Cryotherapy is something that has always fascinated me. Considering the intensity of my workouts, I am always seeking out relief from my second- and third-day soreness.
What is Cryotherapy?
According to CRYO Philadelphia’s website, cryotherapy is a cold therapy that exposes you to temperatures well below zero (at least -230 degrees). This makes your body think you’re freezing, and blood leaves your extremities. Upon leaving the chamber, oxygenated blood flows back to damaged tissue to aid with healing.
Pro athletes including Eagles and Phillies players use cryo and compression therapy after getting beat up on the field. Not that I work as hard as they do (well maybe, I do go hard). CRYO Philadelphia gave me the opportunity to find out what all the hype is about.
To prepare myself, I made sure to get as sore as I could this week. I took a tough spin class on Sunday, Monday I did an ab-focused weight session, then I did a long run of Tuesday. The morning of, I took a tough outdoor starre (strength-meets-barre) class. By the time I arrived to CRYO Philadelphia, I had discomfort in my left ankle, calves, abs, and shoulders.
Before I began, I stripped down to my underwear. Then I was given socks, gloves and Ugg-style boots. This was to protect me from frostbite (which I’ve had before and was not fun). I entered the chamber at -100 degrees, then the temperature was turned down. I had to keep moving while in the chamber. The goal was for me to stand three minutes in the tank, and I made it to about 2:25.
Now, to describe how it felt. I felt a stinging, especially in my quads, but it was no different than taking an ice bath for track or applying a cold pack. The difference, however, was the length of time. After getting back to normal temperatures, I felt a dullness in many places where there was once some pain. This definitely took the edge off of my many pains. I found myself later on that night contemplating when to try another session, because my very tight, sore shoulders were a lot more relaxed than they had been that morning.
What about Compression Therapy?
The Normatek Recovery System, which is used at CRYO Philadelphia, massages your limbs to help speed up recovery. This was my favorite part of my visit, since I did not have to freeze, and I was pretty relaxed. I listened to soothing music in a dimly-lit room, and I enjoyed the squeezing and releasing of my space pants (take a look, that’s what they look like).
This procedure was a lot more simple, and since I was in snug workout clothes, I didn’t have to strip down to my underwear. It was very easy to put on, and I was connected to a machine that would inflate and deflate my pants. I instantly began to relax on the first squeeze-similar to the first squeeze with a massage.
During my half hour of compression, I felt some of the tightness in my quads and calves decrease even more (I went in right after cryo). I was at a moderate setting, which was just what I need to improve the blood flow to begin repairing my micro tears from my week-long beatdown.
I definitely recommend these services for any of my fit chicks and fit guys who need a little boost to their recovery efforts. It is cost effective, and definitely a lot less work and hassle than an ice bath. CRYO Philadelphia even has an introductory offer and affordable monthly rates (trust me-you’ll want to return). It’s just $25 the first time you try either of the services I had! Check out their website for more details and information on all of the service that are offered.