Adventures in cryotherapy.
True life: I am a secret wellness junkie. On an everyday basis, I'm pretty low maintenance. I go to the gym six days a week and have been working from home for years. At this point, my wardrobe is mostly activewear and sneakers. Post-gym, my daily routine is something like quick shower, run a comb through my hair, moisturizer, a little sunscreen and I'm good to go.
However, every week, I find myself in search of something else. Call it wellness, call it self-care, call it whatever. Mostly, I go to acupuncture at a community space near my house. I sit, or sleep, for an hour in a zero gravity chair with needles in my legs, arms and face. Sensory deprivation, a.k.a. flotation therapy? Hated it. I'm too Type A to let myself go like that. Infrared sauna? Loved it. So much that I bought a pack of sweat sessions to get me through the winter. And let me tell you, sweating in a 150 degree box while reading travel magazines is the perfect way to combat cold, gray darkness.
So when my cousin-in-law (is that a thing?) announced that she was opening a cryotherapy boutique, I was excited to try even though I didn't know a ton about it. I had heard something about it helping athletes recover faster. Turns out, there's more to it than that (shocking, I know). At Regan's spot, Arctic Fire Cryo, she's offering whole body cryotherapy (WBC), localized cryotheraphy, something called CryoSkin 2.0 and even cryo facials. I decided to start at the beginning with WBC.
Per Arctic Fire Cryo, WBC is "a modern dry ice bath that reduces inflammation...It is more efficient, effective and comfortable than traditional icing methods. A single session burns 500 to 800 calories, stimulating weight and fat loss while boosting your metabolism and suppressing your appetite. WBC provides pain and inflammation relief throughout the entire body. The process of WBC simply accelerates your body's natural recovery process."
Sounds cool to me (pun intended). After removing my clothes and jewelry, I donned a robe, tube socks, booties and globes and made my way over to the cryo sauna. Here I selected a song to listen to during my treatment and waited for the machine to get ready. Being on the shorter side, I stepped onto a booster before closing the door and disrobing. Standing there in my accessories, cold air enveloped me and I started to wonder, "What have I gotten myself into?" To be honest, I wasn't sure I would make it the full three minutes but time passed quickly and before I realized it, I was done. With my robe back on, I dashed across to the dressing room to assess the experience.
Beyond the ice crystals on my arm hair and reddening skin, I felt good. Invigorated even. My skin and muscles tingled and I realized that the dull ache in my hamstrings from Friday's barbell workout had dissipated. Back in my jeans, I bounced around a bit to keep the blood flowing as I walked out of the studio with a smile on my face.
So the question is...would I cryo again? Yes, but would I do it all the time? Probably not. My only real issue with cryo is the cost. It's not a cheap date. That said, if I were lifting heavier than usual or getting ready for an event, I would totally incorporate cryo into my routine. Another tool in the box.