Cryotherapy, the hyper-cooling treatment that is taking over the wellness world, has arrived in the Southern Highlands and the team at Southern Highlands Style couldn’t be happier (especially me)!
Revitalize Cryo is located on Main Street, Mittagong, and is inviting the whole of the Highlands to ‘chill out’ for good health.
The Clinic offers a swag of services that support wellness, including Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna, NormaTec Compression Boots for muscle therapy, Localised Cryotherapy and of course, Full Body Cryotherapy.
For me, well, I’m there for the Whole Body Cryo. A misdiagnosed ruptured disc many years ago after a horse riding accident left me with a worn away a disc in my lower back. It’s degenerated to the point that the vertebrae actually grate against each other constantly, causing chronic pain, Level 10.
As I await surgery to remedy the condition, I’m pretty much confined to bed, save for a few outings with friends to a cafe or restaurant (before lockdown). I am also relying on some pretty heavy duty meds to get me through each day (and night!).
Holistic treatment is the best, and I know from past experiences with Cryotherapy sessions that it truly helps my spinal pain in a natural, exhilarating way. Boy, have I have been craving them! However, with lockdown, plus petrol prices and timing, I simply couldn’t drive to Sydney to enjoy the treatments and reap the benefits … until Revitalize Cryo opened in Mittagong!
What Exactly is Cryotherapy?
Before I delve into the details of this amazing therapy and my personal experience with it, I’ll explain a little about how it actually works. Cryotherapy relies on sub-zero temperatures to heal injuries and support wellness. It helps with chronic pain and arthritis, eases muscle soreness and joint pain, supports weight loss and so much more.
The treatment itself basically involves exposing your bare skin to extremely cold, dry air for one to three minutes. It uses liquid nitrogen to safely achieve the low temperatures, which can go as low as -180 degrees Celsius if you can handle it. The temperature is typically higher than this when you are first starting out, and as you become accustomed to it, the temperature may be lowered for optimal benefits, depending on your individual needs and situation.
What Are The Benefits Of Cryotherapy?
“You can liken it to a modern alternative to cold water immersion, ice baths or ice packs,” says owner/operator of Revtialize Cryotherapy, Lee Hayes. “When we briefly expose the skin to these low temperatures, we trigger the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, endorphins and increased oxygen in the blood. At the same time, the cold stimulates the body’s lymphatic drainage – one of our body’s natural toxin release functions, so we are also releasing toxins from the body.”
Who Is It For?
“Health issues aside (see below) Cryotherapy treatments are beneficial for everyone to help maintain general good health and wellness, as well as a positive state of mind,” explains Lee. “We believe that it may also contribute to an improved immune system.”
“We use Cryotherapy to help with acute and chronic pain,” he reiterates. “It also helps to ease the symptoms of arthritis and assists in relieving muscle soreness and healing after injury. Cryotherapy can also help with mood disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression as part of a holistic treatment (always see your doctor to put an entire strategy in place).”
How I Discovered It
It was about four years ago. A Cryotherapy centre had just opened in Sydney and, being predominantly a lifestyle, health and wellness journalist, I was invited in for a trial and metaphorically leapt at the chance. At the time, I (again) had very limited movement. It was due to lower back pain and sciatic nerve issues, which had been bothering me for quite a few weeks (and which I now know was directly related to that old horse riding accident).
When I arrived at the Clinic, I was so eager to get into the the chamber, which is kind of like an old fashioned sun-bed turned on its side. I walked in wearing just my underwear, boots and mittens. The clinician (who is with you the entire session) closed the door, so only my head was sticking out at the top of the cryotherapy chamber. Within seconds, the temperature dropped and I was engulfed in a cloud of white-cold steam.
At first, it was a tad chilly, but super exciting, as I actually love the cold. However, as the temperature continued to drop, the feeling became somewhat prickly. By the 60-second mark, all I could do was laugh uncontrollably and jump up and down, which incidentally, made me feel weightless. I was feeling so great. I could literally feel my skin toning up.
Then, at around 90 seconds, it got even colder. I had goose bumps all over me, and it was starting to smart, like tiny shards of glass pelting my flesh. I’m not going to lie. It was at this point that it became quite uncomfortable and I wasn’t sure I’d last for a full three minutes. But then the clinician with me advised that I only had one minute to go, so I decided to brave it out. After all, what was 60 seconds of cold compared to weeks of sciatic nerve and lower back pain?
So, I stuck it out for the entire three minutes. When I left the chamber, my thoughts were clearer than I ever remember them being and my mood was completely euphoric. Then, I experienced the most incredible rush – a feeling of blood racing around my body, oxygenating every organ and muscle! My legs felt powerful and my skin was glowing like it was lit from within. My sciatic nerve had stopped hurting and I felt like I could trek home walking on my hands.
Lee explained this feeling: “When you are in the cryo-sauna and it’s super-cold, the blood from your body flows to your vital organs (heart, lungs etc) to keep them functioning. Once you step back into normal temperatures, the blood comes rushing back from the core of your body to limbs, triggering the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, endorphins, increased oxygen and the release of toxins.”
Hence, the high! The #cryorush
I was so elevated that 20 minutes later, I went back in the chamber for another three-minute session. The second treatment was far more bearable, I guess because I knew what to expect, and the results lasted well over one week.
My energy levels improved, my back barely hurt and my skin remained in top condition (even a few little spots I had on my back seemed to clear up).
Many people opt for treatments in close succession,” Lee revealed. “Some even come in for daily sessions, with users reporting an improvement in stress levels, insomnia, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, and various skin conditions. Results are effective and fast.”
The science behind cryo treatments backs them up. “Originally developed in Japan in 1978, the benefits have been studied and refined in Europe since that time,” explains Lee.
As soon as this Lockdown is over, I’ll be booking on for regular weekly sessions prior to my surgery, and post-op, will be having thrice weekly sessions as part of my rehab. I expect to be turning cartwheels by Christmas!
If you’re looking for some serious Inspo to add Cryotherapy to your wellness routine, look no further than the celebrities and sports stars who love it. People who quite literally shine with fabulous health, such as Demi Moore, Shaquille O’Neal and Christiano Ronaldo are said to love the treatment. Jennifer Aniston and Tony Robbins are both purported to have one in their own home and use it every day. Closer to home, so do the Penrith Panthers NRL team, Australian heavyweight boxer Lucas Big Daddy Browne, and actor Firass Dirani (from Underbelly fame).
Like any form of exercise or therapy, one must approach it with caution and speak with their GP before diving in, to ensure there are no underlying health conditions that could counteract the positive benefits of the treatment, or indeed be exacerbated by it.
Some people may experience side effects. The most common side effects of Cryotherapy are numbness, tingling, redness, and skin irritation. However, these are almost always temporary. Be sure to see your doctor if they don’t resolve within 24 hours.
You should never use cryotherapy for longer than recommended, which is three minutes. If you have diabetes or any conditions that affect your nerves you should not use cryotherapy, as you may be unable to fully feel its effect, which could lead to further nerve damage. Likewise, those with very low blood pressure of heart conditions should be thoroughly examined by their doctor before having Cryo sessions.
Revitalize Cryo Mittagong
2/61-63 Main St
Mittagong NSW 2575
Tel: 02 4872 2568