I recently became a member of one of the leading spa and wellness centres in the US. They offer an incredible range of therapies, and as part of the signup process, was able to sample a few. The touted benefits are substantial and while I can’t say they did what they say, it sure was fun trying them out.
It is a good thing we started with this because I get cold easily. This is a whole new level of cold though. Scary cold.
Whole body cryo-therapy involves removing all body jewellery—yep, even all those piercings, wearing earmuffs and gloves, and a mask. This is all necessary because you step into a small glass-doored box about the size of a closet, but which is kept at temperatures between 200-300°F below zero. That’s right. Cold.
The cold air swirls and mists when you first get in, and you can see out of the box through a glass door. My setting was for a 3-minute experience, and I think that was about 30 seconds more than I liked…both times. The attendant suggested I would want to work my muscles and move around while in there. I jogged in place, punched, and tried to writhe and stretch, touch my toes, do whatever, run in place, anything to keep things moving. It feels progressively colder with every passing minute. I was relieved to get out of the box each time—I have done it twice now on separate occasions.
The attendant stays and watches the entire time for safety.
It is said that doing this regularly is very good for you. And that the benefits will be seen over time. I will continue using it from time to time.
What are the purported benefits? Well, first is calorie burn. I was told that I would burn up 800 calories in there in 3 minutes. Wow. Also, that my skin would become more supple. Those two reasons alone will see me going back.
Other benefits include reducing the symptoms of headaches and migraines because it cools the blood in the carotid arteries. It has a similar effect on nerves and can calm or reduce nerve-related pain. The experience of extreme cold is also thought to cause the release of adrenalin and endorphins, which help alleviate mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.
I lost two pounds the afternoon I did these three treatments from the time I went in to the time I came out. It sure wasn’t water! I did kind of blow it later, though, stuffing my face with chocolate. Dark. 100%.
After the freezing experience of the Cryo-therapy, we traipsed on over to the infrared sauna, a sauna experience which is not “hot” but instead warms you using infra-red waves from the inside. It is interesting in that you don’t feel hot right away as you do when you walk into a conventional sauna, but after a while you become hot from the inside.
The purported benefits of the infrared sauna include better sleep (and I would note that I slept on my bed that night without getting under the covers, and I slept all night, whereas I usually will awake once). It is also good for weight loss, yes, I will be doing this again. And, with all the working out I have been doing, any chance to reduce the pain of sore muscles is most welcome.
And, as with Cryo, clear and tighter skin is a key benefit. They sure know how to market to us aging folks with disposable income! Of course, it is impossible to tell whether it works according to what they say after one session, but I sure enjoyed it. It is a sauna without the oppressive heat.
We all know how lovely massage is, and well, between these two services and the last one, there was a stop off for a divine one-hour Himalayan salt massage, which consisted of a massage delivered in part via river-stone smooth salt rocks that were hot to the touch. I love a good massage.
VEMI treatment (vibro-acoustic Electro-Magnetic and Infrared Therapy)
This treatment was so far out it includes visual and auditory stimulation. You can watch a screen that is displaying the guts of a spyro-gyra, with constantly changing colours and symmetric shapes. Very soothing.
You lie down on an ergonomic bed. I had them cover me with a blanket as I tend to get cold easily. And then the bed begins to vibrate with a kind of low harmonic thrum. Your mind just wanders, and in truth I didn’t really watch the images, but closed my eyes. Very random thoughts came into my head—with no apparent connection between them, and no connection to memory…it was more just odd ball dream sequences.