I tried a -185°C sauna to help improve my health—it's called cryotherapy
First things first, know that cryotherapy is a non-invasive cold therapy—an extremely cold one. The treatment isn't new. In fact, it's very popular in Europe, the US and even Australia with the majority of athletes doing it to aid in the recovery of their sports injury.
So what exactly do you have to do? Well, expose your body to nitrogen-cooled air at temperatures as low as -180 to -190 degrees Celsius for a short period of time (three minutes on average). While, as mentioned, it is especially useful in treating pain and injuries, its benefits range far and wide. It can treat osteoporosis, psoriasis and dermatitis; assist in quicker surgical recovery, the treatment of arthritis and other joint diseases, Multiple Sclerosis; help relief nerve and back pain, as well as aid in the treatment of depression.
HOW DOES CRYOTHERAPY WORK
The extreme cold can really kickstart your whole system, namely the nervous, immune and endocrine ones. It makes the blood vessels and capillaries undergo a period of vasoconstriction (the vessels constrict) and then vasodilatation (the vessels dilate) which thus causes the toxins 'hidden' in the layers of the skin to be broken down and flushed away more easily.
The result is a reduction in pain, inflammation, an improvement in mood and subsequently, thanks to the hyper cooling which activates collagen production, firmer and more radiant skin. In general, this means muscle soreness is decreased, muscle repair is accelerated by an estimate of 50 percent, it's faster to recover, blood circulation and energy levels are better, the immune system is improved and so are the joints.
Cryotherapy, however, isn't subjected to just entering your whole body in a machine with nitrogen-cooled air. CryoFit Asia is the first centre in Malaysia to dedicate a whole range of cryotherapy treatments for both specific and general needs. With my curiosity intrigued and a bigger sense of fear for the cold, I headed over there to try out some of their services.
You might have seen it on social media—entering a machine with the screen showing a daunting negative number of the temperature. Let me tell you; that temperature will keep dropping all the way till -185 degrees Celsius (at least) and you will realise that three minutes is a very long time. But because it's a gradual decrease, the feeling is unlike jumping straight into freezing cold water but more like how one would feel if they were suddenly naked on a snowy, misty mountain (except the mist is nitrogen in this case). Teeth chattering and shivering are all signs of the brain making the body to work more, and that's how one burns more calories during one session.
Bear in mind that people with high blood pressure are not advised to do this treatment, along with several other ailments which CryoFit Asia would ask you before commencing it. The one thing they really would check is your blood pressure.
Three minutes later, I put on my bathrobe, exited the machine and instantly I could feel a warm tingling sensation all over my legs (that's where you'd feel the coldest)—my blood vessels 'feeling alive' again. For precaution's sake, they asked me to cycle on the bike for a couple of minutes to aid the blood flow and generate some warmth.
I don't particularly have any sports injuries but I do often have back pain (possibly from a horrible fall I had as a kid, my posture, or the way I sleep) and weak knees. After the treatment, and more so especially on the next day, my back felt completely fine. The areas that used to ache at a certain angle didn't ache anymore. Some of the dry, slightly-darker patches on certain parts of my body had also became lighter in colour and on top of that, I no longer feel cold that easily. Not bad for just one session.
RM180 for one session.
First, they cleanse your face. Then, they blast the fluffy vaporised liquid nitrogen around your face repeatedly. This freezes the targeted nerves—especially on the forehead and between the brows—putting them into temporary hibernation and helping the muscles to relax. The facial ends with the therapist applying aloe gel on your face and leaving it for five minutes. All in all, it took twelve minutes.
It's supposed to boost collagen production, evict toxins, make pores look smaller, lift the skin and improve skin tone and texture. One of my biggest concerns is having dry, uneven skin tone. Immediately after the session, my complexion was noticeably less red and felt firmer (wrinkles sadly still there). This, I definitely recommend and am in awe of.
RM120 for one session.
NORMATEC RECOVERY COMPRESSION MASSAGE
There's no nitrogen involved here but it's certainly worth mentioning. CryoFit Asia is a proper sports centre catering to the needs of athletes and people who work out. The owner himself is a top runner, triathlete and coach; and to him, recovery is important. He included Normatec compression devices in his list of services for that very purpose. Its patented pulse technology is known to help athletes recover their legs/hips area faster between training and after performances, and as CryoFit Asia founder Jean Pierre Lautredoux said, it reaches deep into the muscles better than any human can. For me, it felt like the best message I've ever had and since I tend to walk a lot, it really soothed my tired calves and for some reason, I had the best sleep for the following nights after doing all three treatments.
RM60 for one session (30 minutes).
CryoFit Asia is located at Plaza Arcadia, Desa Parkcity. For more info or to enquire about their packages, call 016 349 8507 or visit their website.