Friday, December 11, 2015

Renew Cryotherapy opens on 25th Street

Jared Weimer supervises a three-minute cryotherapy session for Lance Kunsaitis, a weightlifter who came in Wednesday for his fifth session.
Call me Elsa, because I now know what it's like to be frozen. I mean, really frozen.

Renew Cryotherapy has opened at 2090 E. 25th Street, and if you want to know what it's like to be hit with liquid nitrogen-based gas at -110 Celsius for three minutes, this is where you want to go.

Cryotherapy involves lowering the body's skin temperature to 32 degrees Fahrenheit to produce a "fight or flight" reaction, said Renew owner Jared Weimer, who opened his business in November. Basically, the extreme cold sends a person's blood to the body's core, producing an endorphin "dump" that does all sorts of wonders for aches and pains and arthritis.

Though it has been around since it was developed in the 1970s in Japan, cryotherapy didn't catch on in the United States until around five years ago, Weimer said. He learned about it in Utah last summer when his wife, Cheri, tried it for chronic nerve pain in her legs and liked the effects.

A cryotherapy chamber costs around $60,000. The USA-made unit Weimer bought has three settings, -110, -120 and -130 Celsius.

"You feel invigorated," said Lance Kunsaitis, a weightlifter who was in Wednesday afternoon for his fifth session. Kunsaitis said the therapy helps with his recovery time after a workout, also with a torn ACL he's recovering from.

To get ready, one strips down to one's underpants, puts on a pair of warm socks and booties and a robe (which comes off once in the chamber). Gloves are optional. The chamber is constructed so that a person's head is sticking out (adjustments for height are made with different-sized pads).

"The first time people are nervous because they don't know what to expect," Weimer said.

True to the spirit of Mae West, who would try anything once (and twice if she liked it), I volunteered to become a human Popsicle and succeeded at enduring for three minutes. It was not as terrifying as skydiving or as physically punishing as going in the ring with Victor the Wrestling Bear (which I did for a story in my college paper in 1978.) It wasn't even as cold as being dumped from a sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay in February, but wet cold is different from the controlled cold of cryotherapy, Weimer said.

Yes, there is rush afterwards and I felt a lot of energy on the elliptical at Apple Atheltic Club, where I went after my session.

Prices start at $25 for a single session. For more information, visit renewcryo.com