“People have asked me, ‘What, are you freezing bodies in there?’” admits Bryan Kellen with a laugh.
Bryan and his wife, Jaclyn, are the new owners of Cryostrong, a cryotherapy center located at 6001 Egan Drive in Savage. Together they have lived in the area for over a decade, with Jaclyn most recently teaching physical education in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District (she retired in order to pursue Cryostrong full-time) and Bryan working in sales for Seagate.
Both Bryan and Jaclyn came upon cryotherapy together; Bryan had suffered from years of chronic back pain, while Jaclyn had knee surgery in 2014.
They were both athletic, and also both in pain when they went looking for a change.
“[Bryan] had never lived pain free, and now he was having great results [with cryotherapy] when I decided to give it a try as well,” Jaclyn said.
“We both had such great experiences that that’s kind of what got us interested,” Bryan said.
The Kellens had a soft opening for Crystrong prior to officially opening their doors for business on Sept. 21.
“It’s exciting for us to get this started around here, and start helping people,” Jaclyn said.
HOW IT WORKS
It’s called the “cold cure.”
Although the use of cryosurgery — the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue — has been around for decades, medically speaking whole-body cryotherapy is relatively new.
The first whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) chamber was built in Japan in the late 1970s, but WBC was not introduced to Europe until the 1980s, and has only gained attention in the U.S. in the past decade.
The process itself is basic, and completely non-invasive.
Prior to treatment, patrons rid themselves of clothing except for undergarments. A robe, padded gloves, socks and slippers are provided to protect the outer extremities. Once in the whole-body “cryosauna” and de-robed, the outer layers of one’s skin are met with extreme cold temperatures (around -220 degrees Fahrenheit) produced by liquid nitrogen converted to gas for a short period of time (usually one to three minutes). The body responds by sending signals to the brain which stimulate a systemic response (vasoconstriction), and activates naturally occurring healing resources. Once outside of the cryosauna, the body immediately begins to reheat and sends the fortified blood throughout the body via vasodilation to the skin surface tissue, muscle tissue, and joint spaces. Vasodilation also releases endorphins, which provide pain relief and increase energy.
Although the effects of WBC are not wholly-backed by a bevy of scientific research to support some of the benefit claims, those who have felt them first-hand often swear by it.
“It seemed kind of insane at first, but I was blown away by how I felt after just one time,” said Chris Mosier, a cryotherapy frequenter from Lakeville. “I’ve done [cryotherapy] for four years now, and its single-handedly been the biggest game-changer in my health, sleep and overall well-being. It’s kind of been a cure-all.”
Cryotherapy’s popularity is also increasing across the nation, with celebrities using it for the purported aesthetic effects, and professional athletes claiming benefits in increased recovery times.
“Whether it’s trying to stay pain free, burn extra calories, or just feel better about daily life, this really does it all in one. It’s not something that you would expect could do that,” Mosier said.