ANDERSONVILLE — A new center offering a controversial therapy purported to aid in everything from muscle recovery and weight loss to depression and asthma opened earlier this month in Andersonville. Glenn Sieverson opened Andersonville Cryotherapy and Athletic Recovery Center on Jan. 13 at 5052 N. Clark St.
The "holistic process" helps promote muscle recovery, decrease inflammation, reduce pain, rejuvenate the skin and leave clients feeling energized, according to Sieverson, a long-time resident of the neighborhood.
The center offers four types of services including: whole body cryotherapy, localized cryotherapy, cryofacials and NormaTec Pulse Compressions.
The FDA has not approved whole body cryotherapy as safe or effective to treat medical conditions, according to Aron Yustein of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
"Given a growing interest from consumers in whole body cryotherapy, the FDA has informally reviewed the medical literature available on this subject,” Yustein said. “We found very little evidence about its safety or effectiveness in treating the conditions for which it is being promoted.”
Whole body cryotherapy consists of a three-minute session using hyper-cooled air to encompass the client's body and create a systemic response. The cooled air triggers vasoconstriction, the constriction of blood vessels, according to a press release for Andersonville Cryotherapy.
"Blood is pulled into the body's core where it gets highly oxygenated, and enriched with healing nutrients and enzymes," the release said.
Once the cooling process ends, blood rushes back to peripheral tissues enhancing muscle recovery, reducing pain, decreasing inflammation and increasing metabolism, the release said.
During the session, clients wear little clothing, the release said.
"Our pricing reflects our commitment to provide a valuable therapy that has greatly impacted my own life," Sieverson said.
Whole body cryotherapy is $65 per session, but a $35 "first-timer" rate is available. Multi-session packages are also available: the five-session package is $55 per session and the 10-session package is $45 per session. An unlimited monthly package is $500, according to its website.
Localized cryotherapy, which applies a stream of nitrogen vapor to an isolated area, is $40 per session. A $25 "first-timer" session is also available, along with multi-session packages, the website said.
Cryofacials, in which nitrogen vapor is applied to the face and neck to reduce wrinkles, pore size and puffy skin, are $40 per session. A $35 "first-timer" session is also available, along with multi-session packages, the website said.
NormaTec pulse compression, a procedure similar to using a compression sock or massage, where compressed air fills a pocket around the client's legs, arms or hips creating a "peristatic pulse," which mimics the muscle pump of legs and arms, is $40 per session, the website said.
While the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a federally-funded resource for molecular biology information, found no adverse effects from whole-body cryotherapy, it said the treatment could be an expensive ice-pack, citing a small market of available research on the treatment. The studies also did not observe adverse effects, according to its research.
"Until further research is available, athletes should remain cognizant that less expensive modes of cryotherapy, such as local ice-pack application or cold-water immersion, offer comparable physiological and clinical effects," said the study on empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives of whole-body cryotherapy.
[Photos Courtesy of Glenn Sieverson]