How to “do cryotherapy”
Once upon a time I was in college and found out that shivering burned 60 calories a minute. I immediately turned to my best friend Janell in class and said, “Let’s open a shiver clinic for lazy people! 60 calories a minute? That means we could pop a person in a freezer for 5 minutes and burn 300 calories!” She just smiled and shook her head as if I was a crazy person.
Here it is 30 years later and someone stole my idea! 🙂 Well, maybe they improved upon it using liquid nitrogen. I recently decided to try out a local tanning salon’s “Fire and Ice” treatment. The “fire” was 20 minutes in a red light therapy bed, and the “ice” was 2 minutes in the cryotherapy booth. There are all sorts of supposed health benefits from using both modalities, including a 400-800 calorie burn in the hours after your session.
If it’s true, then that’s tons better than your average shiver!
Proponents of cryotherapy claim a reduction in inflammation and pain, release of endorphins and energy, faster recovery from workouts, revival of your skin and body thru vasoconstriction, and assistance in things like psoriasis and scarring with the red light therapy.
What did I have to lose? I wanted to see if I felt any better than I did after my cold shower program I have been using for the last year. Was it colder? The booth is supposed to get as low as -200 degrees. Did I feel significantly better with this treatment?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Here is the red light therapy bed. Basically a tanning bed with red lighting bulbs. It was nice to be warm and relaxed for 20 minutes.
Next for the cryotherapy booth! You put on socks, gloves, a robe, and awesome slippers. I also wore a bikini with NO metal on it as metal anywhere can give you a cold burn…the opposite of a sunburn. You want to be perfectly dry and wait at least an hour after your workout.
Here is the booth! They put risers in to make it fit your particular height and your head sticks out the entire time. The attendant stays with you for the 2-3 minute session.
Now for the burning question of the day: How did I feel immediately after and 24 hours later? Immediately after I felt great and did 45 minutes of yoga. 24 hours later I felt great. Did I feel crazy better? No. I was hoping for a gigantic difference. However, I generally feel great after a workout and my cold shower, and I think my cold shower is colder in some respects!
The cost ranges from $35 to an intro session to $70 for additional sessions. You can join for a weekly or monthly membership fee. Would I do it again? You bet. However, the convenience of turning on the cold water in the shower for 1-2 minutes is tons easier than an ice bath and tons more convenient than making an appointment and traveling for another Fire and Ice session, and I think accomplished the same thing for recovery. I don’t know where the stats about the big calorie burn are derived- if that’s true then it is a very efficient “workout” time!
Here is a video showing the session in action and the attendant extolling the virtues at the end. Watching the nitrogen gas roll out of the booth as the door opens is pretty cool! 🙂
Have you tried a cryotherapy booth? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!