Extreme Self Care

Mondays are self care days for me. That’s a non-negotiable. That’s not to say Mondays are a “day off” for me. Every small business owner knows that days off don’t really exist. There’s always something to be done. But every Monday, before I dive into bookkeeping, blog posting, updating the website, or mopping the floor at the studio, I make sure I do something for me.

Sometimes, that’s just staying home in my little bubble recharging with some time alone. Once a month, it’s trip to see my favorite chiropractor, Dr. Leonette at Enliven Wellness. Also once a month, it’s a massage with my favorite massage therapist, Courtney Dicken at 39 North. Sometimes it’s reiki with Jen Sunderlin. Sometimes it’s AromaTouch with Paula Hatten. Sometimes it’s taking a yoga class with Stacey Fox. Sometimes it’s a sound bath with Kindred Vibes (although that’s usually a Friday thing). Every once in a while, it’s a float in one of the pods at Spa Oasis. But today it was something completely different.

Today it was cryotherapy.

I’m always drawn to natural, holistic wellness treatments. But I never thought of cryotherapy as that. I thought it was just to help professional athletes recover quickly from hard workouts.

“Cryo” came into my awareness a couple of years ago when my brother-in-law, who lives near Dallas, Texas, told my husband he had started getting cryo treatments on a regular basis. My husband, a runner and coach, became obsessed. When I was looking for a space for my yoga studio, he insisted he was going to buy a cryo unit and put it in the studio. I thought that sounded crazy, especially because my husband had never had a cryotherapy treatment.

That changed in February. He went to visit his brother and made sure he visited the cryotherapy center while he was there. That served to stoke the flames of his obsession with cryo. I listened to him go on and on about it, but I still wasn’t convinced.

Coincidentally, in March, I went to Mexico for a working retreat with Cate Stillman for yoga health coaches. One of my fellow coaches just happened to be married to one of the two main distributors of cryotherapy units in the United States. She educated me about the difference between the full-body electric units her husband distributes and the liquid nitrogen units that my husband was familiar with. My interest was piqued a little more after talking to Megan, but as someone who abhors the cold, I still wasn’t convinced my husband needed daily access to one.

So what changed my mind? A podcast.

Recently, Cate Stillman interviewed Megan’s husband, Kevin, about cryotherapy. Cate, who has Reynaud’s and is obsessed with biohacking, has been experimenting with cold showers and cold plunges since I started her course over a year ago, so she was pretty stoked to talk to Kevin. Kevin went into ALL of the benefits of cryotherapy, which do include quick recovery for athletes, but also things like:

·       quicker healing post-surgery or injury

·       increased blood circulation

·       boosted energy and immune system

·       reduction in pain & inflammation

·       treatment of autoimmune conditions

·       relief from nerve pain

·       releases endorphins

·       decreased fatigue, anxiety, and depression

·       tighter, healthier skin

·       improved sleep

·       boosted metabolism

So I got really excited! I went to my husband and said, “We have to get a cryotherapy unit!” He looked at me and said, “No kidding.” Then I went to see my aforementioned favorite chiropractor and after he gave me monthly tune-up, I asked him what he thought about cryotherapy (alternative therapies are kind of his thing), and he said, “I’m so glad you asked!” Turns out he loves it too.

So I had to try it.

And I did.

I found the closest cryo to Fairmont, which, by the way, is in McMurray, PA, and I emailed. The super helpful woman who responded told me they currently had a Groupon offer, so I got my first session really cheap and I headed up there this morning.

As I waited in the waiting room, my excitement turned to nervousness. I REALLY hate the cold. So when the lovely woman came to take me back to the cryo room, and she told me that the maximum amount of time in the unit, which produces temperatures below -200 degrees, was 3 minutes but that some people prefer to start at 2 minutes, I said, “Yes, that’s me. Two minutes, please.”

So I stripped down to my underwear, put on some socks and booties to protect my feet and toes and a pair of gloves to protect my hands and fingers, and I stepped into the unit with my head sticking out the top. The fog from the liquid nitrogen began to fill the chamber, and yes, it was cold, but not nearly as cold as thought it would feel. The woman who was there with me explained that that was because the cold was very dry (sort of like the difference between 100 degrees in the desert and 100 degrees in the Everglades). She continued talking to me throughout the experience and before I knew it, the two minutes was up.

And I was disappointed.

I totally could have handled 3 minutes! I can’t wait to do it again! Afterwards, I felt exhilarated. And I can’t wait to see how I sleep tonight.

So now that my husband and I have both experienced liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, our next move is to try the electric units, which truly is full body cryotherapy (head and all). The closest one I found is in Columbus, OH. A quick Facebook message to Megan confirmed that, so now I have to convince my husband to leave town for a day (not an easy thing to do – he’s a small business owner too).

What does all this have to do with yoga? Well, I believe the more tools we have in our wellness toolbox, the better off we’ll be in the long run. Yoga is one of those tools, but there are others, and I intend to make use of as many of them as I can. I hope you will too. At Main Street Yoga, we currently offer health coaching, reiki, AromaTouch, and sound baths as well as yoga and meditation. And my hope is that we’ll be able to offer more in the future.

So my question to you is: Would you try cryotherapy? And if my husband brings a unit to Fairmont, would you use it? I know Dr. Leonette would.

See you at the studio!