“It’s like being in Minnesota, buck naked, at 40 (degrees) below.”
That’s how Damon Nelson of Albuquerque describes his experience in a cryotherapy chamber, where the temperature during a recent session reached 193 degrees below zero.
But don’t think Nelson was complaining. He has an appointment with the chilly chamber six days a week at Excel Cryotherapy, which opened last month at 7600 Jefferson NE.
The chamber, which is suffused with liquid nitrogen when turned on, is touted for boosting athletic performance, managing pain and inflamation and boosting skin care, says Debra Solomon, co-owner with her husband, Jarrin Solomon.
Nelson, who attends a daily early-morning boot camp, says his afternoon treatments prevent soreness, help him relax and give him “mental clarity.”
Plus, he says, it only lasts three minutes.
The treatment works by chilling your skin temperature rapidly so that blood is sent to your core from the skin surface, muscle tissue and joint space, and then passes through the body’s cardiovascular system, according to Debra Solomon and the company’s website, www.excelcryotherapy.com. That process strips the blood of toxins and supplies it with oxygen, nutrients and enzymes. Once you get out, your skin quickly warms up, and the resupplied blood flows through your body.
It’s a natural process, but it happens quickly and completely with cryotherapy because the temperature gets so cold and because your entire body (except your head) is immersed.
Before you enter the chamber, you strip to your underwear and don protective clothing that includes slippers and dry cotton socks and gloves. You step on a platform inside the aluminum hexagonal chamber and are soon surrounded by liquid nitrogen, which chills the air to as low as minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit. Your skin surface temperature drops to 30 degrees in 30 seconds.
When you get out, there are exercise bikes and yoga mats available because about 10 minutes of light exercise after your session helps stabilize body temperature and prolong the effects of the treatment, Debra Solomon said.
The Solomons became converts to cryotherapy after a trip to Texas by Jarrin, an Olympic bronze medalist who represents Trinidad and Tobago in the 400-meter competition. He tried out one of the chambers and found it be so far above the experience of his usual ice bath to relieve soreness, that he came home wanting to open a cryotherapy business in Albuquerque.
Debra Solomon warns that cryotherapy treatments are not FDA-approved because they do not provide any type of cure.
Excel Cryotherapy charges $65 for a single session, although package deals are available and new clients get their first visit for $25.