As you all know, I’m BIG on trying out new fitness, recovery and wellness modalities, so I was super excited when Shaun from Koa Recovery first reached out to me. That was almost a year ago, and since then I’ve become a strong proponent of the amazing services they offer. So I wanted to share those experiences with you and tell you why these recovery modules are so amazing, how they work and how you benefit from them as well. There’s a special Christmas offer for any Sydney locals at the bottom, so keep reading if you’re keen to try for yourself.
In short: Koa Recovery in Waterloo, Sydney, offers state-of-the-art recovery services for athletes, weekend warriors, people with injuries or anyone looking to help their body’s recovery after strenuous exercise
Some of these offers might sound super foreign to you, but don’t worry I’ll explain in a second what they are:
Whole Body Cryotherapy
Float Tank, also called sensory deprivation tanks
Normatec Compression Boots
Remedial & Sports Massage
Compex Elecrtrical Muscle Stimulation Therapy
Whole Body Cryotherapy
You may have seen people standing in what looks like ice chambers all over Instagram lately. The Cryotherapy trend is surely booming, and there’s a lot of science behind why it’s so beneficial. It will leave you feeling like you’ve had a big cuppa coffee, a nap and were miraculously given a couple extra hours in your day!
Let’s have a look at the benefits: it improves oxygen and nutrient circulation, increases collagen production, boosts metabolism, can reduce cellulite, promotes the body’s anti-inflammatory response, can help with pain reduction and flushes out toxins from the body through skin and muscle tissue.
During the treatment, your skin is exposed to temperatures below zero for 3 minutes by standing in ultra-cooled nitrogen (that’s the “smoke” that you see). As the skin reacts to the cold, it signals the brain to send blood to vital organs in the core of the body in order to maintain body temperature through a process called vasoconstriction. This causes toxins to flush from the peripheral tissues and in doing so, the blood is enriched with oxygen, enzymes and important nutrients. When the three minutes are over and your body warms up again, the blood that is now rich in oxygen, nutrients, collagen, endorphins etc. then flows back through the body and and you’ll immediately feel fresh, energetic and agile.
What about the good old ice bath?
That was the first question I had. I’ve done ice baths before, and I always felt like they really helped with muscle recovery and prevention of muscle soreness. So how is Cryo different/better than ice baths, if at all? For starters, during Cryo you’re only in pain for three minutes compared to ca. 20 minutes of struggling through an ice bath (watch here for some giggles of my first ever ice-bath experience). Ice baths locally freeze the soft tissue and muscle, which means the body needs some time to recovery back to 100% capacity once done. Cryotheraphy on the other hand doesn’t actually freeze the muscle tissue – it only creates the illusion of the body being frozen to create a reaction by the nervous system. That means that theoretically you can exercise right after the treatment again.
Healthy mind = healthy body.
These days, we are constantly switched on and bombarded with lights, sounds, smells, pings from our phones, unwanted distractions and general information overload from news, social media etc. It can get overwhelming! A float tank can be the perfect escape from the day-to-day madness.
Also called a sensory deprivation tank, they let you unplug from the world and dive deep into complete relaxation. As the name suggests, you are literally disconnected from all senses by floating in a dark and soundproof pod filled with magnesium-rich Epsom salt water for 45 minutes up to 1 hour. Magnesium is an important mineral that, unlike other minerals, is absorbed through the skin as you soak in the bath. It helps the muscles relax by flushing out lactic acid build up, and plays an important role in helping the body absorb other important nutrients. It’s also a great stress-reliever, hence why magnesium supplements and sprays can be so handy in stress management.
It’s really hard to describe how AMAZING you feel after a float sesh. It’s one of those things that you just have to try for yourself. The first couple of minutes I’m super conscious and switched on, but I quickly relax and literally slip out of consciousness until the end of the session. Coming out of the pod, my body and mind feel so blissssssed out and I move slowly and consciously for the rest of the day. It’s the perfect reminder for me to take life slowly, that there’s no need to rush and stress. Can’t recommend this highly enough for anyone, but especially if you’re stressed and anxious!
NormaTec Compression Therapy
Compression therapy is my latest discovery. You basically strap on these massive boots that go all the way up to your thigh bone, and sit back in a comfortable arm chair while the machine does it’s thing, aka compresses and releases it’s way up and down your legs for 30 minutes. There’s three different compression techniques - pulsing, gradient hold and distal release – which are all very relaxing and all help accelerate the body’s recovery process. It activates the lymphatic system to pump fluid away from extremities and tissue, and then moves the blood back to them, which assists lymphatic drainage, reduces muscle soreness, speeds recovery time etc.
What’s great about this is that you can just sit back and relax, or even work or read a book during the session. Though when I did it I was so tired and blissed out from the float tank before that I pretty much napped the whole way through…
Before lying down on Cynthia’s massage table, she asked me what areas of the body I wanted her to focus on. I’ve had some pain in my knees ever since starting the bootcamp (just went to the physio last week, I now know it’s patellofemoral pain caused by a tight ITB), so I was hoping that she could help me out in that department. Cynthia is not only a massage therapist, but also a life coach with 30yrs of experience of working with people from all walks f life and specializes in remedial/sport massages, reflexology/trigger point therapy and also includes a lot of assisted stretching.
Hands down this is the best massage that I have EVER gotten! Not because her touch was soft and relaxing, ‘cause nop you’re not gonna get that with Cynthia, but because I felt like she knew eeeexactly what she was doing and every touch was with intention and purpose. I’ve honestly never had anyone work on my knees the way she did, and for the first time I actually felt like a massage was helping my knees get better. I’m sure if I were to go to Cynthia regularly, it would help heaps with my pain. All throughout we had a lovely conversation and she also gave breathing queues, put magnesium oil on me, a herbal patch on my eyes and to top it all off there was homemade kombucha made by Cynthia herself. I don’t think a massage can get any better than this. Can’t recommend this service highly enough!
If you want to learn more about Cryotherapy and also the NormaTec compression boots, you should check out Tony Robbinsamazing podcast on the topic. It explains exactly how Cryo is better than ice baths and also gives some insight into what other recovery hacks he uses. Super interesting!