With warm weather settled in, why not try something cool – literally? Cryotherapy – or ‘Cryo’ for short – is a new service that is becoming popular in most major cities – it gives you the benefits of a 30 minute cold bath in just 3 minutes!
What are the reported benefits of cryotherapy?
Reduction in pain and inflammation
Tighter more youthful skin
After reading about cryotherapy for a number of months, I was ready to give it a try! Being as I grew up in Canada – I have an aversion to extreme cold. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I detest the cold – I now live in a desert climate and try to avoid the cold at all costs. With cryotherapy, you stand in a capsule with your head sticking out, and liquid nitrogen is blasted within the capsule at a temperature of -240F! it sounded like torture to me, but I finally mustered the courage to try it out! I chose an athletic training center called Cerulean, based in Scottsdale AZ.
First, I undressed down to my undies in a private room, and put on a robe, socks, and gloves. I was told to remove any metal – jewelry or piercings, otherwise they will get too cold and freeze -burn the skin. Belly button ring, necklace and bracelets – off they went to the little holding container in the change room.
Then the attendant helped me enter the cryotherapy chamber. It looked a little like a stand up tanning bed, but shorter so that my head stuck out. For my first time, I had a choice to just try a minute and work my way up to 3 minutes in different sessions. I chose to just go for it – the entire time!
I took off my robe and handed it to the attendant outside the chamber – leaving the socks and mittens on to protect my extremities. Even though the capsule is opaque so that no one can see in, I felt a little vulnerable standing practically naked next to a person I had just met a minute ago! The attendant turned on the nitrogen mist, and the cold began. At first it just felt cool, then cold, then finally it felt a little numb. The mist micro freezes the outer layer of the skin just enough to stress the body to promote a healing response.
3 minutes might not seem like a long time, but I was surrounded by a -240F mist, and the last minute seemed to last forever! Although it was freezing cold, it was also surprisingly invigorating… it felt like my head was really clear, and I was extra energized. It might have been the adrenaline kicking in!
After the session, the attendant handed me the robe and I put it on while still in the capsule. When I stepped out of the capsule, they took a quick skin temperature reading any my skin had dropped down to an impressive 34F –just above freezing!
Overall the experience was about 10 minutes start to finish (undress, cryo, dress, then you’re done). As a quick invigorating midday break, I really like the concept – I felt energized and alert for the rest of the day, and I slept very soundly that evening. I plan to do more cryo sessions as an invigorating boost – and if it helps me detox / have smoother skin / enjoy any of the other reported benefits, then that is a bonus!