#3 of 49 Things to do Before I Turn 49

Very early on into my 49 things, I’m discovering that there are things I would never do otherwise, had I not tasked myself accomplish this goal.  And to be fair, I’d still probably never do them if it weren’t for Groupon.  It really is a great way to come up with ideas.  This week is a perfect example.  Cryotherapy.  What is that you ask?  Well you’ve already done more research on it than I did before I signed up for a session.  It sounded cool, the pics looked cool, so I went for it.  Despite the fact that I absolutely despise the cold.

According to their site, Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is exposure to subzero temperatures. Extreme cold stimulates skin sensors, activating a Central Nervous System (CNS) response. This causes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain inhibitors and mood elevators, while the enhanced circulation activity (blood movement into and out of the core) decreases inflammation by clearing toxins and metabolic waste with a supply of oxygen and nutrient enriched blood to stimulate cellular regeneration (faster healing).

That’s the technical definition from the website.  Here’s my definition.

It’s a big-ass walk-in freezer that you stand in while you’re mostly naked.

How did I come to think this was a good idea?  Social pressure mainly.  It’s a Sunday evening around 7:00 PM.  Time for Macie’s nightly visit to the dog park.  A text message comes through from my friend, Jairek.

Seemed innocent enough, and I’d heard about it before, so I said, “I’m all in.”

Turns out, Jairek was lying.  It wasn’t 3 minutes.  It was 3.5 minutes. What could 30 seconds difference make?  All the difference in the frozen world as I’ll get to in a moment.

 

Easy to smile when you don’t know what you’re about to get into.

The whole experience is quite bizarre, you strip down to your shorts, then put on some rubber gloves, socks, slippers, and wool gloves.  Oh, did I mention the fleece headband and pink face mask?  After that, you just stand around for a few minutes waiting for the other people to get ready, all the while try to make small talk in front of a stunning blonde woman who runs the freezer.  Great for a guy like me with mild body image issues.  I can only assume the face mask was to cover the shame and embarrassment of such a ridiculous outfit.

Once everyone is ready (the freezer fits up to 4 people), you walk into the first staging area.  Which is already colder than most freezers.  After the initial shock and a few deep breaths, an alarm signals you to walk into the second stage.  The moment you walk into this part of the freezer, the first part seems like a sauna by comparison.  Why?  Because the freezer is, and this is not a typo, -180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yeah, not a typo.  The moment the air touches your skin you are more awake that you will ever be for the rest of your life.

Naturally, I start dancing around, trying to keep my core temperature up.  Jairek, however, is just standing perfectly still with his hands placed in front of his junk.  There’s nothing enjoyable about this.  It stings.  Maybe even burns.  I’m not sure; it’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before.  Stunning blonde girl is standing outside manning the controls trying to hold back a laugh.

After what seems like an eternity, stunning blonde voice comes over the speaker.  “1 minute.”

One minute gone by?!  Or only 1 minute into the process!?!?!  The pain is excruciating; meanwhile, Jairek just stays still, covering his junk, like some monk undisturbed by his surroundings.

That’s when Jairek says, “It’s easier if you sit still and keep your legs together and arms as close to your body as possible.”

That would have been valuable information 2.5 minutes ago.  Or was it 60 seconds ago?  The ambiguity is killing me.  Finally as I feel my muscles starting to cramp from the cold, stunning blonde voice says over the speaker, “2 minutes.”  Mystery solved.  I’m a little over half way through this experience.

At this point I’m starting to question my resolve.  I have absolutely no doubt that if I were alone in this process I would have tapped out and ran out of the freezer asking for a warm blanket.  If anyone ever says ego serves no purpose in life, they’ve clearly never been standing half naked in a freezer with their friend who is enduring the whole experience better than you.  I’ll be damned if I’m quitting when Jairek the monk is just standing there perfectly still.

“30 seconds remaining.” Says the stunner.  I’d made it to the 3 minute mark.  I’m in the home stretch.

You might think that this was good news to know I’ve only got 30 seconds.  But the last 30 seconds, by comparison, feels twice as long as the first 3 minutes.  My body is shaking uncontrollably.  But I’m grateful for one thing.  The hands covering my junk was great advice.  Thanks Jairek.

“If I put my thumbs up and act happy will you let me out?”

Time for our photo op.  Again, ego becomes my hero and gives me the strength to raise a thumb for the camera.  Stunning blonde girl takes a snap.  Then the sweetest sound I’d ever heard.  The alarm signals for us to step out into the primary staging area.  I can’t wait to run out into the normal room temperature area.  Nope.  They’ve got to wait for the secondary door to fully seal to not let the cold out.  Just kill me.

Have you ever seen those social media videos of dairy cows being released to a grass pasture for the first time in their life?  Yeah, that’s what I looked like jumping out of the freezer box.  My nose was just about as snotty as a cow too.  I couldn’t put my clothes back on fast enough, but first, can I get a Kleenex?

Would I do it again?  That’s sort of like asking me if I would get a prostate examination again.  Yes, but only because I know it’s good for me.  By the way, stay tuned for #4 of 49 Things to do Before I Turn 49 – Prostate Exam.  (I kid)

There was one part of this experience I would happily do again.  After the deep freeze, Jairek recommended I try out the NormaTec Compression.

Created by a physician bioengineer (MD, PhD) to enhance blood flow and speed recovery, NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern employs three key techniques to maximize your recovery:

Pulsing:

Instead of using static compression (squeezing) to transport fluid out of the limbs, Sequential Pulse Technology uses dynamic compression (pulsing). Our patented pulsing action more effectively mimics the muscle pump of the legs and arms, greatly enhancing the movement of fluid and metabolites out of the limbs after an intense workout.

Gradients:

Veins and lymphatic vessels have one-way valves that prevent fluid backflow. Similarly, NormaTec Pulse Technology uses hold pressures to keep fluids from being forced the wrong direction. Because of this enhancement, instead of tapering pressure off, the PULSE and PULSE PRO can deliver maximum pressure in every zone.

Distal Release:

Because extended static pressure can be detrimental to the body’s normal circulatory flow, Sequential Pulse Technology releases the hold pressures once they are no longer needed to prevent backflow. By releasing the hold pressure in each zone as soon as possible, each portion of the limb gains maximal rest time without a significant pause between compression cycles.

That’s the technical definition from the website.  Here’s my definition.

It’s some big-ass pants that squeeze the blood out of your legs.

“Do these pants make my hips look fat?”

Sounds weird, but I’m telling you it was incredible.  It’s very relaxing, I could have fallen asleep had it not been for Jairek and I getting carried away in our typical entrepreneurial dialogue.

That blood has to go somewhere and a lot of it gets up in the brain creating a euphoric sense of calm.  I loved it.  I’d definitely do that again.  I could see it as a perfect way to end a very stressful day.  Definitely check it out!

www.USCryotherapy.com

Not sure it’s for you?  Do what I did.  Get an intro pack on Groupon here. Just search USCryotherapy.

Oh, and lastly, for those of you wondering why I didn’t post a picture of stunning blonde girl?  Well, that would just be creepy.  No woman wants a half naked man wearing a fleece headband and pink face mask asking them if they can take a picture.  Think about it.  Weird.



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