The Igloo at 50˚F, 10% Humidity

“Don’t they all live in igloos?”

Americans like to joke about our Canadian friends up north, but now we’re being serious. Sparkling Hill Resort, a dazzling $122 million beacon of crystal-filled wellness and beauty located in British Columbia, is home to North America’s first cold spa.

Whole-body Cryotherapy is a thermal spa therapy that essentially freezes you to good health. Let me explain. Clients who experience cryotherapy will enter a series of freezing cold rooms – think of it like a Polar Bear Club for wellness enthusiasts of the indoor type. The cold temperatures produce therapeutic results by rapidly cooling the surface capillaries, pushing more blood and oxygen into the system. The healing doesn’t take effect while in the room, but rather when you return to normal temperatures and blood vessels expand again.

How cold is “freezing cold?” Put on your socks, gloves, face masks, light clothes (and swim suits)… this is no New York 2012 winter. Cooled using liquid nitrogen, there are chambers at 5 degrees Fahrenheit, 5 degrees below, and then the actual cold begins. The cryo-chamber clocks in at up to 166 below zero – and no, this is not a torture chamber! Guests chill in these rooms for up to three (okay, agonizing!) minutes, body temperatures dropping to around 41 degrees, and when they come out, they can’t wait to do it all over again.

There are many benefits to doing whole-body cryotherapy. It’s one way to instantly relieve pain; the cold shock releases endorphins which induces analgesia (natural painkillers). Cryotherapy users report that it is invigorating, stress-reducing, and helps with insomnia, rheumatism, muscle and joint paint, fibromyalgia, itching and psoriasis. Although there are immediate effects such as decreasing the duration of a migraine, there are also lasting effects where pain suppression has been proven to last for weeks, especially when clients do multiple sessions.

Whole-body cryotherapy started with the Japanese in the 70’s and has gained some popularity in Europe; as many wellness procedures are known to trickle in from the East, it is not surprising that this is just becoming a thing here in North America.

See this story for a cool adventure (where we got a lot of this info) at Sparkling Hill’s 40,000 square foot KurSpa.

It’s not just their cold spa that draws people to this Canadian haven of wellness. Check out a handful of their other various thermal therapy rooms.

Aqua Meditation room at 86˚F, 30% Humidity

Rose Steam Room at 100.4˚F, 100% Humidity

Crystal Steam Room at 107.6ºF, 100% Humidity

Panorama Sauna at 176ºF, 10% Humidity

Finnish Classic Sauna at 194˚F, 10% Humidity

Aromatherapy and Experience Showers

And some more photos of Sparkling Hill, for your viewing pleasure:

Sparkling Hill Resort Entrance


Tea Room

Outdoor Pool

Serenity Room

Indoor Pool

All photos courtesy of