This week involved trying something I usually avoid at all costs – being cold!! I’m the one who turns off the AC in the mornings after my husband leaves for work and STILL wears a hoodie while I’m working from home because I’m so cold-natured. So, why would I willingly subject myself to freezing cold temperatures? Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of health professionals share about the benefits of cold thermogenesis aka cryotherapy. More recently, I listened to an episode of The Model Health Show on how whole-body cryotherapy can help to decrease pain, speed your recovery, and boost your metabolism, so I decided it was time I tried it for myself. Gabe agreed to go in for a session with me, so we made our way to Greensboro Cryo and got checked in.
We answered the required health questions and were briefed on what to expect in our session. Next, we went into the cryo room, put on the provided warm socks, CUTE slippers (see below) and gloves. No metal or jewelry is allowed on your body during the session, so they do have metal free sports bras available for females if needed. Once the temperature was dropped to the appropriate level, we entered the cryo chamber wearing our underwear, socks, gloves, and robe. Side note: no worries about loss of modesty, as you get to wear the provided robe until the chamber is closed around you, at which time you disrobe.
Next, it was time to suck it up and start our session! Alan (our cryo tech) instructed us to keep our heads lifted as we turned in a circle so that we didn’t breathe in the nitrogen gas. We rotated constantly during the 3 minutes in the chamber to keep the cold from hitting only one area of our body, but if you had a specific area of pain on your body, you were allowed to pause and let the nitrogen hit that area a little longer. Alan was awesome and talked to us the whole time, letting us know how the cold was benefiting our bodies and what to expect, as well as how much time was left. Gabe made it to the coldest temperature they allowed (-210 degrees F) and I maxed out at -170 degrees F.
The 3 minutes went by surprisingly quickly and it wasn’t actually that uncomfortable (nothing like an ice bath or polar plunge). When I was done, I felt invigorated! I had done an extra strenuous workout that morning because I wanted to see how the cryotherapy would affect my soreness and recovery time. The day after my treatment, I can honestly say that I noticed a lot less soreness than usual, which was encouraging! Gabe also went into the chamber with a headache and noticed that when he was finished, the headache was about 90% gone, so that was an unexpected but pleasant side effect!
I’d love to go again for some additional sessions to see more benefits, but at $35 per session, I may have to save up for a while! The good news – if you don’t have access to cryotherapy or if it’s not in the budget right now, you can do your own modified version of it (contrast showers) completely free. Read about the nerdy research here.
How to take a contrast shower:
- Start with your normal warm/hot shower temperature.
- After a few minutes, switch over to completely cold water and let the water hit your traps (upper back/shoulders) and your chest.
- Work up to 1 minute total of cold water (right now I’m doing 10 seconds front and 10 seconds back until I train my body to get more used to the cold)
- Repeat the hot/cold cycle 3 times during the shower, ending with cold water.
- Enjoy the kickstart to your metabolism and your day!
I’m glad we got to experience this therapy and would definitely recommend it if you get the chance to go. Let me know what you think if you try cryo or the contrast showers!
Thanks for reading!