Cryotherapy 101: Health Benefits of Cold Therapy & What to Expect
Cryotherapy, a procedure that exposes the body to subzero temps, has been written about in all the top magazines, and tested live by every reality star imaginable. But, it wasn’t until my trainer told me I should try it as a muscle recovery option, that I decided to try cryotherapy myself.
Initial thoughts: brrr, it’s cold!
Yes, it’s cold.
The Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber, which is the one I went into at NKD NYC, one of Manhattan’s top wellness spas, can get temperature all the way down to -321F degrees. And, in case you are wondering, the Halloween-like vapor coming out of the chamber is the liquid nitrogen used to create cold, dry air.
You spend about 3-minutes in the chamber, wearing thick protective gloves and knee-high socks, as well as rubber clogs. You can opt for beginner level, which gradually goes down to -321F degrees, or a more intense full 3-minutes of winter warrior freeze. Note that not all cryotherapy chambers are created equal. It just happens that the Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber at NKD NYC has customizable experiences, so scared cats like me can test the waters to see how long they can withstand the lowest temps. Oh, also, I love that there was a knowledgeable person in the room talking with me, playing my favorite JLo tunes, and making sure I’m doing okay.
The main health benefit of cryotherapy is reducing inflammation. It’s ideal before a workout, after running a marathon, or just a regular day or hustling like a mom. Ya, those tired swollen muscles do hurt running around the house, and sitting stiff in the car for hours a day driving kids from one activity to the next.
Here are some other wellness and health benefit of cryotherapy, as explained to me by Erin Hamilton, General Manager at NKD NYC.
Health/ Wellness/ Pain Relief benefits from Cryotherapy
- Reduces inflammation
- Relieves chronic pain (from joint disorders, rheumatoid diseases)
- Improves sleep
- Reduces stress, anxiety
- Improves circulation
- Boosts immune system
- Mood booster
Beauty/ Anti-Aging benefits from Cryotherapy
- Improves skin conditions
- Increases collagenproduction
- Wrinkle reduction- tighter, smoother skin
- Cellulite reduction- firmer skin
- Increases metabolism
Sports/ Fitness/ Recovery benefits from Cryotherapy
- Recover faster from training and competitive sports
- Relieves injuries
- Restores muscles and joints
- Increases energy and stamina
- Decrease soreness and spasms
- Reduces swelling and pain
Where to Go for Cryotherapy
It seems like every spa, wellness center and even some gyms offer cryotherapy. Erin, from NKD NYC says you should “make sure that all of the necessary safety precautions are being taken and that those administering the treatment are trained properly. You always want to make sure that the necessary safety gear are provided (cotton or wool knee socks, mittens and rubber soled shoes). Our Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber also has safety features built into it to ensure there is always a proper amount of oxygen in the air as well as the nitrogen.”
Bottom line: Do your homework, and find a legit center. Don’t do this at a gym. Ask questions before you make an appointment, to make sure the place is keeping proper safety precautions in place
Who Should Avoid Cryotherapy
Mamas, if you have a Pacemaker, Extremely High Blood Pressure, Raynaud’s Syndrome, Deep Vein Thrombosis, or are Extreme Sensitivity to Cold (as diagnosed by doctor) you should avoid cryotherapy.
Also, expecting mamas are not advised to do Whole Body Cryotherapy when pregnant. However, Erin says “both Localized Cryotherapy treatments and Cryo Facials are both great alternative treatment options to be done while pregnant. Here at NKD NYC, we have a machine that can do both treatments. We can spot treat any area of the body with the Localized Cryotherapy treatment.”
Final Verdict on Cryotherapy
I felt energized, I slept better both nights, and my muscles didn’t feel as stiff. It’s a total body rush, and I can see why some women do it every week. I’m not sure I can budget the time for weekly cryo, but it’s on my agenda for 2019 to cryo more often.
If you live in NYC, definitely check out NKD NYC for cryotherapy and other wellness procedures. I’ve also tried the cryo facial, which I’ll share in a future post. That was wild, not that cold and the results were wildly good.