Cleveland Cavaliers Are The Latest To Try Cryotherapy: “Your Mind Is Telling You, ‘I Might Die'”

01.18.13 5 years ago

Dion Waiters

If you pluck the following quote out of context, you’d have a hard time telling if the story was about state-sponsored torture or team-sponsored injury prevention: “They’re putting you in a room that’s, like, minus 180. So your mind is telling you, ‘I might die.'” This is about the latter, specifically the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent visit to U.S. Cryotherapy outside Sacramento, the destination of several, frozen trips by other teams. The Cavs’ trip just comes off a lot funnier than most others.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Mary Schmitt Boyer wrote this great recent story about reactions from the six players and various training staff members who opted for the eight-minute therapy session during their West Coast road trip. This is how Tristan Thompson, C.J. Miles, Luke Walton, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller and Kevin Jones reacted to the session, which involves being in a minus-76 degree room for five minutes before moving into a minus-166 degree room for three minutes. The results sound rejuvenating. The process sounds unappealing.

“The first time is the worst,” Walton said after practice at the Nike headquarters on Thursday afternoon. “They’re putting you in a room that’s, like, minus 180. So your mind is telling you, ‘I might die.’

“The second time you know you’re going to make it though.”

Although Thompson attempted to dance his way through the three minutes, typically players walk around the small room while listening to music — all the players listened to rap music, the trainers chose heavy metal — and letting out the occasional scream.

“You can feel the saliva freezing in your mouth,” Walton said. “When you need to yell, you yell. They had the music going for us. They tell you one minute, two minutes … the last minute feels like eight minutes.”

Walton later said he would like it if the team installed a chamber at its practice facility for more common use, but Walton (who also visited when he was a Laker) isn’t a lone symbol of cryotherapy’s popularity, or of a player making such a request. The center’s Facebook page has photos of members of the Kings, Clippers, Blazers, Bulls, Nets and Lakers sprinkled among photos of high school teams, other pro athletes and body builders in its album of customers. Jason Kidd said last season he wanted to get the Mavericks to install one after he felt it was like a “secret weapon” during Dallas’ NBA title run (Note: Cryotherapy’s effects do not last that long). Kevin Love last January made a similar request of his franchise after the Timberwolves visited a cryo center, though with this season’s spate of injuries — now Nikola Pekovic is out 10 days — it might be better for Minnesota to sequester itself in the Mayo Clinic for a while instead of a freezing chamber.

After research though, it appears Tristan Thompson is the only player on record to use dancing to endure the eight-minute session.

What do you think?

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