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The Three Minute Freeze: An Intern’s Take on a Cryotherapy Session

By Rachel Weaver, University of Delaware, Class of 2018, Candidate for B.S. in Neuroscience

Being a competitive swimmer for fifteen years, I’ve had my fair share of injuries. I deal with aches and pain in my knees, hips, and shoulders. Without access to a pool, I have taken to running, which certainly hasn’t been easy on my knees. During my internship at First State Health & Wellness, I was given the opportunity to try a whole body cryotherapy session.

The cryotherapy cryosauna looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. A time capsule supposedly taking me back to the days before a five-mile run resulted in agony. I was given thermal socks, gloves, and some booties to protect my extremities from the -300° C I was about to subject myself to for three minutes. As the door to the cryosauna opened, a cloud of freezing nitrogen mist escaped chilling my exposed calves.

 

I stepped up into the cryosauna and ducked my head as a lid was brought over top. As the seconds passed, I moved my arms and kicked my legs in as much of a range of motion as the cryosauna allowed. My attempts to warm my body unfortunately did not prove to be fruitful as the temperature approached its lowest point. Just as I was about to throw my arms up in defeat, my session ended. In one fell swoop I ducked my head, wrapped a robe around my shivering torso, and beelined for my pile of clothing. If nothing else, I surely was awake by this point.

Instantly after exiting the cryosauna, I felt energized. The slight tingling of my skin subsided quickly and the red color reverted to its original. I heard from the staff to pay attention to my sleep that night. When my alarm went off at 7:30 the next morning, I wasn’t clambering for the snooze button. The difference was I had not spent my night constantly shifting in and out of sleep. I hopped on the treadmill, as I do every morning preparing to sweat myself into exhaustion. This time, I had to stop running because I ran out of time, and not because I was too drained to carry my body any further. Somehow, the cryosauna of nitrogen gave me superpowers. I’m looking forward to the next time I can trade in my achy knees and groggy mornings for a session of cryotherapy!

About the Author

Rachel Weaver is a rising senior at the University of Delaware majoring in Neuroscience. After graduation from university in the Spring of 2018, she plans on attending graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. This summer, she spent seven weeks as an intern at First State Health & Wellness in Delaware.

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