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August 15, 2016

Chilling out with cryotherapy: The restorative whole body treatment now offered in Northern Liberties

Mindful Mondays Wellness
Carroll - Christie Mandia Cryotherapy Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

PhillyVoice contributor Christie Mandia stands in a cryogenic sauna at Orange Cryo Wellness at 444 N. Fourth St.

I couldn’t have imagined a better destination on a 100-degree day, although I must admit, I had butterflies in my stomach as I approached Robin Gupta’s Orange Cryo Wellness in anticipation of my first cryotherapy session.

Cryotherapy is the exposure of the body to extremely cold temperatures (as low as -256 degrees Fahrenheit) produced by nitrogen gas, typically to reduce pain and inflammation. In fact, the treatment was initially developed in the late 1970s by a Japanese physician to treat symptoms associated with arthritis.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Tanks of nitrogen sit next to the cryogenic sauna.

Many other health benefits can be attributed to whole body cryotherapy, such as boosted immunity, increased energy and improved metabolism (I’m told you can burn up to 600 calories during just one 3-minute treatment).

The extremely cold temperatures are also said to aid in recovery (think ice baths x100) and stimulate collagen production, which is why many athletes and celebrities swear by the treatment. It seems that everyone has tried it, from Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to world-class athletes like Usain Bolt and Cristiano Ronaldo.

With them in mind, I put on my cryo robe, socks and Crocs and prepared to enter into the open-topped cryosauna. Once you enter the chamber, the platform underneath your feet is raised so that your head is exposed. I then traded in my robe for a pair of gloves, which are worn with only undergarments and socks to protect extremities for the duration of the treatment.

The first time I asked how much time I had left, I was told, “94 seconds,” so I began to do my mindful breathing (In one, out one. In two, out two).

It was cold. My hands and feet began to tingle. The fear of the unknown was freaking me out. How will my body react to this?

The cryo specialist was walking me through the treatment and telling me things like, “Your body is in fight or flight mode now. All of your blood is rushing to your vital organs at your core. When you are done and your circulation restores, you will have a euphoric feeling.” She coached me through the last 30 seconds and then finally handed me back my robe.

When the treatment was complete, I was mentally and physically relieved. It was a foreign feeling. I had just shocked my body, but it gave me a jolt of energy.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

After a cryogenic sauna session, exercise bikes are available to help raise body temperature.

I was shaking out my arms and legs trying to regain blood flow when they suggested I try a few minutes on the stationary bike to recover. This helped me to quickly regain sensation.

Feeling alert, I quickly changed back into my clothes and headed into room No. 2, where I was to try my first cryofacial. It's the exact same therapy, using nitrogen to produce cold temperatures, only via a hose that can be used to target specific areas, like the knee, shoulder or, in this case, the face and neck to stimulate collagen growth.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

PhillyVoice contributor Christie Mandia receives a cryogenic facial.

Both treatments were outstanding. The technology and professionalism at Orange Cryo Wellness is locally unsurpassed. The staff is very knowledgeable, the facility is clean, and with individual treatments for facial and whole body cryotherapy at $30 and $60 respectively, I will certainly be back for more.

I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey and would love to hear your experiences as well. Please feel free to share below or tweet me @christiemandia.

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Each week, on Mindful Mondays, Christie shares her tips and tricks toward a healthier lifestyle. Give these tips a try to improve your health, wellness and quality of life!

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