Freezing temperatures are in the forecast for the health and wellness community. Cryotherapy is a popular new workout trend that integrates new scientific methods with sub zero temperatures.
Those who specialize in it say exposing clients to temperatures ranging from -240 to -300 degrees for four minutes can burn up to 800 calories.
“Your body goes into a fight or flight response when being exposed to such low temperatures,” said Oxford Cryotherapy employee Megan Breakstraw.
The most popular service at Oxford Cryotherapy is the whole body chamber. To prepare for this extreme experience, individuals must get their blood pressure taken before being cleared to go in.
Co-owner Susanne Messer explained the possible risks. “The cold temperatures increase your blood pressure by making your blood vessels contract,” she said. “If you already have high blood pressure prior to this, it could be damaging to your health.”
People who have heart conditions also cannot experience the sensation. Since the process raises your heart rate fast within a four-minute period, it could be fatal to individuals with conditions like atrial fibrillation or other diseases.
After being cleared for normal blood pressure, clients strip down to only socks, slippers and two sets of gloves. Then the timer is set for four minutes, and the internal workout begins. As the tanks pump Nitrogen gas into the chamber, the temperature gets lower reaching nearly -270 degrees.
The first minute is the worst as your body adjusts to the abnormal temperatures.
“Some people who are claustrophobic can’t handle the chambers,” said Breakstraw, “because even though your head is sticking out, you can’t see the rest of your body because the gas is so opaque.”
Aside from the benefits of burning nearly 800 calories, Cryotherapy can replenish the skin, as it aids irritations such as eczema, acne, cellulite and stretch marks. It can also boost your metabolism and immune system and improve sleep, pain, and mental health.
For a more spot-focused treatment, Cryo Facials and Cryo Spot Therapy are available. This is compact version of the chamber used for focusing on small trouble areas of the body, releasing the negative degree temperatures directly on the area for 12 minutes.
The machine has a handheld wand attached to it with a mind of its own. The wand has a mini laser that can detect if it is feeling skin or not.
The laser is blue and continues to release the air if it detects useful skin. If no skin is recognized, the laser will turn red and stop releasing gas. The wand can also detect if the skin is getting too cold and stop if needed.
There are different settings for the machine based on what part of the body clients want to focus on. The machine knows how low the temperature can go on certain parts of the body compared to others.
For example, if an individual wants to do a treatment on their head, it releases different temperatures, and does the same for an ankle treatment.
Head treatments are billed as beneficial to customers who suffer from severe headaches or migraines.
“Whenever I feel a migraine coming on, I just do a spot treatment on my head, and it makes me feel better right away,” said Messer.
A new process of Cryotherapy focuses on the face, replenishing and smoothing skin for a glowing appearance. Facials yield similar results as a Botox treatment; skin tightening, wrinkle reduction, pore refinement and collagen restoration.
If the freezing is too intense there is another beneficial treatment option, the the Normatec leg compression sleeves. These sleeves go over the legs like boots and are zipped on. The sleeves are hooked up to a tablet-sized device showing the different levels of compression along with which part of the leg is being treated.
The process starts at Level 1 at the feet and ankles. The kneading-like compression works its way up to the thigh.
The process reaches up to Level 5, the highest level of compression. As the level increases, the compressions become tighter. It feels like getting your blood pressure taken, but on your legs.
This process is used to break up lactic acid residing in the legs and aid the movement of fluid.
“We get a lot of runners and athletes doing this treatment to treat soreness,” Messer said. “When they are finished, they always say how it felt like they did not even workout.”
These compression sleeves leave the customer’s legs feeling rejuvenated and ready for their next workout or big game.
Cryotherapy is also making its way onto college campuses. Collegiate athletes from Kent State, the University of Alabama and Vanderbilt use cryotherapy for recovery and performance.
This freezing trend continues to make an impact on the health community, showing how science and technology is becoming more common in the fitness world. Cryotherapy is truly the workout of the future.