Health & Fitness

We tried cryotherapy (being blasted with -150°C cold air) and compression therapy

These unusual therapeutic treatments solve body aches, burn fat, and even have some beauty benefits
 

 

 

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I think we can all agree that MMA or mixed martial arts is a pretty extreme sport with its fair share of injury and issues. That’s why MMA fighters have some special body treatments available to them, at least at martial arts gym, Evolve. The facility is one of the biggest martial arts associations in Asia and currently has four locations in Singapore.

Evolve MMA's Cryo Fit Suite

Cryotherapy (standing in a cold sauna and being blasted with nitrogen gas at -150°C) and compression therapy (placing your limbs in sleeves that use air to compress and massage them) are the two treatments available at Evolve’s Cryo Fit Suite at its Far East Square location and are originally for helping your body recover from exercise and injury. They also have many good side-effects too. Read on to find out more.

 

Cryotherapy

What it is: Cryotherapy is a treatment that exposes the body to sub-zero temperatures (around -150°C) for not more than 3 minutes. The treatment uses cold air from nitrogen gas and dates back to 1978 when a rheumatologist in Japan discovered that subjecting the body to extreme cold enabling rheumatoid arthritis patients to move better and feel less pain post treatment.

What it does: When the body is exposed to the extreme cold temperature, itsnervous system is immediate kicked into overdrive. Blood vessels and tissues constrict, sending blood from the skin surface and muscle tissue to the heart and essential organs to maintain core temperature.

In the process, blood is concentrated in the cardiovascular system, where it is cleansed of toxins and renewed with oxygen, nutrients, and beneficial enzymes. Metabolic rate also jumps and a rush of anti-inflammatory hormones are released. This thermogenic effect also prevents the breakdown of collagen so that skin is more supple.

When the body exits the cryosauna,the vessels dilate and the oxygenated-enriched blood flushes back through the body, stimulating the rate of tissue repair and triggering muscle regeneration as the body is restored. The icing on top of the cake? You also burn 400 to 800 calories per session and you metabolism is boosted.

We tried it: We were provided with a bathrobe and thick wooly socks and gloves to protect our extremities. You can go in the cryosauna naked or with a bathing suit, but there should be no metal on your body, including underwire in bras. You stand on the platform in the standing room-only space, and the machine’s operator closes the door and raises you to a level where your head is exposed as you cannot breathe in the sub-zero air. You remove the robe and hand it to the operator, then the treatment begins at the touch of a button.

The extreme cold is instant and you would likely never felt so cold in your life. My teeth began chattering immediately and my hands automatically flew up to my chest to try to protect myself from the blast of cold. The guy operating the machine tried to talk to me but I could barely think straight and respond besides chattering “It’s so c-c-cold!” I was instructed to turn 90 degrees every 30 seconds to rotate and even out the temperature.

The treatment should last no longer than 3 minutes and at the 2 minute 30 second mark I said “stop, stop!” The door was cracked open for the cold air to gush out and I was handed back the robe. I had trouble putting on the robe because of the gloves and also because I was still shivering. When I finally stepped out, I felt an amazing rush – warm blood flowing back through my cold-petrified body. My limbs tingled and I felt a little light headed.

I went in with tensed shoulders and achy arms from carrying my toddler around and the moment I stepped out, my body felt new again. No aches. My skin did feel smoother and fresher thanks to the cold “bath” but I was told that the collagen boost would take a while to kick in, and would also take more sessions for more obvious effects. I also slept very well that night, an effect of the detoxification, I was told.

Price: $225 for 3 minutes

 

Head to http://cryo-fit.com/ to find out more.

 

ALSO READ: Tried and tested: Singapore's most relaxing body massages

 

Compression therapy

What it is:  Compression therapy uses pulse massage patterns to ease muscle tension. The NormaTec Compression Therapy device is used here. In this treatment, limbs are inserted into thick nylon sleeves that are attached to a pump that inflates the sleeves to squeeze and compress the muscles. You can choose either the arms, legs or hips and glutes for each session.

What it does: The dynamic compression device uses compressed air to massage limbs, release fluid retention, and fight pain and inflammation. The compression system pulses up and down the limbs, squeezing pain-causing fluid and lactic acid out of them. The limbs are then replenished with fresh blood and this helps to stimulate recovery. On the legs, the compression also helps to prevent and get rid of varicose veins too.

We tried it: Wear pants or shorts for this treatment because you can simply slip on the nylon leg sleeves on top of them. If you wear a skirt or dress, it’s tricky as you need to hike them up to your crotch. Zip the sleeves up and sit on the reclined chair. Tubes on the nylon sleeves are then attached to the electric pump and you just sit back and enjoy the compression massage.

You can adjust the level from 1 to 5, 1 being the lightest compression and 5 the strongest. I went comfortably up to 5 without any problems. The squeezing was very comfortable and I enjoyed the pulsing motion that traveled up my limbs, essentially pushing blood and fluids up towards my core to be expelled. It is definitely a good massage alternative for people who don’t like to be touched by another person.

You can sit back and use your phone, read something or even take a nap during the treatment. At the end of the session, the air is released and I was able to free my limbs from the nylon sleeves. My legs felt instantly lighter after the treatment, no more achy calves and general tiredness and I left with a literal spring in my step.

Price: $80 for 30 minutes

 

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