Red Corner: Slovakia’s Snowman Spa Service

Based merely on the word’s Greek roots, cryotherapy doesn’t sound like very much fun.

Perhaps you’ve heard of cryogenics, which shares the same Greek root, cryo, meaning “cold.” This is where they freeze the recent dead in liquid nitrogen with hopes of bringing them back to life one day. Well, cryotherapy is similar except they freeze the living with the intention of making them healthier.

Cryotherapy is based upon treatment developed in Eastern Europe during communism to heal injuries to their Olympic athletes. Today, a Czech entrepreneur in Slovakia runs a spa based upon the same principle.

Journalist Tom Chesshyre ventured to AquaCity, in the town of Poprad to give cold therapy a whirl. The concept is simple; bake in one of the spas numerous saunas or heat rooms and then jump into the “Snow Paradise” room where it is -60 Fahrenheit. According to the spa’s literature, the sudden change in temperature creates a “a beneficial effect of total blood circulation and a congestion of the epidermis by reducing pulse frequency.” Ouch!

The Scandinavians and Russians have been doing this for ages. Jumping out of their saunas and banyas and rolling around in the snow, they keep telling me, is great for the constitution. Well now, there is someone trying to make money off this potentially heart-stopping procedure. I’d hate to see their insurance premiums.