MALIBU, CA—Ice is often the first order of action recommended to reduce swelling and improve blood flow in affected tissues among athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. However, there’s something cooler available—cryotherapy—and its benefits may go beyond the basics of what ice can do.
Alex Glasscock, founder/CEO of The Ranch Malibu experienced it firsthand and it was love at first “chill,” so much so, he incorporated the service into his resort’s offerings.
“The Japanese have been using cryotherapy since the 1970s and athletes in the U.S. have incorporated cryo saunas into their recovery programs,” said Glasscock. “Being in a sauna for up to three minutes at minus 165 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler—when used consistently, a couple times a week—reduces inflammation and swelling in joints and it’s also purported to rev up your metabolism and you can burn an additional 500-800 calories over the next several hours. We’ve been told it also helps with cellulite reduction and aids sleep patterns.”
The proof is in the program. According to Glasscock, clients who’ve used the cryotherapy services consistently feel like they’re getting all of these benefits and more. “We’ve seen countless people—both staff members and guests—receive the benefits,” he said. “They also feel re-energized from it.”
The Ranch Malibu is keenly focused on diagnostics as it’s part of the resort’s wellness philosophy. “There’s a lot of information out there that tells people what they need to do to become healthier and well from nutrition, such as eating more vegetables and less meat, to more rigorous exercise,” he said. “We’ve taken all those known facts and developed a results-oriented program around that. For people coming to immerse themselves in our program for a week or four days, they get measurable results that are visual and done in a short time, so people are empowered to go into their daily lives with improved confidence and self-esteem.”
Cryotherapy is for everyone, but certain precautions must be taken, noted Glasscock.
“I haven’t heard any disclaimers, but you need to be dry, open cuts are not ideal. It’s necessary because you’re getting into this cylinder at minus 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you come out of the shower those wet molecules would freeze and you’d get frostbite. We use the sauna throughout the day, so if someone is walking down from exercising, they’d need to wipe off.”
Among the benefits Glasscock noticed firsthand? He was getting leaner. “I have a pretty consistent routing and just adding that in burned more calories and helped my sleep pattern. I typically get eight to 10 hours, but now my sleep is really deep, and I attribute that to this cryotherapy.”
To use the cryotherapy sauna, Glasscock recommends that women wear a bikini or workout shorts and a sports bra, while men can wear shorts. Liquid nitrogen is injected into the cylinder to cool it and a staff member turns it on. “For the first two minutes, it feels cold. You rotate while you’re in it, so you’re not stationary. The nitrogen is coming out one side for even distribution. In the last minute, you’re kind of feeling like you’re standing naked in the Arctic and you want to go back inside.”
When the service is administered, one of the resort’s trained staff members is always present with the guest and talking through the process. The sauna is typically used for three minutes. It’s available daily, from Monday to Friday.
“We’re making it available to our guests and expanding to other locations. We’re looking forward to having that as part of the program,” he said. “There’s something empowering about taking yourself out of your comfort zone and chilling yourself. Some people go up to minus 200 Fahrenheit. There’s a big difference in temperatures, surprisingly.”
On a separate note, The Ranch Malibu will reopen in a couple weeks following clean-up efforts from the Woolsey Fire, a wind-driven wildfire that is considered one of the largest and most destructive in Los Angeles history.
“We’re cleaning up after the fires. With our opening, we’ll have a cold plunge pool and an infrared pool to offer,” he said. “At times like this, it’s been a great bonding experience with the staff and we’ve been through some challenges. Our massage therapist is helping in the garden, our chiropractor is cleaning up the gym and everyone is pitching in together. It’s a challenging time and everyone is sincerely helping and being there for one another.”