Is cryotherapy the fountain of youth? (Photo: Getty Images)
Demi Lovato has found a chilly way to recover from her intense workout sessions. The 23-year-old singer shared a Snapchat video on Tuesday that showed her peeking out of a medieval-looking cryotherapy chamber, where temperatures dip as low as -250°F to help soothe sore muscles after exercising. Lovato captioned the video “Rehabbin…,” likely referring to the grueling workout she did the day before, according to the Daily Mail.
Lovato is the latest celebrity to tout the benefits of the freezing treatment. In 2015, Lindsay Lohan posted a photo on Instagram of herself in a swimsuit trying the therapy, which garnered more than 52,000 likes. Demi Moore is also a fan of cryotherapy. In 2013, Moore was spotted leaving a session at Cryohealthcare in Los Angeles before her 50th birthday.
Demi Lovato chilling out in a cryotherapy chamber. (Photo: Snapchat)
So what exactly is cryotherapy, and how safe is it? The treatment involves standing in a special tank that exposes the body to freezing temperatures for two to three minutes. The therapy reportedly has an anti-inflammatory effect — and it’s no surprise that it’s not for the faint of heart. According to Liam Hennessy, an expert in cryotherapy, “it’s not like sticking your hand in an ice bucket or taking an ice bath — this is extreme cold,” he told CNN. “Whole body exposure is like stepping into a butcher’s fridge.”
Along with reducing swelling and inflammation, some claim the arctic treatment boosts metabolism, makes skin look smoother, and improves sleep. “It stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory proteins, where it stimulates collagen production in your skin,” Jonas Kuehne, MD, the medical director of Cryohealthcare, told ET News. However, there isn’t much research to prove — or disprove — many of the reported benefits.
Lindsay Lohan braves the cold while trying cryotherapy. (Photo: Instagram/Lindsay Lohan)
The therapy also isn’t risk-free. In 2015, Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, who worked at a Nevada spa that offered cryotherapy, decided to hop into one of the chambers at the end of the day to relieve sore muscles. The 24-year-old was found dead the next day, “rock-hard solid,” according to CNN. Although the cause of death is still being investigated, some say Ake-Salvacion’s mistake was going into the chamber when she was by herself at the spa.
The tragedy hasn’t halted the popularity of cryotherapy among celebrities and athletes, and, in fact, Ake-Salvacion’s employer, Rejuvenice, still stands by the therapy. “We firmly believe in whole-body cryotherapy treatments for pain management, athletic recovery, detoxification, and a variety of other ailments,” the company said in a statement, according to CNN. “Millions of treatments have been given safely all over the world for more than 20 years.”