This month, our columnist hits the big freeze in a bid to soothe her tired bones − and reverse the signs of ageing
I’ve been meaning to try Cryo ever since pictures of random women wearing snow boots and joyous smiles started popping up all over Insta. So, when a fabulously flamboyant boy pal told me he was dodging the gym and hitting the cooler box to ‘incinerate calories’ before his big day, it reminded me that it’s still a thing. Cryotherapy is a three- to five-minute treatment (you’ve got to work up to five so your heart doesn’t stop!) that involves standing in a deep-freeze chamber while temperatures plummet as low as -160˚C. Apparently, it can torch up to 800 calories, punches a sluggish metabolism, and unleashes happy hormones, as well as soothing sore muscles, improving sleep, calming inflammation and even reversing the signs of ageing. Oh sweet, slightly terrifying chamber, where have you been all my adult life?
But while reverse ageing is a ‘buzzy’ bonus, the real reason I eventually pop my Cryo cherry is due to a dodgy knee, which becomes swollen, creaky and goddamn sore after a 4km run (my osteopath has informed me my kneecap is too big for running − and, frankly, I’ll take any excuse to get out of it).
LondonCryo in Spitalfields is aimed mostly at those heavy-duty gym types who use Cryo to cheat rest (and probably death). So, if it’s good enough for Hank, who’s jaded from all those repetitive muscle-ups, it’s good enough for moi. They give me socks, gloves and shoes that are awfully like Crocs, but without the holes. I’m then given a robe, told to take off my jewellery (and clothes) and guided in by a friendly woman called Julie who talks me through the tech. It’s all a bit sci-fi; I’m anxious. We watch as the temperature drops on the screen and I feel like a ‘Trekkie’, boldly going where no moderately well-known TV personality has gone before.
Julie opens the door, I jump up on the platform and turn around as instructed. She’s shouting, ‘Hand me the rope.’ I panic. I can’t find it. It’s freezing. I can’t see it or feel it, but it sounds important and, for a split second, I worry about my future. Then she shouts again, and I wonder why a rope would be in here and what she is going to do with it. ‘I can’t see it, where is it?’ I find myself shouting with fright. I’m conscious that I’m wearing rubber slippers that look like Crocs, but without the holes. ‘I cannot die in these shoes,’ I hear myself saying a little too loudly. She opens the door and patiently points to my robe. Robe, not a rope.
So I get back in and strip off quick. A three-minute blast of nitrogen ice proves enough. As soon as the snow hits me, my elbows start to sting. In prayer pose, I’m told to rotate every 20 seconds, like a rotisserie chicken − except I’m cold, see-through and wearing thick white sports socks. My shins and knees kill. Generally, the bones shout first because there’s less padding. At the end of three minutes, I hop on a steamy tube feeling FRESH, to say the least. I’m not sure if it’s pure relief or the fact I’m still focusing on my elbows, but suddenly my gammy knee feels a whole lot better.
Whole body cryotherapy at LondonCryo (londoncryo.com) starts at £90 per session, or £76.50 for first timers.