02 Sep Can 3 Minutes of Cryotherapy Improve Your Health?
The 60 seconds before I hopped into a chamber of -240 degrees F – I debated if I have temporarily lost my mind. I mean, I’m a complete baby with cold pool water and I was about to literally stand in -240 degrees for THREE minutes. If you don’t think three minutes is long, you obviously have never been in this temperature. Naked. Three minutes felt like an eternity.
But, celebs, professional athletes, and inspirational people, like Tony Robbins, do it. So, I decided to fall into what the cool kids are doing. Just this once. It began with having to get undressed with a robe on, double socks, slippers, and gloves. The lady that was controlling everything opened the door to the chamber and I stepped in. She raised the platform I was standing on, so I could have my head out of the chamber. You don’t want to breathe in the nitrogen as it can give you a headache and even have you pass out. Then, I took off my robe and it started.
The first 1 1/2 minutes were bearable, cold, but bearable. Then the last 1 1/2 minutes….not so much. I totally had a battle in my head going…”I’m ready to get out. So cold.” “No, I can do this.” “No, I can’t. This is FREAKING cold.” “No, I got this. I gave birth to two humans I can do this.”
I looked down and every. single. hair on my arm was standing up with ice at the end of them. You had to move every now and then or one side of your body could get frozen. I totally didn’t want to move, but I knew I had to. She kept asking me questions, but it was SO cold I couldn’t even think. Ready for some TMI? My hoo-ha has NEVER been so cold. Apparently where the moisture is is where it’s the coldest. Fantastic. The lady even asked if our socks were wet, even a little bit, our toes would freeze. Litearlly. I was very jealous of the boys who get to keep their underwear on, since they have to keep their goodies warmer.
My skin temp was 86 degrees F before I jumped in the chamber, when I got out it was 40 degrees F. Brrrrrr. People ask if I’ll do it again….I’m not sure. If I had health issues, I would definitely do it again. Since I don’t have health issues, I’m not sure if I will. Maybe I’ll wait until I forget it, like when you decide to have more kids because you forget how painful labor is. But am I proud for overcoming my fears? FOR SURE.
We asked the lady what would happen if we stayed in a couple more minutes…….and well the answer wasn’t pretty. Whew. Thank goodness we asked that question AFTER I did it.
So, what are the health benefits of cryotherapy?
Basically, cryotherapy is said to be able to boost your metabolism, help with recovery, natural pain solution, energy booster, immune booster, etc. So, what do studies say on it?
A study that was done in Poland took people that suffered from multiple sclerosis and studied their antioxidative status in the blood. From 10 3-minute sessions of whole body cryotherapy, the antioxidative counts significantly increased showing that this therapy could be beneficial to reduce the oxidative stress inside the body. Oxidative stress can be a reason for many chronic diseases, so this is amazingly huge. Another study that was done with MS patients was that cryotherapy found to help with fatigue. I could totally go for an energy boost!
You’ll also hear of cryotherapy boosting your immune system. This comes from studies that show being in very cold temperatures, even swimmers that practice in cold water for long periods of time, can have a boosted immune system as it triggers the body to an increase of white blood cells.
A study done in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed an increase of pain tolerance and pain threshold to the athletes that used cryotherapy on their ankles versus the ones that didn’t. Which could be a positive benefit for athletes. I heard of cryotherapy being great for pain, especially joint pain (for those that suffer autoimmune conditions) and post workout pain, and I personally saw a decrease in post workout pain. Another study that was done showed lower post-knee surgery pain control – which is great to know for people that may be looking at natural pain solutions. Also, pain decreased from patients who suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis who did cryotherapy.
It’s also said to be great for boosting your metabolism if you are wanting to lose some of that extra weight. The idea is that the body boosts your metabolism in order to keep the body warm during/after the time you are in this extreme cold.
Certain neurotransmitters get an extra boost as well after a session of cryotherapy. Your mood can be lifted, you can get better sleep, and heck you’ll handle stress better!
Now the difference between an ice bath and a cryotherapy chamber? The chamber you only have to do 3 minutes to reap benefits versus 20+ minutes in an ice bath. The chamber is a dry cold versus a wet cold in the bath. It’s honestly much more doable in a cryotherapy chamber.
Okay, cost questions. The place we went – Chill Cryosauna – in Orlando, Fl costed a little more than $50 dollars per session. Do you find that expensive or not expensive? My family has a HSA account, since we use more alternative/naturopathic medicine, it’s great to be able to actually use the money we spend on health insurance towards these kinds of health things.
Are you going to try out some cryotherapy?