Cryotherapy is a bit mind blowing. Using Nitrogen gas to drop the air temperature around your naked buns to -238 for a 3 minute healing recovery session appears to not only speed post-workout recovery, it has anti-aging, calorie burning, healing, skin renewal side benefits.
Being on my wellness checklist, I headed over to the Performist in Palo Alto to see what this state of the art Cryo experience was all about.
After a health questionaire and taking my blood pressure, I'm shown a changing room where a robe, socks, and slippers await. I'm told that metal is no bueno at low temperatures so any, ahem, body jewelry would have to be removed.
I got down to socks only and bravely walked into a room with a metal standing tube and a nitrogen tank with way to much frost on the knob to elicit comfort.
This was going to be cold.
Once in, I ditched the robe, put on the snow gloves, and looked at the count down as the nitrogen was turned on. Being walked through the benefits was helpful as the temperature plummeted.
The benefits are pretty appealing.
Better post workout recovery as lactic acid is whisked away with the blood flow racing to warm your core. Healing mechanisms turned on. Skin purification for the same reason. As the body pulls the blood out of the extremities toward the core, the dirty blood gets drawn out of the muscles and limbs. Upon returning, it's much cleaner, nutrient rich blood.
Our blood becomes enriched with oxygen, enzymes, and nutrients. The body begins to eliminate damaged cells and toxins from your internal organs and tissue.
Did I mention the endorphins?? There's an endorphin feel good that lasts hours as well as a calorie burn of 500-800 calories as your body revs up the metabolism and calorically prioritizes keeping you warm. 3 minutes of discomfort = up to 800 calories!? 3 minutes that is also healing, revitalizing, anti-aging. I can do this!
Then there's the white fat cell die off that adds an extra benefit.
The "cool sculpts" of the world use this same technology but only on the "problem areas" freezing and killing the fat cells who eventually get pee'd out after filtering through the system.
. Apparently, the outer layers of skin are those affected by the temperature and that's where the bad white fat cells live. So even in this total body recovery freeze, the outer layers of skin will sacrifice those fat cells first leaving them unprotected against the cold. You'll notice these areas get coldest. Fabulous side effect.
The last 20 seconds are the trickiest. the mind starts doing the "yup, I'm done!" My legs got impatiently tingly & i wanted to sit down.
And then it was over. Upon exiting, I threw my robe back on and was instructed to walk around awaiting blood flow to return to my arms and legs. I really wanted to sit as I had little faith in my legs capabilities. I was assured this was all psychological and my legs were fine.
Depending on how you handle stress, you may see that side of yourself pop up. I noticed irritation toward the nitrogen administrator. My fight or flight had been triggered with the extreme temperature. What a little fighter I am!
To recap: It's tingly cold, a little unnerving, and your nipples get hard and irritated, but that level of benefits for 3 minutes of discomfort is sooooooo worth it!
Pro Tip: Finding a calm, accepting meditative breath is helpful in accepting the therapy and receive the benefits. Like all of life, accepting discomfort helps it pass quicker and the lesson learned faster. Only when I started to resist it, did I experience the most discomfort and impatience.
ICE ICE BABY!