EDITOR’S NOTE: Lux Cryo's website notes that a number of medical conditions preclude some individuals from undergoing cryotherapy, and in 2016, writing about whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), the FDA stated that “despite claims by many spas and wellness centers to the contrary, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have evidence that WBC effectively treats diseases or conditions,” nor that it can “improve blood circulation, increase metabolism... [or] relive joint and body pain.” As always, check with a doctor before undergoing any treatment.
I hate to be cold, so I wouldn’t have thought in a million years I would ever try full-body cryotherapy. I’d heard about the supposed benefits of this technique, which uses subzero temperatures to ostensibly treat a host of ailments that include inflammation, muscle soreness, and pain from arthritis and autoimmune disease. It can be administered in the form of an ice bath, which sounds torturous, or with liquid nitrogen in a full-body chamber, which sounds like it’s reserved for rich people and professional athletes. Of course, as technology evolves, these seemingly fancy procedures become more accessible to regular folk like you and me.
Enter Lux Cryo. Along with full-body cryotherapy, they also offer the “Fire-n-Ice Facial,” which uses localized cryotherapy on the face, and Red-Light Infrared Therapy. I did all three procedures in just under an hour and not only was it not terrible, it actually made me feel better than I have in years.
First up: whole body cryo ($25 for first-time visitors; rates change after that). Kirstin Almasri, the co-owner of Lux, gave me a step-by-step description of what was about to happen as I was led into the cryotherapy room. While in the chamber, my body would be exposed to a temperature of -184 degrees Fahrenheit by way of liquid nitrogen vapor for two and a half minutes. The cold temperature, I was told, would stimulate receptors in my body to constrict blood vessels, which would prompt blood to rush from my extremities to my core. As I exited the chamber, blood would then pump throughout my entire body, resulting in a rush of energy.
With that, I was left alone in the room with the cryotherapy chamber to strip down and put on a robe, gloves, thick socks, and neoprene shoes. Almasri came back in, I stepped into the chamber, handed off my robe, and braced myself for the impending cold doom. At first the sensation was much like jumping into the Sandy River on a hot day: a little bit of a cold shock, but refreshing. Almasri was there the whole time and talked me through it, and as the two and a half minutes wore on I became increasingly aware of the fact that I was naked in a freezing chamber.
Just when I felt like I might have had enough, I was done! I put the robe back on, stepped out of the chamber, and BOOM! The aforementioned rush of energy hit me. It was the kind of energy that adults envy children for, and thoughts immediately entered my head of winning the lottery so I could own one of these chambers to use daily. My energy surge lasted for the rest of the day and into the evening.
After that, I was whisked to another room for the “Fire-n-Ice Facial” ($39 for first-time visitors). This started with a spray of Lux’s “Sirtuin Activation Solution,” or the “Fire,” which they claim promotes collagen production, and it did feel a little hot and tingly. Next came 10 minutes of localized cryotherapy, or the “Ice.” The sensation was a little strange at first. After all, it was liquid nitrogen being shot directly in my face, but once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad.
My most pronounced benefits after the session were smaller pores and a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, albeit with some redness that subsided within an hour. For me, the benefits of this facial lasted for a few days afterward.
My final treatment was the 20-minute Red Light Infrared Therapy session ($10 for first-time visitors), the advertised benefits of which include increased circulation, stimulation of collagen production, and relief from Seasonal Affective Disorder. While all those potential benefits are obviously great, I especially liked just lying in the warm infrared bed for 20 minutes while doing absolutely nothing.