There's an interesting article in today's Abendzeitung about cryotherapy.
This is a procedure where you spend time in a chamber at -110'C. That's colder than the coldest ever recorded temperature on Earth, -89'C in Antarctica!
Cryotherapy is good for arthritis, rheumatism, acute back pain, neurodermatitis, fibromyalgia, and psoriasis.
But you don't have to be ill to try it! Some athletes have recently started taking this treatment to give themselves an energy boost.
The procedure involves entering the cryochamber wearing just a small swimsuit, wooly hat, thick gloves and socks, and mouth and ear protection. All metalic jewelry must be removed. First you enter the pre-chamber which is kept at -60'C. After 30 seconds you move into the main chamber at -110'C for a maximum of three minutes. There is a window between the chamber and the outside operator, so visual contact is maintained throughout. There is also a two-way intercom. You are encouraged to keep moving inside the chamber. They play gentle music while you're in there.
On emerging from the chamber patients report a pleasant warm feeling throughout the whole body. All joints move more fluidly, you feel happy, strong, and full of energy. This effect lasts up to 6 hours. After 20 to 50 visits, either daily or two or three times a week, you start to feel a long term effect.
Whilst in the chamber the skin temperature drops to 2'C. The blood vessels quickly build a protection zone and core body temperature is maintained. The idea is that the nervous and circulatory systems are given a big kick. Through this maximum stimulation a range of biochemical and hormonal processes are triggered.
A cryochamber is fairly expensive piece of equipment to run. Vists cost something like 10 to 40 Euro a time. There are two centers I could find in Munich:
PhysioZentrum FranziskaWeber - located in Thalkirchen
Krankenhaus Neuwittelsbach - located in Neuhausen
Elsewhere in Bavaria, there is a cryochamber at the Rheumaklinik Bad Aibling (near Rosenheim) and another at Rheumaklinik Bad Füssing (near Passau).
The German for "Cryochamber" is "Kältekammer". "Cryotherapy" is also known as "Shock-Frost-Therapie".
By the way, if you spot similarities between the above post and the cryotherapy article on wikipedia, that's because I wrote the wikipedia article myself earlier this morning. It's not 'cos I copied it!