Cryotherapy. Sounds more like Superman’s weakness than a beauty treatment. But when my friend invited me along for a session, I obviously couldn’t refuse.
As someone who can’t get enough of the heat, standing in a freezing cold room didn’t sound like my kind of thing. Though having arrived, somewhat apprehensive, on the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols at their 111CRYO suite, I grilled the therapists about what was in store.
Full of knowledge and enthusiasm, they assured me that cryotherapy is a nitrogen-free treatment which uses an electricity engineered cold system. And even though the chamber plunges to temperatures below 90°, it is painless and I’d have a professional with me. So far, so good.
What’s more, cryotherapy has also long been used by athletes to aid and accelerate muscle recovery. As a fitness fanatic, this treatment was sounding more appealing by the minute. And the benefits don’t end there either. I was assured it helps boosts your immune system, increases your energy and metabolism, and is also great for your skin. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to get into the cold.
Having picked a fun song for my three minutes in the chamber, I was taken to my own space-age-looking dressing room. Here, I changed into thick gloves, socks and slippers, with a mask to cover my mouth. Apart from that, all I had on was underwear.
Feeling like an experiment in a sci-fi film, it was explained that it’s essential to have as much skin on show as possible. Stepping into the treatment room – with Beyoncé’s Girls blasting out, in case you’re wondering – I was struck by the cold, though it wasn’t that cold. Nowhere near as bad as I’d geared myself up for. Grateful for the mist and ice, I began dancing around in my undies to stay warm, safe in the knowledge that my therapist couldn’t see me!
My three minutes whizzed past. Before I knew it, I was out. Granted, I felt frozen, but also energised and buzzy – and not just because of Beyoncé. In fact, the cold increases the release of adrenaline and endorphins – the effects of which lasted all day. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, George later told me how great my skin looked – the ultimate beauty treatment seal of approval!
So, am I cryotherapy convert? Absolutely. It is definitely something I’d like to experience again. I get why it’s a hit, and the science behind it makes total sense. Therapists recommend booking a course, and there’s even a facial, which I’m desperate to try.
And so, with the party season upon us, not to mention the overindulgences of Christmas, cryotherapy really is the perfect antidote. Come the new year, you’ll find me on the fourth floor of Harvey Nics, freezing the effects of my festivities away.
(111CRYO is available at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge for £95 per treatment. Facials available for £75 per treatment)