"Man, cryotherapy is really hot right now," is something you may have heard one of your friends say recently.
That would be ironic, since the air inside the metal chamber is between minus-184 and minus-292 degrees Fahrenheit—way colder than Antarctica. Cryotherapy has long been used by athletes because of its purported recovery properties. According to the website of U.S. Cryotherapy, the benefits of a cryotherapy chamber are "reduced inflammation, pain relief and improved mobility"—because the therapy delivers increased levels of oxygenated blood to damaged tissue in the body.
During the Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff run last season, LeBron James used it to soothe his aching body as the Cavs played deep into the summer. And when STACK traveled to California for our Path to the Pros series, we witnessed a handful of NFL prospects (like Ifo Ekpre-Olomu) use it to recover after one the many grueling workouts they pushed through when preparing for the NFL Draft.
More recently, common folk have begun using cryotherapy as a way to lose weight—and lose it fast. The trend has exploded in places like New York City, where celebrities and busy executives have hopped into the cold metal chamber to burn fat and kill calories in less time than it takes to pour themselves a cup of coffee. KryoLife in New York City claims their customers can burn 800 calories per session, which seems like an exaggeration and is definitely not proven. Another downside? Like any lose-weight-fast scheme, cryotherapy sessions cost money. At KryoLife, a 180-second session will set you back $90.
Something is off here. Back in the 1970s, when cryotherapy was invented by Dr. Toshima Yamauchi, its purpose was to treat rheumatoid arthritis and help patients relieve other aches and pains, not lose weight. Marc Menga, a co-founder of Anatomy at 1220, a fitness center in Miami, told Medical Daily that cryotherapy is not a replacement for living a healthy lifestyle, but a supplement to recovery. Again, the key word here is recovery. "While nothing can replace proper rest and nutrition, cold therapy can be an outstanding addition to workouts by allowing muscles to recover between training periods," Menga said.
There's good news here, though. If you're looking to lose weight in a way that has been proven to work, and that won't cost you almost $100 to stand in one spot for three minutes, there are plenty of options.
Here are few alternatives to cryotherapy that will help you knock off pounds without feeling like you're standing naked in the middle of a snowstorm.
Jump Into the Arctic Ocean!
The Arctic Ocean is the coldest ocean in the world, where temperatures reach minus-2 degrees Celsius. Who needs a pish-posh, upscale metal chamber when you can get the real-life equivalent in nature, surrounded by lion's mane jellyfish?
Join a Speedwalking Group at Your Local Mall!
You know those days when you're hanging out at the mall, chowing down on oversized pretzels and gazing at the Lacoste store across the way (which you definitely cannot afford to visit)? Then a posse of old women holding two-pound weights speed by you, looking like they're having the time of their lives? And you're all like, "Wow, I wish I could be a part of what they've got going on." Well, just hop in line with them! They'll love the company, and you'll be dropping beaucoup pounds as you pass by the Swarovski Crystals shop and yell, "Not today, diamond miniature swan!"
Befriend Cristiano Ronaldo!
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo recently bought a personal cryotherapy chamber for his home—for the ultra cool price of $50,000. So maybe show up at one of his games with a sign that says, "Hey Cristiano, want to be friends? Kick the soccer ball for yes!" Then, once he does, sneak into his equipment bag and pop out when he gets home. It definitely won't be weird, and he will definitely give you free access to his cryochamber whenever you want, and he definitely won't call the police. Probably. Maybe.
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