Before thorough investigation, one of the latest wellness trends we had been wondering WTF is that?! about is Cryotherapy. Taylor and I had the opportunity to try Cryotherapy at C.R.Y.O. Philadelphia about two weeks ago, and we’re excited to dish the facts + deets about our experiences.
What is cryotherapy?
“Cryotherapy” can refer to a menagerie of cold therapies—doctors using extreme cold to freeze off warts or cancerous cells, etc. But in this case, we’re referring to Whole-Body Cryotherapy (WBC), which is the act of standing in a tank and being exposed to 3-5 minutes of subzero temperatures. The subzero environment is created by liquid nitrogen and the temperatures typically range from – 200°F to -250°F.
Here’s exactly how it works, as described on C.R.Y.O Philadelphia’s website:
“During the three minute treatment, the exposure to subzero temperatures causes the skin’s cold receptors to stimulate the nervous system. The body perceives this sudden and extreme cold to be a life-threatening situation and activates a chain of powerful survival mechanisms involving the body’s most crucial systems. Vasoconstriction occurs and blood is redirected from the peripheral tissue to preserve the vital organs and maintain core temperature. When one re-enters a room-temperature environment, the blood immediately rushes back to the skin, blood circulation is naturally stimulated, and oxygenated blood is delivered back to the damaged tissue. As a result, any blood with inflammatory properties gets treated and relief from pain and discomfort begins.”
What are the benefits of WBC?
Surprise, surprise—as with most of our WTF topics, WBC research is new and certainly not conclusive. In fact, it is important to note that no WBC devices or treatments have even been FDA approved yet. However, there are many claimed benefits of WBC, which are as follows:
- pain relief, muscle healing, and improved arthritis (due to increased blood circulation and reduced inflammation)
- weight loss—with improved blood circulation is said to come increased metabolic rate
- reduced anxiety + depression and risk of dementia (again, inflammation related)
- shorter recovery time for athletes
- improved symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases
So, what was it like?!
Honestly, WBC was not as scary as I expected it to be. Prior to trying WBC for the first [and only] time, I was talking with my friend who had tried it, and she described it as very painful, which obviously freaked me out! In hindsight, I’m kind of glad I was expecting worse, because I think it made my first experience more enjoyable…or maybe tolerable is the right word.
Taylor and I met with Dayhna, the owner of C.R.Y.O Philadelphia. Dayhna was super welcoming and friendly, so that certainly put us at ease as well. The tube is in a small room. You enter the room, undress, and put a robe on. Before you go into the tube, you put on thick, tall socks, UGGs (yaaasss), and gloves! These accessories were also reassuring pre-WBC.
Taylor went first, because she’s a champ, and I was being a wuss. The time seriously flew! You stand on a makeshift stool so your head is sticking out of the tube. Other than that, your whole body is exposed to the temps, hence WBC. I honestly stood there and held myself like I was shivering outside on a cold day, and talked with Dayhna and Taylor the whole time to distract myself. It really was just cold AF. I wish I could describe it better, but I think I blacked out/blocked it out, tbh.
Having only tried WBC one time, I personally can’t say I noticed any changes/benefits. Dayhna said it would help with focus and sleep. If you know me, I’m basically the queen of sleep, so I can’t really attest to that specific claim. One odd thing I did notice though was that my calves felt like they were burned, like a sun/wind burn almost, immediately after, and for the next day or two.
Overall, we had a very pleasant experience. Fear of the unknown played a big part, and in the end, we were excited and thankful to have tried this new treatment. If I had the funds and curiosity, I’d definitely be open to trying WBC for many more sessions to see if I noticed any of the claimed benefits!
How can I try it?
If you’re interested in trying WBC, you should definitely head to C.R.Y.O Philadelphia. Regardless, check them out—their website is linked here! Also, follow them on IG at @cryophl! Dayhna was awesome to work with and their office space is welcoming + cozy. We loved our experience and would highly recommend this spot if you’re looking to try! They even offer an introductory session for only $29.
Good luck with your endeavbrrrs! (… you had to know a cold pun was coming, right!?)
This post is part of our WTF series—where we’ll break down some of the latest food, fitness, and health + wellness trends blowing up your Instagram feed.