Living in Michigan this time of year, the weather is nothing short of unpredictable, with 60 degrees and sun one day, 30 degrees and snow the next. I love having seasons, but one thing I can tell you I don’t like is being cold.
So when I received an email from marketing guru, Kyle, at Cryowellness in the Detroit area to check out cryotherapy, I will admit I was a bit hesitant at the idea of submerging myself into a chamber that exposes you to subzero temperatures, reaching negative 265’F.
My poor fingers and toes cringed at the the thought.
However, in my current lifestyle of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, and willingness to try new things such as floating and dry needling, I opted to drop any prejudgments on the therapy and enthusiastically agreed!
What is Cryotherapy?
I’ll admit I really didn’t know what to expect, so had to refer to the Google gods to ease my mind on what this experience was going to be like, or why someone like me would be a candidate for it. Cryotherapy has recently started gaining popularity over the last decade in the US with claims to reduce inflammation, remove toxins, and promote self-healing. It provides benefits for weight loss, sport and fitness, beauty and anti-aging, rehabilitation, and overall health and wellness. After doing a bit of reading and watching a local news segment, it sounded good to me!
Local chiropractor Dr. Sol Cogan, who worked with the Detroit Lions for years, is always on a quest to find the most efficient pain treatments, but also overall health improvement, so brought this practice to the Detroit area.
What to Expect
I walked into the office and was greeted by the technician, Jenn, and Robin, the PR coordinator for the therapeutic treatment center.
You could tell the passion for the business that Jenn possessed, sharing background knowledge, personal experience, and also ensuring that every bit of the process was explained to ease any worries. After answering some basic health screening questions and having my blood pressure measured, it was time for the next step.
Jenn led me back to a small dressing room, where I was instructed to disrobe completely (men- leave your shorts on), remove any jewelry or watches (don’t want them to shatter!), and replace my wardrobe with a towel wrap, big mittens, and the most amazing socks and slipper combination (Apparently from Costco!). Oh, and the pre-freezing getup? I promise you’ll feel really sexy, really quickly.
After walking back out to model my new look (my new man-friend in my life came to support me and definitely got a kick out of my attire), Jenn opened the chamber and had me step inside, closing the door behind me, leaving only my head exposed to the outside world. The word chamber sounds creepy.. hmm.. Box? Cylindrical thing? Nope, no real good word. Chamber it is!
After stepping in, she instructed me to remove the cotton towel wrap which was keeping my midsection warm, now exposing everything but my head, hands, and feet to what will soon be unfathomable cold. After some hissing of the cold air being pumped in, we continued to chat, somewhat distracting my mind from what was happening. I oddly felt calm during the entire process (queue man-friend calling me a “cyborg”), despite the temperature slated to drop from room temperature to -265’F during the 3 minute session.
Relating to my Crossfit experience, 3 minutes could feel like a lifetime.
There may have been a bit of discomfort in having three people stare at me, Robin the PR gal, taking pictures, and my camera man that I brought (who I should have properly educated ahead of time on how many takes I need in order to get one good picture!).
About halfway in, Jenn let me know there was only 90 seconds left. Back to Crossfit brain, you can do anything for a minute (have you ever had to do 10 minutes of burpees? 90 seconds flies by). The whole process went by a lot quicker than I anticipated and the only part of me that I really felt “frozen” was in my thighs. Maybe since the bulk of my bodyfat that I do have hangs out here, or perhaps residual tension from doing a ton of wall-balls two days prior! I could feel my legs shaking but really didn’t feel much. It was numb, yet cold, a little tingly, a bit surreal.
The strangest feeling was when I was handed the towel wrap back, stepped out of the chamber and back in to the room-temperature office. I still felt some numbness in my thighs, but the rest of me felt normal. I think since my hands and feet were so toasty and warm, it almost made the rest of me feel warm.
Perhaps it was a placebo effect or perhaps it was the chamber, but I felt super refreshed, invigorated, and believe it was a release of endorphins and adrenaline with the experience! Jenn said there was a chance it would make me hungry, as being in the chamber does burn extra calories. Noted, and totally justified a large serving of pad-thai afterwards..
If you are in the Metro Detroit area, I would recommend visiting my new friends at Cryowellness in Plymouth or Farmington and be sure to let them know that I sent you!
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