Weary business travellers seeking a rejuvenating blast of chilly (yes, very chilly) breezes. Airline crews eager to undergo a frosty facial to keep their skin glowing and firm. These are the cryotherapy clientele, a new breed of wellness connoisseur.
Polaris Wellness, tucked away 10 floors above the bustling Hong Kong shopping hub of Causeway Bay, is the city’s first known purveyor of the perishing pep-up. Cryo comes from the Greek word for cold, krýo. A Japanese doctor brought the therapy into modern times to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis, before it went on to be used by athletes.
Now you can walk into facilities like Polaris, a cross between a luxury spa and an upmarket sports clinic, for treatments that range from facials to the full-body. Cryotherapy is credited with rejuvenating body cells, revitalising tired skin, activating collagen necessary for the joints and releasing those feel-good serotonins and endorphins.
Due to so many resorting to cryotherapy as a remedy to combat jetlag, Polaris sees salons at airport lounges as one of the next stages of expansion.
WHERE IS IT?
Causeway Bay in the Lee Theatre shopping and office tower, offering sanctuary from the noise of Hong Kong’s gridlock. Polaris is up among the levels that are home to salons, dentists; the more serene services compared to the shops and cosmetic stores in the lower floors.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Prepare to be more than chilled, but the sensation is a surprisingly relaxing one, not an arctic trial. A full-body cryotherapy involves standing in an upright unit – the Cryo Sauna – with liquid nitrogen at temperatures between -70 and -105 degrees Celsius enveloping you from the neck down.
The procedure begins when you meet the therapist (or, cryotherapist) who gives a mini medical for blood pressure and to assess any medical conditions.
There is a spacious anteroom to change and store belongings before entering the adjacent treatment room where the cryo-experience begins. A cryo sauna lasts three minutes, but times vary depending on how the body responds or the requirements of you, the cryo-borg.
The facial takes 12 minutes of recline in a dentist-type chair while you close your eyes and let the vapours be streamed onto you by tube.
Those used to braving freezing outdoor temperatures in the northern hemisphere are unlikely to flinch at the thought of having sub-zero vapours blown at them. In the case of the full cryo, however, you’re semi-naked with only woolen socks and under-garment to further preserve one’s modesty.
Cryotherapists guide you through both procedures, adding a touch of humour or small talk to banish any perishing anxieties. The outcome is one of feeling invigorated, as opposed to being iced.
The much-maligned cold showers have reputed wellness benefits and ought to be de rigueur for that much needed morning perk-up. Cryotherapy is by comparison more comfortable and takes that refreshing jolt to the body to another realm of wellness. You can sense a firmness of the skin straight after and the wake-up call it induces in the rest of the body. Little wonder it’s becoming a favourite with athletes seeking to relax, prepare for a powerful gym workout, or simply replace that road warrior’s lost vigour.
A whole-body therapy is HK$900 (US$116) for two sessions; the first at -70°C to get accustomed to the sensation; the second at -105°C to get serious results. An Anti-ageing Cyro Facial is HK$350 ($45).
Packages are available for a whole-body cyro at HK$680 ($88) and the facial at HK$480 (US$62).
10/F, Lee Theatre, 99 Percival Street, Causeway bay,Hong Kong
Tel: + 852 2446 6163