Cryotherapy: How It Feels To Get Frozen To -110 Degrees
By Dominique Afacan | November 14, 2016
I must admit, I never thought I’d be frozen to -110 degrees in the name of luxury journalism, but an increasingly popular wellness craze called cryotherapy has lead me down the icy path to this human freezer treatment, so here I am. The trend has been around for a while, mostly used by athletes who use it to relieve muscle tension (Leicester City Football Club have a chamber at their training ground) but more recently, it’s attracting a wider following from clients who swear by its health benefits, ranging from stress reduction to weight loss and better sleep patterns. Presented with all those lovely possibilities I found myself agreeing to try it out on a recent trip to Monaco. After all, the Thermes Marins is one of the few spas in Europe offering the treatment and beyond the intimidating cryotherapy freezers, it’s really quite special.
A cursory health check is first up; then it’s time to strip down to a bikini and prepare for the worst. There are two chambers to endure here; one set at -60 degrees to ‘acclimatize’ and the next set at -110, to demonstrate that there is no such thing. Whilst I’m putting on the obligatory socks, gloves and facemask to protect my extremities the therapist explains how to navigate the chambers – 15 seconds in the first, followed by a mind-numbing (literally) three minutes in the second. And in I go.
Obviously, it’s cold. It’s just not cold as we know it. It is an entirely new sensation. I immediately feel the hairs on the inside of my nose starting to turn into icicles and panic about this for a full 15 seconds before it’s time to enter the big freeze. The -110 real deal, for some reason, has Coldplay being pumped in at top volume. In here, I soon lose all sensation in my limbs and begin a pathetic slow dance to Adventures of a Lifetime to ensure I can still function. My brain feels like it’s fogging over. It’s all enormously unpleasant.
After just thirty seconds, I strongly consider walking out. To endure the full three minutes seems like an impossibility. In the end, though, I decide I have to stick this out. A few seconds of frosty pain in a totally safe spa in Monaco? If I can’t endure that, I am more pathetic than I thought. So I stay, I dance, I freeze, I despair until eventually I am released from my icy prison and back into the warm embrace of my spa robe. The result? I feel dizzy for an hour or so. And it takes me a long while to defrost on the spa terrace with a green tea. Admittedly, I am more clear-headed, perhaps I have a bit of a glow? But I could think of more enjoyable ways to chill out at this heavenly Monaco spa.