Cryotherapy not cryogenics


Last year my amazing and stylish sister taught me that “denim” isn’t supposed to be washed regularly.  Instead, it should be spot cleaned when needed and placed in your freezer overnight to deodorize and return to its original shape.   On any given day you will find frozen veggies, popsicles and jeans in our freezer.   There are mixed reviews on the internet but, I can confirm it is totally true, jeans miraculously bounce back to their original shape and look just as if they have been thrown in the wash.   Here is an article detailing the process, see I’m not making it up.  Word of caution, don’t dive right into those pants when you pull them out of the freezer.  Trust me, it’s a shock to all your special parts.

As long as we’ve got our jeans in the freezer we might as well throw ourselves in there too, heaven knows some parts of me could benefit from a little bounce back action.  Several months ago I ran across some information about cryotherapy (not cryogenics, totally different animal).   The main claim is that freezing temps, think ice baths for athletes, help reduce inflammation.  Inflammation is the root of all disease, so reducing it seems like a solid plan.   I dug around on my good friend google and found a cryotherapy location about an hour from me in Appleton WI.  Since I frequently make treks to Appleton to visit the holy shrine of Costco I was 100% in.    

Last week I made it happen, my treatment was done at  Fox Valley Cryotherapy, where the co-owner Erin took amazing care of me.   I went all in and had both a full body and a cryo-facial.  It was a lot like visiting a spa, major difference, when you take off your clothes you can keep your undies on, so your nipples and bits don’t freeze off (my words not Erin’s).  You also wear a pair of tube socks and big winter mittens, just like all Wisconsin days between Oct and April.   The full body cryo chamber is pretty much a metal cylinder you stand in up to your neck, very Jetsons meets Back To The Future.   Once you are in and the door is closed you take off your robe and the fun starts.   The chamber uses liquid nitrogen to cool the air around your body to between -220 and -250 degrees, it’s nice and smoky like a witches cauldron.   So here’s the real deal, what does it feel like?  It’s really cold, your teeth start to chatter and you are super happy about that padded bra you’re wearing because of the extra nipple protection.   The attendant stays with you the whole time, Jamie and I chatted about all sorts of things which made the 2 and half minutes no big deal.   Afterward, she checked my body temperature to confirm I would be able to do a full 3 minutes next time, I passed!  

My favorite part was the cryo-facial.   Nitrogen cooled air is passed over the face and scalp, man does cold air on the scalp feel good.   We were still chatting away, so every time the cold air hit my nose I had a huge involuntary intake of breath and stuttered while I was talking. I wish there was a video of it, totally hilarious and awkward.   Next time I might just shut my pie hole and enjoy the experience.     

I’m sure you’re wondering, did it work?  After the full body treatment, I had a sense of euphoria as the blood rushed back into my arms and legs.   The feeling was very similar to a really great meditation, basically your body is shouting “we survived, isn’t life amazing!”. I had a fantastic night of sleep, which can be one of the benefits.  As for the facial, my skin looked amazing! Seriously, so good.   Super plump and glowy with a nice even tone.   I’m thinking of just holding my head in ice water to try and mimic the effects, I’ll let you know how that goes.  It is recommended to do several treatments in a short amount of time to get full benefits, I wish it was closer so I could.  There were some really interesting online sources saying repeated cryotherapy is great for joint pain, specifically arthritis.  

So throw your jeans in the freezer, you won’t need them when you’re in the cryo-chamber.   If cold therapy is intriguing to you but you’re not yet ready to take the dip yourself, check out this Vice documentary on Wim Hof.   He uses meditation to conquer the cold and control his immune system, he’s a wild man.   I’m loving all this information about how frigid temps are great for our bodies.  Bring on winter, I’m ready.