If the ‘New Year, new me’ motto hasn’t translated to achieving your health resolutions in the past, why not give the ‘New Year, colder me’ approach a try with cryotherapy.
The word ‘cryotherapy’ sounds mysterious and intimidating at the same time. It would be fair if the word conjured up images of the Lazarus Pit or the sleep chambers used in ‘Alien’, and though it certainly sounds like something out of space, it’s actually a basic concept which works to recover your body in a quick and effective way while increasing your metabolism by enveloping you in extremely cold air.
And now, the method is available in Dubai through Cryo-Health, a state-of-the-art health spa centered on cryotherapy. As the region’s fitness industry steadily grows and becomes more cluttered with the norm, an out-of-the-box practice like cryotherapy is a cool idea (pun intended).
“Dubai is now becoming a spot with a lot of high-level sports, a lot of athletes coming to the UAE and a lot of recovery options,” said Benny Parihar, managing partner at Cryo-Health. “What this actually is, in a very layman perspective, is a technologically advanced way of having an ice bath.”
Parihar is keen to share the prospects of cryotherapy and inform on the many advantages their cryosaunas provide, because understanding how it works is the hard part; undergoing the treatment is as easy as can be.
In the metal chamber of a cryosauna, you’re hit with liquid nitrogen gas ranging between minus-184 degrees Fahrenheit and minus-292 degrees Fahrenheit, which lowers your skin temperature for up to three minutes. All you have to do is stand there and be engulfed by the icy air as your muscles recover.
Though the dramatically-low temperatures sound terrifying, it’s completely safe and the sensation is akin to taking a cold shower.
“There’s no water or ice touching the body,” Cryo-Health general manager Ali Omar said. “It just causes a natural defensive reaction where the body sends a lot of electrodes, adrenalin and endorphins just to make sure that everything is okay and that in turn flushes out the build-up of lactic acid in the body, giving a huge boost to the metabolic system to recuperate the heat that you’re losing.”
It’s understandable if the thought of being sprayed with liquid nitrogen while standing in a metal chamber seems really unnatural, but as Parihar explains, it’s not much different than applying an ice pack. In a day and age of shortcuts and quick fixes, a simple but effective approach is refreshing.
“I think non-invasive and holistic procedures are on the rise,” said Parihar. “People don’t really want to go in for liposuctions and tummy tucks. They’re trying to find non-invasive procedures.
Of course, the cryotherapy treatment isn’t really a solution so much as it is a supplement. It’s perfect for staying fresh and adding a step on game day, but it’s not at all a substitute for exercising.
“In terms of your fitness, we always say that it’s a complimentary therapy to your main fitness disciplines,” said Parihar. “That’s something to bear in mind. We don’t want to promote it to be something you can rely on completely, but it’s something that can be added to your health regimen in order to get better results.”
As simple as cryotherapy is, you still get the benefit of feeling like you really are encountering something futuristic at Cryo-Health’s locations in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Dubai Ladies Club.
The coloured lights and modern style at the facilities are something out of a spaceship and only add to the unique experience. “We wanted the interiors of the place to combine with what the treatment is, so it’s very clean and futuristic,” said Parihar. “That’s just to make the person feel like they’re in for an experience.”
A single treatment of cryotherapy costs Dh400, while other treatments range from Dh275 to Dh650. If you can’t get enough, Cryo-Health also distributes and installs the cryosaunas for commercial and personal use.
Here’s your chance to get in on cryotherapy before it becomes mainstream. Parhiar said: “Eventually, I think in the next two to five years, every place that has a steamer or sauna will also have a cryotherapy sauna on hand because this is becoming very popular around the world.”
What: Cryotherapy at Cryo-Health
Where: At Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Dubai Ladies Club
Verdict: Though cryotherapy is another addition to the growing list of fitness concepts in the region, it isn’t a gimmick and worth trying.