Behind-the-Scenes Beauty: My experience with Cryotherapy & SleekSculpt

About a month back I was invited to Cryoliving to experience Cryotherapy first hand… now this is entirely new to me as I had never heard of it before, but I was intrigued and went along to try it out in order to report back to you!

Cryoliving is based in Plumstead, Cape Town and from their salon they offer a variety of Cryotherapy treatments, including CryoFacial and Whole Body Cryotherapy as well as SleekSculpt. I recently tried out all three treatments over the course of a few weeks…

What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is a medical treatment that involves exposing the whole body to liquid nitrogen vapour ranging between -120 ˚C and -160 ˚C for a time frame of 30 seconds to three minutes. This creates powerful physiological responses which stimulates injured areas, treats inflammatory conditions and reduces pain, but it also affects the whole body to achieve optimised health and the feel good factor.

What is Cryotherapy used for?

Stressful lifestyles inevitably lead to excess inflammation and adrenal fatigue. Symptoms of which include poor stress tolerance, fatigue, body pains, poor injury recovery and more all of which can be treated using Cryotherapy. Other conditions that can be treated with Cryotherapy include:

  • Sport performance and recovery
  • Rheumatic conditions
  • Whiplash
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Optimised health
  • Mental health & stress management (sleeping disorders, depression, anxiety etc)
  • Cosmetic benefits (anti-aging, increased collagen production, reduces cellulite, increases metabolism etc)

How does Cryotherapy work?

Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBCT) is where you step into a cylindrical open top CryoSauna for a period of 0.5 to 3 minutes. The extreme cold covers the whole body to create a systemic physiological response. The cold stimulates various physiological processes including the release of ‘happy’ hormones, natural morphine and cortisone creating a powerful pain killing and anti-inflammatory response. Unlike ice baths which slow down cellular activity, Cryotherapy hyper stimulates the body which speeds up cellular activity.

What happens to your body during Cryotherapy?

The CryoSauna releases liquid nitrogen vapour ranging between -120˚C to -160˚C, which envelops your body for 0.5 – 3 min.


The process is completely tolerable, yet the body interprets the extreme cold as a threat to its wellbeing. The temperature receptors in the skin send this information to the brain (hypothalamus area), which responds with an attempt to restore balance.


The first step the body takes to protect its core temperature, is to redirect blood from superficial vessels and capillaries in the skin towards deeper structures. This causes blood to flow from the periphery towards the central core.


After completion of the treatment, the body reheats itself through vasodilation. The vessels and capillaries expand up to four (4) times their normal diameter. This causes a significant increase in blood flow to the skin and extremities, enriching cells with oxygen and enzymes to a much greater degree than under normal balanced conditions.


Β-endorphins are released, which act as the body’s natural morphine. This has a pain relieving effect throughout the whole body and also creates a sense of euphoria.


The cold exposure drastically reduces the body’s ability to communicate pain signals. After multiple sessions, the body adapts its perception to pain stimuli.


Muscle relaxation leads to relief of muscle spasm.


The body’s white blood cells secrete small proteins (cytokines), which are used in cell signaling and ultimately affect the behaviour of other cells. These proteins can be either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. During Whole Body Cryotherapy, pro-inflammatory cytokines are decreased and anti-inflammatory cytokines are increased. This causes a powerful anti-inflammatory response throughout the whole body.


The body’s total anti-oxidative status is increased. The body achieves an improved ability to eliminate free radicals, naturalize toxins and repair cellular damage. This process can lead to a powerful anti-aging effect.


As part of the body’s metabolic reheating mechanism, additional calories are burnt, often to a degree comparable to an intense workout. Reports suggest that an additional 400 to 800 calories are burned as result of a single WBCT session and that multiple sessions lead to a longer-term increase in metabolism, which can lead to weight loss.

My thoughts on Whole Body Cryotherapy

I managed to cope for the 3 minute treatment, but I won’t lie. It was intense! I had to wear crocs!!! Haha no the treatment itself was SUPER cold, but bearable. The cold is carried in a dry vapour so doesn’t feel as “icy” as a wet cold. Near the end I had to keep moving in the little space I had in order to not feel the intensity of the cold so much! It really does take your breath away.

I only had 1 session in the CryoSauna but it takes about 6 weeks of frequent sessions for the body to adapt and change it’s physiology in order to get it to function at a superior level.

What is a CryoFacial?

A CryoFacial is a facial treatment that uses pressurised liquid nitrogen vapour that is sprayed directly onto the face, neck and head to stimulate micro-circulation in the skin.

CryoFacial™ treatments are combined with advanced skincare products as the treatment helps to improve absorption of key skincare ingredients and thus offers optimized results.

What does a CryoFacial™ achieve?

