'I took one for the team and stepped inside Lionesses' cryotherapy chamber'

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Brave Mirror reporter Hollie Bone tries out the cryochamber (Image: Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)
Brave Mirror reporter Hollie Bone tries out the cryochamber (Image: Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

The secret boost behind the Lionesses’ cold as ice performances has been revealed... and the Mirror gave it a go.

With cool goals, the England squad have been freezing out their World Cup opponents one by one. But between matches, as well as having essential downtime and training days, they are going to the ultimate extremes to keep their bodies in fighting-fit condition.

Georgia Stanway, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo, Bethany England, Ella Toone and Keira Walsh are among the players who have been undergoing cryotherapy sessions, immersing themselves in a chamber which drops to -130C. The squad shared snaps of them laughing and dancing to Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody while taking turns in the cyrochamber and calling each other ‘Cryobabies’.

Wearing fluffy earmuffs, wooly socks and gloves, Ella Toone emerged from the ice cold pod and declared: “My elbows are freezing”. The benefits of cryotherapy in football have been heralded by legends including Cristiano Ronaldo and Erling Harland who use it to speed up their recovery.

'I took one for the team and stepped inside Lionesses' cryotherapy chamber' erideuiqtqiqdrinvHollie is shown the instructions to a chamber that is used by the Lionesses (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

Determined to see what the fuss was all about, we drove up to CryoPlus - one of the few places that drops to subzero Down Under. After a quick safety brief I was invited to get dressed into a set of velvet shorts and matching top, put on fluffy blue earmuffs and some wooly socks and slippers.

Earps reacts to FIFA Best nomination and on season so far with Man UtdEarps reacts to FIFA Best nomination and on season so far with Man Utd

Once ready, Kiara, the assistant, lets me choose a tune to get me through the next three minutes and sets the mode to Pro - the same setting the Lionesses go for, she reveals. The door opens and a cloud of liquid nitrogen pours out into the room.

'I took one for the team and stepped inside Lionesses' cryotherapy chamber'Cryotherapy has been an important part of the Lionesses' preparation (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

Once I’m in and the door is shut a new burst of liquid nitrogen is injected into the chamber and the freezing cold plume literally takes your breath away. Taylor Swift Shake It Off starts up and I remind myself I’m northern and used to the cold.

I distract myself by having a dance and looking through the window on this giant fridge door. I can just about see my colleague and Kiara reassuring me I’m half way through. 90 seconds later I emerge from the chamber like a character in a sci-fi movie - but sadly my transformation to a Lioness is not complete.

Explaining the science, Kiara Rybie at CryoPlus told the Mirror: “When you freeze yourself, your body is essentially going into fight or flight, creating a shock response. Over time it releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which actually signals to the whole system to lower inflammation and reduce pain.”

'I took one for the team and stepped inside Lionesses' cryotherapy chamber'Lucy Bronze in the cryo chamber (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)
'I took one for the team and stepped inside Lionesses' cryotherapy chamber'Georgia Stanway using the chamber to aid her recovery (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

The process also improves circulation and muscle performance by increasing blood flow and micro-circulation to areas of the body which receive less blood. But there’s a mental boost as well as all that serotonin fires around the body - and the staff here say the chilly chamber has left weary Lionesses smiling and ready for action.

Kiara added: “The first time they came in, they were a bit drained. They just had a massive three hour session and had been signing autographs and stuff. Over the days of them coming in you could see them progressively get a lot more talkative and more on it and on the ball a bit more, which was really nice to see.

'I took one for the team and stepped inside Lionesses' cryotherapy chamber'Temperatures drop to -130C (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

“We did have some girls say that is just unreal. That was like a completely different experience they’ve never had. I think it gave them a boost. Whether or not that’s because of the win that they had... but we definitely saw smiles and they were happier with higher energy.

“We actually produce serotonin in our muscle cells. So when you think about it, if you’re actually releasing 10 times more serotonin and dopamine in your whole body, it’s for mental cognition as well as muscles.” Fifteen minutes after my cryotherapy my skin is still ice-cold to the touch.

But as we pull away I feel refreshed and invigorated - not like a rush of energy but like someone has wiped off the remnants of jetlag and I can do anything with my day.

Hollie Bone

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