<--you are not crazy. This is not a padded room. Leave your straight-jacket at home
Have you ever wanted to try cryotherapy? Hint, hint (freebie alert in this post...)
I decided to give cryotherapy a try at Icehouse Cryotherapy, mainly because I was just dying to know what all the buzz is about. It's been hiding from me for about a year now, but now I know what I've been missing. Many professional athletes such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James swear by it, not to mention numerous celebrities (perhaps you saw it on "Real Housewives?" don't admit if you did). Your entire body goes into a cryo-chamber that subjects you to chilling temperatures nearing -220 degrees F for up to 3 minutes. Sounds kind of insane at first. But the concept has been around since since the 1600's, and then a Japanese researcher introduced whole body cryotherapy in the 1970's. It's touted to help with things like reducing muscle pain and injury recovery time, inhibiting inflammation, improving joint function and the immune system, increasing blood circulation and energy, while also improving collagen production and accelerating metabolism. The intent is to trick your brain (which is easy to do w/MY brain) into thinking that your body is in a dangerously cold environment. In response, your brain tries to protect your body by dropping its core temperature and stimulating regulatory functions. The skin exposure triggers the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, endorphins, increased oxygen in the blood and the release of toxins. Learn more about the benefits here.
Back to my chilly story....so, I grabbed my bestie and made us an appointment at Icehouse Cryotherapy in Totem Lake. Easy peasy, you can do it right on their website. The location is a little bit hidden, but worth it, tucked away in the corner space that adjoins to the Eastside Tennis Center. A super patient and kind cryo tech explained all of the do's and don'ts, mainly that you can't wear any metal (wear a sports bra, ladies) and you can let her know if you want to exit at any time. You keep your undergarments on and they provide a robe, socks, gloves, hat and slippers. The max time is 3 minutes in the chamber filled with liquid nitrogen, but apparently some don't make it that long. Challenge accepted! Once in the chamber you toss your robe out and start to freeze your willies off as you watch the temperature continue to drop. Try to relax! I tensed up bracing myself for the cold but it's not that bad. It's a dry cold (the polar plunge is way worse!) and for the first 2 minutes it's fab and then you start to wonder if your butt cheeks might be on the floor, cause you can't feel them anymore. You can dance and turn in little circles. Or at least that's what I do. Three minutes- bam! done! My skin temp was 82.5 to start and when I got out it was 43.5. Don't worry, my heart is not so icy. I was super glad to get back in my cozy clothes and felt totally invigorated. Like I wanted to kick some ass (Jersey girl, I know) but I settled for conquering my day with gusto. Little pains and aches from the week's workouts were undetectable and I slept solid that night. My mind was still telling me I'm chilly on the inside for the next few hours, but the next day felt like a normal day in the life of Janis. And we all know how exciting that is. I would definitely try this again, especially if I was training for something or had a chronic pain from an injury.
Some of our local professional athletes reap the benefits of the visiting the cryosauna twice a day because it's great for speeding up recovery and alleviating muscle soreness. But for the average part-time athletes and weekend warriors like you and me, 2-3 times a week can really optimize the cumulative effects of your raised metabolic rate from the first session. I think this would be awesome for runners.
What does this cost, you ask? First timers get to freeze for $40, and there are other packages to explore once you are hooked. Today is your lucky day my frigid friends, because Icehouse wants to give a FREE session to a Kirkland blog reader! Tell us why you'd like to try Cryotherapy and I'll randomly select a winner by Friday. As much as I love receiving your emails (ie, don't hit reply if you subscribe), please post your response in the 'comments' section on the blog to be considered. Good luck!