Treatment of the month: Cryotherapy
You might read the word ‘cryotherapy’ and think it entails speaking with a counsellor, only pausing every few moments to sob uncontrollably.
However, it has nothing to do with tears, unless you hate the cold. The term cryotherapy is actually actually from the Greek ‘cryo’, which means cold, and ‘therapy’, which means cure.
Acting on a Wim
My journey began after being concussed in August 2016 during a game of football. I felt out of sorts in every way, so I went online seeking help. My first port of call was the ever high-voltage Tony Robbins.
While watching one of his seminars on YouTube, I came across an eccentric and hirsute Dutchman motivating the audience, saying: ‘We are going to hold our breaths for three minutes… all of us.’ Three minutes? I was intrigued.
It transpired that this man was Wim Hof; with 26 world records and a seeming obsession with the cold, the daredevil known as ‘The Ice Man’ deserved investigation.
Over the next few months I learned about the science behind cold baths and showers, with a breathing technique that has changed my life. I started to come across cryotherapy and underwent my first session at 111Cryo in Harvey Nichols – stepping into a specially built chamber that’s around -89ºC inside.
Thriller in the chiller
Once you’re in there, you can do whatever you like. I danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which played on the speakers, having been told that moving keeps you colder. Prepping with daily cold showers had helped me to adjust to the freezing temperature, but a cryotherapy session is something else!
The benefits of the cold on your body are now scientifically proven, with sportspeople using it to increase muscular recovery time.
The cold also releases endorphins, and I felt like someone had pressed a reset button on my brain afterwards; I was alert, focused and optimistic. The experience has been truly transformative and my concussion is firmly behind me.
THE COLD, HARD TRUTH
Alas, it feels as though cryotherapy is a rich person’s luxury; I’m not entirely convinced that a more affordable freezing cold bath or shower hasn’t similar benefits. If you want to give it a try, start with warm showers, then push it to cold for 30-60 seconds, that way there’s not as much of a shock. You’ll eventually find that you can cope.
High Point: It’s a great pick-me-up and puts a spring in your step.
Low point: It’s expensive.
THE COST: £95 for a three-minute Cryo Chamber session
CONTACT: 111 cryo, 0207 201 8489