Cryotherapy has been on my list of things to try for quite some time now. In fact, when I was injured during marathon training, I even asked my PT if it was something I should try. (In which the answer was to not try anything new until after the race… understandable.)
Before going in, all I knew about Cryotherapy was that you embrace insanely cold temperatures for a few minutes and it is apparently good for your health and muscles. There’s been a lot of talk about Cryo in the fitness world, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad.
So before I go on, let me elaborate what Cryotherapy really is.
“Cryotherapy was invented around 30 years ago as a way to treat arthritis in Japan. The process involves stepping into a ‘cryosauna’ chilled by liquid nitrogen up to -265 degrees for up to three minutes. The intense cold causes the surface of the body to drop 30 degrees in temperature, triggering some significant health benefits.” (CC Integrative Health)
Negative 200 something degrees definitely sounds intimidating. However, for the intro session, we had the temp at -180 degrees. (Haha … “only”) Apparently, the chillier temps would be more for a linebacker or someone who’s used cryo frequently enough to become adjusted according to Doctor Tom Ingegno.
When I got to CC Integrative Health, I was surprised to see that the Cryo chamber was in a very open and public space. You really didn’t have much privacy during your session. No big deal, I just wasn’t expecting it!
There was a little curtain area in the corner to strip down to your bra and underwear and into a robe, socks, and fuzzy crocs. It is important to make sure if you’re coming from any sort of athletic activity that you have a dry change of clothes. If not, the cold would actually burn you. (Plus, I don’t think they’d let you step foot in the cryosauna.)
We looked so fashionable, am I right?
Jumping ahead to the actual cryo session. You jump in the chamber, take off your robe, and tell them when you’re ready. Then, the cloud of smoke fills up the chamber and WOW is it cold. We all agreed that the first 30 seconds were the worst, mostly because of the initial shock.
After those first 30 seconds or so, you definitely adjust, but don’t get me wrong, it’s still super cold. My legs felt like they were icicles, so the only way to keep feeling in them was to continue to move my legs, so I did.
Not gonna lie, 3 minutes felt pretty long, but once you put your robe back on and step out, you feel great. I hit the gym pretty hard this week and when I stepped out of the cryosauna, it took a minute to get my body temperature back to normal, but it felt like I hadn’t worked out in about a week. My body felt rejuvenated and energized, I loved the feeling!
So aside from feeling rejuvenated, what can Cryotherapy do for you?
Being a nerd with this kind of stuff, I had to take a brochure to read up and learn what more there is to Cryotherapy. I was surprised to see so many health benefits such as…
Pain Management – Cryo squeezes out inflammation, opening up blood vessels to promote healing.
Workout Recovery – Drastically reduces recovery time.
Emotional Wellness – Through the release of endorphins. It can help with anxiety and depression.
Rejuvenation – Not only do you feel rejuvenated, your skin can look more firm and youthful due to the increased collagen production.
Weight Loss – From your body working to heat you back up once you step out, research shows that an average of 400-800 calories are burned for every 3-minute session. WOW!
Want to try Cryo? I have a few tips for you!
- Make sure you come completely dry. I think my legs were still a bit damp from my workout and that probably made my legs less comfortable than others.
- Ladies… wear regular underwear. Let’s just say my cheeks were COLD.
- Wear the high socks they give you. My friend Mackenzie wore ankle socks and mentioned her calves got super cold.
- Wear a hat. I was envious of the girls who came in with winter hats on. I’d imagine it would help keep some heat in.
- Don’t look down when you’re in the cryosauna. I made this mistake and the cold knocked the wind right out of me.
- Just keep moving. It’s going to get cold, so just keep moving and the three minutes will be up before you know it.
And that’s it! I HIGHLY recommend Cryotherapy for those who live an active lifestyle. If you’re looking for a reliable (and inexpensive) place to give it a go, Charm City Integrative Health is your place! They also have other services such as salt therapy, which is on my list of things to try next, so stay tuned!