For a few weeks we've been trying to hack our bodies to separate science from fiction. We got lucky to discover the best cryotherapy cabin at one of the Biohacking Summits in Helsinki and after 2 weeks of cryotherapy sessions we definitely felt stronger, smarter, healthier, calmer, more creative and productive... come on, we weren't disappointed. Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo, Camila Cabello, Jessica Alba, Katy Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Novak Djokovic... Do you know what all these people have in common? No wonder all these celebrities do cryotherapy to take care of their bodies. Cryotherapy has long been used to help athletes recover after training and competitions and to help reduce muscle inflammation. Many Nordic communities have also used freezing temperatures to combat the signs of aging. Cryotherapy allows you to do this without having to jump into a frozen well.
What is it? Therapy of cooling the body with nitrogen
What's it supposed to do? Reduces inflammation, pain and a variety of skin disorders
What does it feel like? It's like being in a snowstorm for a few minutes
"The benefits of cryotherapy are: reduces swelling, aids sports recovery, helps you sleep more soundly by increasing the REM sleep phase", they say at the Biohacking Summit. "It helps with depression and burns between 400 and 800 calories per session". We didn't believe the last part being even possible, but the treatment seemed intriguing.
Criotherapy is part of a list of cutting-edge medical treatments called "biohacking" that promise radical improvements in health, happiness, productivity and longevity and is being talked about a lot lately. Cryotherapy, in particular, has been used in Japan to treat rheumatoid arthritis since the 1970s. It's like putting ice on a sprained ankle, only more expensive and less scientifically proven.
We prepare to enter the cabin at - 77ºC, it's more surprising than horrible. The skin turns pink. The Cryotech team gives us regular updates. One minute, they say. Two minutes. Only thirty seconds left.
Cryotech's team have been innovating for decades. They've found that their clients have more trouble recovering from injuries as they age. A couple of years ago one of their partners tried cryotherapy for the first time after discovering he needed a hip replacement. "It helped me go to work every day while I was waiting for surgery, and it helped me recover afterwards," he says. He was so convinced of the benefits that he invested in a project with the team that has over 100 years of combined experience in engineering and creating innovative high-tech solutions to develop his own cabin.
Back in our clothes, our skin is frozen from the ribs down, but we can feel our blood, like we're sitting in front of a fireplace after a long day playing in the snow. We can't tell if it's the treatment or the relief of having survived, but we felt incredible, radiant, renewed and happy!
"You're smiling," the Cryotech guys say. "Everyone always smiles when they go out."
Look good, feel good with cryotherapy
Not only can you reduce muscle fatigue and increase collagen production with cryotherapy, but you can also feel a sense of euphoria thanks to the endorphins (happiness hormones) that are released during treatment. Endorphins are the chemicals in our brain and nervous system that give us that feel-good factor when they are released. Cryotherapy can increase and stimulate endorphins throughout the body, which can trigger a feeling of happiness and satisfaction.
With many people leading busy and stressful lives, cryotherapy can be an excellent way to reduce these stress levels. Cryotherapy can also alleviate sleep problems, fatigue and depression.
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