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I tried cryotherapy during an Eccleston Yards Wellness Weekenders pre-event, a new festival that took place on 14 and 15 August and is continuing on 21 and 22 August, in Victoria. The ticketed event features popular fitness trends such as hula hooping and puppy yoga.
Cryotherapy was advanced in Japan in the late 1970s, first used to treat joint pain for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The dry three-minute treatment is non-invasive and utilises a hyper-cooling process that accelerates the body’s natural healing.
Hugely popular in the US, cryotherapy has a range of physical and mental benefits, from improving quality of sleep and reversing signs of ageing to boosting energy levels and reducing inflammation and pain.
Before my appointment, I was advised not to have body lotion, SPF and oils on my skin.
In the changing room were thick gloves, socks and a bathrobe. I put on some fluffy slippers while the certified LondonCryo technician who remains with you for the duration of your session turned on the cryotherapy machine.
As I walked inside the chamber, I handed the technician my robe, naproxen max dosage and she closed the door to start the session. I stepped onto a wooden platform, which she adjusted to my height to ensure I was as comfortable as possible.
Inside the cryptocabin, with my head would outside at the top of the chamber at room temperature, the body is enveloped by a pulsating mist at a temperature of -140C, triggering a “fight-or-flight” response which enhances the body’s natural ability to heal and restore itself.
During the first 10 seconds, my head began to hurt, but this ache quickly evaporated. I could feel the cold air surround my body as I watched the temperature thermostat dip until it reached -130C, which is recommended to experience the full benefits of cryotherapy. As it turned colder, my body temperature lowered.
I had to keep my hands in a prayer-like position for health and safety purposes and ensure my elbows were as close to my body as possible to avoid touching the sides of the chamber.
The technician told me to take a 90-degree-turn every 15 seconds until I laid at my original position again. As it got colder, I could feel my body react to the arctic temperatures. It felt like I had been inside forever.
My legs and thighs felt like someone had buried me in a desert of snow. As it turned colder, my legs became numb, so I stomped my feet to try and wake up my frozen legs. The music certainly helped as I sang along loudly to Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Boy’ as a distraction.
After the three minutes were up, I quickly wrapped my frozen body in the bathrobe and left the chamber. I began marching on the spot to warm up, tempted to break into jumping jacks to get some feeling back in my iced thighs and legs.
I immediately felt calm and very relaxed. The rest of my body warmed up quickly. I dragged my heavy legs back to the changing room to get changed and sip some water.
Even though you can experience mental and physical health benefits after just one session — I fell asleep on the tube ride home and slept like a baby that night — cryotherapy is more effective when used regularly.
Cryotherapy at London Cryo costs £90 a session (introductory offer: 15% off). Membership starts at £200.
Find tickets to Eccleston Yards for Wellness Weekenders here.
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