Cryotherapy: Burn 500 to 800 calories with this celebrity favorite treatment

By Heather Galloway

Chill out, guys! When it comes to being at the top of their game both physically and mentally, the cast of Dancing with the Stars has to be a few steps ahead of the rest of us. So when we heard that the entire troupe is visiting the Cryohealthcare clinic in L.A. for the world's coolest pick-me-up – otherwise known as cryotherapy – we took note.

Not only has the fabulously fit Derek Hough posted a pic on Instagram of himself and his amazing abs emerging from sub-zero temperatures, but it seems a whole roster of celebs are trying the world's fastest 'cure-all', including Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss and James Bond himself Daniel Craig.

Freeze! Derek Hough is among the stars trying cryotherapy Photo: Instagram/ @derekhough

Lindsay Lohan started cryotherapy after catching the chikungunya virus which attacked her joints. “It's amazing! When I was doing community service in New York from 8am to 8.30pm, I was having it once a day," she told HELLO!. It helps you sleep better and affects your functioning too." Other advocates include Mandy Moore, who has declared herself “obsessed” and is trying to turn her pal Minka Kelly onto the Big Chill.

Meanwhile, Derek Hough wasn't the only Dancing with the Stars cast member to reveal his cryotherapy habit on Instagram. Mark Ballas posted pics of himself and Willow Shields at a cryotherapy session with this line: “Have been so sore this week, but after #cryohealthcare yesterday, I'm feeling 1,000 times better.”

Cryotherapy is, in effect, a freezing sauna. For a fee of between $60 to $90, celebrities are joining sports professionals in stripping down to their briefs and tolerating liquid nitrogen-induced arctic temperatures of between -240ºF and -270ºF in a sealed chamber with the help of a mask, socks and gloves. The endurance test lasts three minutes max! Over eight minutes and you're dead.

The more the merrier as Lindsay Lohan chills with some pals. Photo: Instagram/ @lindsaylohan

The exposure to such temperatures kicks your body into survival mode. Your skin vessels and capilleries become severely restricted as blood rushes to your core to protect your organs. However, once the treatment is over, they become just as severely dilated as the blood rushes back to your extremities and your body is flooded with feel-good endorphins.

As a result of being quite literally frozen, your metabolism and immune system receive a meteoric boost. “The extreme cold exposure causes the body to speed up its metabolic rate,” says Dr. Jonas Kuehne, MD, who, together with his wife Emilia and brother Robin, founded Cyrohealthcare and brought the first cryotherapy machine to the U.S. “The effect lasts for about six to eight hours. In this time the body can burn 500-800 calories.”

The fact cryotherapy activates the production of collagen in the deeper layers of skin means it is hailed as an anti-ageing weapon while the endorphins that flood your body are said to reduce inflammation and alleviate depression.

For the World Cup 2015, the Italian rugby team went for the deep freeze. Photo: Getty Images

The therapy first became popular in the 1970s in Japan as a treatments for osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, though sportsmen and women have seized on its apparent ability to heal nerve and muscle damage and boost athletic performance.

"Immersion in this kind of extreme cold has an interesting effect because it accelerates the time tissue takes to heal and so shortens the time it takes someone to get back into action. But it has to be done under professional supervision,” says sports physiotherapist Ruben Fernández, whose general physio patients have included the Spanish royals. “If, for example, the exposure to the freezing conditions is overdone, it can cause necrosis (cell death) in the tissue you are trying to heal.”

The woman behind the mask? Minka Kelly, who tried cryotherapy earlier this year. Photo: Instagram/@mandymooremm

As long as precautions are taken, however, the prognosis is positive. Robin Kuehne, CEO at Cryohealthcare in L.A, tells HELLO! that “It's more effective than an ice bath because wet cold is painful whereas cryotherapy uses dry cold which is far more tolerable. You have to be in an ice bath for 6-15 minutes but cryotherapy is three minutes at the most.”

Robin says that when they started in 2009, "People thought we were crazy! Now we have a wide spectrum of clients, including the wrestler Floyd Mayweather and the cast of Dancing with the Stars. The boost to metabolism and to collagen production means a lot of people are now using it for beauty purposes. It won't replace cosmetic surgery but it does tighten and firm up the skin."

There are over 100 centers using cryotherapy in the U.S.

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