Taking the Plunge: Cryotherapy

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By Cassie Angu

By now you’ve probably heard it all when it comes to the crazy fads people will partake in on their quest for health and beauty, but the newest one might shock you. Women’s Health gives the run-down on cryotherapy, which refers to the submersion of the body in below freezing temperatures.

A more even skin tone, younger-looking skin, and less inflammation are some of the touted benefits of cryotherapy, and it has quickly risen to the top of the list of the trendiest (albeit strangest) spa treatments. Followers of the trend swear by the health-related and aesthetic benefits, while many actual medical professionals are giving this treatment the side eye.

The process is pretty straightforward: you submerge yourself for two to three minutes from the neck down in a chamber filled with liquid nitrogen, which is used to lower the chamber to subzero temperatures.

The exposure to cold forces your body to go into “fight or flight” mode, rushing blood away from your extremities. When the treatment is over, the blood flushing back through your body creates cryotherapy’s characteristic healing effect.

Though it seems dangerous to expose your barely-clothed body to such low temperatures, cryotherapy only alters the external temperature of your body. Good thing, too, because if your internal temperatures ever got that low, you’d die.

To date, there are mixed reviews about whether or not cryotherapy actually is helpful. A word of precaution for those considering this type of treatment—for those with systemic diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell, and colitis, cryotherapy can be deadly. Despite the mixed reviews, many people have recommended submersion and the purported positive health effects.

A session of cryotherapy can be costly, however. An average treatment costs about $60 per session, and a monthly membership at most spas that specialize in cryotherapy cost about $300 a month.

For more information about the cryotherapy phenomenon, check out the article in Women’s Health.


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