There are always new health therapies and practices breaking onto the wellness scene; some have been around for decades and are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, whilst others are freshly created using the latest technologies. We road-tested 4 amazing therapies at Koa, a boutique and LA-inspired sports recovery, injury management and wellness centre that is offering Sydney-siders cryotherapy, float therapy, compression therapy and electrical muscle stimulation therapy in their welcoming inner city health hub. Verdict: whether your goals are recovery, weight loss, beauty or pain and health condition management, you’ll definitely want to incorporate one or more of these into your wellness routine!
During a session of whole body cryotherapy, the skin is exposed to temperatures below zero degrees for up to 3 minutes via stepping into a tank of liquid nitrogen. It might sound crazy and slightly scary, but it is actually totally manageable for such a short duration and the benefits are well worth enduring a small period of simulated Antarctica! The process stimulates oxygen and nutrient circulation, acting as a catalyst for the body to heal itself and improve overall health.
Cryotherapy has been used since the 1970s where it originated in Japan as a way to treat arthritis, due to its highly anti-inflammatory impact on the body. It is now, however, recognised as having a whole host of fitness, wellbeing, beauty and weight loss benefits.
Sports people are fans of cryotherapy because it can reduce recovery time by up to 50%, reduce onset muscle soreness, reduce swelling and increase athletic performance. Those with chronic health conditions will also benefit from the sessions, with cryotherapy shown to reduce inflammatory markers, optimise chronic and acute pain management, as well as assist with depression and anxiety.
Sports people are fans of cryotherapy because it can reduce recovery time by up to 50%, reduce onset muscle soreness, reduce swelling and increase athletic performance.
In addition, cryotherapy has become increasingly recognised for offering a host of coveted beauty benefits, being highly anti-ageing as it stimulates collagen production, as well as assisting with cellulite reduction, plus smoothing and tightening the skin. It can also boost metabolism and just one session may help you burn up to 800 calories over the next few hours following the treatment, making cryotherapy an excellent weight loss support.
Climbing into a pod-like tank with approximately 25cm deep of a high saline water, which contains around 550kg of Epsom salts, “floating” provides an anti-gravity environment designed to block out external distractions. It almost feels like a return to the womb, with your body gently suspended in body temperature water, with sound and light removed and is a very comforting sensation.
Over an hour session, the buoyancy of the water (similar to that of the Dead Sea) allows your body to be effortlessly supported and float gently on the surface, eliminating the constraints of gravity and allowing every muscle in your body to relax. Due to this, float therapy brings benefits such as a feeling of deep calmness, increased endorphins, decreased cortisol (stress) levels, improved sense of wellbeing, and even helps to manage insomnia, migraines and infertility. It’s the perfect time out to our hectic lifestyles.
NormaTec Compression Therapy
During a session of NormaTec Compression Therapy, while relaxing in a comfortable chair, your feet and legs are fitted into special compression cases, which are attached to a machine that powers them to contract and expand from your toes to the top of your thighs. This motion of compression and release mobilises body fluid by mimicking the natural muscle pump function, assisting in lymphatic drainage, massaging of the limbs, reducing muscle soreness and speeding recovery time from training.
You can opt for either a 30 or 60 minute session and it is surprisingly enjoyable to do! Afterwards you feel relaxed and in the hours following you may notice the release of any fluid retention too. Yes please!
Compex Electrical Muscle Stimulation Therapy
Using cutting-edge technologies, Compex is an electrical muscle stimulator that can accelerate fitness results and help with pain management. During the session, small pads which emit electrical currents are attached to the targeted areas. Using muscle intelligence technology, it helps to reduce stress on the body from training, whilst promoting injury rehabilitation and assisting with minimising any associated pain.
Compex is a medical grade therapy which can also increase strength without causing nervous fatigue, as well as increasing muscle power whilst protecting your joints, making it ideal for the athlete to incorporate into their active lifestyle. Get onto it.
Image: Kylie Gulliver / GravityCryo