DALLAS -- Brrrrrr!
I hadn't said that in awhile, but I did Thursday afternoon when the temperature where I was standing dropped to -- get this -- 220 degrees below zero.
Looking for a way to beat the heat, an idea came from the team that did beat the Heat -- the Miami Heat.
During the Dallas Mavericks' run to their first NBA championship, team members visited Eric Rauscher to spend 2 1/2 minutes at a time undergoing full-body cryotherapy.
The first was 38-year-old point guard Jason Kidd during the regular season. Two days later, almost half of the Mavs' roster was in Rauscher's Millennium Ice USA office taking turns stepping into the 6-foot-tall cooling chamber.
The players continued cryotherapy all the way through the NBA Finals, saying they left the chamber feeling less of the aches and pains from a long season than when they stepped in.
In addition to enhancing sports performance, Rauscher said cryotherapy's benefits include recovery from surgery and injuries. Cryotherapy also has been used to treat fibromyalgia and arthritic conditions. In Europe, where cryotherapy has been used for about 20 years, there has been success in detox therapy and in treating multiple sclerosis, depression and anxiety disorders.
Rauscher has been involved in the therapy -- $85 a session and available to anyone --for about a year and a half and says the medical community in the United States has embraced the science of cryotherapy while eagerly anticipating the results of medical studies in this country.
But what I wanted to know Thursday was whether Rauscher's chamber could finally bring me relief from our high temperatures. Step in and see for yourself, he said.
First, though, he explained the science behind cryotherapy.
Using liquid nitrogen, five blasts of cold air are sent into the chamber. The extreme cold -- minus-220 degrees Fahrenheit -- causes the skin's sensors to send a distress signal to the brain. The brain then draws blood to the body's core, where it picks up the oxygen, nutrients and enzymes needed to survive. When the session ends, the body sends this oxygen-rich blood out to fatigued muscles.
Just like that, you're prepared to win an NBA title. OK, that's the science lesson. Now the experience.
I wanted to know what it feels like inside the chamber.
"It's cold," Rauscher said.
Then it was time to step into not only one of just 10 such chambers in the United States, but also the chamber used by the world champion Dallas Mavericks. (I knew Rauscher wasn't the type to over-sell when he wouldn't promise that the chamber would help my jump shot.)
Fortunately for you, the photos with this story don't show that I had to strip down to my skivvies, socks and a pair of gloves so that as much skin as possible would be exposed. For females, it's down to socks and gloves only.
Honestly, the experience was easier than I expected, which pleased Rauscher. He had told me that I would begin to feel the cold by the second blast. He was correct. It did get cold. Really cold. But I didn't begin to shiver until probably the last 15 or 20 seconds, and even then the shivering was minimal.
At least that's what I noticed. Keep in mind that I was also busy realizing that my skin sensors were sending distress signals to my brain -- never a comforting thought -- and hoping that the smoke rising out of the chamber to my exposed neck and head didn't mean I was unwittingly the main ingredient in some kind of witch's brew.
A couple of minutes after getting dressed, I noticed that my muscles felt looser than before my session.
The real test, though, would come when I stepped outside where I would encounter a temperature increase of -- get this -- more than 300 degrees.
How did that work out?
Well, that was more than three hours ago as I write this and my feet are still cold.
As Dirk and the boys might say, "Bring on the heat!"
David Thomas, 817-390-7697