I froze my entire body, and this is what happened…
04 April 2016, 17:49
The idea of being inside an enclosed space (wearing nothing but underwear), blasted with air so cold it makes the South Pole resemble the tropics, is a daunting thought – but only at first.
Every month we hear about a new, innovative way to look younger. Last year, I witnessed the anti-ageing, non-surgical facelift known as PDO Threading. Done at my local Skin Renewal clinic, it entails embedded threading, a treatment that involves the use of PDO, polydioxanone sutures injected into the hypodermis of the skin. The threads dissolve eventually and the result is fewer wrinkles and an overall improvement in skin texture.
The procedure was fascinating. Not only in its execution, but in the sense that who ever thought we would consider planting foreign matter into our faces?!
The latest controversial anti-ageing therapy comes in the form of Cryotherapy. All the cool celebrities (and Californians) are doing it, guys. Marketed as a revolutionary new way to deal with swelling and inflammation, it also promises improved blood circulation, a metabolism boost, pain relief and even weight loss and anti-ageing effects.
When I was first offered the chance to immerse myself (face and/or body) in a waft of liquid nitrogen, I was, to say the least, skeptical. Not because I’m someone who gets cold easily (despite my mom’s advice, I never, ever take a jacket anywhere), but because it all seemed so unnatural.
But then I thought, wait a minute, people fry themselves in solariums all the time! Vessels designed to burn skin to up its pigmentation. So why be so afraid of being frozen?
How does it work exactly?
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a procedure where an individual is exposed to ultra-low temperatures ranging between -120 °C and -160 °C. Clad only in undies, thick socks, gloves that resemble oven mitts and an unfortunate pair of Crocs, I discovered there was really nothing to worry about. The Crocs were, seriously, the scariest part of this whole experience.
Standing in the chamber for a few minutes (max 30 seconds to 3 minutes) was a tad painful - my legs hurt especially after the first minute - but overall it was harmless. I actually found it to be quite refreshing.
Your body compensates for the extreme cold by creating heat from within. It does so by radically speeding up cellular metabolism which in return speeds up recovery. In fact, studies suggest that injury recovery time can decrease by up to 50%.
The temperature of the nitrogen vapour can be as low as -160 °C, yet the skin is only cooled down to around 5 °C. Immediately after the treatment the skin temperature increases to about 29 °C as stimulating responses take place. This causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing peripheral blood flow (circulation) and thus oxygenation to tissue by up to 4 times.
Once exiting the chamber, your body is red all over and you are encouraged to ride a stationary bike set up in the room to up your heart rate.
That night I slept like a baby as promised.
I also gave the CryoFacial a go. The liquid nitrogen vapour is applied by a cryo-wand (it was magical, yes) to the face, neck and head for about 15 minutes. The treatment stimulates micro-circulation within the skin, which promotes collagen production. Afrter only one facial my skin seemed very refreshed and had a subtle glow. Yet, as with the Cryotherapy, a series of treatments is necessary in order to see a reduction in wrinkles, brightening and tightening of skin and improved elasticity and circulation. The anti-ageing and healing responses of CryoFacials have made it extremely popular amongst celebrities. The treatment is also recommended for brides before their big day.
Is it safe?
While there are very few studies and experiments done to date to boost its believability, there are many who absolutely swear by it, even saying it helps with insomnia. Forbes.com notes that “Of course, the current dearth of scientific evidence supporting WBC does not mean that we won’t eventually find true benefits from WBC. There just has not been enough scientific studies yet.”
That said, the procedure is completely safe and over 2 million of these procedures have successfully been performed with class leading Cryosaunas, says Cryoliving.
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