Last week, when my friend asked me to try cryotherapy with her, I honestly thought she was speaking a different language. I'd heard of the treatment before, but wasn't quite sure what exactly it entailed. The benefits of cryotherapy are hard to deny, as one session can promise you better sleep, post-workout muscle recovery, and improved immunity, just to name a few. But what actually happens when you expose your body to extremely low temperatures (216 degrees below freezing, to be exact) in a confined, cylindrical chamber?
Well, I decided I would enter the tubular tundra to see for myself.
Let me start out by saying, I'm a woman who wears leggings underneath sweatpants when I sleep, and my car's seat-warmer is always turned up to its highest setting -- even in the summer.
So, when I entered the Cryofuel Studio in Soho with my friend Alexa, I have to admit, I was nervous AF.
However, Benjamin Feinson (the founder of Cryofuel and probably the friendliest British dude on the planet) greeted us with open arms, loads of information, and didn't even question us when we asked him to take a yoga photo of us in front of the studio.
(Yes, I'm aware that the sidewalks of Manhattan are probably not sanitary enough for such poses, but #DoItForTheGram, amirite?)
Though Alexa and I are both yoga instructors, she's spent way more time in cryo chambers than I ever have, and she absolutely swears by the treatment.
As we prepped for the session by putting on our robes, gloves, socks, and shoes, and removing any jewelry that would essentially turn into an icicle, she told me the treatment specifically works wonders for yogis, given how much we rely on muscle strength and flexibility.
Once we were ready, she went into her chamber first (I may or may not have required visible proof that I would not die of frostbite).
Watching her remain calm and composed (and honestly, kind of enjoying herself?) for the three minutes of exposure to below-freezing temps was definitely reassuring, and I began to wonder if I was probably being a bit of a drama queen about the whole thing.
I stripped down to my gloves and shoes and entered what I like to call the Chamber of Cryo Secrets (HBD Harry, I love you!), bracing myself for blizzard-like conditions.
As the freezing air encapsulated me, Ben and Alexa told me to pick my favorite song so they could blast it and distract me for my three minutes of cryo.
But I froze up (no pun intended) and could barely remember my own name, let alone the name of a song I wanted to listen to.
Honestly, "just" three minutes felt like 30 years. But at Alexa's suggestion, I closed my eyes and used the even, deep breathing I always instruct my students to maintain in yoga class.
Though it wasn't as terribly cold as I expected it to be, it still kind of felt like a million tiny knives were casually stabbing my legs.
But, looking back, I wouldn't even say the cold was the most memorable part of the whole experience.
What stuck out to me the most was how ravenously hungry I was for the rest of the day.
Like, I could have consumed two entire Thanksgiving dinners -- desserts included -- after my cryo session, and that still wouldn't have satisfied me.
As you can imagine, I was pretty confused by my intense hunger, since literally no one prepared me for these famished feels.
Now that is wild.
All in all, it was an incredibly unique and interesting experience -- one that I would definitely be willing to try again, as long as I pack an aggressive amount of snacks to indulge in after I'm done.
So far, I haven't noticed any immediate, lasting effects on my body since I went for the treatment, so it seems I'll have to give the therapy at least one more shot to reap any of its reported benefits.
But for now, you can still catch me wearing two pairs of pants and blasting the heat in my car on the reg.