Skip the Ice Bath, Try Cryotherapy

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How many of you remember the dreaded ice bath experience of your high school or college training days? There is nothing fun about sitting in a tub full of ice water as a trainer attempts to convince you that the benefit far outweighs your discomfort.  Well it is good to be an athlete today because technology has given us a new way to fight inflammation, sore muscles and sore joints.

Chicago CryoSpa, the first cryotherapy treatment facility in Chicago, delivers an accelerated ice bath effect for sore muscles and joints in an efficient and effective manner. Cryotherapy provides numerous benefits including reducing inflammation, repairing muscles and joints, boosting energy levels and metabolism and providing the ultimate athletic recovery.

I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago Cryospa earlier this week to try out a cryotherapy session. Conveniently located just off the highway in Lincoln Park, the spa facility was easy to find and offered ample street parking, allowing clients to easily park and enter the facility without hassle.

I arrived for my cryotherapy treatment and was instantly greeted by Alexis Boin, Chicago CryoSpa Client Services and Program Coordinator and Ann Sheehan, who would administer my cryotherapy treatment. After filling out the appropriate paperwork, I was escorted into a changing room where I was provided two pairs of gloves and socks to cover my extremities, as well as a fluffy robe to wear before and after the session.


The Whole Body Cryosauna is a single-person device which envelopes a patient’s body while keeping the head and neck area exposed to room air above the device. The device can reach temperatures of about negative 240° F.

Although it would seem that the Cryosauna would be quite intimidating, Chicago CryoSpa keeps the space bright and welcoming, with a flat screen television playing on the side wall. I entered the Cryosauna and was raised above the top of the chamber so that my head and neck were exposed. I was able to speak with the test administrator the entire time who informed me that the doors were not locked and that I had the ability to stop treatment instantaneously at any time.

The Cryosauna functions by producing liquid nitrogen which instantly cools your body temperature. Although your internal body temperature stays the same, your external temperature should drop down to between 40 and 50°F. The session can last anywhere from two to three minutes, depending on the individual. I was in the chamber for two minutes and upon exiting my external temperature was 46°F.

I was expecting to feel extremely uncomfortable, if not in pain, during the treatment. To my surprise, this was not the case at all. The two minute session was speedy and painless. I was chilly, but not to the point of discomfort.

“We have several people that stop in during their lunch hour for a quick treatment session,” Boin says, “The entire process takes only about five minutes.” This extremely quick and efficient treatment is a great option for anyone suffering from joint or muscle pain. However, this is an especially significant treatment for athletes.

“We are extremely crowded on the Monday and Tuesday following the Chicago Marathon,” Boin adds. “Distance runners can benefit from utilizing our treatment following long runs during training to ensure they are in peak performance levels for their races, as well as a recovery technique following the race itself.”

Prior to my cryotherapy treatment, my muscles were a bit tight from last weekend’s F3, where I joined over a thousand of my fellow Chicagoans running 13.1 miles on the lakefront. Immediately after the session, my muscles felt looser. The morning after my treatment, I noticed a significant improvement. Not only were my muscles less sore, but they also felt less fatigued. This session definitely made a believer out of me.

As the first cryotherapy treatment facility in Chicago, Chicago CryoSpa is the OG of the cryotherapy world in Chicago. Opened in 2013 by Jim Karas, a personal trainer with over 30 years of experience, this facility offers whole body cryotherapy, local cryotherapy, cryofacials and more.

Chicago CryoSpa has extended a special offer for Chicago Athlete readers. If you mention this article, you can purchase one treatment for $65 and receive a second treatment for free. You can learn more about Chicago CryoSpa and schedule an appointment on their website – http://www.chicagocryospa.com/.

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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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