Back in December 2019, my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I thought about it for a while and realized that the only thing I really needed was time. He asked me to be a BIT more specific so I explained to him that as a working mom, I rarely have time to focus completely on myself. What I was looking for was a commitment where I could spend a certain amount of time doing whatever I needed to do without guilt. By this point, he was on board but also pretty annoyed at my lack of specificity, so I sent him a link. I wanted him to get me an Wellness Journey which allows you to try all four of their services. This way I could decide which services were the most physically and mentally beneficial for me prior to purchasing a monthly membership.
On Christmas Day, my gift certificate for my Wellness Journey was under the tree. I was beyond excited. By February, I had already tried float therapy, infrared sauna and compression therapy. But for reasons unknown to me at the time, I was hesitant to pull the trigger on cryotherapy. I kept putting it off until I got a reminder almost a year later that my cryotherapy session was going to expire. Not wanting to lose out on the money we had spent, I booked my appointment.
I was apprehensive in the weeks leading up to it. Cryotherapy seemed like something serious athletes do, not 40 something, chronically ill moms. But cryotherapy was actually invented as a way to help people suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment helps reduce pain and inflammation in the body and assists with muscle and joint recovery. Not just for athletes dealing with injuries or trying to improve their performance, but also for people suffering from chronic conditions, body inflammation, arthritis, migraines and insomnia. The benefits are truly innumerable.
Despite all that, I had the irrational fear that I would emerge from my 3-minute session looking like Anna at the end of Frozen. I read everything on the Imagine Float website on how to prepare for your appointment and worked feverishly to make sure I had done everything right. I couldn’t have been more prepared.
On the morning of my appointment, I went in and confessed immediately that I was nervous. Michele, the owner told me everyone feels that way the first time. I got suited up in my snazzy outfit of gloves, socks and booties and stepped into the cryosauna. For those 3 minutes, Michele and I talked while she monitored my session. And before I knew it, it was over.
In retrospect, my fear and anxiety seemed a little ridiculous. But what I realized was that I wasn’t exactly afraid of cryotherapy itself, I was afraid of the unknown. Of trying something new which can be an uncomfortable experience. Cryotherapy was something so far out of my comfort zone that I had no frame of reference; It was so different than any other therapy I had ever tried. And I’ve tried a lot! But that fear of the unknown is a very powerful thing. And it can keep us from growing if we let it.
Cryotherapy works best if it is done consistently. I started adding it to my routine every other week back in November. And then I moved it to weekly. And the question I get asked most often is does it work?
Joint pain and arthritis are conditions I suffer from as a result of the inflammation in my body from my ulcerative colitis. For years, I would wake up in the morning with excruciating pain in my hands and feet. I would describe it to my husband as I felt like I had two broken ankles. Some days, it would be a struggle to hold a pen or grip a weight. I also developed arthritis in my hip which sidelined me from running about 8 years ago. The pain was just too intense.
Since I started doing cryotherapy on a consistent basis, my joint pain has disappeared completely. Literally, no pain. During quarantine, I picked up running again just to get out of the house and for the first time ever, I am running pain free. So much so, that I signed up for my first marathon in October, a bucket list goal that seemed impossible a year ago.
While cryotherapy is not a cure for chronic illness or pain, including it as part of my ongoing maintenance plan has improved my quality of life by allowing me to manage what had previously been completely debilitating symptoms of my disease. And if I had let my fear of trying new things stop me, I would have never discovered that a pain free life could be a reality for me. I would have missed out on so much.
Katie, Imagine Float Wellness Blogger