It was one of those hot, sticky, 90-degree-plus New York mid-August days, and I was freezing. Literally. In fact, I was subjecting myself to -300° Fahrenheit to see what all the fuss is about cryotherapy. That’s right. I was taking one for the team by spending three very cold minutes inside the IronHealth Cryotherapy Chamber in Ardsley.
For anyone who follows NFL football or keeps tabs on bizarre things that happen to the rich and famous, you’ll appreciate the timing of my cryotherapy session. It was August 7—the same day the following headline appeared on news and sports sites across the country: “.” As luck would have it, I had a scheduling conflict that day (a case of cold feet?) and had to reschedule for the following week. Although that gave me a week to think about, I was relieved to learn that Brown wasn’t wearing the proper footwear, which is not an issue at IronHealth.
In fact, what I found when I arrived for my session is that there is more time spent with proper prep than the actual time in the chamber. Prior to heading over to IronHealth, I went on the Stairmaster for about 40 minutes with the goal of being a little sore since the word is that cryotherapy helps in the recovery process. Now granted 40 minutes of Stairmaster isn’t exactly the Iron Man Triathlon, but for my middle-aged body, it might as well be.
When I arrived at IronHealth, I was greeted by i-Cryo representative Greg Muy who went over the details of the treatment and had me sign a standard waiver. The actual Cryo Chamber looks a bit like a one-man bouncy castle. When I got into the chamber room, I was provided with a robe, socks, slippers, and gloves. Greg turned on the chamber, and we watched as the liquid nitrogen cooled the chamber down to the -300° Fahrenheit target. He then unzipped the chamber, I stepped in, he zipped it back up, and I took off my robe. Only my head remained outside the chamber.
It’s hard to describe what the next three minutes felt like. Cold doesn’t do it justice but a picture of Hans Solo frozen in carbonite did flash before my eyes. I almost immediately felt a chill that I had never experienced and began to feel some tightness in my calves and arms. Like they were contracting to protect themselves. Greg asked me how I was doing every 30 seconds or so and gave me a countdown so I’d know how much time was left. When we hit the three minute mark, I put my robe back on and stepped out of the chamber.
Did I feel different after the session? Hard to say, but I definitely felt rejuvenated. My body wasn’t sore from the Stairmaster workout, and I almost immediately warmed back up to normal. They say the when the body is exposed to these subzero conditions, it induces shock throughout, stimulating the release of hormones such as epinephrine and endorphins. These hormones are said to enhance performance in athletes and help release stress. Walking out of IronHealth, I definitely didn’t feel any stress.
Like any treatment, you really need to go multiple times to feel the true impact. At less than $50 a session—or $250 for a month of unlimited sessions—I’m sure I’ll be back when my body is feeling the effects of a long run or a game of pick-up basketball with my son and his friends.