Recently I have seen an increase in athletes utilising Cryotherapy as a recovery tool. I was intrigued as to how it worked and it’s benefits, there were no facilities close to me so I continued to observe the commentary from participants.
The benefits of cold treatment to aid recovery have been well documented and there are few sports teams or athletes that have not endured ice baths or hot/cold baths. Cryotherapy seemed a lot less invasive and also easier to do.
I then noticed a facility opened up close to me, North Lakes Cryotherapy. I did some research on their website and decided that I would like to try it.
The benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy are:
‘Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a non invasive cold therapy that can reduce inflation, increase metabolism and enhance overall health.
WBC has been helping people manage their pain since it was developed in the 1970’s by Dr Yamaguchi.
During Cryotherapy the blood vessels under go a period of vasoconstriction which is the constriction of blood vessels and this directs more blood to the body’s core in an effort to maintain body temperature. Through this process, the blood becomes oxygenated. This is then followed by vasodilatation dilation of blood vessels which moves the oxygen-enriched blood through the rest of the body.
The results have a natural anti-inflammatory effect and improve circulation which assists you to feel and look better typically after regular and continuous treatments.
Rheumatoid arthritis / Osteoarthritis
Autoimmune and other inflammatory disorders
Skin disorders such as, dermatitis and psoriasis
Skin aging, poor skin elasticity, and cellulite
Depression, anxiety and stress
Insomnia and chronic fatigue
Increases energy levels and improves blood circulation
Improves immune system
Improves post-surgery recovery’ *Source North Lakes Cryotherapy website
I was a little shocked at first to see the regular pricing for the service which is $75 for a 3min treatment, but they were running an introductory special for first time users of $37.50 or $105 for 3 sessions. I rang and spoke to Heidi who owns the centre and made an appointment quickly and easily.
Appointment day I was somewhat nervous about how it all worked. Instantly when I came in Heidi put me at ease and explained everything to me very simply. She showed me the booth and explained how it worked. I then got ready and jumped in to the booth.
The operator stays with you in the room for the duration of the treatment which is great. Once the booth started to cool it felt not unlike standing next to the air flow of an air conditioner. The temperature was dropping rapidly but the cold was very different to that of say a bitter winters day. Even though I was at -185deg I was not shivering or feeling a deep cold in my bones. I could feel the surface of my skin cold, and felt some tightness in my arms as the blood flow was restricted. At no point did I feel overly uncomfortable.
Heidi explained that usually for new participants they ease in by not dropping the temperature as fast or keeping them in for 3mins if they have difficulty tolerating it. I was managing fine and was happy to see how it ran for the 3mins. You are naked except for gloves and socks/boots to avoid frost bite on extremities. The greater skin contact the better.
Once the treatment was complete I was left to dress and come out when ready. My instant feelings as I stepped out of the booth was I felt my both starting to warm already. The blood starts flowing back from your core to refresh the body. Whilst my skin was cool to touch I didn’t feel cold.
One of the side benefits is helping with mood due to the release of positive hormones like dopamine and I did feel happy as I left. However the biggest thing I noticed was how ‘quiet’ my mind was almost immediately. My brain runs at 200mph all day yet it was quiet and allowed me to be calm and focused even under pressure. Whilst I didn’t sleep better that night I found it easier to fall back to sleep when I woke. This benefit lasted for about 48hrs.
The cryotherapy is a cumulative treatment so the more you use it the longer the benefits. It’s recommended as you start a treatment cycle you go every couple of days then some people can drop right back to once a week or fortnight.
One of the other benefits is the reduction of inflammation in your body, of which I have a few issues. Whilst I did not notice an immediate improvement after one session I did notice some gradual lessening of pain in my knee and feet. Also I had friends mention to me how much clearer my skin seemed.
I’ve now had 2 treatments and felt even better after the second one. I arrived for my appointment after an incredibly stressful morning, yet post treatment e.g. within 2-3mins of finishing I was feeling much calmer and the stressful situation no longer played on my mind and it was easier to let it go. I felt I was better able to make clearer decisions and be more focused.
The service at North Lakes Cryotherapy was excellent and Heidi is very friendly and puts you at ease instantly. She answered all my questions and has been happy for me to bring a friend along and explain the service to them as well.
I am going to continue treatments and seeing how the benefits unfold over time.
Note: I received no payment or compensation from North Lakes Cryotherapy. This test drive is provided for information purposes only and I recommend you research thoroughly to see if this treatment is suitable prior to undertaking. I have no relationship with North Lakes Cryotherapy other than as a paying client.