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.
01:45 – I DON’T FEEL ANYTHING ANYMORE.
02:00 – WHY AM I SCREAMING?!?! GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!
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?