I’m about to go full Elsa on you here talkin’ about CRYOTHERAPY.
Full disclosure: the cold DOES bother me, Elsa. I’m trying to remember why I still live in Chicago where the weather is cold most of the year, but back to the topic at hand! With all of the associated health benefits and my curiosity for all that is wellness related, I was super excited to try Cryo at CryoLuxe for the first time.
Why in tarnation would someone want to do this?
Lots of reasons, actually! Before I dive into my personal experience, let me give you some background on these associated health benefits I just mentioned. Basically, the science behind the therapy is that being cold will reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation helps improve circulation. You may have heard of athletes taking ice baths or maybe you’ve even put that pack of frozen peas on an injured muscle… same concept.
Cryo, however, uses nitrogen vapor to get.. well, REALLY friggin’ cold. Down to temps as low as 200 degrees below zero for up to 3 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly.
There is science behind this therapy, although, more research is needed to support all of the claimed health benefits. For the purposes of this blog, I’m just going to share with you my personal experience and how I felt, but I always encourage you to do your own research! The other suggested benefits straight from CryoLuxe’s website include:
-quicker tissue repair
-less inflammation and/or pain
-sometimes used for treatment of autoimmune disorders (arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia)
-accelerated production of collagen and reduced appearance of cellulite (WHAT?!)
-metabolism boost, burning up to 800cals
What to Expect.
SO. Now to my first visit. I arrived at CryoLuxe in the South Loop of Chicago and was greeted at the desk by a friendly staff member. Staff members are trained in how to operate the chambers. I was quickly escorted to the Cryotherapy chamber and provided a gown, socks, boots and gloves to change into. I was instructed I could keep on undergarments if I wished and guided through what the session would be like. The staff member then informed me that I would be under supervision for the entire treatment and could ask to stop the treatment at anytime. The last 30 seconds are the coldest, FYI. You keep the gloves and boots/socks on during treatment and just remove your robe. Naturally, I chose to keep my beanie on because it couldn’t hurt, right?
The staff member asked for my height and set up the step inside to make sure my head would remain out of the chamber (much appreciated) and I got in! Having someone supervise you is awesome because… safety, but also because it’s a distraction! I was chatty Cathy asking questions to try to distract myself from the severe cold. However, I pride myself on being a bit of a bad*ss so I was determined to make the full 3 minutes. I asked questions about recovery, benefits, how often sessions were recommended and then suddenly… my 3 minutes were up! Seriously, it’s only 3 minutes which is pretty cool! The cryo chamber was shut off, my gown handed to me and the door opened and the staff member left me to get changed back into my clothes. Done aaaaand done.
Did I feel any different after?
Afterwards, I immediately felt like I’d been on a run in the cold weather. You know when your legs are kinda tingly? Yeah, that. But I also felt… PUMPED. Hello endorphins! Or was that adrenaline? Probably both. This mini-high went on for a while after my session. I also felt a sense of calm as the day went on and by bedtime I was ready for and was ABLE to get a good nights sleep!
My other sessions following were very similar to this. I even went on the coldest day so far here in Chicago, but that day I gave myself a break and only did 2 minutes. I still felt pretty great after! I typically went for a session of cryo after a hard workout or when I was sore. I remember after one yoga class in particular where my knee had been giving me some trouble… the aching was totally gone after the session. Kid. You. Not. My muscles were less sore the next day. And I didn’t have trouble falling asleep which can occasionally be difficult for me! It’s hard to turn this brain off sometimes...
SO, final thoughts. I dug it! I workout just about every day and an improvement in muscle recovery or achy joints is more than worth it to me. The energy boost after was pretty great, too. ALWAYS check with your healthcare provider first because there are some health conditions where it may not be advised, but if you’ve ever been curious or have any pesky symptoms, such as achy joints, muscles, headaches… give Cryotherapy a try!! Elsa would be proud. Please forgive me for all of the Frozen references. Let me know if you’ve ever tried Cryotherapy or would give it a try!
MS, RDN, LDN