Cryotherapy Fad or Phenomenal: My experience.
Many of you know I try new therapies (both conventional & alternative) & enjoy sharing my experience. So, this post is about my latest “try” of Cryotherapy. It should be revealing and I hope somewhat entertaining.
Cryotherapy is gaining popularity as the most advanced recovery tool available.
But, is it really that or just good marketing hype?
Everyone from self-actualized guru Tony Robbins to locals in Richmond Virginia are “doing it” so I figured it was time to give it a try. At first, I thought it was just a fad or something for the rich and famous so I ignored it. Admittedly, I also wondered if it would really work. Cold therapy? What exactly was it?
Naturally, when I saw a groupon for CRYORVA, I jumped on the chance to experience it for myself. With as much chronic pain as I can experience in each day I didn’t hold out much hope for this new fad.
I scheduled two sessions. One for my husband and one for me.
Keep in mind he was trying it as the elite athlete in need of recovery from Spartan races, work outs and his latest stint on American Ninja Warrior while I was trying it form the chronic inflammation sufferer’s position (having several autoimmune diseases including but not limited to mixed connective tissue, ankylosing spondylitis and arthritis). Both of us welcomed the opportunity for relief but wearily approached this seemingly bizarre therapy.
The process of cryotherapy exposes you to subzero temperatures.
This extreme cold allegedly stimulates skin centers and activates the nervous system. I wondered if what was really going to be activated was a survival mechanism or just my nervous system.
Since my husband hates nothing more than cold and snow I braced him for what was about to happen. I even wondered if I’d still be married after I made him go through this experiment with me. Since it was all in the name of being able to blog & vlog about it, he graciously & gallantly offered to be my guinea pig.
I figured he’d have a few choice words for me after the experience so I settled into this adventure cautiously optimistic & fully expecting his profaned response.
The cold is said to cause the release of endorphins and serve as a mood elevator.
I was hopeful that this part might kick in before my husband unleashed his wrath over my having him hang out to freeze in subzero temperatures.
This therapy is also supposed to work as a pain inhibitor.
It does this by decreasing inflammation and allegedly clearing toxins and metabolic waste.
Whoo hoo! For someone who experiences chronic pain and /or inflammation the pain and inflammation reduction was indeed music to my ears. At least, that’s the part I was hoping for. My C-reactive protein is high even with all the anti-inflammatory supplements like Omega 3, Curcumin, Resveratrol and occasional meds.
The timing was perfect too. It was the day after we had done a 10 mile hike up to Old Rag. I had a little muscle pain, given the rock scrambles engaged my quads & glutes more than grocery shopping or regular walks do & I also had my usual lower back, ribs & thoracic area pain.
So we get there and we are warmly greeted with big smiles and eagerness to serve. This is a treat in the service industry. Many companies (especially those with an inexperienced workforce) fall very short on the customer service scale.
Aaron showed me around the 3 treatment rooms explaining each therapy offering. One room was used for cryofacials & localized body therapy for acute injuries or sprains, the next was used for NormaTec Compression and the 3rd was the full body cryotherapy adventure.
The cryo facial sounded good. It is supposed to encourage collagen production which means improved skin tone & tightness! But, I was more interested in making my body feel good.
The NormaTec Compression Recovery System is a recovery process that uses compression & sort of a pulsing methodology to help athletes recover faster between trainings and after performance. It reduces muscle soreness, & improves circulation.
They asked us which therapies we wanted to try.
Not giving my poor husband a chance to back out or pick the least invasive I eagerly popped up with both full body Cryotherapy & NormaTec leg therapy.
And so the adventure began!
They asked a few general health questions, then had us sign 18 pages of disclosure, disclaimers and release of liability. I almost felt like I was buying a house! Ok maybe it wasn’t quite that bad. And, If I weren’t trying to be funny, I’d tell you the care and due diligence they do was actually quite comforting while a little unnerving. I’d been in snow before without socks or coat so I wasn’t expecting to have an adverse reaction. I pondered “how bad could it be.. everyone’s doing it. I hadn’t heard of any deaths”
We started in the full body cryo room. They left the room so we could disrobe… well, undress. They give you a robe to wear & a pair of socks and slippers. It feels a little spa like. Then they return to administer the therapy.
I entered this upright space shuttle.
OK, so it was really more like a standing up tanning bed. The floor raises so your head is above & outside of the Cryotherapy space shuttle. You take your robe off and hand it to them and so your session begins.
You can do heat then the cold or just the cold. I did just the cold. The temperature went down to -292. It lasts for maybe 3 minutes. (I can’t remember exactly how long it was although it felt like an eternity.)
Imagine being in your underwear & jumping in a mound of soft snow up to your neck. After what seemed like 3 minutes I asked how much longer I still had to go and I heard 98 seconds.
I was sure I was going to freeze my feminine parts off
…but didn’t want to seem like a wimp so I didn’t let on. I just held my ladies and I asked my husband to talk to me to distract me.
It was over before I knew it.
My husband did the heat then cold. I’m not sure but I think his process added maybe 30 more seconds or so to allow for the hot sauna part. I saw him shivering for a few seconds and I was sure I’d get an ear full when Emily left the room.
Remarkably we dressed in silence and his only words were “that was different” He says the same thing when I get my hair cut so I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant but he wasn’t throwing anything at me or threatening to get me back for this so I figured I was safe lol.
After redressing, we were ready for our next treatment.
It was leg therapy time.
I must say that room was set up a little like my dream den: A Big TV, two comfy modern leather chairs and the NormaTec therapy that gently but firmly manipulated my legs… think massage therapy, fully dressed without a masseuse in the room.Amazing huh?!
By the time we were ready to check out the decrepit feeling body I walked in with had left me and this energized quite pain free and quite elated body joined me at the checkout. I couldn’t believe it.
I asked my husband how he felt. He said he didn’t feel his hamstrings at all. When he walked in they were tight & his arms were spasming from his 4-hour workout that morning.
So guess what!??
Cryotherapy really does help with muscle spasms, & inflammation providing cooling relief to the affected areas of soft tissue. When the skin’s temperature is reduced to that degree it constricts the blood vessels, reduces the swelling which furthers the initial stages of the healing process.
It was like magic.
I give this therapy 4 stars! Clearly it lives up to its hype. My pain was eliminated for 2 days! and I’m ready to go again.
The only things I would change (for me personally) are these. I will wear both my undergarments in the chamber the next time. Maybe a non metallic sports bra because the ladies did not enjoy the cold. I’d also wear my own socks. I’m glad they had robes for me to wear but I wasn’t sure if they changed them with each person. As a result, I was a tad hesitant but that’s my personal thing.
I saw them change the socks so I’m sure the robes get rotated after washing too. .. and if I had a wish… I’d have them add one to the south side!
Going to the west end wasn’t as convenient as I’d like a magical therapy like this to be for me.
I’m doing it again!
This therapy is definitely a repeater! It lives up to its promise to reduce pain (which reduces med use) , it improved my recovery time if not cut it out altogether! It made DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) run away like a scared infidel. Muscle fatigue and pain was gone!
This is as close to Shangri la as one can get.
Go try it out… and when you do Tell Aaron and/ or Emily Mama Frat says hi!
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August 9, 2017
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