There’s little I won’t try for the sake of beauty (or a good article). Good thing there’s always some new product, gadget, or treatment on the scene to test out. And while your girl here used to be pretty squeamish, these days, I’m feeling game for everything from at-home beauty remedies to the craziest skin care gadgets one can find. Blood facial? Done it. Extreme manicures? Worth every penny and eye gouge. So when I heard that luxury wellness center NKD NYC was offering cryotherapy, I knew I had to try it.
I would not ordinarily choose to put myself in a situation where temperatures dip to around -320 degrees Fahrenheit. I once went to Norway in the fall and cried because my eyeballs hurt from the cold—but once I read about the possible benefits to cryotherapy, I knew it would be worth hanging out in an icy cold tube. And let’s be real, I was also thrilled at the prospect of spending an afternoon in a place called a “luxury wellness center,” because who doesn’t need a bit of pampering in this current cultural climate? Not only did NKD NYC live up to its description, but it’s one of the most welcoming spas I have ever visited.
Here’s the scoop on how cryotherapy works:
NKD NYC uses a Cryosense cryosauna, one of the most advanced cryotherapy chambers around.
According to NKD NYC’s website, a cryotherapy session lasts about 2-3 minutes, during which the blood vessels in your skin and muscle tissues constrict, forcing blood to rush from your peripheral tissues to your core. Then, your body’s natural filtration system removes toxins and inflammatory properties in the blood. After you get out of the chamber, your blood flows back to peripheral tissues, now enriched with oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes that warm up your skin and muscles while increasing your range of motion. This is basically the really fancy version of when athletes sit in an ice bath in a football movie.
Benefits can include reduced pain and inflammation, higher energy levels, and shorter recovery times from injuries or workouts. And on the beauty side of the spectrum? The extreme cold does wonders for your skin—tightening it up, increasing blood flow, encouraging cell turnover—and burns 500-800 calories a session.
It just so happens that on the day of my cryotherapy appointment, it was particularly hot and steamy outside, making it the perfect time to step into a frozen chamber.
After a warm and kind welcome from the staff, I was given a soft, plush robe to change into, sans clothing, as well as a pair of thick, hilarious, knee-high socks.
Then I was led to a small room containing the Cryosense cryotherapy sauna. It’s the shape of a stand-up tanning bed, but more plush. I stepped inside, and once the door was shut, the floor began to rise, elevating me about three feet into the air. Honestly, it was thrilling. I was then handed a pair of thick, cozy gloves to wear during the treatment, and I threw the robe over the side of the chamber.
When the treatment started, the chamber slowly filled with what looked like dry ice but felt like frozen vapor. For the first minute and a half, it was tolerable, though quite cold. But once the temperature dropped in earnest, my body couldn’t stop shaking. It was the kind of painful cold that makes your skin pucker and weep. During the session, I turned my body a few times to face different directions to keep my joints limber and moving, but I was counting down the seconds. Let’s just say it was a long three minutes. Though I did feel quite slim the entire time!
Once it was over and the temperature began to rise, the chamber slowly lowered me back down to the ground. I was worried I’d feel that chill in my bones for hours, but I warmed up quickly, and the sensation was incredible. Without a doubt, I felt more energized and spry than I had before the treatment.
My skin was taut and smooth for hours after I had left NKD NYC, and every once in a while, my muscles would twitch as if I had just run a marathon (not that I’ve ever done that). But best of all, the entire experience left me feeling energetic and positive. Is it possible that cryotherapy could also have mood benefits? Because I felt incredible. I was worried that once I stepped back outside in the New York heat and grime that I’d feel gross again, but not so! Even 10 hours later, my partner noted that I was unusually bouncy and talkative.
Cryotherapy doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re looking to splurge on yourself, need a bit of a pick-me-up, or want a new way to pamper your body, then I’d recommend checking it out. NKD NYC offers Cryotherapy for $75 a session or a package of 10 sessions for $550, which breaks down to $55 a session. This is definitely in the category of luxury treatments, but if you’re curious, it might be worth saving up.