H E A LT H at Iwona Specialty Clinic in Dubai, regarded as being the first chamber of its kind to open in the emirate. It can fit up to four people there but up to two seems more comfortable. Before the session, our vitals were checked and our medical history taken, to ensure that our body is not likely to react negatively to the stimulus. After the paperwork was taken care of, and because we were first-timers, we were asked to change into a cotton tee and shorts, slip into some knee-length socks and then some crocs. This was followed by some elbow warmers, a pair of thick- ish gloves, a fuzzy headband and then a surgical mask. I half-expected a camera to whip out and snap an image of us followed by a "You've been punked!" Generally, the less clothing you wear, the better, but as the chamber is at a whopping -110C, first-timers are given some degree of protection in case they accidentally brush against any of the walls inside and learn how to identify the term 'freezer burn' from first-hand experience. While we were being given the low- down by the professional at hand, we were standing at room temperature and were then asked to step into the chamber which is split in two. The first room is at -60C where you are to stand for at least 30 seconds before progressing into the next room. It is recommended to keep moving to have some semblance & W E L L N E S S of warmth but also to be careful not stamp of approval from several doctors, to touch anything, even yourself, so no chiropractors and physical therapists rubbing hands or arms. worldwide, there are mixed conclusions about their practicality and usefulness. If you feel any ache, there is no need to fret as this supposedly means that Studies have shown short-term benefits, the therapy is working although I was which I agree with as my aforementioned sceptical. Coincidentally, I did have a neck pain gradually returned in a few strained neck that day and did feel it hours, making the treatment akin to exacerbate before completely fading but I a Dh300 Panadol Extra. Although, chalked that up to actually losing feeling it is definitely worth noting that like in my extremities as usually happens in any treatment, it cannot be taken as a cold temperatures. one-and-done method meaning that a continuous approach is a given if one Due to the constricted space inside, the wishes to see long-term benefits. instructions to not touch anything, and the advice to keep moving, my colleague Though, long-term effects are also and I ended up looking like we were something that has not been properly locked in a fight neither of us wanted to studied in depth. A lot of its information be a part of as we hopped around in a is based more on extrapolation rather circle, facing each other, and vehemently than cold, hard facts, such as its calorie- shaking our fists in the air. A definite burning claim. There are definitely entertainment for the clinic professionals contradictory results out there and just as monitoring us from the outside. many people who swear by cryotherapy as those who have sworn off it. After exiting, you are put through a post-treatment workout where you Ultimately, when it comes to easing pain either jump on a stationary assault bike and aiding muscle recovery in sports, it or do some plyometric exercises for a holds the same after-effects as any cold few minutes to promote the flow of the treatment, be it an ice bath or an ice now-enriched blood through your body. pack. In the end, people would rather The entire experience takes about 15 stand two to three minutes stark naked minutes and leaves you feeling refreshed in a chamber than suffer the penetrative (due to the adrenaline) and also hungry, cold of cold water immersion. probably due to the caloric burn. This treatment is not recommended for Cryotherapy, then, is probably worth a people who are pregnant and those who try after you have exhausted other, more suffer from heart conditions. economically-feasible avenues. Until then, keep a weather eye on the research While cryotherapy has received the and a healthy dose of scepticism.