Six weeks ago, a buddy of mine texted me and asked if I wanted to join him for a cryotherapy session. I had seen athletes, Barry's Boot Camp instructors, and friends posting about doing cryo all over social media. I had heard Joe Rogan and others talk about it on podcasts as if it were some magical recovery tool and even having anti-aging affects. It's the trendy thing to do in the fitness world right now, kind of like an ice bath on steroids. So, I gladly accepted the invitation and was pretty excited about giving it a try. I didn't think twice.
A few hours later, I stripped down to my skivvies, put on some socks, croc-like shoes, gloves, and a bathrobe and was ready to roll. After seeing my buddy do 3 minutes in the cryo chamber with no issues, it was my turn. I stepped in, passed my bathrobe over the top to the attendant and stood still as I watched a Black Eyed Peas music video playing on a wall-mounted TV in front of me.
The temperature rapidly dropped until it reached -250° F against my bare skin. It was obviously very cold, but I didn't find it to be unbearable. It actually got to a point where it felt more like a burning sensation. It was strange. I relaxed and focused on my breath, channeling my inner Whim Hoff. 3 minutes later, it was over.
As I walked back to the changing room, I glanced down at the frost covering my shoes. I guess it was that cold. As I changed back into my clothes, I noticed my body felt very loose. Fantastic, I'm already feeling the benefits, I thought.
The next day, after a restless night's sleep, I woke having this bazar tension in the left side of my chest. I also felt on edge, like I had already downed a few cups of coffee or something. Speaking of which, when I sat down to have my morning java, I couldn't even finish half a mug. I was wired.
That may sound like a good thing to many of you reading this. More energy, isn't that great? It was not great. I felt uptight, anxious, and concerned that there was something wrong with my heart. Sure enough, later that day, I began to experience twitches in my chest and upper abdomen, which were likely heart palpitations. It scared the crap out of me.
As many of you may know, I'm a very relaxed person. I often start my day with yoga, meditation, or some type of breathing exercise. I have great energy throughout the day, but there's a calmness to it. Furthermore, thanks to my whole plant diet, exercise regimen, and overall approach to life, I have absolutely no health issues. I have very low blood pressure and certainly no heart issues. So, whatever was occurring was 100% a result of cryotherapy.
The tension and twitches continued for the next 2 weeks! During that time, I wasn't able to drink much coffee, I slept poorly, I couldn't relax during yoga, couldn't fall into my meditations, and found myself to be quite irritable. That is NOT me. Frankly, it was awful.
It's now been about a month since my cryotherapy experience and I'm just settling back into my old relaxed state of being. It sounds obvious now, that I should have done a bit of research before jumping into a chamber full of liquid nitrogen, a practice that is not officially approved by any major health organizations, including the FDA. Lesson learned.
In conclusion, for all my fellow relaxed, healthy, yoga-practicing people out there... I do NOT recommend cryotherapy. And for anyone considering cryotherapy, I would advise against it. It's unnatural and likely not good for the heart.
I'll stick with my plants, yoga, and adequate sleep for all the energy and recovery I need.