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Breaking the Ice: New 'Cryotherapy' Business Opens in State College

by on August 20, 2015 3:00 PM

Some find it hard to believe that people can tolerate temperatures as low as -275 F, but Tyler Smith, owner of CryoZone located in Hills Plaza in State College, can set the record straight.

His business offers a cold, whole-body therapy called cryotherapy, where customers electively chose to stand inside a cylindrical chamber for up to three minutes as a concentrated nitrogen gas pulls temperatures inside the chamber down to between -166 and -275 F.

Cryotherapy is a non-invasive therapy that can reduce pain and inflammation, boost the metabolism and burn calories, enhance energy and sleep, improve skin tone and the immune system, and help with headaches and migraines, Smith said.

With your body under the illusion that it’s going to freeze, Smith said, “The body forces all the blood to the core and then it picks up oxygen, nutrients and enzymes so when you step out the nutrient rich blood rushes back to the body.”

Cryotherapy is popular among celebrities and athletes including the players of 16 NBA teams, NFL players and dancers on Dancing with the Stars, said Chris Lee, CryoZone’s business manager. It also benefits people who suffer injuries or arthritis; have knee, back or hip pain; and experience muscle soreness also use it.

But both Lee and Smith said anyone can feel the benefits that cryotherapy offers. Customers often feel energetic and awake immediately afterward and have an easier time falling asleep and waking up, Smith said. That’s because of the endorphins and collagen that the body releases when it’s in a position to protect itself from the sub-zero temperatures, he explained.

But are the benefits worth standing in temperatures that are more than 200 degrees lower than State College’s winter temperatures? Again, Smith thinks so.

For starters, nitrogen gas is safe and constitutes about 78 percent of the air we breath, he said.

But also “It’s surprisingly tolerable and a lot of people don’t believe it,” added Smith, who said he too was skeptical and nervous before he tried it. “It’s a dry cold; nothing wet is touching your body. When you jump into an ice bath that’s painful because the wet, ice cold water is on your skin.”

CryoZone is only one of two locations to offer whole-body cryotherapy in Pennsylvania, Lee said in an email.

When customers go to CryoZone, which is located at 178 Rolling Ridge Drive in the Victory store, they are given a pair of socks, shoes and a robe to wear. As long as customers don’t have a history of heart disease, have a pacemaker or are pregnant, they are good to go, Smith said.

For three minutes ― or for about two minutes on their first time ― customers stand in the nitrogen filled chamber that encompasses their body neck down and make conversations with either Lee or Smith to distract from the cold.

“It builds, when you get in there is isn’t really shocking. The last 30 seconds are typically the coldest,” Smith said.

Smith recommends that people use cryotherapy consistently for the best results and that it be used in conjunction with other rehabilitation methods.

First time users can pay $10 for a chance to see how cryotherapy may benefit them. After the first session, CryoZone offers a range of package deals with the most expensive package costing $33 per session.

“(Cryotherapy) has a different effect than an icepack,” Smith said. “We’re really attacking inflammation at a systematic level.”

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