Medical experts agree that inflammation is bad for the body. And one treatment promoting relief is Cryotherapy, a new health craze that’s gaining popularity worldwide. Its legion of fans include actors Demi Moore and Lindsay Lohan, who last month posted pictures on social media of herself and friends in an icelab. And I decided to try it out.
Only available at two locations in the UAE, Dubai Ladies Club and Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, the wellness centres are visited daily by those looking to decrease muscle pain, recover from injury, lose weight and tone up.
The treatment involves stepping inside an upright aluminium chamber, called a cryosauna, which is frozen to minus 140C using liquid nitrogen. Each session lasts only a few minutes and a course of 10 is recommended.
In Dubai’s Emirates Towers, Cryo’s premises, with white walls and blue lighting, resembles an igloo. After a quick consultation, I was shown to a dressing room and asked to remove all clothing, except undergarments, and put on white protective mittens and booties.
Then it was time to meet the magical machine, which was programmed to plumb the depths of a Siberian winter in a matter of minutes. Liquid nitrogen bubbled away at the top of the sci-fi-looking cylinder and before I knew it, I had stepped inside and was enveloped in it. With nothing but my head exposed, and no need for a mask, I remained inside the chamber for what felt like a very long three minutes. Surprisingly, the elasticated gloves and slippers did a pretty good job of protecting my extremities and it was my torso and lower half that felt the biggest impact.
I was encouraged to march in place to boost circulation and the constant movement made the pins-and-needles sensation in my legs just about bearable. As the third minute finally ticked away, the chamber’s door swung open and out I stepped in a swirl of dry ice, a scene straight out of a 1980s pop music video. The relief was instant and the therapist handed me my robe to get warm.
I was then encouraged to hop on a stationary bike and pedal to bring my temperature back to normal levels. After about five minutes, my limbs still felt cold to the touch, but the tingling had subsided and I felt fantastically energised.
Next up, it was time for a 10-minute turbo facial, courtesy of Cryo’s baby sister — a portable ice-stream machine.
The difference here was that no time was taken up with the removal of make-up, cleansing or toning before the deep facial clean. And although the freezing jet of air from the therapist’s wand was an initial shock to the system, it was easy to acclimatise and surprisingly relaxing. The sensation was also much gentler than I had imagined and the pressurised liquid nitrogen vapours tickled as they were swept across the face and neck.
With the treatment completed, I was able to do a quick change and head back to work.
The emphasis here, as with the full-body Cryo treatment, was on fast procedures and fast results. Certainly, convenience-wise the sessions sheared almost an hour off an average gym visit or trip to the beauty salon.
After three sessions, I noticed much more flexibility in my lower back. If used regularly and in conjunction with a healthy diet, the treatment is said to greatly help with weight loss — you can burn up to 800 calories in a single session. It is believed that athletes favour Cryo programmes too, as it allows for immediate post-therapy workouts, while also improving muscle strength and energy levels.
As for the facial, if you’re looking for a non-invasive treatment that not only smoothes the skin surface but tightens pores, Cryo is worth a try.
• A single, whole-body Cryotherapy treatment costs Dh400. Packages of 40 sessions are discounted to Dh250 per treatment. Visit www.cryo-health.com