NBA players are increasingly using cryotherapy, but to most of us, the actual process is a mystery.
All I knew, thanks to the pain and suffering of Manny Harris, is not to wear wet socks during treatment. Otherwise, I was at a loss.
But while covering the Cleveland Cavaliers on the West Coast, Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal and Allie Clifton of Fox Sports Ohio underwent cryotherapy in a facility near Sacramento. Boyer:
Just before entering, we had the temperature of our skin taken. Each of us was 88 degrees going into the chamber.
The chamber itself is divided into two parts, each about the size of a small closet. Four people can stand comfortably. The warm-up chamber — and I use that term lightly — is set at minus-76. We spent 30 seconds in there before walking through a glass door with a wooden handle into a little bit bigger chamber where the temperature is minus-166. We spent a LONG two minutes in there.
I’m not gonna lie. It was shocking. I’m also not gonna lie. Lloyd screamed louder than Clifton or I — and swore more.
Because it was the end of the day and because the center had been busy, it was a bit foggy in the second chamber. Whereas the players told us they had walked in a little circle, we stood in a little huddle talking about how crazy we were. There was a window so the staffers could see in and a microphone so they could hear us and give us a countdown every 30 seconds. The last thing they told us was that we could come out at any time. There’s no lock on either of the doors.
The last 30 seconds seemed to last forever, and we were a little disoriented trying to get out because of the fog. But there was a certain bizarre sense of accomplishment having survived a purely voluntary test of endurance. They took our skin temperature again immediately. Clifton and I were at 58, Lloyd was at 59.
Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles said they found cryotherapy helpful, though they didn’t exactly come across head-over-heals in love with the method. For her part, Boyer said she felt no real effects (other than pride in surviving the ordeal).
The consensus seems to be that it might work for some people – perhaps even only due to placebo effect – and not others. So, unless it causes pain, there’s no harm in trying it.
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But for $30 a pop special, that can get a little pricey for us common folk to do regularly – especially if the health benefits are not clear. For an NBA player, especially one whose team is covering it, that’s nothing.
The lesson here: It’s better to be an NBA player than an NBA reporter.