With proven medical treatments for aging, brain disease, unrefreshing sleep, and low productivity years, or even decades, away, some people consider self-experimentation to be the fastest route to a healthier, happier, longer life. They call it biohacking. But does it work?
For two months, I hacked myself to find out. My goal was to separate the science from the BS. But if I ended up stronger, smarter, faster, healthier, calmer, more creative, and more productive, that would be okay, too.
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Cryotherapy What is it? Cooling the body with nitrogen What is it supposed to do? Reduce inflammation How much does it cost? $90 per session What does it feel like? Standing on your porch in a blizzard
Ihand my robe to Michael Margulies, one earnest-faced half of the husband- and-wife team that owns NYC Cryo, a black, low-ceilinged basement gym in New York City, and I am practically naked inside an eight-foot-tall silver cylinder. Fog seeps over the top, like it’s been pumped in from a stage set for Macbeth. I march in place in my thick black crew socks and rub my nubby white gloves together. Margulies tells me not to be nervous, but I am. Three years ago, a woman died during an after-hours solo session at a cryotherapy spa in Las Vegas. Authorities believe the platform was set too low. She breathed too much nitrogen gas, passed out, and froze to death.
With how much Margulies is talking, it’s almost as if he’s the one who’s nervous. “The benefits of cryotherapy are—it reduces inflammation, helps sports recovery, helps you get deeper sleep by increasing REM,” he says. “It helps with depression, and it burns between 400 and 800 calories a session.” I’m not sure that last bit is even possible,