Want to reduce muscle soreness, boost your mood and burn calories?
Those are some of the purported benefits of whole body cryotherapy, a trendy treatment in which clients pay to step into a freezing-cold chamber for a few minutes to re-emerge re-energized and renewed.
Liquid nitrogen chills the chamber's air to anywhere from minus 166 degrees (for beginners) to minus 202 degrees (for seasoned users) at Chattanooga's first cryotherapy spa, Glacé Cryotherapy Chattanooga, which opened this spring at 13 W. Kent Street in North Chattanooga near the corner of North Market Street and Cherokee Boulevard (behind the Big Chill & Grill restaurant).
As the chamber's dry, ultra-cooled air blows over the customer's exposed skin, blood rushes away from the extremities to the body's core to protect internal organs and maintain core temperature.
Then, after the underwear-clad customer puts a robe on and steps out of the chamber, the process is reversed.
"As blood rushes to the body's core region, it becomes nutrient-dense. Those nutrients then flow back out to the extremities when the body warms back up," said Amy Lokken, who owns the spa with her husband Marshall Gladish. "This naturally heals a multitude of health issues."
Chattanooga's second spa to offer cryotherapy, Norspring at 140 West 14th Street in Chattanooga's Southside neighborhood, was slated to open in August. Its backers include Bill Moore Smith, MD, a family practice physician with offices on Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain Road, who's the longtime team physician for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs.
While clients keep their heads stuck out of the Glacé Cryotherapy Chattanooga cryotherapy chamber, Norspring will offer full-body cryotherapy in which a client — or group of clients, such as a group of UTC football players — are completely inside the chamber, head and all.
The therapy is like the traditional ice baths that athletes use to reduce inflammation and recover more quickly from hard workouts, said Smith, a former college quarterback.