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August in Britain – A balmy -135°C?

by AprilSix Proof

James in the chamber

James in the chamber

James Romero steps into the BOC cryotherapy chamber

On Wednesday morning the temperature at the South Pole in Antarctica reached a somewhat chilly -65 degrees Celsius. Without wanting to play down the harsh conditions faced by the resident’s of the frozen continent, such temperatures can be considered balmy compared to what awaited me this week, alongside 5 journalists and 11 members of the Watford FC 1st XI.

It’s not often that your day at work involves standing in -135 degree temperatures with just football shorts, a woolly hat and a pair of crocs for warmth. Unless that is, you are one of an increasing number of professional athletes at elite Rugby and Football teams around the UK who are benefiting from a pioneering cryotherapy treatment, operated by BOC, the UK’s leading industrial and medical gases and technologies business.

For the last few years Proof has been working with a team within the Healthcare department at BOC, who have developed and operate the UK’s only mobile cryotherapy treatment chamber. The chamber travels around the country taking athletes through short bursts of -135°C, speeding up injury recovery times and getting sportsmen and women back into training days ahead of schedule after the rigours of competitive action.

Since its launch at the start of last year Proof has run a number of publicity days with academic partners at the  University of Central Lancashire and the first group of clubs to start using the chamber including Warrington Wolves and the English Rugby league team, The British and Irish Lions and current English Rugby Union Champions, Saracens. These open days have given reporters from Sky Sports, the BBC and ITV News team, The Times, The Daily Express, Daily Mail, BT Sport and a number of specialist sport science and health publications an opportunity to enter the chamber with sporting superstars like Owen Farrell and Sam Burgess, and experience -135°C for themselves.

However successful our campaigns have been in introducing the technology to new BOC customers, for me there was one rather more personal target left unmet. After two years of finding every excuse in the book to back out of trying the treatment myself, a combination of bravado from the Watford players, encouragement from the always friendly BOC staff, and the presence of my Director and a camera forced me to brave the big chill.

And as for my review – well, I should have had more faith in the numerous players and reporters whom I had watched enter the chamber over the preceding years. The experience was far more comfortable than temperature gauge reading might suggest. The dry cold makes the treatment practically pleasant compared to the shriek-inducing pain caused by conventional ice baths. As a result I was able to easily fulfill my PR obligation and leave the chamber with a smile on my face and two thumbs up for the eagerly awaiting camera man.