This past Valentine’s Day, I was getting over a cold, so I asked my sweetheart if we could forego the dinner and vino for something really good for us. 

So, we headed to the new Restore Hyper Wellness to try a rejuvenating cryotherapy session. I thought the rush of blood might enhance my state of being, and Tommy was familiar with how well it helped his golf swing. 

Restore was recently opened by health advocate Alma Smith, local owner of Orangetheory Fitness, her orthopedic and integrative medicine husband Jeff Smith, DO and their partners. It offers an array of cutting edge modalities including the 2COOL cryotherapy room that allows couples and friends to “chill” together.

Thermal therapies, extreme hot and cold, are growing in popularity. Top athletes are bringing cryo chambers on the road, today’s rock stars are trading post-performance parties for ice baths and social groups are traveling the world in search of the next exhilarating body of water to explore. 

“The term biohacking is used a lot these days,” says Dr. Smith. “Often that includes doing something that mimics what has been done for thousands of years: using light, cold, warmth and movement to improve wellbeing.”

The benefits of cryotherapy include reduced pain, enhanced recovery, reduced inflammation and, as we learned on our visit, reduced anxiety, stress and depression. “Cryo increases dopamine and serotonin up to 250%,” explained Smith, “resetting the autonomic nervous system and helping you manage stress by purposely inducing stress.” Other benefits include collagen production, making it good for arthritis, and better sleep. 

This year’s wellness trends (p.1) introduce white fat versus brown. Smith explained how cryo changes white fat cells to more beneficial brown cells. “Cryo releases ‘heat shock’ proteins which instruct your fat cells to produce more mitochondria, the energy that fuels us, making them more metabolically active and us more efficient in burning calories.”

Restore provides robes, socks, slippers, hats, masks and mittens to protect extremities during the session which starts at two-and-a-half minutes and can progress to three. The temperature goes down to negative 135 degrees for beginners and negative 165 for seasoned fans. The frosty air envelopes your body and deep breaths cleanse your lungs. Time passes quickly if you embrace the moment and feel the effects.

Cryo is like exercise, Smith adds. “You can’t just do it once and expect long-term benefits, but with regular use, the results can be significant. However, you will feel the benefits from each session for hours and even days.”

Two days later, we were still on our deep freeze high. This won’t be the last time we trade another dinner out for a healthier wellness option.

Lauren Del Sarto is founder/publisher of Desert Health and can be reached at
[email protected].

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