As I watched people emerge one by one from the private room with flushed cheeks and big smiles, my nerves slowly dissipated.
The idea of stepping into temperatures of -100ºC when I can barely keep warm in front of the fire in winter had me a little sceptical about whether I'd enjoy the health craze that's loved by celebrities including Daniel Craig and Jennifer Aniston - cryotherapy.
So what does cryotherapy do? And does it work? Having heard little about it before taking the plunge at an event with Vitamin Well, who have launched four non-carbonated low-calorie drinks filled with vitamins and minerals in the UK, I was pretty surprised with the results…
What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy chambers, or cold therapy, use liquid nitrogen to cool the air around you and trigger a physiological response from the body.
The chambers at UNTIL offer temperatures of between -85ºC to -110ºC where guests can spend around 2-3 minutes. Your blood rushes to preserve your internal organs while you're in the chamber, and after exiting, fresh blood rushes back to your extremities which has a whole host of health benefits.
Top tip: remove your jewellery before entering the chambers, and make sure your hair and clothes are dry in order to avoid being uncomfortable. No mean feat when it rains!
You're encouraged to expose as much skin as you're comfortable with, so swimsuits, underwear or sports bras and shorts are ideal. You'll be given a face mask, socks, quilted shoes, gloves and ear muffs to cover certain parts of your body at risk of getting too cold – which, as you can imagine, makes for a very attractive uniform.
What are the benefits of cryotherapy?
Cold therapy not only helps boost your mood with a rush of endorphins, but it can also support collagen production, reduce inflammation, aid weight loss, and, my personal favourite, improve sleep.
So whether you're looking to recover from an injury by increasing the amount of oxygenated blood in your tissues or want to maintain a toned physique with increased metabolism (each session is said to burn up to 800 calories), the bone-chilling few minutes is worth it.
Which celebrities swear by cryotherapy?
Famed for its numerous benefits, we're not surprised the health craze has taken off in the celebrity world. Jennifer Aniston admitted to Shape: "I just tried cryotherapy recently when I was having some injuries and I was amazed. First of all, that three minutes feel like four years, but it did really help I have to say!
"I've had every injury you can imagine. When you beat your body as much as I have with all the running and down dogging, eventually it tells you to bug off!" And judging by her ageless complexion, we imagine the other benefits went down a treat too.
Meanwhile, Carol Vorderman has described cryotherapy tanks as "good for everything", Emma Willis said cryotherapy was "really invigorating," and Daniel Craig even credited cryotherapy for helping him keep in shape while playing James Bond.
Does cryotherapy work?
The celebrity testimonials speak for themselves, but having had only one session, it's hard to say for certainty that I've experienced all of the benefits mentioned above. In my personal experience, I had the best night's sleep of my life.
After having a rush of endorphins I can only describe as a post-workout high, I felt energised for a couple of hours (no doubt helped by my Vitamin Well Recover drink, packed with vitamin B12, folic acid and magnesium) before my body was completely relaxed. Nine hours of uninterrupted sleep – not bad for a chilly two minutes.
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