I tried cryotherapy to see if freezing myself at -85 degrees C is worth the hype

Picture trying Cryotherapy. (Yahoo Life UK)
Wondering if cryotherapy is worth the cash? Here's how I found it. (Yahoo Life UK)

I'm someone who friends and family would describe as 'cold-blooded' – the type to be very sensitive to chilly temperatures, that is, not the other meaning... or so I hope. So it's safe to say that stepping into a confined space of -85°C to test out cryotherapy was something I was hesitant about.

How could I possibly survive at anything below 0 when I can barely handle a humble 12 degrees (centigrade)? Well, with the treatment increasingly used by biohackers and celebrities alike, there was only one way to find out. Could I too reap the proposed health benefits of this form of cold therapy?

Suited and booted for my treatment at REMEDI London in a unique outfit of slippers with long socks, shorts, a sports bra top, a headband, and face mask and gloves, I stepped inside...

🧘Health hack reviewed: Cryotherapy

⭐Celebs who've tried it: Jennifer Aniston, Will Smith, Daniel Craig, Tim Gray (UK's leading biohacker)

⏰ Time of treatment: 3 mins

💸Price: £80

✅Pros experienced: Relaxed muscles, calmer mind, awake and refreshed (including skin)

❌Cons experienced: Few cons, but lack of real exhilaration or drastically uplifted mood

📝Rating: 4 / 5

Standing outside cryotherapy chamber. (Yahoo Life UK)
A cryotherapy session lasts around three minutes. (Yahoo Life UK)

Cryotherapy is a treatment that exposes the body, and in this instance, the whole body, to intensely cold temperatures for around three minutes. This is claimed to prompt the release of endorphins, activate the immune system, detoxify cells and activate healing processes, with positive benefits to both mind and body. Studies also suggest a single session may burn up to 800 calories.

People with migraines, fatigue, inflammatory conditions like psoriasis and arthritis, concentration problems, chronic pain, mental health issues, muscle soreness and inflammation, or weak skin, joints and hair may find it particularly beneficial.

Anyone from elite athletes to those who simply want to optimise their health might use cryotherapy.

At REMEDI, they advise that while you should notice benefits from just one session, it's most effective when incorporated into your life regularly.

With the timer set to three minutes, I shut the door on myself in the cryotherapy chamber and accepted there was now no turning back (well, you aren't locked in there and can open the door at any point, but I was here with a job to do!).

I was asked by the woman supervising my treatment if I wanted a song played during the treatment, and found myself selecting Sophie Ellis-Bextor's 'Murder on the Dancefloor'. This felt slightly sinister blasting around me in the standing cubicle, having recently watched Saltburn (for those who know the reference).

Any 'dancing' I was doing though, was definitely in the form of shivering. But, I was actually okay. It was very cold, but not as unbearable as I'd imagined. At -85 degrees, this might have something to do with it being a dry cold, not a wet one, which would have been a lot more extreme all round. I removed my face mask momentarily to see what breathing was like without it, and watched as a cloud of cold air escaped me.

As time went on, I was noticeably feeling colder and colder, becoming more aware of the timer counting down. But there was still no need for an I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! moment. Perhaps I can bear the cold more than I think, or perhaps my constant shivering prepared me for this experience, depending on which way you look at it.

Towards the end, actual snow started falling inside the chamber, which was a fun distraction, but not enough to make me want to stay inside a second longer when the clock finally hit 0.

Stepping out, I definitely felt less anxious than I did stepping in, and somewhat more grounded and balanced. My muscles felt more relaxed, my mind was calmer and more clear and I was awake and refreshed (I noticed this about my skin too), a welcome treat after dealing with bouts of low energy for a while.

Stepping out, I definitely felt less anxious than I did stepping in, and somewhat more grounded and balanced.

Though, in some ways, because of the big build up, a small part of me felt slightly underwhelmed. Having expected it to be more gruelling (though this may be the case for places that do the treatment with lower temperatures), I thought I might have a more extreme feeling of euphoria after.

My sleep did feel deeper than usual that night (as a bad sleeper), but having tried two other wellness treatments later that day, it's hard to pinpoint which this was down to. But with cryotherapy being my favourite of the day, my guess is, it certainly played a part.

Standing in front of cryotherapy. (Supplied)
Cryotherapy is most effective when done regularly. (Yahoo Life UK)
  • Mind calmer and more clear

  • More grounded and balanced

  • Relaxed muscles

  • Awake and refreshed, including my skin

  • No feeling of euphoria or exhilaration, though may depend on temperatures or frequency

  • Skin benefits didn't last long

Yes. I can see why people get addicted, and how the benefits would be something you can build up with more use, which the rating takes into account. And while, don't get me wrong, it was very cold (and I can't believe I'm saying this), I'd probably want to try it at a colder temperature next time to see if it could add that missing touch in terms of how I felt after. Though maybe I'll try to stay warm for just a little while longer...

This review is based on personal experience and is not a substitute for professional medical or health advice.