Last Friday, I spent some time in a spaceship-looking chamber at -240F. Okay, it was only three minutes – but I still think cryotherapy is worth discussing, yeah?
I got started with cryotherapy back when I lived in Cincinnati. I worked with this woman in her forties who had the best body. She swore by cryotherapy for helping her recover from marathon training and intense CrossFit workouts, boosting her metabolism, and keeping her skin looking young. Here’s the thing: I hate being cold more than anyone I know. And I still fell in love with it!
The type of cryotherapy I do is called Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC). Just like it sounds, you climb into a chamber and the cold envelops your whole body (except your head). WBC was introduced in the 1970’s by Doctor Toshima Yamauchi. Technological developments allowed him to use extremely low temperatures to treat rheumatoid arthritis patients, and he found that this short-term freezing was more effective than the traditional ice baths. Nitrogen is used to create the super cold environment that delivers pain management, rejuvenation, and recovery in such a short amount of time.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR FIRST CRYOTHERAPY SESSION
While every place might do it a little differently, this has been my experience with cryotherapy at a number of locations.
First, you sign a waiver and the technician tells you more about the process. Once you’re in the private room with the cryochamber, you get undressed (underwear can stay on, jewelry comes off) and put on some suuuuuper sexy gloves, socks, and clogs. After you climb in the chamber and give the go-ahead, the technician comes back in to operate the cryochamber. Most technicians I’ve met have been friendly and talkative, which really helps distract you during the three minutes of frigid discomfort.
So, is it unbearably cold? Yes and no. The first minute is chilly. The second is tough. By two and a half minutes, my legs are usually shaking uncontrollably and I’m ready to bolt. With that being said – you can handle just about anything for three minutes. Knowing that I’ll feel so good after makes it worth it.
The first session takes a little longer because of explaining the process, so give yourself about 20 minutes.
BENEFITS OF CRYOTHERAPY
Beauty + Anti-Aging
Cryotherapy has both short and long term effects for beauty. Right after a session, you get a healthy glow from increased circulation. My skin looks firmer, brighter. Over time, the idea is that cryotherapy stimulates collagen production to give your skin a consistently smoother, more youthful, and firmer look. Some people also claim cryotherapy helps get rid of cellulite.
Cold has long been used to treat inflammation, making cryotherapy an excellent option for reducing muscle and joint soreness. Lots of professional athletes use cold therapy to speed up recovery between intense workouts. The extreme cold works to reduce inflammation, reduce lactic acid in your muscles, as well as activate an essential nervous system response, which just helps your body heal more efficiently and function better throughout the day.
General Health + Wellness
After a cryotherapy session, I get a big rush of energy. I love cryotherapy as a cure for airplane skin and jet lag. Some people claim a cryotherapy session burns hundreds of calories and delivers a metabolism boost, too. After exposure to the subzero temperatures, blood circulation increases, boosting the immune and central nervous systems.
For your viewing pleasure…here’s a photo of a very cold me.
Would you give cryotherapy a try?