I finally got to try cryotherapy! My friend Tikima (the second half of DMV Fitness Fam) got us hooked up with our first sessions at Thrive CryoStudio, which is located inside Symmetry Salon in Rockville, Maryland (right next to the Twinbrook Metro station). I had seen ads for Thrive all over the place – including in my gym! BUT! I had no idea where it was! Turns out I had walked past the salon many times before and didn’t realize that it was the home of Thrive!
Okay, so some basics: In whole-body cryotherapy, you get down to your skivvies and (literally) chill inside of a chamber that freezes you for a few minutes. There are supposed to be a whole host of health benefits, but the science is still out on that. There are also some folks who are not recommended to try cryotherapy based on specific health issues. I’ve been an athlete basically as long as I’ve been walking, and I’ve used ice packs and ice baths as part of my recovery, and while I don’t like being cold, I’ve never had any issues beyond mild discomfort (because I’m a big baby).
Tikima and I had a discussion beforehand of what we were supposed to wear in the chamber and decided that we had to wear our cutest drawers. This would turn out not to matter (nobody else sees your bra/underwear, some people use it naked 😮). I’m glad it didn’t matter anyway. I was behind on laundry and had to wear my near the bottom-of-the-barrel underwear. #basic
We learned from Tikima’s experience that shaving right before cryotherapy is not preferred, but if you do it earlier that same day like I did (e.g. in the morning before work when you have a cryo session after work), it didn’t have as much of an effect. She felt a little more tingly where she shaved, but I didn’t have that issue.
So, let’s talk about the actual experience!
Once you get to the studio you fill out an intake form, much like you would if you were at the doctor’s office. They ask questions about your goals from the experience, your target areas, and a little about your health background. I was surprised to learn that some folks use cryotherapy for eczema. I have eczema, and it really only shows up in the winter. Go figure!
The room where you do the therapy is actually pretty small and feels like a mix between a doctor’s office, and the little area outside of the infrared sauna place I go to. They take your blood pressure before getting started to make sure you don’t have issues. Make sure you calm yourself down and don’t talk about how scared/anxious/intimidated you are while they’re taking your blood pressure, or you will have to do it again. Duh.
Once that’s out of the way, you strip down and throw on the following that they provide: a plush robe, a pair of socks, warm booties, a regular pair of gloves, and a pair of gloves for surviving the tundra.
Once you’re ready, you step into the chamber. They slowly elevate you on a platform. that you’re standing on, and you stand with your hands outside of the chamber (like in a kind of puppy paws position).
Once they get you into the right position, they ask if you’re ready, and so it begins!
Watch the video of me trying cryotherapy for the first time:
I was really surprised by how well I took it! It’s actually pretty quick: three minutes of cold, rotating around the chamber throughout. The key is to try to keep your body as relaxed as possible, which is no easy task! I tensed up as soon as I started to feel really cold, and shivering does not make it easy to relax! If you watch the video, you can see me taking deep breaths to relax, and that seemed to work for me.
Certain areas felt really tingly, and the staff told us that the areas with the most fat tend to tingle the worst. For me, that was my thighs. Rude.
Once it was all over, your body heats itself back up, and I felt this absolutely amazing runner’s high! I was so zen and happy and just… relaxed. That feeling alone was enough to make me want to come back! The real kicker came about 12 hours later: I slept like a baby and woke up so refreshed. That never happens!
Overall, I highly recommend trying out Thrive CryoStudio! The staff was very professional and put us at ease, taking the time to explain the process as well as the benefits. It was a wonderful experience!
Have you ever tried cryotherapy? Have you ever wanted to?
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