FHM’s wearing a white fluffy dressing gown and surrounded by women, soft glowing lights and tranquilising music. At Champneys spa in Hertfordshire, there exists a sort of treatment hub, a waiting area through which anyone booked in for a facial or massage must travel, both on the doughy-faced way in and the rosy-cheeked way out. Bizarrely, Frank Bruno - also wearing a white-fluffy dressing gown – has just exited from the room FHM is scheduled to enter. The blue door reads ‘Kriotherapy’.

What is kriotherapy?
Kriotherapy is a sort of mini version of Dr Evil cryogenically freezing himself, but without the bit where you get fired into space afterwards. It’s a treatment that’s becoming increasingly popular with elite athletes in their bid to return from injury ahead of schedule. Jermain Defoe, Theo Walcott and jockey Tony McCoy have all visited Champneys in the past 18 months.


Cold shoulder: once again, FHM was in the dog house

What do you do?

Dressed, for practical reasons, just like a Smurf, you are asked to enter a chamber that has been cooled using liquid nitrogen to -60 degrees. Renata, the Polish kriotherapy expert conducting the treatment, calls this “the baby room”. A minute later, you are led into a second chamber, which is set at a ridiculous -135 degrees. You stay there for three minutes, and are then required to get exercising as soon as you exit, with a combination of aerobic work on the bike or treadmill and a series of strength exercises on a vibrating platform.


Hand was enjoying a purple patch

How does it work?
When your skin senses the temperature, it sends an ‘extreme danger’ signal to your brain, initiating a fight or flight response. Your brain then performs a scan to check for areas of the body that might not be working to their fullest potential. With exercise, blood is then pumped around the body at a significantly increased rate.

What does it feel like?

It feels ridiculous, but that’s because you’ve (probably) never dressed like a Smurf before and you’re wearing wooden clogs. The extreme temperature isn’t as shocking as you’d think, but FHM suspects that’s because your body skips the ‘extreme shivering’ stage and goes straight into shock.

Kriotherapy
"Your fingers have all fallen off! LOL!"

When you exit, however, your whole body is tingling and you’ve got endorphins pulsing through you like rocket fuel. You’ve never felt so awake. FHM broke a leg in November (ten weeks prior to kriotherapy) and a few days after the treatment, made the jump from jogging with discomfort to running at ¾ pace.

What else is it good for?

Sleep dysfunction, osteoporosis and arthritis, symptoms of fatigue and depression, MS and ME, relief of back pain.

Do it:
For information on kriotherapy treatment packages, click here or to book call the Regenerate Team on 01442 291105 or email tringspa@champneys.com. Prices start at £50.