At first it’s easy to mistake the experience for a day at the spa. Furry robe, check. Warm socks and slippers, check. Submerging yourself in a chamber where the internal temperatures reach as low as -240 degrees. Wait…..what!?
The technology is called Cryotherapy, and since its introduction in the United States four years ago, it is quickly becoming one of the most sought after resources to treat everything from postoperative swelling and pain to facial rejuvenation.
Cryotherapy was born in Japan in the late 1970’s as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and has become mainstream throughout Japan and Europe over the last three decades for the treatment of inflammatory conditions.
The technology is simple. The user is placed in a capsule wearing only their undergarments, socks and gloves (these are necessary to protect the extremities from possible cold injury). For two minutes a nitrogen gas is pumped into the chamber while a technician slowly takes the temperature down between -200 and -240 degrees. Due to the severe cold, the majority of circulation is rushed to the core of the body causing the blood vessels in the arms and legs to constrict. Additionally, the skins exposure to such extreme temperatures cause the body to release anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as endorphins.
It’s cold. Really cold. I find myself doing a little dance inside the chamber and just as I start to feel my legs tingling – we’re done. 120 seconds in the tundra. The technician immediately takes the temperature on my legs. 21 degrees farenheit. Mind you, this is not my body temperature. It is a topical reading which started at 90 degrees. The two-minute exposure is not enough to impact the core temperature but it is enough to penetrate into the subdermal tissue.
I am back in the warm air. I feel a rush of adrenaline and can’t stop smiling. I’ve never felt so awake! My legs and arms have turned a bright shade of pink which lasts for around 30 minutes. They are freezing to the touch but I’m comfortable and happy and can immediately resume my day.
As one who is ever on the hunt for the newest therapies to integrate into my practice, I’d have to say, from what I’ve seen, Cryotherapy could prove to be an effective adjunct to treatment for any inflammatory condition. There are currently just over 40 Cryochambers in the United States with sessions averaging around $65.00. As with all therapies, recommended use will vary dependent upon condition, severity, age and current health.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment at the Beverly Hills location, please contact the office directly.
Sarah Norvilas, L.Ac.