BOSTON (CBS) – We all know that ice is good for an injury to reduce swelling, but would cooling your whole body work to reduce all of your aches and pains? Those who believe in cryotherapy say yes and the treatment is becoming more available in the Boston area.
Kelly Strickland just opened a new facility in West Roxbury. “Essentially what cryotherapy is, is the extreme use of cold therapy in a confined area to create a reaction in your body to help with pain and inflammation and muscle soreness,” she said.
Inside her salon is a room with a vertical chamber called a cryosauna. It uses liquid nitrogen to create temperatures more than 100 degrees below zero. Customers strip down to their underclothes and spend about three minutes in the chamber.
It’s uncomfortable, but tolerable according to the five different customers we spoke to on a recent morning at the salon, all who believe it really does ease pain.
Christian Wilkerson plays basketball for LaSalle College in Newton and says his body gets pretty banged up. “I had low back pain and I believe after my third session it went away completely,” he said.
Wilkerson says he heard that NBA superstar LeBron James used cryotherapy to help his muscles recover after a game or workout so he figured it was worth a shot. “I just want to recover fast so I can get back onto the court as fast as possible,” he said.
Cryotherapy customers are not just athletes. Caroline Kelley uses it to east the typical pains that come with aging. “I usually have a lot of hip pain, but since I have started coming, I have less pain in my hips. It makes it much easier to walk,” she said.
While the customers we spoke to are convinced, the FDA is not so sure.
The agency’s website states: “We found very little evidence about its safety or effectiveness in treating the conditions for which it is being promoted.”
Strickland says her customers keep coming back because they are seeing real pain relief and many other benefits. “It helps with better focus, elevating your mood levels and one of the biggest things we are hearing is a better night’s sleep,” she said.
The FDA warns consumers who are delaying medical treatment to try cryotherapy instead could run into complications. The agency suggests anyone interested in trying it should check with their doctor first.