The Cold Facts About Cryotherapy
Simply put, cryotherapy is a freeze-your-ass-off experience that lasts up to three minutes and promises the world. It’s the latest trend, and while I don’t typically go for trendy, I had to test the too-good-to-be-true factor on this one. May I recommend using the buddy system should you want to give this a go. It helps when you want to back out.
The brochure says cryotherapy dates back to 2500 BC when the Egyptians used it to treat injuries and inflammations. This of course gives me pause. Where did they plug this machine in? And just so we’re clear, this is not where Walt Disney’s head is stored. That’s cryogenics. Anyway, flash forward to the 1970’s and this was all the rage in Asia for rheumatoid arthritis. As you know, western medicines typically playing catch-up to eastern, so here we are in 2017.
Supposedly a lot of millionaire athletes have these in their homes to repair the damage they do on the field. (JJ Watt please order one asap.) The good news is, so far there’s only been one related death to cryotherapy. A worker at a facility in Dallas used the machine after hours, all alone. The next morning her co-workers found her frozen and dead. First rule: follow the directions. If three minutes is good, don’t think six is better. It could be deader.
Anyway, the cold hard facts are in! Here’s what the studies claim occur when you subject your body to 170 degrees below zero through liquid nitrogen: reduction in inflammation, increase in metabolism, detoxification, tissue repair, skin tightening, collagen restoration, brain stimulation, and stronger immune functionality. Plus, you burn 500 – 800 calories just trying to keep warm. Yay! You’ve earned that glass of champagne.
It works like this, after you sign your life away, you go into a little room and take off your clothes. They provide the robe, booties and gloves. I kept my underwear on and wore a bra that had no underwire. Next they take your body temperature on your upper thigh. My temp was 82. I asked if I had to wear my gloves the entire time and was told yes for the first session. After that you can take the gloves off for one minute, in the middle of your session.
I didn’t not feel claustrophobic at all. Unlike I did in a tanning bed which was like a coffin with light bulbs. You remain standing and your head is outside of the chamber. I had enough room to dance around in circles if I wanted, but I just stood there shivering. Your body never comes into contact with the nitrogen, but there is cold smoke and it’s best to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing is a hell of a lot harder in a steam room or dry sauna.
For me the first 30 seconds was the hardest. I shivered uncontrollably and wasn’t sure if I was going to make the entire three minutes. If you ask they will pause the machine or turn it off if you say so, and you are never left alone, but this is when it’s great to have a buddy. Your pal can cheer you on when you contemplate quitting. However, once I reached the halfway point of 90 seconds, I knew I would make it. Though I’m not going to lie, toward the end it feels like tiny pin pricks to the skin.
And that’s it. I stopped shivered the second I stepped out, though the coolness remained for five to ten minutes. My skin temperature afterwards was 53. So did I feel 20 years younger? No. I did not. Will I do it again? Maybe. The optimal effect is two to three session per week. The price for the first time visit was $20, and I can purchase a set of three sessions for $89.
So tell me, do you want to freeze your ass off? Leave a comment below.