Frozen Smooth

Article excerpt

Byline: Sana Butler

I have just spent the past three minutes half naked and terrified inside a sealed freezer where the temperature is 245 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. I am wearing a bathing suit, mittens, and gray moccasins. My legs are numb. I can't touch my arms without feeling a prickly burning sensation. My nose hairs are frozen from breathing in the liquid-nitrogen ice fog. When the woman monitoring the chamber at the Hotel Haikko Manor and Spa (www.haikko.fi) outside Helsinki begins giving the final countdown, I walk so fast toward the exit that I almost slip, and she has to extend her hand to save me from sticking to the floor. They were the longest three minutes of the day--possibly of my life. And I am going back tomorrow and the next day to do it again. I am freezing my body in the name of beauty.

Used to treat sports injuries, cryotherapy has morphed into the latest, and in my opinion, the greatest youth serum yet. It's based on the idea that exposure to supercold temperatures shocks the central nervous system into producing feel-good endorphins and collagen that wouldn't have otherwise been triggered. Your body forgets how old it is and believes it is under 35--the age at which collagen production slows down. But it takes three sessions, at about $40 a pop.

On the second day, the creator of the Haikko chamber, Dr. …