I had no intention of getting into the Cryosauna when I arrived at 3Six0 Fitness.
Willingly stand in a chamber, with just my head sticking out, as nitrogen vapors cool the tube to 130 degrees below zero? No thanks.
But 3Six0 Fitness owner Liza Anzellotti is, as her husband called her, a “pusher.” She wanted me to experience whole-body cryotherapy firsthand.
So, after watching Dave Anzellotti spend three minutes in the sauna, I agreed to give it a try.
I anxiously waited as Liza prepped the sauna. How cold would minus-130 degrees actually feel?
I stepped into the sauna, and Liza closed the door behind me. I handed her my robe, leaving me in a cold, padded tube wearing just my underwear, socks, booties and gloves.
Here we go.
Nitrogen gas quickly began to flood into the cylinder. Liza closed the top of the sauna — my head poking through the hole of the metal ring.
The first part of my body to feel cold was my forearms. At Liza’s recommendation, I crossed my arms across my stomach. Instantly, my arms felt better.
About a minute in, my legs and behind started to feel frosty. I felt coldest about halfway through the three-minute session. Even though the temperature continued to drop, I didn’t feel any colder.
With about 30 seconds to go, the chamber hit the minus-130-degree mark.
And, honestly, it wasn’t bad. It was cold, for sure, but tolerable.
When the session ended, I stepped out of the sauna. My legs felt tingly, almost as if they weren’t part of my body. That sensation lasted for about 15 minutes.
While my legs felt cold, the rest of my body felt OK. I did feel a little chilled about an hour later. Liza said it takes about four hours for the body’s core temperature to climb back to 98.6 degrees.
It’s hard to say what, if any, benefits I received from the cryo session.
I did feel refreshed and energized for a few hours after the session. I also slept well that night. But was that because of the cryotherapy or because my 1 1/2 -year-old had interrupted my sleep for more than an hour the night before?
For me, I think the biggest benefit of whole-body cryotherapy would be speeding up recovery during intense training periods. As a high school and collegiate runner, I used ice baths for recovery.
So if (when?) I get back into consistent training, I’ll give it another try. Three minutes of whole-body cryotherapy beats 30 minutes in an ice bath any day.