Before a couple of months ago, I had no idea what cryotherapy was.
Since my colleagues knew there was a cryotherapy studio in the building, we would joke with each other about who would be brave enough to try it first. The giant cylinder-shaped chamber contraption looks like something from outer space, after all.
Finally, after a discussion with the owners of Phit Studio, located at 4600 Greenville Avenue, and some obvious hesitance, I decided to go for it. What could it hurt? I thought. It’s only for three minutes.
If you don’t already know, whole-body cryotherapy is the use of extremely low temperatures (up to 300 degrees below zero) that has been said to decrease inflammation and pain and increase metabolism and energy, specifically for athletes undergoing intense physical training. According to the Phit Studio’s website, “cryotherapy accelerates the body’s ability to restore and recover,” especially after a workout.
But the cryo is for non-athletes, too — women experiencing inflammation or soreness following pregnancy can benefit from cryotherapy, as can people who are just looking to improve their sleep, decrease anxiety or help with skin conditions like psoriasis.
Though cryotherapy isn’t harmful to the body, anyone going into the chamber is required to protect their extremities, like hands and feet, since these are the areas where the least blood flows.
When I tried the “cryo,” I felt pretty cozy with the furry boots and gloves on despite the absolutely frigid bursts of liquid nitrogen blowing into the chamber. Make no mistake: it was really, really cold — granted, I hate the cold, but it was not unbearable. About 2 and a half minutes into my cryo session, I was ready to hop out and into the sun.
And to be clear, only the skin temperature drops — not your core body temperature. It’s sort of like an ice bath, only less excruciating, and cryotherapy cannot cause soft tissue damage like ice baths can.
PhitStudio owner Kelly Phipps said, “With ice baths, your body tries to resist it. This happens so fast that your body doesn’t resist what’s going on… your body has a hypothermic reaction, so it draws all the blood away from the extremities and pulls it into the core,” where your heart and organs are.
Before experiencing the cryo, I was achy and sore from moving boxes a couple days before. After stepping out, I felt noticeably lighter and more relaxed (I’m a high-stress person, and the cryo has been known to reduce stress).
I’m sure it takes more than one cryo session to notice patterns in how you feel, but my experience was positive. Phipps said he would continue cryotherapy even if he wasn’t athletic, just for the holistic healing.
For more information about cryotherapy and its benefits, click here.
The Phit Studio is located at 4600 Greenville Ave, Suite 230 in Dallas.