We brave the sub-zero temperatures at Victoria’s cryotherapy chamber. By Jonathan Whiley.
LondonCryo in Eccleston Yards, has increasingly become a hub for health and fitness with a slew of LA-style neighbours.
Aussie owner Maria Ensabella, a resident, is delighted at the response so far.
She had been on the lookout for a site in the area for some time, after establishing a strong audience in the City with its first clinic.
Maria, who has a corporate background, changed career paths after a eureka moment in 2011. She was in bed listening to a podcast by American author Tony Robbins.
“He was saying how he did cryotherapy and it was helping reduce any inflammation or muscle soreness that he had, always being on his feet,” she says.
London's first cryotherapy clinic
“I tried to find somewhere in London to do that and there was nothing available,” she says.
She fell in love with it after experiencing whole body cryotherapy on a trip to New York.
“It just gave me lots of energy,” she says.
“I had been for a run that morning through Central Park and it just gave me a boost of energy.
“I was there for two weeks and so I booked a course of treatments to get the most benefit and then thought: ‘How am I going to do this at home?’.”
The City site opened three years ago. Now it has arrived in Victoria and has an Infrared Sauna too.
My treatment begins with 25 minutes in the sauna, which hovers at a very toasty 67 degrees for the duration.
After a quick shower, you are instructed to don white gloves, socks and a fluffy robe and told to dry yourself as much as possible to prevent frostbite (gulp).
Professor Green is a fan
As I make my way to another room where the cryotherapy chamber lies, I pass rapper Professor Green who is waiting for the sauna.
At first this is disconcerting (particularly in a robe) and then quite reassuring. It turns out he can’t get enough of LondonCryo and is a regular visitor, as his Instagram posts attest to.
I’m a little anxious at the thought of stepping into a chamber pre-cooled to minus 100 degrees. But Maria is a comforting presence.
When I do step inside and the door closes (your head is outside the chamber at all times), the temperature plummets to 130 degrees.
“As long as it goes to minus 110 or colder, you are going to get the cyrotherapy benefits,” says Maria.
“It triggers flight or fight and the brain sends a message to the blood to say: ‘Oh my god, it’s freezing’ so it rushes to your core area.”
The big chill
Once I remove my robe and hand it over the door, my two minutes begin. All introductory sessions are two minutes. Thereafter it's three minutes.
And yes, it’s freezing, obviously.
But, to my surprise, not unbearably so. Every 15 seconds I rotate 90 degrees and I can feel the blood rushing as the vapour circles.
“It oxygenates the blood and replenishes nutrients, flushes out toxins and releases endorphins,” says Maria.
No question it’s incredibly invigorating and easy to see why 70 per cent of clients use it for sports recovery (with another 20 per cent for pain management, dealing with the likes of autoimmune disease).
Next up it’s CryoSkin, a non-invasive facial with a cool probe that feels like a flavourless Solero lolly being applied.
This is all about aesthetics; increasing collagen production to provide a smoother, firmer face. It provides instant, very visible results and is a real pick-me-up, particularly if you’re heading to an event or special occasion.
There is also CryoSlimming available at the clinic – to freeze and kill off unwanted fat cells.
Plus, there's the fantastically named CryoSkin Double Chin treatment.
15c Eccleston Place, www.londoncryo.com/