Cryotherapy: The Coolest New Wellness Trend (Literally)

I Spent 2 Minutes In A Minus 250 Degree Chamber For Health + Beauty: My Cryotherapy Experience

By Alexis Wolfer

It’s 75-degrees in LA and I’m wearing a cashmere sweater.

I tell you this not to give you fashion inspiration, but to help you gauge my body’s natural temperature.

I run cold. And run from the cold.

Heck, it’s 99% of the reason why I moved from NY to LA!

In case this wasn’t clear: I hate the cold.

Needless to say, I was as surprised as you likely will be to find out that I RSVP’d “Yes!” when invited to spend 2 minutes in a Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber pumped full of frigid liquid nitrogen with temperatures nearing -250 degrees fahrenheit. (Yes, you read that correctly: MINUS 250 degrees!)

So why would I subject myself to these skin-freezing temps? (Literally, the surface of your skin freezes. This is not an exaggeration.) Because Cryotherapy promises incredible anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits; it can combat cellulite, chronic joint disorders, and chronic pain while also decreasing injury recovery time by 50%; and, well, Whole Body Cryotherapy may be actually freezing, but it’s a hot trend in the wellness world and I’ll try anything in the name of health and beauty.

Plus, I heard that celebrities and athletes swear by it (and my friend Lucille did it) so I figured, why the hell not/who needs fingers and toes anyway?! (Kidding! – your fingers and toes are well-protected by wool gloves and socks, respectively.)

So, after a week spent kicking my butt back into shape after 3 weeks of traveling for work, with arms I could barely lift above shoulder height and skin that could use a facial or 12, I anxiously arrived at Cold &Thirsty, the first LA-based wellness destination to bring cryotherapy and cold-pressed organic juice together. The goal: to shock my body into beauty-boosting and health-promoting high gear.

After sampling some of co-founder Brooke Rewa‘s Renew Juicery raw, organic juices (try Super Roots – I don’t even like carrot juice and it was DELICIOUS!), co-founder Katie Kaufmann (the woman behind the “cold” part of Cold &Thirsty) talked me through what to expect in the Cryotherapy chamber. While  pretty much all I heard was “cold,” here’s how they explained Cryotherapy’s benefits to me.

“Once in the Cryo-chamber, your body’s skin receptors send a message to your brain that you’re freezing. The body reacts by rushing all the blood in to protect your vital organs. In doing so, the blood is detoxified and oxygenated. The body then sends a map of your central nervous system to the brain. Once you step out of the machine and begin acclimating to the normal temperatures, the blood rushes back out and the body focuses on healing the problematic areas.”

The result: a revved up metabolism, a faster post-workout recovery, a more alert brain, and a body primed for anti-aging and anti-inflammation.

Katie then walked me to the back where I changed into a robe, wool socks, rubber booties, and wool gloves before stepping into the Cryotherapy chamber (it looks like a lid-less soda can billowing with smoke, your head above the rim, unexposed). Once in the chamber, I dropped the robe to expose my naked body to the effects of the freezing nitrogen. I looked like I was emerging from a dry-ice machine (picture below!).

The next 2 minutes were a blur of adrenaline (or nitrogen, it’s unclear).

Katie stood outside the chamber and talked to me the whole time both to help the time pass more quickly and to ensure I was okay. The first 45 seconds were a breeze, the last 75 a bit less so, but not because I felt especially freezing. Sure, I was cold, but not as cold as I would have expected. And yes, I was ready to get out of there after a mere 120 seconds (you work up to 3 minutes, but for newbies like me, 2 minutes is a good place to start!).  It was more that I felt like every instinct my body was telling me to get out. (More on listening to your body here!) But I wasn’t miserable and I will say, for anyone who has done a plank for two minutes, this felt MUCH faster.

While Cryotherapy is not without risk (you’ve likely seen this New York Times horror story), I felt extremely safe at Cold &Thirsty where they take every measure to ensure your safety. Your head is peaking out of the top of the chamber, the door is never locked so you can get out any time, and someone stands with you the entire time to make sure you’re okay. In case this wasn’t clear: you should never do Cryotherapy by yourself.

While my beauty and health will need a few more treatments to show the effects, after just one treatment I felt awesome – like I double-downed on coffee and TruBrain – and, well, fully understood why freezing is so hot right now.

Cold & Thirsty, 12460 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066, 310-280-8483, coldandthirsty.com

Here I am (flattering, I know!)…

cryotherapy

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