Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Out of the Box 1: Maria Tries Cryotherapy. Is it worth the hype?

Disclaimer: Opinions my OWN

So here I am, my first expedition of my Outside the Box Project. I first heard about cryotherapy from some of the hipsters I follow on twitter. Honestly, it’s not what they said that caught my attention but the chamber and the smoke coming out of it. I was intrigued. What is that thing? What’s the purpose of it? Why do people do it? 

Cryotherapy has been trending all over social media lately. It has some pretty grandiose claims regarding its supposed benefits, such as: Reduce pain, decrease inflammation, promote weight loss, and even improve athletic performance. As a scientist at heart, this screams pseudoscience to me. Several studies have found contradicting results regarding the benefits of cryotherapy. But I digress. I wanted to do this because it was a trend that I wouldn’t normally think of trying. I want to go outside the box and I’m curious, so off I went. I got a groupon for the Locker Minneapolis off Calhoun for $29/session (normally $40 a pop), by session I mean 2 minutes of -200 degrees Fahrenheit chamber experience. Who the fuck would pay $29 for 2 minutes in freezing cold? Me, apparently.
The Chamber w/ Liquid Nitrogen

What to Expect?

You first come check-in, and the receptionist will show you the chamber to get an idea of what you’re about to get yourself into. So you basically go in this chamber that will expose you to liquid nitrogen. The floor will rise up so that your head stays up to avoid suffocation. If you have piercings below your face, make sure you ask for painters tape and cover those babies up--whatever you have pierced.

After a quick tour of the chamber, you will then go to the dressing room and you're provided a bathrobe, gloves, and socks. Once you change and get in your chamber, you will then hand your bathrobe over. So you can either wear your underwear or go completely naked.

The first time I stepped in the chamber, I was fucking freezing.  Unfortunately, me shaking uncontrollably like Michael J. Fox (dark humor here) is apparently just the beginning. The chamber wasn't even set to -200 degrees Fahrenheit yet. About 5 seconds of the chamber being on, I felt sharp tingling all over my body. I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to last. I just kept thinking of the money I spent for two minutes, voila, I was determined to stay. The trick is to keep moving a lot inside that chamber to help keep your mind off of the freezing temp. The receptionist will monitor the time and temperature while you lowkey die of hypothermia. He talked to me how my day went, what I'll be blogging about, and whatever else he could think of for me to stop screaming. Just like that, it was finally over.

I actually came to the Locker of Minneapolis with intense muscle pain all over my body since I just started weightlifting again on Monday. Came in sore enough to test whether or not Cryotherapy is truly effective. Honestly, I don't think the claimed benefits of cryotherapy is legitimate. Frankly, we don't have enough data (yet) that shows how effective it is. Regardless of my doubts, my body/muscles felt a lot better afterwards. Is it the cryotherapy that fixed this? Perhaps placebo? Either way, the general after effects of cryotherapy left me feeling good. I felt generally relaxed afterwards and just ready to end the night with a bang.

Me lowkey dying of hypothermia #cryotherapy
The verdict? I personally had a ton of fun. Perhaps it's because of its novelty and the unique experience. There's simply not enough empirical data to show that cryotherapy works nor do I have enough experience to say that it does but it's definitely thrilling to experience. Otherwise, sit this one out. You won't miss out much! Frankly, $40 / 2 -minute session is too steep. However, if you want to experience something weird and new, I think it's worth a shot! Don't go in it expecting to see the results they claim to have though.

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