It's no surprise that professional athletes get the best of the best when it comes to wellness and recovery treatments. While many of us may not share in their physical abilities, we can still treat our bodies with that same level of luxury thanks to a new La Jolla studio.
This past January, LIVKRAFT opened up its doors at 7710 Fay Ave., to offer high-end treatments like infrared saunas, float therapy, and cryotherapy. Beyond what traditional wellness studios provide, founder Peter Tobiason hopes to help residents maintain their ability to do what they love — which is what LIVKRAFT means in Norwegian.
"To me, everyone's an athlete," Tobiason said. "Staying healthy by pursuing a passion like surfing, golf, Pilates, or anything really, means that everyone is an athlete at some level."
While my sport of choice bounces between putting minimum effort into the elliptical and restorative yoga (also self-described as "napping" yoga), Tobiason still felt my body needed some rest and let me sample a few of their services.
First up was Whole Body Cryotherapy, the ancient process of exposing your body to extreme cold to reduce inflammation and pain, speeding up the process of recovery and giving you a jolt of energy. In 2500 B.C., people did this by immersing themselves into ice-cold tubs. In 2019, you stand in what is essentially a human freezer exposed to cold breathable vapors between -166 and -220 degrees for three minutes while dancing to Lizzo wearing a medical mask and fancy oven mitts.
However, the human freezer (also referred to as the CRYO Arctic) is built in a way so you're never in direct contact with nitrogen vapors. Instead, you're exposed to breathable cold air — like really cold air. The three minutes themselves were excruciatingly long (made easier because you can pick your own music), but the rush of endorphins and stamina you feel afterward makes coffee look like a weak man's game. As LIVKRAFT's Membership Director Jenny Boley warned me, I was "laughing for no reason."
"It's a completely unique experience," Tobiason said. "Beginner level starts at -166 [degrees Fahrenheit] and the Cryo-Pro level goes to -220."
After I warmed up, I sat down for my Cryo-Facial, which was the much more relaxing version of applying a stream of liquid nitrogen vapor on my face to reduce swelling and increase circulation. This treatment can also be used to reduce injury recovery time on specific body parts.
Next up was Float Therapy, which is where you float in warm salt water in a silent, dark, enclosed tank for total sensory deprivation — and the ultimate relaxation.
While I was slightly nervous about closing the tank and immersing myself into total darkness, I found comfort in the fact that buttons to control the lights, sounds, and connection to Boley were all within reach. After 25 minutes of floating, I decided one could very easily replace my bed.
Finally, my short but sweet experience of the kind of wellness luxury Manny Machado probably gets on the daily ended with a stint in the Infrared Sauna. Inside the comfortably warm box was a mounted iPad that let me play music, control the temperature, and even watch Netflix.
"It's a one-stop-shop for feeling your best so you can keep doing what you want to do," Tobiason said. "Even through all the little nicks and bruises, pains and aches. This is the kind of stuff that pro athletes do on a daily basis to keep doing what they're doing."
And while LIVKRAFT's clientele may include some Padres and Gulls — and the Padres' chiropractor uses the health and wellness co-work space — even mildly athletic people like myself can reap the benefits of luxury recovery.
For more information about LIVKRAFT, their services and memberships, visit livkraft.com.