Cryotherapy a Quick, Holistic Option for a Wide Range of Ailments
by MARY TOOTHMAN
Cryotherapy enthusiasts can recite a lengthy and varied list of ailments, issues and challenges that may be treated with the icy cold form of holistic therapy — now available in several locations in Central Florida.
While some of us may never have heard of cryotherapy before, a quick check online for possible locations shows the therapy is offered in Lakeland, Brandon, Wesley Chapel, Tampa, Tarpon Springs and Largo areas.
Boiled down to the very basics, cryotherapy clients get inside a machine called a “cryosauna,” which gets extremely cold. They emerge just three minutes or so later with perked-up circulation systems, which can in turn have multiple health benefits.
If you’re wondering exactly what qualifies as “extremely cold,” in this case, it means anywhere from -35 to -200 degrees Fahrenheit. During a whole-body cryotherapy session, a person stands in an upright cylindrical enclosure that stays open at the top. The head remains outside the enclosure, but the rest of the body is exposed to the low temperatures. Socks, gloves and undergarments are often worn.
According to practitioners and clients, some of the health problems that cryotherapy can help include:
- Chronic pain
- Back pain
- Mobility and joint function
- Weight loss
- Central fatigue
- Metabolism and energy levels
- Heightening of senses
And that’s just a partial list. Mike and Kim Knaisch own and operate Lakeland Cryo and Recovery, and are very enthusiastic about this holistic form of cold therapy.
Mike Knaisch earned a master’s degree in sports medicine from the University of Tennessee. He taught sports medicine as an adjunct professor at Florida Southern College, where he also served as head athletic trainer.
Today, he and his wife own and operate the Lakeland Athletic Club. Their Lakeland Cryo and Recovery business operates within the athletic club.
Once the and his wife heard about the therapy, there was a quick realization that it would be a fit for them.
“I wanted to be able to bring some of my ideas and treatments to the public, including this,” he says. “We can help weekend warriors, people suffering from joint pain, muscle pain — cryotherapy takes things to the next level, the new generation of recovery science.”
He explains why cryotherapy works: “Whole Body CryoTherapy (WBC) elicits the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ responses by triggering the brain to draw blood from the extremities into the core of the body to protect its vital organs.”
“However,” he continues, “the treatment is done in three minutes, so the brain will then trigger the blood to return to the extremities. It will return as re-oxygenated blood, thereby moving inflammation out of the joints and muscles.”
The goal is to help speed the recovery process by enhancing the body’s natural lymphatic drainage system, thereby alleviating pain and inflammation.
There are many who are believers when it comes to this cold treatment therapy, as described in an article published in the U.S. News & World Report earlier this year, titled “Should You Try Whole Body Cryotherapy?”
While cryotherapy is experiencing increased popularity and visibility in the U.S. recently, the treatment has been around for some time. It was used to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis in Japan, for example, dating back to the late 1970s. In western countries, it’s been used as a method of addressing muscle soreness for athletes, according to a study the publication cited.
The therapy is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A company called Cryohealthcare, which makes cryotherapy equipment, noted that therapy “is designed to supplement health and wellness programs without treating any medical diseases, disorders or illnesses.”
WebMD describes the therapy as a tool many use to help relieve arthritis, asthma and anxiety, and even achieve more youthful-looking skin.
While the FDA does not approved whole body cryotherapy as safe and effective to treat medical conditions, the therapy still has many fans.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former combat instructor whose body had been subjected to extremely tough training regimens tried this therapy — and sang its praises.
“It’s the best way to start (the day),” Leasha West, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, told the magazine. Her back pain was eased, and muscle and stiffness improved. It gave her more energy and mental focus — along with younger-looking skin and improved sleep.
Mike Knaisch urges anyone interested to give it a try. New clients can experience the therapy at a special rate of $39 for two sessions at Lakeland Cryo and Recovery.