Here’s what a cryotherapy session is like and why you should try it

Three minutes at -150° celsius (~ -238° F) is quiet, quick, and intense

On the eve of his 43rd birthday, Nick S. decided a year of inflammation around his knees and back was enough. “I thought Cryotherapy might not work, but I figured I had nothing significant to lose if I tried it and didn’t work.” The alternatives were a series of cold-compresses, prescriptions, and a cascade of increasingly costly medical treatments.

As Nick came in to see Jared at the front desk, he asked, “‘What is a cryotherapy session like?’ “That was the first I wanted to know. I was afraid it might be painful,” he said, adding, “It wasn’t painful. It was intense, and maybe a little uncomfortable at first – like stepping outside in the snow without a coat, but manageable.”

After you sign up for a session at Cryotherapy Indy at either our Delaware Street and 10th or 75th and Binford Street location, we’ll ask you about any medical conditions, show you the room, and talk through any questions. “I wasn’t thinking much about my blood pressure,” says Nick. “But it made sense to me after Jared explained why.”

In addition to a brief medical history, we need your systolic BP to be under 150. Whole-body cryotherapy can elevate your blood pressure, and taking a reading right before ensures we keep you safe. As one benefit, you may find cryotherapy sessions can help control your blood pressure.

Additionally, whole body cryotherapy decreases your heart rate, just as you’d expect in the cold. And it lowers your respiration, again as you’d expect if your body were exposed to cold. Everyone on staff is trained to watch your vital health signs and disposition before, during, and after the session.

Nick continues, “After taking my history, my session proctor Jared handed me a clean pair of socks, some flat rubber shoes, and gloves.” These protect your extremities. “Jared instructed me to undress and put on a robe while he stepped out of the room for my privacy, then asked me to signal when I was ready to start cryo.”

You can wear whatever undergarments you have on, so long as they cover your extremities. We advise women to wear bras without metal straps. And your skin should be dry, so avoid doing a workout or having wet hair from a shower just before showing up. When you step in the chamber, you’ll toss your robe over the top. A platform inside will raise up to lift your head above the tip of the walls.

“Inside the chamber is like a personal pod”

“Getting in their new machine was a bit like stepping into a space-age personal pod. It’s just large enough to comfortably stand in without feeling claustrophobic,” says Nick.

The walls of the chamber are padded, and none of the nitrogen blasts directly on to your skin. The liquid nitrogen funnels in from behind a plate that fills the chamber. An optional “lid” can be worn over your neck that keeps more of the cold in the body chamber. “Jared told me that was for experienced cryotherapy clients,” Nick says with a chuckle.

The cold temperatures during the session relieve tension and inflammation. Cryotherapy benefits surpass those of a cold bath due to temperature differences and physiological reactions at much lower temperatures. During the session, your outer body temperature will lower. Initially, inflammation is caused by the body trying to heal damaged tissue. This inflammatory process can go awry, in situations where there is no longer a biological threat. In this case, pain is the result. By lowering your body temperature, your norepinephrine among other neurotransmitters are stimulated which inhibits the inflammatory processes, decreasing your pain.

“The whole session lasted about three minutes. Jared and I spoke about weekend plans during the session and the variations in temperatures people can choose from, but -150° celsius was a good start for me,” says Nick. Our new Downtown location’s cryotherapy machine can prepare itself for therapy in about 40 seconds. 

Cold therapy benefits for arthritis, inflammation, and strain

Most people see the benefits of cryotherapy after two or three sessions. But Nick found, “I could tell my legs and ankles were less swollen. I expected the results to last a few minutes, maybe an hour tops. But I was surprised to feel more comfortable around my back into the next morning. However, Jared shared that their clients report longer lasting and very often complete resolutions with further sessions as the Cryotherapy has cumulative and compounding effect” 

You can purchase packages that enable you to come in for up to two sessions a day. Student discount rates are also available, which is perfect for young athletes.

“The session was enjoyable,” says Nick. “Jared explained to me it was about as close as your body can get to shock without actually going into shock. I never felt at risk and he reminded me to breathe, which was easy to forget to do as the machine started up. Then it was over and the nitrogen flow kicked off. He opened the chamber door, I stepped down, put on a robe, got dressed, and I was ready to leave.”

The total time from start to finish, including 10 minutes to sign the initial waiver, is about 25 minutes and all subsequent sessions will be about 10 minutes from check-in to check out!

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Cryotherapy Indy