The icelab consists of three temperature chambers, set at three different levels – starting at a ‘cool’ -10 °C, leading though to -60 °C and finally ‘the big chill’ at -110 °C.
Before entering, the required icelab attire is simple – some underwear/swimwear, shoes with socks, gloves, a headband to cover the ears and a paper mask to cover the nose. Your extremities are comfortably protected!
In the first two antechambers (-10 °C/-60 °C) you get shortly used to the cold and any residual moisture evaporates from your skin. By the time you enter the -110 °C chamber the cold is – probably surprising – quite bearable due to the almost 0% humidity.
It’s not an endurance test, you can choose to spend anywhere from one to three minutes slowly walking around the room, breathing slowly through your mask. At -110 °C the air volume shrinks by 45% compared with room temperature, meaning you inhale almost twice the amount of oxygen per breath.
All the time you are observed through the window by the controller who can communicate with you via microphone. Music can even be played into the chamber.
On exiting the icelab, you will feel a pleasant tingling sensation on the skin, a big kick of adrenaline, and before long a sense of deep relaxation will set in.
The extreme cold of the cold-sauna has triggered a strong, short-term cold stimulus on almost the entire body surface – which in turn sparks a series of beneficial reactions via the body’s nervous system, hormones and metabolism.
And the effects aren’t just physical, as the cold stimulation also triggers the powerful release of endorphins for the ultimate feel-good factor.