Cryotherapy Chills

6 years ago by

I am a glutton for punishment. I am also very susceptible to advertising and will buy anything if it promises to make me glow like an iridescent pufferfish. It’s because of those two things that I found myself signing up for a session of whole body cryotherapy in the middle of January — which entailed donning a bikini and immersing my entire body in a chamber full of cold air that clocked in at a balmy minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit. See? Glutton.

Purported benefits of cryotherapy include reduced inflammation, relief of chronic pain, and faster recovery time from injuries due to exposing your body to extreme cold, thus causing your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow, thus alleviating pain, inflammation and swelling. It’s like the extreme version of putting an ice pack on a swollen ankle. Other purported benefits that are still being vetted include a surge in energy, increased blood circulation, skin rejuvenation (helllloo glow) and better sleep. Some also claim you can burn an extra 500-800 calories following the procedure. Admittedly I was in it for the energy and the glow. Alright, fine, and the calories or lack there of.

You have to check your dignity at the door if you want any results because a whole body cryotherapy session involves you standing practically naked (you’re in a bikini plus they generously give you mittens and booties to protect your fingers and toes from FROSTBITE) in a metal cylindrical chamber that comes up to your chin while a very muscular man holds your robe (and dignity) for you just outside the chamber. Okay, the man is not guaranteed but it was my personal experience and not minded at all. (So no, I didn’t look anything like the gorgeous model in the gorgeous photo above but I really don’t think anyone wants to see what I really looked like so you’re welcome.) When Muscles asked if I was ready I said, “no,” which he took as a I joke since there had (obviously) been banter and he laughed while pressing “start” and almost instantaneously I was surrounded by minus 200 degree Fahrenheit air.

For next two minutes these were my thoughts:

00:05 – Oh this is fine. Why was I even scared?
00:15 – Oof. Okay. A little nipply.
00:30 – I could really go for a sauna after this.
00:45 – Why did I not just go to a sauna?! They also make you glow!
00:55 – @#%$@^#%$@
01:00 – I think my nipples are on fire. Is that normal????
01:15 – Whoever made me do this shall pay for my pain!!!!
01:20 – Oh right. I volunteered. I’m a fucking idiot!!!
01:30 – Huh. I don’t feel anything anymore.

And like that it was over and I realized I probably over-reacted and it really wasn’t that bad. My reaction reminded me of mothers who vow to get a hysterectomy while experiencing the pain of labor only to quickly commit to doing it all over again once holding their newborn. The results negate any pain — albeit this pain was MUCH less than childbirth and the effects were also not as life changing as a baby, but nonetheless, I was happy with them.

The immediate effect was a weird head high that turned into a body high. I was told that was due to my body releasing endorphins. If we’re being frank it kind of felt like the high after an orgasm and I could have used a cigarette.

While changing back into the five layers of winter clothes, I must say my skin was glowing. I didn’t have any make-up on, nor did I need it. I looked twenty-five again and probably bantered a little more aggressively with Muscles on the way out because of it.

I am fortunate enough to not suffer from chronic pain so I can’t speak to those specific benefits, but I will say I was talking a mile a minute for the rest of the night and decided (for no apparent reason) to clean my whole apartment at ten p.m. After which I slept like a little baby lamb but that might have been due to simply expending so much energy and having a clean apartment.

If I were to try cryotherapy again I would schedule my polar bear plunge for the morning hours so I could exploit some of that added energy for the rest of the day — and probably much to the annoyance of everyone at the Atelier :)

Would you dare to try it? Or have you already?


Add yours
  • Sunny side January, 31 2018, 10:09 / Reply

    Pourquoi infliger une telle violence à son corps ? Et la marche sur des braises encore brûlantes, c’est pour quand ? Ça fait fondre la cellulite dans le bas du corps ! Nan je rigole.

  • C’est aussi une technique utilisée par les sportifs de haut niveau pour la récupération. J’ai testé et mon superviseur m’a conseillé de chanter et danser pendant les 3 minutes…il m’a mis une petite bossa nova et j’ai ondulé dans le froid polaire en string, chaussettes et gants, avec à la clé une belle sensation de bien-être et d’énergie. Pour les douleurs chroniques, il faut multiplier les séances et ce que tu ne dis pas, c’est que c’est hors de prix, en tout cas en France.

  • How much do they charge for the privilege of this pain?

  • Veronica January, 31 2018, 4:00

    hahaha. I love the saying “the privilege of this pain.” it is not cheap. my session was $65. they can vary a bit and I know people who use it for chronic pain who purchase membership or group passes to decrease the price.

  • Okay…totally weird but completely interesting. We probably shouldn’t be using saunas either. I look forward to the New Yorker article on this. Personally, I think cold is the worst so it is hard to imagine that you didn’t get any other frostbite (private parts?!)

    You caught my attention…

  • “weird but completed interested” was my exact reaction as well. therefore i obviously had try it! I too would love the New Yorker to do an article on it.

  • Cryotherapy is used by athletes for recovery, but many studies have shown that there was actually no clear proof for efficacy on the long term. Besides, there should always be medical supervision, it should not be a “consumer” stuff, as people with high blood pressure are not allowed to use it.
    But I am ready to accept the awakening or psychological effects cryotherapy may have. Do not forget that scandinavians use it for ages, just immersing in chilly water or snow after sauna, and for much less money.

  • How about the glow in your skin ? Did it last more than a few hours ?

  • I’d say it lasted about 24hrs. xx

  • J.A.M.A.I.S ! Même pas en rêve ! Moi qui suis frileuse comme tout, je suis certaine que la seule chose que je récolterais serait un bon rhume ! Je suis admirative des courageuses qui osent ce genre d’expérience ! Bravo Veronica !

  • It just goes to show that there are strange and weird new innovations and people will try anything.
    How good do you need your skin to look? My humble opinion is save your money, go for a long healthy walk to get your glow on, and eat right. Extremes are not great for your health long term.

  • This reminded me of the good old cold shower which I’ve heard is very effective in improving the metabolism and also gives you glow. I wonder if the benefits are the same for a dime of the price of cryotherapy. Let us know if you come across any studies! Best wishes

  • I do indeed think a cold shower in the morning is the pocket friendly version of this! As I’ve tried that as well and the energy I got from both seemed very similar! xx

  • Awesome Veronica! I should do it more often too but I can’t convince myself in winter to jump under cold water!

  • Hm. However, I’m not sure about the giving birth part. It took me a year to be ready to dive in again. Even though it’s a wonderful feeling to finally hold your baby.

  • Emily E. February, 3 2018, 9:30 / Reply

    Thanks for trying this so we don’t have to!! Really enjoyed your writing style.

  • Bernadette March, 13 2018, 11:16 / Reply

    Until now I had only heard of Cryotherapy in a medical context. A friend of mine suffering from Multiple Sclerosis found it helpful for dealing with chronic pain but not for beauty reasons…

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