Can subjecting yourself to extreme temperatures aid weight loss, improve skin condition, boost your immune system and help the body heal faster? Is cryotherapy good for you?
Throughout history, people around the world have cooled and heated the body in the hope of reaping physiological benefits. Saunas have been used in Finland for thousands of years and the Ancient Egyptians used the cold to treat injuries and ailments. Fast forward to today, and people are heating their bodies in infrared saunas, while others are enduring extreme cold by standing in a -90C chamber, and now I’m one of them.
Cryotherapy health benefits
The reduction of your core body temperature activates the nervous system, which leads to several health benefits. Improving circulation and oxygen-intake, while boosting endorphins and anti-inflammatory proteins, which help with joint pain, muscle recovery and inflammation. Both of these combined, with the likelihood of an endorphin rush from the treatment, is said to reduce pain. It is for all of these reasons that it is a popular treatment among athletes — but can also benefit people with chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis).
Outside of this, one of the most popular cryotherapy health benefits is an increased metabolism and improved skin condition. Low temperatures trigger fat burning and increases metabolism, while increased blood flow and oxygen levels can also tighten skin, improve complexion and promote collagen production., as well as helping conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis.
It can also aid the immune system, with research showing it boosts white blood cell count and increases energy levels.
Cryotherapy review London
Dr Yannis Alexandrides brought cryotherapy to the UK in 2017 with his 111CRYO clinic, based at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, in London. I visit the clinic one evening and have to admit, despite the fact I don’t really feel the cold, I’m feeling a little 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.
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 turns out my body temperate hadn’t dropped to the optimum range which, at £95 a pop, was frustrating. In retrospect, running off the train and into the clinic a little sweaty probably didn’t help the process.
I did notice a mild buzz from the endorphins and a slight improvement in my complexion, but I’m advised that next time I should go for a four-minute treatment.
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