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I Tried It: Cryotherapy

Voluntarily climbing into an ice-cold chamber might not sound as inviting as a yoga class, but cryotherapy is growing in popularity.


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You Try It!

Chiltonic. Locations in
Hillcrest and Encinitas. $295 per month for unlimited sessions. chiltonic.com

Voluntarily climbing into an ice-cold chamber might not sound as inviting as a yoga class, but cryotherapy, the cold therapy treatment in which patients rest in a sub-zero pod for three minutes, is growing in popularity.

Cryotherapy was developed in the late ’70s in Japan to treat rheumatoid arthritis and later adopted by elite athletes in Poland for repair and recovery. Today, the chilly chamber—which drops anywhere from minus 175 to minus 274 degrees for three minutes, while closely monitored by a staff member—is being used to treat injuries, spur weight loss, and serve as an anti-aging tool. For me, I wanted to tackle joint and muscle pain from sports injuries, low energy levels, and a nerve injury from a car accident. 

I headed to Chiltonic in Encinitas. It took a few weeks to see progress. But each session left me feeling happier and more energetic. One day, I had a horrible headache and no energy, and thanks to cryotherapy’s anti-inflammatory properties, my headache went away, too. The thrice-weekly sessions also boosted my metabolism, burned calories, and over the course of two months, left me more toned than when I started.

When I asked about the recent news of a Nevada woman who died after accidentally locking herself in a chamber, the staff explained that she went against protocol and operated the machine alone, after hours. Chiltonic chambers enclose only the neck down, and staff place a towel around the neck to keep clients from inhaling large amounts of nitrogen. Patients are warned to make sure they’re completely dry, to prevent any moisture on their skin from freezing. Plus, the system automatically turns off after three minutes, before their internal body heat has a chance to drop significantly. 

At the Encinitas location, I regularly cross paths with pro rugby players, an Ironman, a famous boxer, seniors fighting arthritis, and moms trying to stay fit—all chilling out for the sake of better health.


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