Tried and tested: Cryotherapy


The Beauty Crew team puts the unusual celebrity treatment to the test

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / May 26 2017

It seems we can’t go a day without another celebrity proclaiming their love for a weird and wonderful beauty treatment that often seems unnecessary for us mere mortals. Notable mentions go to Kate Hudson’s unusual under-eye treatment and Miranda Kerr’s bizarre eight day cleanse.

One of the more popular celebrity endorsed treatments that we’ve seen gain traction in recent months is cryotherapy, with celebrities such as Yolanda Hadid, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Aniston, Lily Aldridge and Mandy Moore singing its praises.

Cryotherapy involves the use of extremely low temperatures to assist in reducing chronic pain, inflammation and cellulite, while also boosting collagen production and speeding up sports recovery.

To find out more about the treatment and the numerous benefits associated I was lucky enough to try cryotherapy for myself at Koa Recovery in Waterloo, Sydney.

The lowdown

Upon my arrival, founder of Koa Recovery, Shaun Button explained to me that cryotherapy is simply a version of cold therapy and the treatment would involve entering a chamber that would blow liquid nitrogen over my body for three minutes. “You’ll jump in at around -40°C and will get to -90°C to -100°C for your first session. During those three minutes your body goes into a flight or fight response where blood starts to get pulled away from your extremities and is pushed to your vital organs as your body wants to keep you alive,” he explained.

Now, if entering a small space with temperatures well below freezing seems utterly crazy to you, you’re not alone! To say I was initially hesitant would be a very large understatement. However, Shaun continued to explain that after the three minutes “all that new blood will come rushing back through your body, releasing oxygen, nutrients and endorphins,” leaving you feeling fresh and rejuvenated.

In addition to making you feel great, Shaun explained to me that cryotherapy is “really good for inflammation, for people with chronic pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia, and it also speeds up sports recovery time by about 50 per cent and improves sleep. It can also enable you to burn up to 800 calories in one three-minute session, boost collagen production, reduce cellulite and provide anti-ageing benefits”.

The chamber

The chamber

The process

Before entering I was provided with socks, booties, gloves and a robe as only underwear and a wire-free bra can be worn inside the chamber. When I stepped inside, there was a hole for my head to pop out the top so I could see and talk to Shaun throughout the whole process. The machine was then turned on and liquid nitrogen at -40°C was softly blown over my skin. The temperature was then reduced incrementally over the next three minutes with Shaun updating me on the temperature every 30 seconds or so.

To begin with, it just felt very cold, kind of like the feeling you get when you jump out of an outdoor pool in winter. As the liquid nitrogen got progressively colder my fingers and toes did start to tingle and I felt a slight icy burn across my skin. It was unpleasant but not painful. During the last 10 seconds at -90°C I was definitely counting down the seconds until it was over, however the whole experience wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

The verdict

Despite my initial hesitations, the whole process was surprisingly enjoyable and I certainly walked out of the chamber feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Additionally, not only did I warm up remarkably quickly but once I did my limbs felt tingly and energised and I felt excited to take on the rest of the day.

In terms of seeing any further benefits, Shaun explained most of the effects are cumulative and “like most things, the more you do, the more benefits you’ll see.” However, I did enter the chamber with sore muscles from a rather strenuous gym session over the weekend and have woken up today, a day later, with not a skerrick of muscle pain.

I would definitely recommend giving cryotherapy a go, especially if you’re an athlete or suffer from arthritis or ongoing muscle pain. It might not be for everyone, but I for one am a fan.

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Image credit: @mandymooremm

Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.