It was an unbearable 100 degrees in Los Angeles. Too hot to go for a run, too sweaty to keep makeup from melting off your face and too disgusting to sit in a car with a busted AC.
So my bestie Amy and I headed to the coolest place in Hollywood. No, it wasn't a movie theater, nightclub or mixology bar, it was Cryohealthcare, a cryotherapy spa where temperatures get as low as negative 265 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you follow Lindsay Lohan on Instagram, you may be familiar. It's one of her favorite things to post pictures of, next to cryptic selfies using every filter. And since my friend Amy and I think we're basically famous (we are not), we decided we had to try it too.
Cryotherapy, pronounced "cry-o" as in crying -- which you may do if you hate the cold -- translates to “cold care,” during which your entire body is engulfed in an increasingly freezing chamber for one to three minutes. It's like stepping into a huge meat freezer, but the conditions are dry and tolerable.
This process was started by a Japanese dermatologist in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Cryohealthcare was the first cryotherapy company to come to the states in 2009, and the process has increased in popularity during the past two years.
Should you hop on the cryotherapy freezer/bandwagon? I mean if a celebrity like Lindsay Lohan does something, it has to be good, right? When has she ever done anything regrettable? Why else do Californians claim to enjoy hiking Runyon or going on juice cleanses?
Cryotherapy can help you if you're dealing with physical pain, you're an athlete or you just want to be pretty (that's all of LA, right?). Cofounder Emilia Kuehne told me she had a client with arthritis who was unable to work out because of his condition. After six sessions of cryotherapy, he was back at the gym.
Athletes find cryotherapy more efficient than icing a body part with an ice pack.
And then there's the beauty crowd (me and Amy). These are the people who are there for the skin tightening, collagen replacement and weight loss -- apparently you freeze off 800 calories during the three-minute session. (Amy claims to have gained six pounds this week, but that could be accredited to the McDonald's and mimosas. Also, you need to do a least a few sessions before you see results.)
Other potential benefits of cryotherapy are a faster metabolism (sign me up!), better sleep and even alleviated depression as your body releases endorphins after it "survives the cold."
So, what actually happens when you do cryotherapy? Well, lucky for you, I'm an obnoxious Millennial who took pictures of the whole thing… so here you go:
We walked into Cryohealthcare on time for our appointment, which after many phone calls confirming the parking situation (free in the back), what we had to bring (nothing, just ourselves) and how long the process takes (30 minutes max), they told me they take walk-ins.
They get about 100 walk-ins a day, and at 3 pm on a Monday the place was packed. Probably because this is Los Angeles and no one seems to be into the whole 9 to 5 thing. After filling out paperwork saying I wouldn't sue if I died, or at least that's what I assume it said, I then had my blood pressure taken.
I passed, my friend Amy did not the first time.
The technician asked her,
Do you get high blood pressure?
Only when I'm talking to my mother.
Amy getting her blood pressure taken as she reminds herself everything is her mother's fault.
Next we were escorted into a tiny room where we were instructed to change into a robe and these incredibly fashionable white cotton knee socks as we read this super friendly "nothing can possibly go wrong here" sign.
The only risk of cryotherapy is an athlete went in with wet socks once and got frostbite.
Then we were escorted to where the magic happens. There are two ways you can get cryotherapy: the walk-in Cryochamber, which holds up to two people, or the Cryosuana, which kind of looks like a standing tanning bed, but your head pops out. Amy and I opted for the Cryochamber because we're codependent.
We were given these shoes that kind of look like Crocs. At first I was hesitant, do Crocs give you cankles? Unclear.
Naturally, we took 20 selfies of our new look, as you do.
I can't believe I'm wearing these shoes…
Then we were given ear warmers, a surgical mask and gloves.
Here we are ready for either the runway or surgery.
It was around this time I started freaking out. I hate being cold. Any time I feel a gust of cold air, I get these 'Nam-like flashbacks to my four physically miserable years going to school in Boston. But everything was right in the world when were told we could pick whatever song we wanted to hear inside the freezing cold chamber.
We immediately agreed,
Unfortunately, the music was Spotify, so no Taylor.
Suggestion: More Taylor Swift!
So we settled for John Mayer's live version of "Free Falling."
My day being made.
Then we were given instructions: First we'd remove our robes in one section, and then we'd open the door to the actual cold chamber, where we'd stand for three minutes. Amy and I looked knowingly at each other, we got this.
I was happy I brought a friend. Once you enter the actual cryotherapy chamber, you are blinded by frosty but dry cold air. It's hard to catch your breath for a second. Luckily, having my bestie by my side reminded me I wasn't dying, I was fine, and the smooth sounds of John Mayer's sultry and perfect voice (he's basically a Beatle of our generation) made me feel at home.
Amy and I being super cool! Get it?!
We even sang along, changing the lyrics to “I'm free, freee-- freezing…” And before the song ended, we were done. We put our robes back on and emerged from the chamber.
It was a feeling I imagine astronauts get when they land back on Earth, but instead of being greeted by a crowd of adoring fans, we got some guy taking our body temperature. Mine was 20 and Amy's was 60, which she naturally interpreted as failing at cryotherapy, despite the technician urging that, not only was that not a thing, everyone's body is different.
Me winning at cryotherapy.
While my body did feel frozen like meat that needed to be thawed, I wasn't uncomfortable. I did feel a rush of energy, like I could conquer anything. Not sure if my metabolism really did speed up or if I just told myself that to excuse the two dinners I ate that night. Apparently to truly experience the benefits of cryotherapy, you have to do it often.
I see what all the cryotherapy rage is. Freezing off 800 calories in under three minutes is much less painful than a spin class. Of course, like any trend, this can get expensive, which explains why it's popular among the rich and famous.
And that's what's really cooler than being cool, Outkast.