Should Recovery Be A Daily Focus?


Like all industries, the fitness industry has had different trends emerge each year. I would have to argue that 2018 is the year of recovery as athletes of all abilities realize the importance of care and prevention in their training plans. As we begin to examine the various recovery options available to athletes, I can’t help but begin with my top pick, cryotherapy.

Why Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is one of my favorite recovery methods for several reasons:

  • It improves my sleep. Yes, it may sound like a sales pitch, but after every cryotherapy session I sleep soundly throughout the night.
  • It heals my muscles so that I can train hard day after day. My down time after a long race is noticeably shorter after a cryotherapy session.
  • It’s way, way, way better than sitting in an ice bath for 20 minutes. Seriously, it is 3 minutes and you’re not wet.

Traditionally I have used cryotherapy the day before and the day after a race with a distance longer than 20 miles. It has been a staple in my precovery and recovery routine. However, I began to notice that many cryotherapy providers were offering a daily cryotherapy session schedule to their clients. This made me curious about the benefits of integrating recovery methods, such as cryotherapy, into my own daily routine.

As I began to research the availability of cryotherapy in the Chicagoland area, I came across CryoPure Spa in Highland Park. As a northern suburb gal, the location was what first drew me to this spa. However, as I learned more about the company itself, it quickly became clear that CryoPure Spa was unique in the field of recovery.

What Makes CryoPure Different?

Created by a husband and wife team, CryoPure Spa is nestled into the trendy downtown Highland Park area. Owners Tom and Paige Polakow are both professionals in the medical field with a combined 18 years of healthcare experience. They saw the holisitc benefits of cryotherapy and opened their spa to provide treatment for multiple ailments.

“We started CryoPure Spa because we saw a need that we couldn’t imagine not addressing,” Paige Polakow, President and Co-Founder of CryoPure Spa explained. “When we heard about Cryotherapy it almost seemed too good to be true, but we are big into research, so we went through it and tested it ourselves, and we became believers.”

“There is a place for modern medicine, and there is a place for all of the other things we can do for ourselves to address our ailments and well-beingl” Polakow adds. “We wanted to provide a place that wellness, research, and client-focused specialized care is paramount, and CryoPure Spa was born. We have since evolved from just Cryotherapy to photobiomodulation (light therapy), and are always doing research around other ways that we can positively impact the lives around us.”

Most runners have tried cryotherapy at least once but have not found a way, or the time, to fit it into a daily or weekly routine. I wondered, what are the benefits of integrating recovery treatments into your lifestyle versus utilizing the sessions on an as-needed basis? Is there something I have been missing by not using cryotherapy and other professional recovery methods as prevention for injury?

“Lifestyle change is one of the hardest things to do, but also one of the most impactful,” Polakow advised. “We try to make it as easy as possible by making it comfortable and convenient while being sensitive that our clients have busy lives.”

CryoPure sessions range from three to 30 minutes, and Polakow says that one session will have a positive impact, the most significant impacts will be from doing sessions over time.

“Cryotherapy works through the redistribution of your blood and nutrients, so it becomes more effective the more you do that,” she explains. “When it is done regularly, you ward off the negative impacts on your body while promoting the good.”

The Polakows and their professional team at CryoPure Spa have put together a recovery plan for me over the course of the next eight weeks to aid in my endurance training and recovery. I will be documenting my experience integrating recovery into my lifestyle. I am curious to see what effect, if any, full integration has on my training and race performance, as well as my day-to-day health levels.

My Experience

I had my first two cryotherapy sessions last week and was thoroughly impressed with the ease of locating and parking at CryoPure Spa. Upon entering I was immediately greeted by a professional, friendly staff who provided guidance on the experience. Check out this video of Katie explaining different parts of the treatment.

After changing into a super plush robe, that I secretly wanted to keep, I was ushered into the chamber to begin my three-minute treatment. In my previous cryotherapy treatments, I have stopped the session at the 2:30 and 2:40 marks, when I can’t bear the coldness anymore. I told Katie that I had never made it to the three-minute mark and she said we’d try to get there.

When the timer began, she asked me about my experience running the Chicago Marathon, and like any runner, that topic kept me talking for the entire three minutes. I was one happy camper when I got to ring the three minute bell!

CryoPure Spa has a great staff, is in a convenient location and offers a multitude of recovery treatments for athletes and non-athletes alike. I even got to walk next door to Starbucks to grab a cup-of-joe before heading to the parking lot. I encourage you to check CryoPure Spa out and see for yourself what all of this recovery hub-bub is about. Here is a link to its website.

And, definitely keep track of us on social media as this runner embarks on an eight-week recovery journey with CryoPure Spa.

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Mandi began running in middle school and never stopped. As a high school and college cheerleader, running was the exact athletic counterpart to keep her fitness levels high. While attending The John Marshall Law School in 2007, Mandi ran her first Chicago Marathon, the final year it was partnered with title sponsor, LaSalle Bank. Mandi has continued to run several half marathon and shorter distance races and looks forward to running in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. An Illinois licensed attorney, Mandi is currently the Executive Director of the Lake County Municipal League, a council of government representing 42 municipalities in Lake County. An avid weekend race warrior, Mandi tries to run 2-3 races each month from Milwaukee to Chicago and loves the opportunity to report about her experiences in Chicago Athlete


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