Updated: Mar 23
I did a first time cryo chamber. I had big expectations, huge ones! After all, I have done thousands of cold showers and hundreds of ice baths and cold dips in nature already, so I was curious what the fuss was about. Especially the shout outs about how below zero it is! You hear about -230 degrees Fahrenheit (-145 Celsius) and it sounds like a cryo chamber is the cold variant of a nuclear blast!
As a proponent of the Wim Hof Method, and as a daughter of Wim Hof, I just needed to experience this type of cold exposure myself. So first let me tell you about my experience.
Initially I was excited, because I really wanted to do an ice bath. I was travelling in Thailand and was in Bangkok and I just needed the cold! My hotel didn't have a bathtub. So, I thought to do this cryochamber experience, as it was an option I had not explored or experienced in the past. Boy, was this a surprise!
When you enter, everything is set up nicely, everything looks pristine, like a high end experience. I needed to do a sign-off, which felt great (it seemed that to some it could be a challenge!). I was really looking forward to the experience. 'Let's go', I thought.
I did the maximum of degrees, the 'professional'-mode, which was -140 celsius (-230F). This was the 4th stage, so I thought that it would be at least as cold as an ice bath. Boy, was I wrong!
These points come into mind:
1. UNPLEASANT - It was unpleasant to stand in a cube. Standing in a cube surrounded by plastic, encapsulated, feels cramped.
2. UNNATURAL - The 'smoke' felt unnatural (which it is!) and I couldn't help but think how unnatural it felt. Nitrogen is not a gas that is usually something we come in contact with.
3. NOT INVASIVE ENOUGH - I felt that my skin was getting a chill, but that it did not enter my 'body'. I was dancing around, and felt useless.
4. HEAD FREEZE - I got a headache. I have never had a headache in my life with cold exposure and I have done so many type of cold. I did't suffer from a migraine, but it was highly unpleasant. I am not sure if this is a personal experience (wondering if others experienced the same), I wonder if it was due to the 'unnatural' gas?
5. EASY - I walked out of as if nothing happened...I honestly felt like it was nothing.
I initially thought about comparing cryo-chambers to an ice bath, but after experiencing it first-hand, I knew that that would be a joke, because it was a walk in the park and honestly much easier than your regular cold shower! So here is the break down!
WHAT ARE THE PLUSES OF A CRYO CHAMBER?
It is an experience
It was certainly fancy, so again, ait was a different experience.
It can be easy choice if you do not want to do a cold shower or a ice bucket for your feet.
It works great as a facial, as it is skin deep.
It is (for me at least) the easiest way to do cold exposure
CONS OF A CRYO CHAMBER?
1. MY MIND - I could still think. But not in the way I would think and my mind races when I do a cold shower. When I'm in a cold shower, my mind is focused on the cold, because it is a stressor. When I was in the cryo chamber, I was thinking about how the heck it is that they can make money of this product! I thought it was a joke...really...a joke, and I had to laugh.
2. INSULATOR - is a bad conductor of heat. So heat loss is minimal. Actually air is an insulator, and this is exactly how it felt like. It reduces the conduction of heat.
Also, they cover your feet, your hands, and your mouth. If you understand cardiovascular work out then you know that hands and feet have veins that connect to the core body temperature and thus, help drop your core temp quicker if they are chilled. Why they cover your hands and feet, I don't know. But, it made it even easier, but also less of a training.
3. 25x LESS HEAT LOSS than water - Water conducts heat 25 more than air. The degrees of Fahrenheit, doesn't tell you anything with regards to how 'cold' it actually is.
4. UNCOMFORTABLE - uncomfortable, but not in a good way. While it was a walk in the park for my body, my head didn't like the experience at all. In nature you also will not put your head in the cold, so it felt unnatural. Also, the mouth had a mouth cap on, while my forehead got chilled. I got a brain freeze, which I never ever had.
5. UNNATURAL - Gas is just unnatural, and the body seems to pick up on that. the natural sensation of being a warrior does not come in to play. Standing in a cube, is unnatural, being blasted with cold gas, is unnatural. What the effects are long-term, who knows. There is no comparison to the cold of plain water.
6. SKIN - My skin was being 'chilled' but the cold didn't enter the body. The skin got red, but obviously my body was so relaxed, the cold just didn't penetrate.
7. EXPENSIVE - It is was not worth the money. I could have done a free cold shower, or an ice bath that was twice as cheap. I felt robbed.
It felt unnecessary, especially if you have a shower in your home. Just do cold showers for a fraction of the price with more benefits, especially in a colder climate. Perhaps they will have better machines in the future, but for now, it is a no.
If you are in a hot country and still would like to experience 'cold', you can read this blog I wrote about cold exposure while travelling.
I guess fancy is not always better!