Can subjecting yourself to extreme temperatures aid weight loss, improve skin condition, boost your immune system and help the body heal faster? Is cryotherapy treatment good for you?
Whether the temperature is high (like in an infrared sauna) or as low as -90C (like a cryotherapy chamber), extreme temperatures trigger reactions in the body, giving way to a whole host of benefits (apparently).
What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy treatment is a when you force a sudden reduction of your body’s core temperature. This is done by standing in a cryotherapy chamber for a few minutes.
What does cryotherapy do?
Cryotherapy treatments activates the nervous system, which leads to several health benefits. By suddenly putting your body in an extremely cold temperature it activates a survival response which, in a way, tricks your body in to repairing itself.
In London, you can expect to pay up to £100 per session (sessions are only a few minutes). You probably need a few visits to see results, so some places will offer reduced prices for package deals.
The body’s reaction to a sudden temperature drop results in increased and improved blood circulation and oxygen-intake, while boosting endorphins. Both of these combined, with the likelihood of an endorphin rush from the treatment, is said to reduce pain.
This is part of the reason why it has been found to benefit people with chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis). It can also aid the immune system, with research showing it boosts white blood cell count and increases energy levels.
Cryotherapy for weight loss
One of the most popular cryotherapy health benefits is an increased metabolism and improved skin condition. Low temperatures trigger fat burning and increases metabolism, which can lead to weight loss.
Cryotherapy for arthritis
One of the things cryotherapy tricks the body into doing is releasing anti-inflammatory proteins, this helps with joint pain, muscle recovery, inflammation and many coniditons that relate to these issues, such as arthritis. This is also one of these reasons why it is a popular treatment among athletes.
Cryotherapy on face
While everything discusses so far is in relation to full-body cryotherapy, you can also get cryotherapy facials. Whether you have full-body or facial cryotherapy, the process increases blood flow and oxygen levels which can tighten skin, improve complexion and promote collagen production, it has also been shown to help with certain skin conditions (like dermatitis and psoriasis).
Test run cryotherapy on your face at home with one of the skincare tools explained here.
Cryotherapy review London
I visited 111CRYO clinic, based at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, in London. Despite the fact I don’t really feel the cold, I arrive feeling nervous.
I change into the provided gear: headband to protect my ears, mask to protect my lips and lungs, shorts, sports bra, socks and a pair of massive The North Face gloves and slippers and get ready to plunge myself into minus 90.
As I step into the freezing chamber and watch a big digital clock count down three minutes, I’m entirely unfazed. I feel the cold sinking in only during the final minute, ending with a shudder in the final 10 seconds, and walk out wondering how it can make that much difference.
It was a complete failure for me. It turns out my body temperate hadn’t dropped to the optimum range which, at £95 a pop, was frustrating. I definitely run hot and, in retrospect, running off the train and into the clinic a little sweaty probably didn’t help the process.
I noticed I had a slight ‘buzz’ afterwards, so I definitely had an endorphin rush, but I noticed no difference in my skin, weight or body in general.
I was advised that next time I should go for a four-minute treatment, but I won’t be returning. The fact you need regular visits to benefit, and they might not even work (as with me), makes it all seem kind of pointless.