When I think of cryotherapy, the first thing that comes to mind is Austin Powers.
Surely you’d remember that iconic mise-en-scène. After being cryogenically-frozen for 30 odd years, Powers is thawed and brought back to life in 1997.

iconic scenes

That’s why when I first heard that a cryotherapy centre had opened in Melbourne, I was equal parts amused, scared and intrigued. 
Since late 2016Gravity Cryo has been offering the chilly state-of-the-art experience to those game enough to try it. You might have seen videos of scantily-clad fols walking out of the cloudy chamber on Instagram, as the practice is popular with athletes and people who look hot for a living, including Aussie model-of-the-minute Megan Blake Irwin:
But what does it actually involve?
You get down to your privates, whip on some mittens, slippers and a hat, and spend an icy-cold three minutes in a -110 degrees celsius chamber. No, that’s not a typo – the chamber really is -110 degrees celsius. Colder than any natural temperature recorded on earth. It is farken freeeeeeeezing.
“Wait, that’s not right, if it was that cold wouldn’t you freeze and snap in half?” said my mum when I told her I was trying this out. “That can’t be good for you.”
I, too, was skeptical. 
But according to the clinic’s founder, Nitel Mimi, cryotherapy is safe and boasts many health benefits. 
The cold air supposedly “triggers physiological responses in the human body”, including a boosted metabolism, improved immune function, increased athletic performance and a better night’s sleep. Researchers are divided when it comes to the benefits of cryotherapy, but nevertheless, I had to try it. 
Nitel meets me at the front desk of the futuristic-looking centre, which sits in a fancy street amongst The Olsen and Le Louvre in South Yarra. It’s sort of like stepping onto a spaceship, minus the anal probing.
sexy
I’m given a robe and the rest of the garb. We get to the chamber, and Nitel tells me to pick a song to listen to. I pick this choona. She takes my skin temperature (a healthy 34 degrees).
She then leads me into the glass antechamber where I wait a few seconds before entering the main chamber. The doors don’t lock and Nitel assures me I can call it quits at any time. She watches me through the windows the entire time too, so there’s almost no chance of a Final Destination situation.
I’m also instructed not to touch anything in the room, which immediately makes me think of this:
Here’s a breakdown of the thoughts I had, by the minute, for the duration of the experience:
1st minute
– Wow this is cool
– Literally cool
– The music is nice and loud
– I love this song
– I wish I wore nicer undies
– Ooooh this is a little colder than I anticipated
– Mmmm this is okay, this is doable 
– I must look so cute in these mittens
– I am so healthy
– I’m going to feel incredible after this
– Ok I’m feeling like maybe if I move around it will help

2nd minute
– Yeah nah this is quite cold
– Is my dancing helping or making this worse
– Does my dancing look cooked because tbh if I think I’ll become an ice swan
– This reminds me of the one time I went to Mount Buller and I stayed in the accom the whole time ’cause I was too cold to go outside
– My boss better like this friggen story because this is not humane

3rd and final minute
– I think I am going to die
– This is what Jack felt like when Rose hogged the door
– Fuck Rose
– I’m losing feeling in my elbows
– My eyebrows hurt
– So does my brain a bit
– I always thought I’d rather die in a snow storm than a fire but now I’m reconsidering 
– I cannot take this any longer
After an eternity, Nitel counts down the final ten seconds on her fingers for me to see. I get outta there STAT. My temperature is taken once more and my skin is just 7 degrees.
i am no longer human
After getting over the initial shock, I’m led to an exercise bike so I can warm up. Never have I been more grateful for an exercise bike existing. As I pedal, I start to regain feeling in my legs and arms; good. After about 5 minutes, I’ve completely forgotten about the pain and I’m keen to give it another crack. Like childbirth, I assume.
I went for a rollerblade later that night and I felt pretty good. I also slept well that night.

Would I do it again?
Possibly. A casual session will set you back $75 which is a bit beyond my budget, but I would recommend trying it at least once for the experience alone.
Photo: Austin Powers.