  • Immediate tightening of skin
  • Reduction in pore size
  • Reduction of facial inflammation (“puffiness”)
  • Decrease wrinkles and lines
  • Stimulation of collagen production
  • Improve micro circulation
  • Brighten dark spots
  • Tightening of hair follicles, thickening hair volume of eyelashes and eyebrows

My thoughts on the CryoFacial

The CryoFacial was like a normal facial with gorgeous products and a lovely relaxing massage, however it had the added unique experience of using liquid nitrogen vapour at one point in the treatment across the whole of your face. A controlled beam of nitrogen vapour is used to ‘freeze’ the skin of the face and neck area. The treatment does increase the blood flow in your skin so you can expect some redness (as in the pic below on my decolletage) I found the cold was bearable in most parts of my face although I struggled a bit with the icy tickle on my nose and near my eyes. That being said my therapist was amazing and made the process feel a lot more bearable… and really helped me to relax and go with the flow despite the discomfort at some points.

Applying this cold liquid nitrogen vapour creates an instant skin tightening effect on the skin, plumping it up so that fine lines and wrinkles appear less noticeable. Collagen is also stimulated during the treatment leaving the skin looking more elastic and refined. The cold “freeze” also stimulates your skin to absorb a higher concentration of the products applied to it directly afterwards so all the active ingredients in the products are pumped into the skin. This is as a result of the fast contracting and expanding of the skin’s blood vessels which in turn causes a surge of nutrient rich, oxygenated blood to flow through your veins and feed your skin.

The CryoFacial™ will flush away built up toxins in your skin, eliminate puffiness, reduce pore size and soothe inflammation, so any discomfort is totally worth it in my opinion!

After the treatment my skin literally glowed with life…See Before and After below!

A CryoFacial is quick and easy, with absolutely no downtime. You can apply make-up and return to work immediately. This is also the perfect facial treatment for a bride or someone looking to get their glow on for any special occasion.

What is SleekSculpt™?

SleekSculpt™is a complex cosmetic and therapeutic treatment using pneumatic equipment controlled by individulalized algorithms. The powerful wave-flow compression helps to drain the lymphatic system and ultimately detoxifies the body of cellulite-causing metabolic waste.

The skin becomes smoother and firmer, and there is a noticeable reduction in oedemas (water retention/ swelling) and an instant slimming effect on the body after just one treatment. Significant reduction is waist, hip and thigh circumference can be expected after a course of treatments.

What does a SleekSculpt™ treatment involve?

The SleekSculpt™treatment includes 4 processes (a 5th if Cryotherapy is included)

1. Exfoliation

The skin (legs up to waist) is exfoliated to assist with absorption of further products.

2. Cryotherapy (optional)

If Cryotherapy is added, it is performed at this stage. Five areas are targeted with local cryotherapy. This hyper stimulates the respective areas, increasing blood blood-flow through vasodilation and speeding up metabolism and other cellular activities. The process improves the oxygenation and nourishment of skin cells as well as strengthens collagen and elastin fibres making the skin visibly firmer and more elastic.

3. Body wrapping with Cellulite balm

A cellulite balm with highly stimulatory properties are applied to the skin. The process is followed with body wrapping to keep the balm active for the duration of the treatment.

4. Powerful wave-flow lymphatic drainage massage

A state of the art computerised compression device is worn where individually controlled pressured sleeve chambers stimulate blood and lymph circulation around the body. This process quickens the process of waste elimination, detoxifies and enhances the body’s immune system while improving oxygenation and nourishment of the tissues. The pressure massage which applies sequential pressure to targeted areas firms the skin and effectively removes retained fluid waste.

5. Manual Massage

The final stage of the procedure is a short manual massage using rich nourishing product. This gentle massage calms the skin and restores its natural tone.

My thoughts on my SleekSculpt™ treatment

After being slathered in various lotions and potions I was “glad wrapped” and then slipped into the SleekSculpt™suit which makes the Michelin man look skinny! Fortunately no one sees you like this (expect the therapist… and the rest of the internet if you are me!)
I then found myself gently massaged, prodded and pummelled by the rhythmic compressing of the various pressured sleeve chambers.
The treatment takes about an hour with you spending about 45 mins lying on the bed as the machines do the work. I found the treatment rather calming and drifted off into a very relaxed state.
Occasionally the pressure on various champers got quite tight and constricting, but this was only for a few seconds and then it released. A few times I felt a bit uncomfortable, but it was never painful. However, I do think people who struggle with claustrophobia might not want to sign up for this treatment.

I was only able to try the SleekSculpt™ out once so I can’t really vouch for the long term benefits of this treatment, however I’ve heard good things. I experienced some loss in cm’s after just one treatment, including an immediate reduction in my upper thigh and lower waist circumference (always a good thing!) Most treatments result in 1 cm circumference loss around the waist, hips and thighs and apparently significant improvement in firmness and appearance of cellulite is found after 2 – 3 sessions.

I would definitely be keen to try the SleekSculpt™out on a more regular basis to see whether I can lose a few more cm’s while lying around like a lazy bum!


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