Ice Hole vs Cryotherapy: And, would you?

Driving home a couple of days ago I was listening to a local radio station hyping up the miraculous benefits of cryotherapy. The presenter, with his teeth chattering, had just frozen his butt off in a chamber filled with nitrogen cooled to minus 160 degrees.

The station was giving away an opportunity for “three lucky listeners” to experience the same invigorating therapy session.

Curiosity got the better of me. Why the heck would anyone put themselves through two to three minutes of this goosebump therapy? But, it seems plenty of celebs are readily clearing their social schedules and jumping in head-first.

So, what is cryotherapy?

Probing for info about this craze, I learnt that cryotherapy is rumoured to help speed up recovery time, reduce injuries, increase energy and improve sleep. But, were these rumours true? I was about to make it my mission to find out!

It seems cryotherapy has been around in Scandinavia for many years.

Introducing the Finns

Sifting through articles, I uncovered that it was indeed the Finns who might have had a hand in kicking off cryotherapy. Sitting up there near the top of the world, their landscape is covered with snow for a fair portion of the year. And, through these snow-filled plains the Finns probably had a bit of time on their hands to think about how they could capitalise on the cold.

The origin of the sauna has been linked to Finland. Now, I guess after the invention of this sweat-promoting cleansing ritual, there was obviously a need for the Finns to cool down. Since Finland has thousands of lakes – they surmised that running outside and jumping into the lake to cool off was a good solution.

Such has ‘the dip in the ice hole’ become legend. For the Finns, this is a no brainer – the sauna and ice hole are the cure for all ills. And if it can’t be cured by sauna and ice hole, then sadly, it’s incurable.

Centuries of experience has to count for something and surely, they must have perfected the ritual over this period of time, right?

The Finns are a social type

The social aspect of their ritual is not to be overlooked either. Picture sitting in the sauna, basking in pool of sweat with your significant other, your BFF, fellow tourist, or whomever it may be. Each member sipping back on a warming brewski – a silent bond not as easy to achieve in every other situation.

And sharing that final character building experience, they dive into an ice hole to cement an ever-lasting union of friendship. A little shot or two of vodka helps as well!

So, faced with this in the cold light of day, you question why anyone would willingly enter a lonely chamber with room just for one? That experience is more reminiscent of a scene from an Avatar or Star Wars movie.

I guess cryotherapy achieves the same result – but really, is it as much fun?

Compared to the blast of social occasion, overwhelming sense of exhilaration and well being, and the adrenaline spreading throughout your body as it returns it to its normal temperature, I would favour the Finns’ traditional method any day.

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