where women celebrate their ageless authenticity

Crying Out For Cryotherapy

The Alphabet Adventures With Nancy Hubbell Fournier (pronounced Forn yay)

Journey along with our resident humorist Nancy as she embarks on unusual adventures from A to Z. With the alphabet as her guide to new experiences, Nancy will rate her excursions as a “Fourn-Yay” or “Fourn-Nay.” Got something fun on your bucket list she should try? We’d love to hear your suggestions at intentfullyfit@gmail.com

LETTER “C”:  Cryotherapy, Think Polar Plunge Without Getting Wet

I am a wimp…and proud of it!  My friends often tease me about my need to have a “9” in any water temperature before I submerge, as in 90 degrees or higher. So, when they saw the photo of me in a Cryo tank with -199 degrees illuminated behind me, they were a little shocked.

So how did I go from a spa-like swimming pool to an arctic blast? I have Lisa Carey, the creator of IntentfullyFit.com, to thank.

Two ladies pose at Cryo mural

When Lisa initially asked me to write this column and we were brainstorming A-Z adventures, she suggested Cold Plunge for C and offered to join me. I had previously experienced a cold pool when I did B for Baths, so I suggested we try something else cold…Cryotherapy. Fortunately, Lisa was game to join me.

I had vaguely heard of Cryotherapy but had never considered doing it. Did I mention I hate cold? However, in my research I learned that Cryotherapy touts many health benefits including:
two women high fiving

  • Decreasing inflammation and soreness
  • Relieving chronic pain and fatigue
  • Accelerating recovery and improving performance
  • Increasing collagen for healthier skin
  • Boosting immune system
  • Accelerating metabolism
  • Activating natural biological regeneration
  • Losing weight

That’s a lot of promise for three minutes of goose bumps.

For our outing, Lisa made arrangements at Beach Cities Cryo in Torrance, Calif.  Jessica was her contact and joined our session (photo credit!) to guide us “Cryovirgins.”

Jessica demonstrated the Cryo tank and then explained the process to us. We would wear bathing suits without metal or plastic touching our skin, and don socks, slippers and mittens provided by Beach Cities. (Lisa supplied the cute hats.)

Then, we would stand on a platform that allowed our head to peek out of the tank while most of our body was encased in the tank. Nitrogen vapor would fill the tank, forming ice crystals and dropping the temperature to -200 degrees as we “baked” inside for three minutes.

“So, who wants to go first?” asked the very sweet Jessica. “ME!!!,” I exclaimed.  I had that feeling I get right before a scary roller coaster ride where I tell myself it will be over lightning fast, and that people rarely die.

But before she let me get into the tank, Jessica took my blood pressure to ensure I was in good enough shape to endure the session. First step complete! Second, I changed into my bathing suit and the oh-so-fashionable socks, slippers and mittens, as well as the beanie.

woman gets her blood pressure tested

Not very gracefully, I entered the pre-chilled tank while trying not to make the obvious comparisons to a coffin. Then Jessica cranked up (down?) the air.  I confess I did not watch the temperature gauge, but I followed her instructions to rotate a quarter turn every 30 seconds. Her suggestion was to think warm thoughts, so I did:

  • “I’m lying in the sun and it’s so hot I can barely stand it.”
  • “Here comes a massive hot flash.”
  • “I’m on the last minutes of a treadmill”

Weirdly, I actually started to feel hot. I’m sure that was just my body reacting to the cold, but it worked. Suddenly, my three minutes were up, and Jessica said, “OK, you’re done.”

I stepped out (also not gracefully) and Lisa commented, “You’re a different color.”  She was right, but I wasn’t blue…more of a deep red, like a lobster. I felt good…kind of tingly. While I changed into my regular clothes and then went outside to warm up, Lisa got ready for her turn.

woman in bathing suit and knit hat laughing

Lisa also hates being cold, probably as a result of years of professional ice skating.  She entered the Cryotank (more gracefully than I did, of course) and said, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. Oh Wow. Oh Wow.” And maybe, just maybe, her eyes bugged out a little bit.  But the time went fast and she, too, felt hot. Well, after she calmed herself down to stop her shivering.

When we were done, we agreed it wasn’t that bad.  We felt tingly all over and waited to see if our bodies had been transformed.

woman in cryo tank with green knit hat

The next day we checked in and we both felt good. We had slept well and our bodies felt a little less achy than usual. My victory was that I weighed a pound-and-a-half less than the day before. Did my body really expend all that energy to keep warm? Who knows? But it seemed like a benefit to me.

The Cryo fans say that it takes regular sessions to see the benefit of the treatments and that makes sense. I’m not ready to commit to going every week, but I could see how serious athletes or those with inflammation that’s tough to treat would enjoy Cryotherapy. If that’s you, consult with a doctor, bring a friend, and make it a fun experience!

It’s a wrap: (Please note: This adventure was fully paid for, this is not a promotion or partnership)

Fourn-YAY – It was fun to try out Cryotherapy and I would recommend giving it a go…especially if you can convince a friend to chill with you.

Fourn-NAY – It was REALLY cold!

Cryo not your idea of chillin’? Here are some other adventures that start with C: chocolate tasting, calligraphy lessons, craft fairs, cooking, and camping.

Nancy Hubbell Fournier montage of fun faces