s no surprise that HEAT is taking off. A recent cryo-challenge exploded in a way that caught even them off guard. They opened a new studio in Palma, Mallorca, and are Nobis Hotel's official health partner there too, the first of many big plans to come. In the new year, they’ll be rolling out exclusive memberships. Lie’s working harder than she ever has, but her genuine joy for her work is what gives her that buzz. “Knowing the difference these treatments have made for me, and seeing what they do for others… everyday we get met with this amazing energy from people coming out of a session. I get there and think ‘I dig this job!’”
HEAT by Sophia Lie is located on Regeringsgatan 47 in Stockholm. Book treatments at heatbysophialie.com