It’s ironic, here in the desert, that the three business minds behind a fast-growing chain of icy wellness centres believe cold is the new hot.
Offering speedy whole-body and localised almost-freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen, °CRYO will launch its eighth location in Sharjah next month. The company opened its first outlet in the capital in January, adding to three in Dubai, as well as others in Al Ain, Beirut and Los Angeles, and are in discussions for the whole of GCC.
Cryotherapy, which is increasingly being offered in sports clubs and spas in the United States, has its origins in ancient Egypt and has long been popular in Europe, where it is used in hospitals to treat arthritis and multiple sclerosis. °CRYO partner Kai Stubbe, from Germany, predicts that one day cryotherapy chambers will be as ubiquitous as saunas.
It’s all about the inflammation- busting and endorphin-boosting power of surviving a space cooled to -140°C via liquid nitrogen mist. And it’s fast, too: whole body sessions are just three minutes, while facials and localised treatments last for about 10.
“First of all, it just makes you feel good," says Stubbe. “Cryo makes you happy because it resets your nervous system, similar to a meditation. People can change the energy of their body – this is what happens. Because the body goes into survival stage ... it triggers the emotion like you are going to die from the cold and you step out after three minutes, your body recuperates from that. You feel really good, you have this energy – it’s almost like a runner’s high."
The endorphins released during the return to room temperature also provide real pain relief and boost healing, say the partners. That’s because in extreme cold, blood vessels constrict, increasing blood pressure. Toxins are flushed from muscles and the skin’s surface, and more blood than normal is pumped to the internal organs. After stepping out of the chamber, blood vessels expand and blood is sent rushing back to the skin, muscles and joints.
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