LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Imagine three minutes in -175 degrees Fahrenheit. It's not a torture chamber, but a new health trend now in Louisville.
A surprising number of people haven’t heard of cryotherapy. But a significant number of people are already swearing by it.
I’ve tried it about 10 times and noticed I have more energy and I’m sleeping better. So I asked my co-anchor John Boel to give it a shot to get his first-timer’s reaction.
John boasts he can handle the cold. But he's never felt cold like this.
Katie Ryser, the owner of Cryo Lounge in St. Matthews, got John set up so he didn’t turn out like NFL player Antonio Brown who got extreme frostbite on his feet. Brown didn’t wear socks or slippers when he tried cryotherapy. John did. He also wore mittens, a face mask and covered his ears.
"We’re keeping all your extremities nice and toasty,” Ryser told him. Then he picked a song to keep him motivated while he was in the chamber, which holds four people. He went for some ACDC to get him ready.
Before going in I asked John if he was nervous. He said he wasn’t.
The first room John entered was -81 degrees Fahrenheit. That's just for 20 seconds, to get any perspiration off the body. Then, he entered the chamber that's -184 degrees Fahrenheit. Much colder than the coldest place on Earth, Antarctica, where it’s -133 degrees Fahrenheit. During the entire time in the chamber that's pumped with oxygen, a Cryo Lounge employee watched John and gave him time cues. Until it was over.
“In Wisconsin, we call that ice fishing,” John joked when he came out of the chamber.
It will take two hours for his skin temperature to return to normal and during that time he’ll burn at least 500 to 600 calories.
"At first I felt like it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be,” John said about his time in the chamber. “And then when I got the one minute warning I was like ‘no, it’s been three minutes.’”
John said he felt some pin-like feelings on the top of his arms, which Ryser told him could be caused by the tiniest drops of perspiration.
While this was John’s first time, Harriet Friedlander, 73, has been coming every day for a month. Sometimes twice a day (you do need to wait three hours between sessions.)
"I sort of think it’s miraculous,” Friedlander said. “When I started I was using a cane. It was so bad I would cry in public.”
Now she walks without a cane and even dances around in the cryo chamber. She also said the pain isn’t waking her up at night so her sleep is better.
O’Malley Dreisbach is tough, he’s an Olympic Weightlifter.
"The first two times it was so cold and all I was thinking was this would be a terrible way to die,” Dreisbach said with a laugh.
He didn’t die and keeps coming back.
"I notice all these nagging aches and pains have kind of gone away,” Dreisbach said. “If the best athletes in the world are going to be doing this, there has to be something to it. Because it’s not fun.”
Ryser first tried cryotherapy in New York.
"I thought to myself, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever done. How do I get it to Louisville?’” she said.
She said to really see changes, you want to do it three times in a week. But many people do it much more than that.
"It just feels so good. And they are seeing so many benefits,” Ryser said.
She was diagnosed with depression and has been seeing much improvement since doing cryotherapy without medication. It also helps with anxiety because the cold temperature causes the body to release adrenaline, noradrenaline and endorphins.
Cryotherapy is not recommended for women who are pregnant, or anyone with a heart condition. You should always check with your doctor if you’re concerned.
The cost for a session is about $20, but Cryo Lounge is running some specials through the end of the month.
For more information go to www.cryoloungeky.com.