This form of cryotherapy involves standing in a -150 deg C chamber to spike your metabolism and reduce muscle pain.
Anything (be it food, activity or treatment) that’s represented by more than three syllables intimidates me. I mean, there’s a reason why the name is complicated right? So suffice it to say, I was pretty nervous about giving cryotherapy a go – especially when all I knew about it prior to experiencing it for myself was that it involves sub-zero temperatures, as the name suggests.
But it also says “therapy”, so while I absolutely hate feeling cold, I had to do the human (and journalistic) way of finding out what good it entails. Apparently, it greatly benefits our body, and many Hollywood celebs are said to be fans (always extra intriguing when the upper crust are on to something, no?).
Essentially, cryotherapy is the process of using really low temperatures for medical therapy, and this can involve simply soaking in an ice bath or icing a wound. But the latest and more hi-tech type of cryotherapy – which the stars rave about – uses liquid nitrogen to cool your body. The temperature in the chamber drops to about -150°C, which tricks your body into thinking it’s in danger, thus sending it into preservation mode.
On average, a user remains in the chamber for two-and-a-half minutes. Save for the head, the rest of the body stays ‘submerged’. It’s recommended that the body is rotated 90 degrees every 30 seconds.
When the blood rushes to the core of your body to protect the vital organs, there’s an increase in body heat, which means an increase in metabolic rate. But more importantly, it’s also believed that there’s an increase in the production of hormones that bring down inflammation, so people generally use cryotherapy to relieve aches and pains.
As you can imagine, many famous athletes are also said to be cryotherapy enthusiasts. But that doesn’t mean we can only enjoy this treatment if we’re super sporty. As long as you’ve got some sort of muscle inflammation (whether or not sports-sustained), this might just bring some relief.
There have also been claims that the treatment helps with cell renewal and boosting immunity and energy levels. And (what might be) the best part? It’s said that we burn some 400 to 800 calories each session, depending on on the size of our body. The calories don’t all get torched immediately, of course – they gradually dissipate over the next eight hours. But that’s still a heck lot considering we don’t have to do anything else.
It should be noted that research supporting these claims has thus far been mixed. But don’t knock it till you try it, right? So try it I did at Evolve MMA’s Cryo Fit suite.
Here’s what to expect.
Cryotherapy at Evolve MMA
1. Enjoy the peaceful vibes
Cryo Fit’s reception area is small but cosy. It’s also tucked away from the rest of the gym, where several classes take place concurrently, so it’s pretty quiet – which is a nice change. And because Evolve only has one cryotherapy chamber, you’ll be pretty much alone. Sort of – it’ll just be you and the person operating the machine. I felt pretty relaxed there.
2. Change into a bathrobe
I was ushered into a room where I was to change into a bathrobe. Towels were also provided so that I could pat any damp spots dry (sweat is a no-no during cryotherapy as it can lead to hypothermia). We can be in either our undergarments or birthday suit during the process, so take off the bathrobe when in the chamber. Any metal piercings below the neck also have to removed.
3. Put on protective gear
Protective gloves, socks and boots are provided, so we won’t be completely exposed. And they’re not only comfy, but also comforting – which is important seeing that we’ll be freezing our butt off.
4. Prepare to be extremely cold
Much as I tried to brace myself for the rush of cold air, the freezing blast still hit me pretty hard. I mean, it was -150°C, and I’m the sort that likes my air-conditioner temperature set at 25°C. Within a minute, my body was trembling hard and my teeth were chattering, but I told myself to persist in the name of relieving body aches and torching calories (let’s not pretend that’s not equally important).
By the two-minute mark, I was done. I asked to be let out. I was, however, told that two minutes is “good enough”, and that I could look forward to enjoying the benefits over the next few hours.
How did I feel after the session? Well, the freezing cold definitely shocks the body, so I felt more energised and awake. I wasn’t suffering from any aches then, so I couldn’t make any before-and-after comparisons, but I’d think the session eased up minor pockets of tension. I was told I’d be burning 400 calories over the next eight hours, so that was all I thought about when I unashamedly wolfed down a plate of char kway teow that evening.
Cryo Fit is located on the second floor of Evolve MMA’s branch at Far East Square. A single session costs $225. For more information, visit their website.
This article first appeared on www.cleo.com.sg.