NEW BERLIN - Cryotherapy, and the health benefits it claims to deliver to people dealing with pain from medical conditions or athletic workout recovery, wants to have a chilling effect locally.
CryoFit, one purveyor of such a treatment program, will open Saturday, June 10, at 15435 W. National Ave., in the New Berlin City Center. A more celebratory ribbon-cutting event will take place July 13.
Cryotherapy is a treatment in which 240-below-zero liquid nitrogen swirls around a client. In just a three-minute treatment, the liquid nitrogen cools about an eighth of a millimeter of the top layer of skin to 32 degrees.
The process is said to give health benefits.
"Blood rushes to vital organs," said Rob Remitz, CryoFit's general manager.
When a person steps out of the chamber, pain from conditions such as arthritis should be less noticeable and inflammation should be reduced, Remitz said.
Plus, the adrenaline rush from the treatment will elevate one's mood, he added.
"You'll have energy like nothing you've ever felt and the next four hours you'll burn up to 800 calories," Remitz said.
The treatments cause melatonin, a sleep-inducing chemical people produce naturally, to be increased. "You'll have the best sleep of your life that night," Remitz promised.
The effects last four to six hours, he said.
However, cryotherapy doesn't cure anything, Remitz hastened to say.
"We don't heal any problems," he said.
Who uses it
Arthritis sufferers aside, perhaps biggest market for cryrotherapy is athletes seeking quicker recovery from heavy workouts.
Cryotherapy is catching on with athletic teams that want athletes to recover faster from heavy workouts. The Milwaukee Bucks confirmed that they have a cryotherapy chamber. Also, Green Bay Packers have gone to a cryotherapy facility in Green Bay, Remitz said.
Even baseball has delved into the frosty treatment. The Oakland A's have a chamber, he noted.
CryoFit has six locations in Texas and the New Berlin location is the only one outside of Texas. New Berlin franchise owner Melany Tobin, a nurse who oversees the operation, hopes to open three or four more locations in Wisconsin, Remitz said.
The only other nearby cryotherapy facility, is Cryovive, which opened last year in Fox Point.
Patrons can come for a single treatment or buy packages.
One session is $65 ($40 for first-timers), packages of three for $150 up to 20 for $840, although Remitz recommends the best buy at $180 monthly for four sessions then $40 per session after that. The treatments are not FDA-approved.
So what are the risks? One thing people might wonder about due the nature of the treatment is frostbite.
Because blood rushes from extremities, those in the chamber wear socks and mittens, but nothing else. A technician is present during each session and patrons can come out of the chamber early if they want to, Remitz said.
The only frostbite that he knows of resulting from a treatment was when the patron wore wet socks, Remitz said.
There are other risks if precautions aren't taken.
In one instance, a person having a treatment after hours without a technician bent over inside the chamber to pick up a dropped cellphone and died from inhaling the vapors, Remitz acknowledged. Safety features have been installed, so that can't happen again, he added.
"It's the coldest you'll probably ever be," Remitz said. "When you get out, it's an incredible feeling."
New Berlin's CryoFit will offer much more than cryotherapy.
It will have salt cave therapy, popular in Europe; infrared therapy to produce a deep, detoxifying sweat; compression therapy, which uses compressed air to massage limbs and speed recovery; IV vitamin therapy and treatments administered by medical professionals; and injection therapy.
"No one in Wisconsin is doing everything we're doing," Remitz said. "You can actually spend the day at the facility."
Probably most unique is the salt cave therapy, he said.
Salt caves have been popular in Europe for more than 100 years in treating bronchial and lung afflictions and diseases, according to the CryoFit website. Modern salt therapy, or “halotherapy,” involves sitting in a room coated with salt walls, and floors, surrounded with salt-laden air.
CryoFit hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.