How to Prepare for Your First Cryotherapy Session
Whether you’re a weight lifter, an avid gym-goer, you suffer from a condition that causes chronic inflammation and pain, you’re looking for a way to supplement your weight loss efforts, or you just want to “chill” out (quite literally), you might be thinking about giving cryotherapy a try. Good for you! Rapid exposure to sub-zero temperatures offers a long list of profound benefits, including:
- Reduced pain and inflammation
- Increased metabolism and weight loss
- Improved sleep
- Reduced anxiety and depression
And much, much more!
If you’ve decided that you do want to take advantage of whole body cryotherapy, you’re probably wondering what to do to prepare for your first session. At Muscle Lab, the hottest spot for muscle recovery in Los Angeles, the most common question our first-time cryo-visitors ask is, “How do I prepare for my session?”
To answer any questions that you may have and help you get the most out of your experience, here’s a look at some tips that you can use to prepare for your first whole-body cryotherapy session.
What to Expect
Before we jump into tips for your first-time visit, we think it’s important to explain what to expect during your session. During your visit, you’ll enter a private cryotherapy chamber, which looks kind of like a big aluminum canister. The chamber features a door and it has an opening at the top that your head sticks out of, and once you’re inside and the door is closed, your entire body from the neck down is enclosed in the chamber. When you’re ready, liquid nitrogen or dry ice will be pumped inside the chamber, and will cover your entire body, up to your neck, for the duration of the session. As the liquid nitrogen or dry ice makes contact with your skin, it will make your body icy cold. Do note that the nitrogen or dry ice won’t condense on your skin, so you won’t get wet; rather, you will only feel cold.
You’ll remain encased in the sub-zero temperatures for about 3 minutes, but no longer than 5 minutes; however, if you feel like you would like to end the session sooner, you certainly can. At the completion of the session, you will exit the chamber, your body will be re-exposed to room temperature, and you will then be able to go about the rest of your day.
How to Prepare
Now that you have a brief overview of what to expect during your cryotherapy session, let’s talk about what you can do to prepare for your first visit to Muscle Lab.
What to wear
During your session, you won’t be wearing a lot of clothing, as your cloths cover the skin, and would therefore prevent you from being able to experience the full benefits that cryotherapy offers. To your session, you can wear whatever you’d like – your workout gear, lounge clothing, or if you’re stopping in on your lunch break or after work, even your office attire. With that said, however, make sure that you are wearing “skimpy” (for lack of a better word) clothing underneath or that you bring such attire with you; a bathing suit, or undergarments, for example; you shouldn’t be completely naked, though.
Before your session begins, you will be asked to put on a pair of gloves and botties or socks, which will protect them from frostbite (when we say the temperatures get icy cold, we aren’t kidding). You can bring your own gloves and socks or botties, or we will be more than happy to provide you with protective garments.
Make sure you’re dry
Before you step into the cryo chamber, you’re going to want to make sure that you are completely dry. There should not be any moisture on your skin or on the little bit of garments that you will be wearing. Even the smallest amount of moisture will freeze once the session begins, which could increase the risk for frostbite. Don’t make the same mistake that Justin Gatlin made. The athlete arrived at the 2011 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, with frostbite. Prior to the games, he had done a cryo session, and forgot to change the socks that he had worn during a workout before he stepped into the chamber. The socks were wet with sweat, and as a result, he developed frostbite on his feet.
To ensure that you are completely dry, make sure that you wipe your skin down with a dry towel before your session begins. It’s also a good idea to change out the clothing you’re going to wear to ensure that no sweat has accumulated on your garments; therefore, you might want to bring something to change into.
Take advantage of the acclimatization chamber
Before you enter the cryo sauna, there will be another chamber, known as an acclimatization chamber, that you will want to spend some time in. This chamber is cooler than standard room temperature, but warmer than the temperature inside the cryo sauna. The acclimatization chamber helps your body acclimate to the extreme drop in temperature, which will help to prevent shock as a result of sudden exposure to such a dramatic reduction in temperature. Make sure that you spend a good bit of time in this chamber so that you can ensure your body will adjust properly. If you don’t take advantage of this acclimatization chamber, there’s a chance that you could have an adverse experience.
There won’t be a whole lot of room to move around, but when you’re in the cryo sauna, you shouldn’t stand totally still, as doing so could prevent effective blood flow. To avoid problems, make some movements while you’re in the chamber. Wave your arms about, wiggle your fingers and toes, lift your feet up and down in a marching fashion, sway back and forth, etc.; these types of movements will help to keep the blood flowing through your vessels.
Schedule Your First Cryotherapy Appointment
If you’re ready to schedule your first cryotherapy appointment and you live in the Los Angeles area, contact Muscle Lab! We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions and will help you get set up for success.