CHILLING IN AUSTRIA

I am in a freezer, wearing a bikini. Its -110 degrees, I am in a large freezer with windows, and I’m wearing a bikini. You would be forgiven for thinking I have taken leave of my senses.However, I am actually doing this for my health.

I am at the Alpen Med Lamm wellness hotel in Seefeld, Tirol in Austria where they have a cryo-chamber . It’s not for freezing you after you die – but rather freezing you while still alive. Fortunately the maximum time you’ll spend in there is four minutes so there’s no chance of turning into an ice-pop.

The idea behind the treatment is that it cools (very rapidly) all the capillaries near the surface of the skin, as they cool they contract. Then when you step out into normal room temperature they expand again; faster and larger than before. This pushes more blood and therefore oxygen round the system helping to heal damaged areas and improve muscle function.

Many sports people visit the cryo-chamber to help heal injuries and improve performance and while I was there the Austrian National Football team were also using the chamber. It has been shown to help ailments like fibromyalgia and arthritis. It doesn’t claim to cure them, but it does claim to help reduce the symptoms and the associated pain.

The weird thing is minus 110 degrees C doesn’t actually feel as cold as you’d imagine. I was expecting my entrance into the freezer to feel like walking into an ice wall, I was expecting my skin to freeze and to be screaming for mercy within seconds. Although it’s certainly cold, it’s actually not as unpleasant as a cold, damp, “get into your bones” day in the UK. And once you step outside of the chamber, there is this lovely rush of warmth that wells up through your body.

To get the best results you really need to use the cryo-chamber twice a day for a week. One burst of blood and oxygen is helpful, but clearly a number of treatments will give your body the biggest benefits. Fortunately there is plenty to occupy your time between sessions.

The Alpen Med Lamm has a well equipped gym, exercise classes and outdoor activities like Nordic Walking, plus a pool, Jacuzzi and a range of health and beauty treatments from sports massage to TENS to cupping, from seeweed baths to relaxing soft pack treatments. So there are plenty of ways to reward yourself for being such a brave little icicle.

If you still need a bit more pampering then their first rate restaurant and well stocked cellar will probably do the trick.

You can listen on-demand to interviews with the medical experts at the Alpen Med Lamm on this site. Type “alpen med” into the search box (top right of the screen) for all the latest interviews from the Alpen Med Lamm.

 

 

About the Author: Chantal Cooke is a professional journalist and travel writer, and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET radio

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