Standing in -110°C in a bikini may not sound ideal but it has its benefits, as Christine Zoliec of Monte-Carlo's Thermes Marins explains

In Depth Christine Zoliec

Monday, July 17, 2017 – 11:14am

In Monaco, the climate is fabulous, and there are many activities to take part in from sports to culture, so it’s a great place to unwind – whether you’re alone, in a couple or with your family. But we all know most people have very little time to take care of themselves, so at Thermes Marins we’ve devised a series of revitalising four-day wellness programmes for guests at Hotel Hermitage in Monte-Carlo.

Our most popular programme – the Potential Booster – includes cryotherapy treatment, which involves standing in two ice chambers, one at -60ºC and the other one at -110ºC. It may be extremely cold, but it’s also an amazing experience.

Many athletes use this kind of ice chamber just after a competition, as it’s very good for improving blood circulation. They often do another session one or two days later as it speeds up their recovery process and minimises muscle soreness so they can perform again more quickly. It’s also very good for people who have inflammatory diseases, as it reduces inflammation and pain, and for business people who travel a lot, as it gives you a huge boost of energy and helps to reduce jetlag and the effects of burnout.

Before going into the chamber you must ensure you’re absolutely dry – so you shouldn’t do any sport or take a shower beforehand. We ask our clients to wear swimwear with no clasps or buckles, and we provide a facemask, special gloves, sandals and socks. There is also an important medical questionnaire to complete – as those with heart or blood pressure-related issues should not take part in the treatment.

You start by going in the first chamber at -60ºC for 10–15 seconds, then there is a door into the second chamber where the temperature is -110ºC, and you stay here for three minutes. The first time I did it I stayed in for just two minutes – you get 80 per cent of the effect after that time, but after three minutes you get 100 per cent.

If you really want to see the best results from cryotherapy, you should do it for up to eight consecutive days. To speed up the process, you can do it twice a day – once in the morning, then again in the afternoon or in the evening, but leaving at least five hours between sessions.

Elsewhere there are other cryotherapy methods, such as tubs where you sit or stand and your head is not exposed to the low temperatures. But the effects are not the same. When you have your head inside the chamber, it works on your brain too. It’s like pressing your body’s reset button – your metabolism increases and the energy boost you get is incredible. The day after your first session, your skin will feel fantastic as well.

Thermes Marins is not a hospital, but we can do check-ups and a full health MOT. We work with the Cardiothoracic Center of Monaco, the IM2S [Monaco Institute of Sports Medicine] and the new check-up unit in the Princess Grace Hospital. Most check-ups can be done in your hotel room in the morning before breakfast.

Before treatment here, we ask guests to fill in a confidential form on the website including medical and nutritional details, which the doctor analyses ahead of arrival. Based on this, we prepare guests’ four-day programme. When clients arrive, they see the doctor to discuss their observations, and everything is personalised from there.

After the four-day programme, we send clients home with a lot of advice. We also do a follow-up consultation between stays, so if you come back in three or six months, we have all your files and information from the doctor and the nutritionist – it really is the complete wellness package.

CHRISTINE ZOLIEC has a background in nutrition and has been the director of the Thermes Marins spa, part of Societe des Bains de Mer, since 2014;

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