Did you just tie one on like "Sunday Brunch" Stan? You remember him...
Everybody worth telling a legendary bar story has had "this" weekend before. Maybe, shamefully too many times. Well, I'm not here to shame you. I'm here to fix you, because you need fixing, because you have damaged your system and need repair. So, your fixit guy has arrived, and today we are taking you to a tried and tested body treatment called WBC, or Whole Body Cryotherapy!
What WBC does is similar, in nature, to what happens when you ice an injury. Let's say our buddy, Stan, fell on his left hip (in legendary Booze League fashion), and injured himself. The tumble caused direct trauma to his left trochanteric bursa, leaving him with a painful bout of bursitis which will likely last a few weeks. Icing an injury slows blood flow to the area, slowing the chemical processes that cause inflammation and pain. I can tell you I whacked the shit out my left cheekbone right on the zygomatic arch, just yesterday, while I was practicing fire spinning. It doesn't feel too bad today, because I instantly took some ice out of my bottle and wrapped it in my towel and iced for about ten minutes. It only barely hurts to touch now, and I know exactly how that impact, in that location, feels without immediate icing. Something tells me that Sunday Brunch Stan is not going to handle this in the smartest way, but you are smarter than Stan. You seek the ultimate experience, which includes ultimate maintenance.
Originally developed in Japan, back in 1978, it was used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Since then, the process has been studied and refined in Europe. Both Europe and Asia have been using WBC for thirty years.
I went to visit the brand spanking new Recovery Lab in Claremont, and was treated to a welcome that warmed The Guru's soon-to-be-cooled heart. Luis was kind enough to let us film the experience! Furthermore, I got a pre-Grand Opening sneak preview!! Thanks, guys!!
One of the "coolest" benefits of WBC, is the promise that it will cause your body to burn 600 - 800 calories as a result of the three minute session:
"The theory: The frigid cloud of nitrogen in the chamber tricks your body into thinking it’s in danger, forcing it into preservation mode. The brain signals to the rest of the body to rush blood to your core for protection, increasing body heat (and your metabolism). After it’s over, the enriched blood rushes back out and through your body, boosting immunity, cell renewal, and natural pain relievers." (Shape.com | Kelly Mickle | Feb 17, 2015)
Science hasn't given this theory the "100% nod" yet, although the research is promising. But, anecdotally, as a trainer with a lifetime of medical/scientific experience, I can offer this: Without any real changes in diet, and having not been able to work out through this whole trial period, due to an injury, my body has maintained a tighter, leaner look - tough to do without at least having my cardio regimen in place. Here's me in the opening scene of "Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2"... I mean, "this is me getting frozen."
I run hot. I'm constantly the "hot one" in a relationship - Live by the A/C, die by the A/C. For the first minute, I just casually sail along as I get really, really comfortable (it was a hot day anyway). The second minute is where I start to really feel chilly and my body begins to shake in a very weird, atypical way, like the long, fettucini-looking things that dangle from the car wash ceiling, wobbling back and forth in a rhythmic motion. I am instructed to turn periodically to ensure even cold distribution, and also to focus on deep breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
The session is done in three minutes. I emerge from the chamber and robe up, and that's when the good feels come rushing in. My body is in nirvana. I don't remember my body feeling like this for years. For about 90 minutes, I feel... nothing. No stiffness, no pain, no discomfort of any kind.
It was an absolutely amazing feeling, one worth repeating over and over. I have a chronic, ten year lumbar injury that has wreaked havoc on me and led to all sorts of modalities of treatment. It's been a challenging road, and some days are just plain horrible. That's how I found Recovery Lab, and whole body cryotherapy. As for the long term benefits, for me, the jury's still out, but I'm going to go the distance.
My person conclusion is this: If burning 600 to 800 calories following a session and having my body in a state of absolute bliss, for an hour or two, is all I ever get out of this... for about the cost of a 45 minute massage... that is more than enough. And, as for our good friend, Stan, and the rest of you Booze Leaguers, it may be right up your alley!
Jeff "The Guru" Gray owns Gray Area Fitness, has a BA in Biology from Whittier College, works with osteopathic and medical students at 2 universities, is an avid shooter, acts, writes, and spins fire. Animal lover, Burner, traveller, fantasy football analyst, he's just your typical Tourette's/A.D.D. kid from the suburbs. He currently looks after his codependent dog and neurotic cat. Passion and experience sums it up for The Guru, and new destinations, great shows, cars, and crazy animal adventures are always within his purvey.