|The cryogenic chamber|
Cryotherapy is essentially a more tolerable ice bath. It's a full-body treatment that reduces inflammation and flushes out toxins to aid in muscle recovery. It also alleviates joint pain and releases a rush of endorphins, elevating your mood. You can burn up to 800 calories in one session because of the involuntary shivering that occurs during the treatment. Once you step into the cryogenic chamber, you are exposed to temperatures below -200 degrees Farenheit. A cryotherapy session lasts for three minutes. During this time you remove outer layers of clothing, but are given thick socks and gloves to wear to protect your hands and feet.
I was a little hesitant to try it, because it is an extreme method. I have done ice baths before, but knew this would be more intense. I don't know how cold I was expecting it to be, but it wasn't an unbearable temperature. It was very cold, and the shock of the air hitting my skin for the first time caught me off guard. My nurse told me that a lot of people march in place to help stay warm. That definitely helped! It also helped to hold a conversation with her to keep me distracted from checking the time. I wouldn't describe the cold as uncomfortable; it was unpleasant but totally doable.
To test the benefit of cryotherapy and muscle recovery, I did two workouts the morning of my session. Before my session, I had taken four days off. Normally, my body would be wrecked by a two-a-day, especially after taking a break from working out. I felt immediate relief after my cryotherapy session. I wasn't sore at all; it was shocking! When I woke up the next morning, I felt no soreness or pain. A few hours after the session I felt the mood-boosting effect. The nurse suggested next time that I try cryotherapy before my workout, so that the endorphins from both the treatment and my workout hit at the same time.
My first cryotherapy session was amazing. I am a believer and I can't wait to see the long-term effects once I start having weekly sessions. If you have been curious about cryo, try it out! It is a great way to give yourself love and care.