Slovakia's Coolest Spa
- From The British Guardian,
Freezing in the name of beauty
Mat Smith dons breathing mask, mittens, shorts and clogs to brave
freezing his body in temperatures of -120°C. Slovakia's extreme
cryotherapy craze proves men and spas can mix
* Guardian Unlimited
* Thursday December 7 2006
The doctor finished taking my blood pressure and unwrapped my arm.
"Excellent. You are how do you say in England as healthy as a
horse? Here in Slovakia we say you are as healthy as a fish! Ha ha ha!
And now we go - to freezing!"
Bewildered, I tried to laugh along with the doctor in order to appear
polite, but in truth, I was quite alarmed by the concept of what was
about to happen. Being reduced to -120°C for two minutes inside a box
the size of a lift is no laughing matter. More serious, though, is
what would happen if you didn't leave on time. Apparently, after four
minutes, you would enter a euphoric, trance-like state, closely
followed by death, which I wasn't really all that keen on. But the
doctor reassured me that two minutes would be fine, and perhaps
foolishly, given his earlier comment about fish I agreed.
First developed in eastern Europe to treat the stresses and strains of
high-performance athletes, cryotherapy has since taken off as the
latest in beauty treatments, based on the idea that being reduced to
very low temperatures for short periods can promote physical healing.
It is available in London at over £30 per session, but is on offer for
£10 at the Aquacity resort, in Poprad, Slovakia, where it has proved a
popular addition to the hotel complex's selection of spas, thermal
pools and water slides.
Wearing a stylish combination of headband, breathing mask, mittens,
shorts and clogs supplied by the cryotherapy centre, although I
expect you'd be welcome to bring your own I passed the preliminary
medical examination and was led into the cryocentre itself, a kind of
futuristic sauna room. I watched with interest as the temperature
readings on the doctor's computer reached their maximum levels. As the
charts touched -121°C, he gave me an unreliable grin, pulled the lever
to open the massive steel door, and ushered me in.
You don't just leap straight in to the coldest room, though
presumably immediate exposure to -120°C would cause all kinds of
technical, life-ending problems. Instead clients are initially
introduced to an intermediate ante-chamber, chilled to a mere -60°C.
After 30 seconds, the doctor pulls another lever, and, in a burst of
fog, the door to the main chamber is opened.
the story continues at the web site above ...
My own experience has been limited to a hot sauna at about 190 or 195
F and going out to lie down or roll in the snow at -40. It is quite
My admiration goes to the maintenance workers at Galena, Alaska who
would go out at -60F and jump into a manhole at +120F to repair steam