Cryotherapy a growing trend for ailments

By Sandra Ali - Anchor/Reporter , Dawn Jorgenson - Web - News Editor

DETROIT - Until recently, cryotherapy was pretty much only available in Los Angeles and New York.

Now-there are several spots in Metro Detroit offering it, and it already has quite a following. 

Jennifer Benoit is a physical therapist who suffers from debilitating migraines. She's struggled with them for more than 20 years. She said if there's a solution out there, she's tried it.

"(I've tried) acupuncture, cupping massage, physical therapy, chiropractic care, holistic medicine, I've seen neurologists, multiple doctors, I've had osteopathic manual therapy, I've gone gluten-free," Benoit said.

While some treatments helped a bit, Benoit said she first saw dramatic improvements after trying cryotherapy -- a non-invasive, whole-body hyper-cooling treatment that used to only be popular with athletes and celebrities.   

"I heard about it," Benoit said. "I know a lot of the professional athletes were doing it. I did a little research for myself. I actually live close to here, so I drove by and saw the sign that same day. I made an appointment and started."

"It's always been a passion of mine to find cutting-edge technologies, newer, different things that other people aren't doing to help people with severe and chronic problems avoid surgeries," Dr. Sol Cogan said.

Cogan worked is a chiropractor with the Detroit Lions for more than a decade. 

"A few years ago some of the athletes started talking about cryotherapy and the buzz kind of got around and Mr. Ford asked me what I knew about it, and at the time I knew a little bit about it, but not much," Cogan said. "He asked me if I'd do some research and I did and, I fell in love with the technology, and the more I learned about it the more I liked it."

Cogan had a machine installed last November.

"I really looked at it like it would be a ice bath on steroids," Cogan said. 

He said its popularity has taken off. 

"Cold has been used for thousands of years to help reduce inflammation," Cogan said. "Professional athletes use ice baths on a daily basis to reduce swelling."

"If you look at everything that is going on now in health care all anti-aging everything, they relate to anti-inflammatory or trying to reduce inflammation in the body," Cogan said.

Cryotherapy works by rapidly cooling your body for three minutes in a chamber where the temperature is set between -160 to -260 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The Japanese developed the first chamber back in the 1970s to treat inflammatory diseases like arthritis. It later took off in Europe after people discovered it helped with various conditions. Celebrities have reported using it to boost collagen in their skin and get an endorphin rush.

"I feel almost like I took a couple of shots of espresso," Paul Kahler said. 

Kahler has lower back problems because of bulging disks. He said when he decided to try the alternative treatment, family and friends were skeptical.   

"Crazy -- they think you're crazy," Kahler said of his family and friends. "You're going there in -226 degrees and then I have to explain to them it's not, you know, you can't -- it's liquid nitrogen. It's a different process."

"(I felt) quite rejuvenated," Kahler said. "It's um, I don't know. I've heard it's right away. For me it's about an hour later. That's my reaction. I feel a high. I think they say its kind of a runner's high, but I feel endorphins kicking in."

Before trying it out, customers have to fill out a pretty extensive online medical history. Then comes the blood pressure check   

Finally, customers can get ready to head inside.

They wear heavy-duty socks with slippers to protect their feet and gloves on their hands.

The temperature gradually drops. Once its cold enough, they get the green light to get inside.

Once the customer is in, the temperature continues to drop until it's over.

The whole treatment lasts three minutes, depending on where clients go. It can cost anywhere from about $40-$75 a session.

The Local 4 News story was shot at Cryo-Wellness USA in Farmington.

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