Yes, freezing yourself seems extreme. But the benefits of Cryotheraphy—a 2-3 minute full-body freeze in a chamber where nitrogen-iced air circulates at minus-200 degrees Fahrenheit—has purported benefits that range from stress relief to reduced inflammation, better sleep, improved skin tone, and increased metabolism.
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo travels with his own cryotherapy chamber, and the ageless Demi Moore uses it to stay, well, ageless. Even actor Daniel Craig used whole body cryotherapy while shooting Skyfall to prepare and maintain his James Bond body.
Bobbi Brown, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Beauty tried it and says, “the immense relief when the machine was turned off was just plain euphoric. I felt great immediately afterward… Seriously, I felt an almost addictive feeling of wellness for most of the day.”
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“It’s an excellent, evidence-based technique,” says Tracey Vincel, Co-Founder of KIMA Center for Physiotherapy and Wellness. “A study conducted just five years ago found that that cryotherapy decreases histamine levels in the blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Preliminary research also suggests that Cryotherapy may have benefits with cardiovascular functioning, mood disorders, and neurodegenerative states.” You can see Tracy partaking in cryotherapy herself in the photo above.
KryoLife, the leading cryotherapy center in New York City, claims you can burn 800 calories in just one session. If you’re familiar with ice therapy, it’s theoretically similar: exposing your body to extreme cold causes your blood vessels to tighten. When the body is reintroduced to normal temperatures, the body vigorously pumps blood back to the tissues which stimulates oxygen and nutrient supply, resulting in tissue healing. The extra work burns calories, and the tissue healing means firmer, glowing skin.
The whole body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures (-200 to -240 F) as you are placed into a cryogenic sauna/chamber for a short duration of 1.5-3 minutes. This lowers your skin surface temperature significantly and stimulates receptors.
This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades in Europe have established whole body cryotherapy as a powerful modality for inflammation reduction and injuries. Over the last three decades, leading European physicians and medical professionals in a range of specialties advanced the therapy and today, whole body cryotherapy is an established, powerful treatment for inflammatory disorders and injuries. Benefits include boosted metabolism, increased collagen production, pain relief, decreased inflammation, faster recovery from stress, and alleviation of anxiety, among many. Sessions cost from $80-$90.
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Given all the buzz, we wanted a first-hand account: celebrity facialist and Charlotte’s Book Premiere Provider Georgia Louise gave us her take on the deep-freeze body treatment:
Where and when did you try Cryotherapy?
I tried it over Oscar weekend at Cryohealth in Los Angeles. All my A-list clients were raving about it so I had to see what all the fuss was about.
How did it feel?
Like I was laying in snow naked. I had been doing so many facials to get everyone ready for the Oscars and I needed to do something to feel a boost, to get re-energized.
How long did you stay inside the machine?
Only 90 seconds. I was so cold after that they had me get on the bike to warm up, so I cycled for a little bit and I went back in and lasted for 92 seconds. After that I did the Maya cocktail, which is a vitamin push, and felt amazing.
What did you wear inside?
Only my knickers and a pair of gloves and socks.
How did you feel immediately afterwards?
Cool and energized. My circulation felt like I just had a two-hour massage. It felt like I just got back from a week at a health resort.
What kind of results did you see? Do you think you burned the 800 calories they say it burns?
I definitely believe I burned 800 calories, I went down a dress size and I felt very slim, like I had just spent an hour in the sauna sweating off the calories—I just froze it off instead. It wasn’t just about the calories being burned; my whole body felt re-energized and renewed. My skin was glowing.
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Apparently healthcare in Europe covers this treatment, and the owner of KryoLife in New York, who hails from Poland, says the treatment is well-established over there. As it gains popularity stateside, we might see more locations—meanwhile, for chilly treatments, check out the Cryo-Facial at Peninsula Spa in Manhattan, which will leave you glowing ala après-ski. The traditional Russian bathhouse in Brooklyn, Mermaid Spa, offers a small ice-filled hut post-sweat (for the adventurous), and there’s always (less cold) CoolSculpting. When in Miami, for the classic cryotherapy full-body deep-freeze treatment, look up Cryotherapy.