When I first got in the -130C chamber, I couldn’t work out what Gary Barlow was shrieking about .
Footage that emerged on Monday showed the Take That star screeching as he braved sub-zero temperatures to get in shape for his UK solo tour – and he even said it was “horrific”.
I mean, it was cold, but I was no chillier than any of the revellers out for the night in Newcastle sans coat.
Then, as freezing fog crept in, I was glad they let me keep my pants on.
London Cryo founder Maria Ensabella had explained the treatment taking the sporting world by storm, giving me a pair of tiny white gloves and rubber clogs. Very fetching.
I’d been in an ice bath after rugby games but as soon as I saw the sci-fi set up, I knew this would be different.
Maria said cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen, helps “reoxygenate your blood, treat muscle stiffness and releases endorphins”, giving top performers an edge on recovery time.
Real Madrid footie star Cristiano Ronaldo and Man Utd’s Marcus Rashford have paid £36,000 to have home units.
Hollywood star Daniel Craig is also said to be a fan.
But standing in my smalls, I was a long way from the Premier League and nerves kicked in.
Ice-cold smoke was pouring from the cylinder, like a Doctor Who set.
Maria cooled it to -130C and told me to hop in. I’d be in two minutes but repeat visitors do three. Once inside, I felt in serious need of a cuppa.
Then after 30 seconds I felt hyper-alert. Maria, 44, said: “As long as you go below -110 it will trigger the fight or flight response. It tricks the body into thinking you’re going into hypothermia, blood rushes to your core.”
What followed was two minutes of almost unimaginable calm, presumably as my body tried to work out if I was really in danger or not.
And while it would be wrong to say I was enjoying it, I felt focused.
Stepping out, I felt an exhilarating rush – probably my brain realising we weren’t trapped in a freezer at Iceland.
I felt a spring in my step the rest of the day. But Maria said the benefits of repeated exposure can be dramatic.
“It isn’t just sport, it helps people with autoimmune diseases like arthritis by reducing inflammation. But just generally it can improve people’s moods and help them sleep better.”
Scientists are building evidence of the benefits, with doctors in Poland using it to treat skin conditions, anxiety and muscle problems.
I left feeling oddly relaxed… but no more likely to challenge Ronaldo for World Player of the Year.
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