I had a realization today, I’m really good at self-destruction (aka exercise, hiking, activity, etc.) but I’m pretty terrible at self-care. I’m not saying that I need to pamper myself and overcompensate but a little self-care goes a long way and I should probably get on the train.
I (knock on wood) don’t have a lot of ailments to complain of. Sure, I get aches and pains and soreness but I find that my one rest day and one active recovery day a week tend to help keep too much pain/soreness at bay. The problem is that I don’t really do any self-care for my physical or mental health & prevention. Sure, I’ve done stuff in the past, but it’s amazing how it can go out the window when you don’t prioritize it.
When Aric from iCryo reached out to me and asked if I would come in to check out iCryo I was hesitant. I rarely make time to pamper myself and I wasn’t sure I’d have the time. That’s when I stopped myself and realized I was falling victim to the same excuse I hear from clients. “I don’t have time.”
The thing with that is that you do have time, it’s just a matter of what you DO with your time and that’s totally and completely up to you. I could have to answer emails OR I could’ve filled it with clients, but I decided since it was the day after travel that I would indulge a bit and see what all the hype was about. I made a day for myself and it felt weird to indulge, but felt really good to do so!
Self-care doesn’t need to be overly complicated nor does it have to look the same or be regular. However, it should be a priority every once in a while and when you do it, don’t have any guilt. Today was the best day because I was guilt-free AND I felt better while there and even now after the fact.
What is iCryo you might ask? I had the same question. I figured I would never know if I didn’t try it out. Since I prefer to try things before recommending them to friends, followers, and clients, I figured now, when I have a few days off, was the time to try it out.
I’d equate iCryo to an athlete spa of sorts. When I say athlete I really mean anyone who is interested in fitness in any capacity. Sure, you don’t have to be an athlete or into fitness to go here, but it seems perfect for the everyday and elite athlete. The nice thing is that it doesn’t take all day, in fact you’d likely spend less than 1 hour here, heck the cryotherapy only takes 1-3 minutes so technically you could be in/out and on with life in probably 15 minutes, that’s efficiency!
Their primary focus is the Cryotherapy chamber (see above), but they also offer compression, an infrared sauna, Cryo facials, and a slew of CryoSkin treatments. I thought I was going to a small studio with a cryotherapy chamber, turns out I was setting my expectations far to low. Their staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming as are all the guests there as well. The space if far bigger than I had imagined and they offer more than just cryotherapy. If you’re nervous to try it out, don’t be they’ll help you through your experience.
If you are looking to do Cryotherapy, you should make sure 1. that you are cleared with your doctor especially if you are on any medications and/or have any known diseases AND 2. you should make sure that the place you are going for cryotherapy knows what they are doing. How will you know that? Well, for one they should be able to answer any question you have, they should have a waiver and they should walk you through the whole process as well as stay with you throughout the whole procedure.
At iCryo they take your temperature above your knee (I was at 83°F) before the treatment and after the treatment. The goal is for your skin temperature to drop 30-50 degrees when in the chamber. They start you at level 1 (the least cold-but still very cold level) and you can progress to level 2 or 3 if they deem appropriate. You will stay in the chamber for anywhere from 1-3 minutes and are completely naked (just covering up the girls!).
After you’re done they re-check your temperature (I was at 44°F) and then they allow you to get dressed. They say you will feel the most sensation in the places with the most inflammation, i’m not sure if the research supports this, but anecdotally I’d have to agree. My quads were sore from snowshoeing and thats where I felt the most sensation during & after the treatment.
It looks like there is some cool research out there about Cryotherapy but most are done on small sample sizes. My rule of thumb here is if you feel like it helps you physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. then it’s worth it. If you get no benefits and/or ill-side effects, it’s not worth it even if the research says you should do it! So, your best bet here is to try it out for yourself to see if it’s right for you.
As for me, it appears to have helped reduce soreness in my lower back & quads so I’d be game to try it again, especially after a hard training week.
Next up, I hopped in the compression chair. You can choose from leg compression, hip compression, and/or arm compression. I have used Normatec leg compression before so I figured I’d give the hip one a go and man was it nice.
Compression helps with blood flow and just feels really good, especially when sore. My hips have been tight from all of the travel and after wards they felt looser, we’ll see tomorrow if my squat feels any better, tbd.
Next up, while I waited for my CryoSkin Facial, I hopped in the Infrared Sauna. Boy did that feel good after freezing my took-us off in the Cryo chamber. The nice thing with this sauna is you can go in fully clothed if you wish, or grab a robe. I’m a light sweater so I actually never broke a sweat in the 10 minutes I was in there. I’m sure if I stayed in longer I would’ve sweat a bit, but for the short time, it was just a relaxing and warm experience.
There seems to be a lot of research coming out about infrared sauna therapy as well for things like: cardiovascular disease, stress management, detox, etc. I’m going to dig a bit deeper into the research to see what I can find, in the meantime I may head back to iCryo to feel the warmth this winter.
I finished the day with a CryoSkin Facial. I have never had a facial in my life, so to be honest, I have nothing to compare this too. However, it felt wonderful and my face seemed smoother and less puffy aferwards.
They put a water-soluble gel on your face and then using a hand paddle of sorts to massage smooth over my face. It’s cool to the touch and feels so soothing and relaxing. I think I almost fell asleep but tried to stay awake to enjoy the sensation! The machine is meant to help with skin tightening and can replace fillers and/or Botox, seems like a better trade off to me! (Disclaimer: I don’t use fillers or Botox and know NOTHING about any of that).
Overall I had a wonderful day at iCryo, it was like an athlete’s spa day for a relaxing recovery & rest day.
Check out iCryo here if you’re in the Albany area, otherwise google Cryotherapy, Compression, and/or Infrared Saunas in your area.
What do you do or wish you did for Self-Care?!