There's a new therapeutic treatment offered in Atlanta that athletes and weekend warriors are trying. It's called cryotherapy.
We've heard about athletes putting ice on an injury or a pro-athlete taking an ice bath after a game. Cryotherapy is a new twist on cold therapy. It's an all-over body freeze that lasts just minutes and can have big benefits.
"Initially you think I'm not going to make it, I'm not going to make it," Wayne Gandy said.
The former Atlanta Falcon is used to taking hits.
"I was offensive tackle in the NFL for 15 years. ACL tears, rotator cuffs, torn ligaments and those things, that's football in a nutshell that we all leave with," Gandy said.
Bursts of liquid nitrogen to help soothe his aches and pains is something new.
"It makes you think of what a popsicle probably feels like. It's like joy and pain at the same time," Gandy said.
Gandy's trying cryotherapy, a form of cold therapy that's new to Atlanta.
"Cryotherapy in general is exposing the body to ultra-low temperatures. It basically uses liquid nitrogen gas and fills up the chamber to roughly around -220 to -270 degrees Fahrenheit and by the process, it kind of instantly freezes the skin and that's where you get your benefits naturally," Master Sgt. Ethan Whitfield said.
Whitfield and his sister Alia Alston opened Icebox two months ago.
A person spends two and a half to three minutes in the cryosauna. Sarah Noel takes one after an intense workout.
"Usually with CrossFit, it's three days on, one day off," Noel said.
She's suffered injuries from gymnastics growing up, and now a shoulder injury from CrossFit.
"With CrossFit, I would argue that working out with the intensity you work out with, recovery is just as important as your actual workout routine," Noel said.
She looks for ways to recover quicker.
"When you get out of it, you feel really good and you've got a ton of energy. The benefits of that are huge," Noel said.
Cryotherapy has long been used in Europe, but is relatively new to the United States. Dr. Michael Byas-Smith at Emory believes there are potential benefits with low risk.
"Using cryotherapy, if you can figure out the perfect timing, you can allow for normal healing to occur," Byas-Smith said.
Alston and Whitfield believe they have the right formula to help people feel better and look better.
"We've seen increased energy, increased metabolic boost. You get tightening of the skin, a lot of anti-inflammatory injuries seem to go away," Whitfield said.
Gandy's convinced cryotherapy works.
"Even after the first time, the swelling in my knee went down. It just looks scary. It's not that bad, you're not going to freeze," Gandy said.
Clients can get in and out within 15 minutes.
Alston said an added benefit is your body can burn between 500 to 800 calories after treatment. Each session costs $70. Packages are available at a lower cost.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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