Recover Faster & Train Harder

I am busy with a big personal project that has been a source of great excitement over the past few months.  To do the story justice I should go back to January of last year when the seed was planted that would grow into the out of control bean stalk that is now Cryo Recovery.

People that know me personally, know that in my normal day to day life I’m a farm manager for my sister at Doorndraai Friesian Stud.  I have been working for Marlise for the past fifteen years and it has been a very interesting journey.  We have about 120 Friesian Horses on two properties.  Friesians are known for their gentle temperaments and willingness to work.  I have actually amused myself greatly over the past few years with drawing parallels between how we train the horses versus distance running, and the similarities are truly amazing.

At the end of January 2016 whilst preparing for the ADDO 76km that would take place at the end of the following month, I did a 12 hour trail circuit race, where I covered a total distance of 80km doing 5km laps.  I was hell bent on doing well and won the event overall after 12 very hard hours, running half of it in the dark.  The following morning I had a massive problem though as I could not even get out of bed my legs were so sore.  I had to physically roll onto my stomach and reverse backwards down the stairs.  I basically crawled to work in my slippers, clutching a protein shake and feeling extremely sorry for myself.  At that stage we had a young mare with a tendon injury and I decided to accompany my best friend and colleague Alida De Jager to Falconwood Equine Spa where the mare would be treated for the next two weeks.  Upon arrival I fell out the car, protein shake flying one way and my self-respect the other, still feeling very sorry for myself.  Tanya, the owner of Falconwood Equine Spa gave me one look and suggested I get in the spa machine as the basic principles of recovery for us and working sport horses are very much the same.  At first I thought she was crazy, but then on the other hand so am I, so I borrowed a pair of shorts from her and took the plunge.

Before I continue I think it’s important to explain a bit more about the ECB Spa.  The spa was developed in the United Kingdom for treating and preventing injuries and recovery for endurance and strength athletes in mind.  It is based on the idea of an ice bath, but the ECB machine takes this to a whole new level.  The unit has a chiller unit which keeps the temperature constant (2-5 degrees Celsius for the equine version and 4-8 degrees for the human version).  The water is aerating all the time and it also has 50kg of Epsom Salt and 50kg of coarse salt that circulates in the icy cold water.  Research has shown that the colder the water the better its ability to carry oxygen and this combined with the high concentration of salt increases the water density maximises the compression effect for lower limb problems.  The aeration of the water also provides a massaging effect.  This is far more effective than a conventional ice bath as the water stays a constant temperature rather than warming up around your body and the additional effects of the salt and aeration creates a perfect environment for recovery and injury prevention.

Olympic Champion Chad Le Clos in the ECB Cold Spa at the High Performance Centre in Durban.

It was only after using the machine for the first time that I read up about the research and science behind it, but the results were undeniable after using it that first time.  I was not very prepared for how extremely cold the 2.5 degrees water would be and have to admit it was a massive shock getting in the cold water.  Because it was set for equine use I got in for two minutes and would then get out again for two minutes, repeating this process to reach a total time of 10 minutes in the machine.  My system was so full of toxins after my big effort the day before, the session was extremely unpleasant.  I was however amazed when by the next day the pain in my legs were so much better that I could actually go for a 10km run! I went for another session later in the week and even did a 20km technical run through Groenkloof only 6 days after my 80km Gravity Trail effort.

The ECB Cold Spa has played a massive role in my running this year and to put this into perspective I should

With top trail runner Bennie Roux using the Equine Spa in 2016. This machine runs at a very chilly 2 to 3 degrees.

mention that from December 2015 till November 2016 I did ten Ultra races and four marathons totalling 1000km.  This is an average of 71km per event over 12 months.  What makes this even more amazing is that I was side-lined for about a month after having a very bad accident during the Rhodes Ultra in July.  The ECB machine became a very big part of my training plan and when I heard there were no machines open to the public, I started exploring the idea of bringing one in that would give everybody the opportunity to experience the benefits of this ground breaking machine.

Months of planning has come together and the Cryo Recovery ECB Cold Spa arrived in South Africa in the middle of December.  Cryo Recovery is based in Faerie Glen in Pretoria East at JTP Wellness and we are opening our doors for you to come and take the plunge on Monday 9 January 2017.  Without this machine, I am 100% sure I would not have been able to cover the crazy miles I did and I believe it should be part of any endurance or strength athletes training program!  If you would like to find out more about different treatment options, you can send a mail to


  • Takes out heat & inflammation
  • Analgesic Pain management
  • Prevents enzyme degeneration of tendons
  • Increases circulation
  • Lymph drainage
  • Helps with water retention
  • High level of oxygen in the water enhances defence system


  1. Martie Boesenberg · January 4, 2017

    Wow that sounds amazing!! Much interested in this treatment!!

    • altie · January 4, 2017

      HI there Martie,

      If you’re interested in trying it out please send a mail to