I’m in the cryochamber at Gleneagles Townhouse’s wellness space, The Strong Rooms.
The provided outfit consists of a woolly hat, gloves, face mask, sock and slippers. Apart from those, I’m wearing my own sports bra and leggings.
The temperature is -90.2°c and I’m only allowed to stay in this small space for three minutes. As you’re allowed to choose a song to play, I went for Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, though apparently many go for the theme tune from Frozen. I can feel my snotters and tears turning to ice, and my arms start to burn. The last 30 seconds is the hardest but, when I get out, I feel high and want to do it again.
Unfortunately, this is the only place in Scotland that has one of these chambers, so that might be tricky.
I imagine this can be addictive, and the benefits are similar to those experienced when wild swimming. They say there are mental and physical health benefits and it can improve focus and boost immunity. This isn’t the only offering in this basement level space, which used to be the former bank’s vault. It’s usually only open to hotel guests and members, with subs of £1100 a year for under 33s and £2200 if you’re older than that.
However, they’re giving me - a skint non-member - a tour, since there are upcoming events that are open to those who don’t subscribe. For example, from November 15-17, they’ll be hosting naturopath, nutritionist and author, Rose Ferguson, who has created three day-long retreats, Hormone Health, Gut Health and Energise.
These will incorporate workshops, special menus and cryotherapy, but will also make use of this white-tiled basement level venue’s infrared sauna, which is in the slick changing rooms. As well as other fitness sessions, participants will also get to try yoga. They’ll do yin, but I’m experiencing a 45 minute flow session, while a night sky is projected onto one wall in the studio, where they do a whole range of classes. This space is next door to the well stocked gym, where there are Pilates reformers, exercise bikes and a few industrious members who are lifting weights and getting PT sessions.
The retreats will also include treatments, so, post-yoga, therapist Vicky takes me into their wood-clad therapy room, where I experience a Be in the Moment hour-long massage. It uses oils that feature plants grown on Gleneagles’ Auchterarder estate and mine contains lovage and sandalwood. Vicky uses her elbows and forearms to fix my cranky back. It’s heaven.
My stress has been obliterated.
As they sing in Frozen, “Let it go, let it go”.
Gleneagles Townhouse, 30-34 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh. Be in the Moment massage, £95, Cryotherapy, £50 and a Yoga Class are £6 for members and hotel guests. The Rose Ferguson Retreats start from £300 a day, or £250 for members. Rooms for participants start from £350 per night, £295 for members, see www.gleneagles.com