Stripped down to my boxers, given thin cotton gloves and booties to wear; the single person chamber I was standing in had reached -160° celsius, blood was rushing away my extremities and I felt a deep chill like nothing I have ever felt. Only a minute more and this would be over!
It doesn’t sound like the start of a story that a sane person would volunteer themselves for. While my sanity certainly is debatable, I have been interested in Cryotherapy ever since learning about it from ultra motivator and life coach to the masses Tony Robbins describing his daily routine. As it is with cognitive biases, I had then consequently kept hearing more about it including that a number of top athletic sports people turning to this therapy as treatment for fatigue, anti inflammatory properties and faster recovery muscle and joint soreness and other maladies.
So when earlier this year, while attending the Tokyo Health and Sports Technology conference SportTec I chanced upon a Japanese company named Saraya demonstrating their Cryotherapy machines, I took note and contacted them to arrange to try it out for myself. They generously invited me to their office to discuss and try it out and the following photo’s are from my experience.
While I already have a daily routine which involves me finishing my morning shower by turning the temperature to ice cold, I don’t know anyone who had done this and I confess, I was still a little nervous. I took confidence that lot’s of other people had done this before and there was no reason for me to be a chicken about it!
Stepping into the chamber you notice quickly the ice cold temperature dropping rapidly and it was around 1 minute and around -140° that I felt arctic, my elbows were the most noticeably cold feature perhaps because my knees were covered with a thin cotton cover or that my elbows were a bit close to the edges of the unit I’m not sure. Shortly after my legs were starting to chill deeply and then, my whole body started to somewhat pleasantly ‘numb’. Then, it’s around minute two and you know you are in a deep freeze and your brain is telling you something isn’t normal! You are told you can ‘turn’ yourself in the unit if it’s bothering you a lot and I did move around a little but even though I was starting to freeze, I didn’t feel panic and it wasn’t as ‘shocking’ as I had expected. But I’m a guy that does ice plunge after sauna and goes from hot shower to cold shower, so perhaps I’m conditioned for it.
In the third minute of the session I was counting down until I stepped out and the chamber had reached its lowest temperature of just under -180°, but honestly -160° or -180°, at these temperatures it’s all feels just bloody freezing!
As soon as I stepped out into room temperature the sensation of blood returning to my extremities was palpable and would continue to give me a tingling sensation for the following 10 minutes or so but that wasn’t the highlight. The “WOW” experience was how good I felt mentally! I felt refreshed, more alert and clear in my thoughts, these being the exact same reasons I cold shower in the mornings, but this was on another level! For this point alone I will be doing future treatments when I have the chance.
In terms of muscle recovery or joint pain improvements I can’t provide an strong opinion as this was a one off treatment and I don’t have any injury I’m focused on recovering from. But for the sensation of alertness and freshness alone I would certainly consider to get one of these units installed my apartment, but that’s going to need to wait until I have something a little bigger than my shoebox in Shibuya.
Saraya have only recently started develop of the Cryotherapy units and are the only Japanese business currently manufacturing the devices. They initially intended to bring in imported models from Europe, but given Japan’s engineering and technology excellence it was not at all surprisingly found they could create a superior product with more features at a lower cost for the domestic market. The features they developed were those such as a safety switch emergency stop button, self drying operation and exhaust features to prevent the machine from suffering from moisture buildup.
If you would like to speak to Saraya about acquiring a unit or trying the product for yourself, please contact the very helpful (and English speaking) Deputy General Manager of Saraya, Marlon Amado V. Mamaril