I’ve never met anyone who thought they had a perfect body. Many of us have aches and pains, and some of us carry pain every day. Others of us see aesthetic imperfections in ourselves that are a daily annoyance, or even embarrassment.
To escape our pain and/or embarrassment, we as humans go to great lengths. We have surgeries. We take medications.
Many of the solutions we look to are invasive, and they come with risks and significant side effects. And sometimes, after all our efforts, the solutions we invest in don’t even work.
According to Wikipedia, “Cryotherapy is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy.”
“Low temperatures” is no understatement. I’m talking 220-degrees-below-zero kind of cold.
I had the opportunity to experience cryotherapy this week at CryoStudio of Austin, and I’m going to share my experience with you. To be honest, I’m completely fascinated by cryotherapy – how it works, and what it is and can be used for. My hope is that, through this article, you may discover cryotherapy to be a less-invasive, safer and more effective alternative for your pain management and beauty goals.
CryoStudio of Austin
As we arrived at CryoStudio of Austin on Bee Caves west of 360, we were welcomed by Anya Ferry. Anya and her husband Derek run CryoStudio, the only cryotherapy location in Austin.
Anya has a background in exercise physiology. When she and Derek first learned of cryotherapy, their response was, “It gets how cold?”
With curiosity, they drove up to Dallas multiple times to test and study the therapy at a CryoUSA location. Given Austin’s large athletic population and a culture open to new therapies, Anya and Derek thought cryotherapy would be a perfect fit for our city.
My First Cryotherapy Session
Step One: Waiver, Information and Blood Pressure
After I signed a waiver that listed the do’s and don’ts of my cryotherapy session, Anya explained the process to me and told me what to expect. At this time, she also takes the patient’s’ blood pressure.
Step Two: Preparation
To protect my extremities, I covered my feet with socks and wool shoes. I also put socks on my hands.
I felt apprehensive, but ready to try something new!
Step Three: The Chamber
I stepped up into the pink chamber and Anya closed and latched the door behind me. Because I’m 5’8”, I could see out with a few inches to spare.
Once I said I was ready, Anya released dry nitrogen gas into the chamber for two and a half minutes.
The first two minutes of therapy were comfortable, even refreshing. I was told to slowly rotate and take deep breaths.
Around the two-minute mark, the temperature in the chamber had dropped to the point that I was no longer comfortable. But, then again, nobody in their right mind would consider -220 degrees to be comfortable. I was definitely cold, shivering with goosebumps all over. However, I wasn’t in pain, so toughing it out for 30 seconds longer wasn’t a huge challenge.
After two and a half minutes, Anya turned off the nitrogen and let the vapors dissipate slowly before letting me out. I did it!
Step Four: Blood Pressure
After each session, the patient’s blood pressure is taken again. This measures the effectiveness of the therapy.
How Cryotherapy Works
Because the nitrogen vapors only penetrate a half millimeter into the skin, cryotherapy creates an illusion of cold. It stimulates the brain to turn on defense mechanisms.
To protect the body from what it views as insanely cold temperatures, the brain tells the arteries in the arms and legs to constrict. As a result, blood rushes to the core and the circulatory process shortens.
The body’s systems work in overdrive for hours after a cryotherapy session. There is increased blood flow, and the blood is more nutrient-dense. Extra endorphins and adrenaline are also released. The brain does a check of the body and determines where to send the extra nutrients. This is when the pain relief occurs.
CryoStudio recommends a minimum of 3-5 sessions, to determine how cryotherapy is affecting an individual’s body.
How Cryotherapy Affected Me
I don’t have any regular pain, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in the aftermath of my cryotherapy session. Anya told me to look for an increased appetite, possibly going to sleep later than normal, but sleeping soundly when I did go to sleep.
I did go to sleep about two hours later than normal because I didn’t feel sleepy, and I did sleep well. I would definitely be interested to see how regular cryotherapy sessions would affect me.
Cryotherapy Around the World
Though cryotherapy is just now being introduced in different parts of the United States, it’s been in Europe for years. The Olympic training center in Spala, Poland has long used cryotherapy as a performance enhancer for their rugby and soccer players.
Two silver medalists from the London Olympics call CryoStudio of Austin their home. Two-time world champion and decathlete Trey Hardee started his cryotherapy before he left for London, having gone through surgery just a few months before. Track and field’s Leo Manzano is another CryoStudio patient. He came from behind to silver medal in London’s 1500 m.
Your Turn to Try
If you’re interested in trying cryotherapy for pain management or beauty, CryoStudio is offering a discount to the Austinot community. Get 50% off your first session by letting Anya and Derek know that we sent you!
There are bulk rates and group rates available, as well as a 25% military discount.
If you’re considering surgery or risky medications to manage your pain and get the body you want, I encourage you to try a few cryotherapy sessions first. Anya and Derek create a safe and welcoming environment, and they have the expertise to pinpoint how the therapy can help you most.
Let me know how it goes!
What do you think of cryotherapy? Had you heard of it before?