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Whole Body Cryosauna at Rivanna Cryotherapy Recovery Center

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

"If you haven’t tried cryotherapy at Rivanna Cryotherapy Recovery Center (RCRC) yet, now is the time. We wrote about the CryoThermo Impact Facial at RCRC back in May. But their full-body cryotherapy sauna is truly the centerpiece of their services. Known as the best thing for overall reduction of inflammation in the body, most people think of full body cryotherapy as being in the realm of professional athletes, but it is beneficial to everyday folks for a multitude of reasons. At the bottom of this post, I will share my experience, but first, a few basics.

Why try cryotherapy? Exposing your body to these extreme freezing temperatures stimulates your body’s natural healing response by triggering the release of anti-inflammatory proteins and endorphins. Oxygen circulation is increased within the bloodstream due to vasoconstriction and vasodilation. For athletes, from pro to novice, this speeds healing and recovery time by reducing inflammation and relieving pain. 

Conditions that may also benefit from cryotherapy:

- Rheumatic diseases (arthritis)

- Fibromyalgia

- Anxiety and depression

- Acute and chronic painSkin conditions (eczema, psoriasis)

- Migraine headaches

- Limited range of motion from sprains, strains, overused muscles, etc.

- Muscle fatigue from exercise

- Mild (controlled) asthma

How cold is the cryosauna? The whole body cryosauna envelops you in a painless dry nitrogen as cold as -220℉. In two to three minutes, the surface skin temperature lowers by 30-50 ℉.

That’s really cold. Is it safe? The unit at RCRC is a JUKA Cryosauna, the most recognized and trusted product on the market, used globally by more medical professionals and professional athletes than any other device. It is the only UL listed cryosauna on the market.

JUKA has more dedicated safety protocols than any other cryosauna, including a built in O2 sensor adjacent to the client’s head which automatically shuts off the nitrogen supply, a door with a magnetic closure that opens with just a small push, and a door shut-off switch to ensure that nitrogen does not escape the sauna. A technician must push a button every minute or the session is automatically aborted, and the unit automatically shuts off after three minutes. Additionally, it features an electric lift that positions clients safely above the cryotherapy environment.

Are there any protective measures? Yes, before entering the cryosauna you are given knee-high socks socks, clogs, and mittens. Men must wear dry underwear (or are given shorts). Women may choose to wear underwear and a camisole or sports bra without metal. The biggie is that your head is above the nitrogen, exposed to fresh air and not the sub zero temps.  

How long is the session? Sessions can last from 1 to 3 minutes.  Your tech remains with you the entire time and checks in with you every 30 seconds. You may continue or end your treatment at any time.

My experience: I headed to RCRC on an afternoon when I was feeling lots of muscle soreness from the previous day’s intense barre class. But I was also feeling really sluggish and run down from the day-to-day grind of being a working mom with two kiddos. I chatted with Dawn Woodring, owner of RCRC with her husband Francis Vicente, about my objectives, cryosauna contradictions and then signed a waiver.

As a native Texan, cold has never been my friend. I went into it with a bit of trepidation, but I figured I could handle anything for three minutes. Plus, after reading about whole body cryotherapy in wellness circles for the last few years, I was exited one was finally here in Charlottesville and eager to try it. While I’m not prone to claustrophobia, I was relieved that my head stuck out of the unit, and it was nice to breathe fresh air. I also knew that the tech would by me the whole time and I would end my session if I asked him to. I never needed him to, but he checked in with me every 30 seconds to make sure I was doing okay.

My tech played my favorite song on the speaker right by my head which helped the time pass quickly. The first 20 seconds or so didn’t seem too cold, but at the halfway mark I started feeling the cold. Dancing around helped! Because it’s a dry cold, I didn’t experience pain — or even feel that uncomfortable.

Afterwards, my body warmed up rather quickly, and I was instantly invigorated. I was off to pick up my kids and skipped my usual afternoon coffee pick-me-up. I just didn’t need it. As a matter of fact, I was especially alert and found that I was more present with my kids all day. That night, I slept like a baby, something Dawn told me I was likely to experience, and for several nights to come. And I also found that my soreness was completely gone and I got more out of my workout the next morning, as I was able to push myself to the limit.

I’m very much looking forward to my next session, which is quite affordable at $35 a session (or less when purchasing a package). This is a doable self-care ritual I will start putting into practice. If you’re intrigued, call RCRC and book a session. Don’t forget to tell them that The Scout Guide sent you!"


Wellness Wednesday: Whole Body Cryosauna at Rivanna Cryotherapy Recovery Center

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