Cryotherapy: It ain’t no cryo-ing shame!
Definition; Literally, ‘cold therapy’. Cryo, meaning cold. ‘Therapy’ meaning to treat or heal.
Cryotherapy. Ever heard of it? It’s a relatively new discovery for me and one I’m loving.
I’ve understood the benefits of cold therapy for a long time, which has become popular thanks to legends like Wim Hof (aka. The Iceman). Ice baths are now something the regular Joe is practicing and reaping the rewards of, ocean dips no matter the season, alternating cold/hot showers. The latter two have become a common practice for me. The first I haven’t yet braved but thankfully I found cryotherapy so I’m letting myself off!
I first discovered The Polar Room, Perth’s very own cryotherapy clinic, in May and was instantly curious. We got chatting with clinic manager and marketing man Marshall Walker and soon had the owner, Bernard Hoogenboezem, on The C-Word Podcast to learn even more. Have a listen to that episode here.
From there, it was only natural I head in and experience my first hit of cryotherapy and that polar fresh feel!
My first time
Well, I remember that morning very well! I came home feeling super chillaxed and in that happy ‘I could go a little nappy’ mode in what had been a busy few weeks. I had an epic deep sleep and what’s more, after my first Bike Bar ride in three months that morning, I expected to feel that usual hit of post exercise heaviness by the evening and definitely a little soreness the next morning, but my body was literally feeling as fresh as … ice.
Fast forward to some further fresh hits of the cryo tank, chats with Bernie and Marshy and an insight into the whole holistic picture and I soon found myself joining The Polar Room a few hours a week to become part of the #polarposse.
So, let’s delve into some of the facts and benefits.
First up: why?
While most assume cryotherapy would purely be used for recovery reasons or by elite athletes, it was actually invented in 1978 by Toshima Yamauchi, a Japanese medical doctor looking for a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. The process has evolved over time to assist with a whole heap of conditions and goals and has since become a sought-after piece of the holistic health puzzle for many.
Let’s break down Cryotherapy even further from its uses to targeted areas and purpose. I know there’s gonna be something which spikes your curiosity in here!
Whole body cryotherapy (WBC)
WBC is where the body (up to the chin) is submerged in freezing temperatures, created by liquid nitrogen, usually at around minus 150°C, for three minutes. This is the perfect time for the body in terms of safety and being exposed to that kind of cold, whilst receiving the benefits.
The rapid cooling of the body causes the surface blood vessels and muscle tissue to constrict. Blood leaves the peripheral areas of the body, and the core body which holds our vital organs – receives a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory cleanse. Following the three minute treatment, clean, nutrient-rich and freshly oxygenated blood floods back to the whole body.
In short, it resets the body. It also stimulates the nervous system via the release of endorphins, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which can help improve energy and mood.
The key benefits include:
- Improved muscle/pain/skin recovery and management
- Increased energy
- Improved mental wellbeing
- Calorie burning
- Boosted immunity
- Improved sleep
- Boosted collagen production
The Elephant in the room
This is the ‘mini-me’ machine or the Cryo T-Elephant (we simply refer to it as The Elephant at The Polar Room). It’s carefully controlled by an internal temperature sensor and used for Spot Treatments, Body Sculpting and Polar Facials.
These target a specific area that is internally injured, inflamed/swollen, or has scar tissue. It’s far more powerful and efficient than icing because of the direct freezing temps (around minus 160°C) in just 5 -10 minutes.
It restricts blood flow to the area, allowing it to settle and afterwards allowing a rush of fresh blood back in to heal and detox. Another surprising benefit is the decrease in visibility of scarring!
Areas that could be treated are vast, but common areas include:
- Lower back pain
- Knee pain
- Neck pain
- Heel pain
- Shoulder pain
- Tennis/Golfers elbow
- Sprains and strains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hip pain
- Planter Fasciitis
Polar Sculpting is designed to target stubborn fat and visible signs of cellulite through increased blood flow and collagen production. It focuses on impacting the lymphatic system to eliminate unwanted fat and cellulite naturally. When the fat cells are exposed to a temperature slightly above freezing, they enter a stage called apoptosis-mediated cell death. In this state, the fat cells die off while the surrounding tissues remain unharmed.
Other known benefits include:
- Tone and Tighten Skin
- Smooth Out Wrinkles and Blemishes
- Stimulate Collagen and Elastin Production
- Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite
- Activated Healing and Cell Repair
- Reduce Inflammation
- Boost Circulation
Dubbed ‘Frotox’ when used as a facial treatment for the skin, it’s a painless and extremely effective way to slow down and even repair the signs of skin damage and ageing.
Simply put, by mapping the face, it results in drastically cooling the surface of the skin. This way, the cells of the skin’s inner layers need to work overtime to stay warm, which results in an immediate antioxidant effect.
It is a non-invasive procedure with no down time.
The main benefits seen from a cryo facial include:
- Increased collagen production
- Reduction in wrinkles and fine lines
- Clears up acne/spots and scarring
- Reduces inflammation and redness and naturally tightens pores
- Plumps and tightens the skin
- Reduces darkness under the eye
To sum up…
I won’t lie peeps, it’s not the most pleasant experience but the team running the room help you stay calm and cool (literally and figuratively!) and distracted with chatter, tunes, helpful tips and a fun and fresh vibe! So as long as you keep your game face on and channel your inner Wim Hof, you’ll go fine! ;p
This place and their holistic vision has me ex-ICE-ted! Ice ice baby, it’s nice nice baby…
Watch this space.