The Big Freeze: Using sub-zero temps to help with medical issues


TULSA — At the Cryo Spa in Tulsa, you won’t find massage therapists or manicurists.

There’s no hair styling or facials going on here.

Just a blast of frigid, sub-zero temperatures.

“Fire away!” says Trampas Parker.

Parker is in the cryosauna.

Wearing only underwear, gloves and socks, liquid nitrogen is pumped into the chamber, lowering it to around -160 degrees Celsius, or between -200 and -300 degrees Fahrenheit.

“If you’ve ever done an ice bath before, this is the greatest invention that’s ever been done,” said Parker.

Cryosaunas are popping up in major cities all over the United States, with many spas advertising this can help with dozens of medical issues, including arthritis, joint pain, sleep disorders and even depression.

And they claim it can help with athletic performance.

Many Dallas Mavericks players say they “froze” regularly the year their team won the national championship.

“It was invented about 30 years ago to treat rheumatoid arthritis. And they had such good results from that and you know just found out that it’s very helpful for all sorts of arthritis and inflammation,” said Donna Reichl, owner of Cryo Spa.

Reichl opened the Cryo Spa in Tulsa back in March and she says there’s actually scientific reasons to “freeze” yourself.

Subjecting your body to sub-zero temperatures causes survival mechanisms to kick in and all your blood rushes to your core to protect your organs.

“And then when your three minutes is over and you step out, all that healthy, oxygenated blood goes circulating back through your system and you just get this huge rush of endorphins and burst of energy; inflammation is flushed out,” said Reichl. “It’s amazing what your body can do naturally through this treatment.”

“I feel like all the toxins get cleared out and you just feel new again. We just can’t wait. It’s like an addiction,” said Sherri Parker, who regularly “cryos.”

“It’s almost like, like I’m almost addicted to the feeling that you get after you do the chill,” said another customer, Povi Blankenship.

Blankenship is an avid runner.

She’d been battling an injury to tendons in her hip and leg and says after several months of “chilling,” the pain’s practically gone.

“Almost fully recovered from my injury that I’d been battling for about ten months,” said Blankenship.

“I think I’ve noticed more tightening and for sure the toxins come out,” said Sherri Parker.

Parker says the chill eases and aches and pains of intense work outs.

“I walked in sore when I was real sore one day and that night my soreness went away so I didn’t have to take ibuprofen!” she said.

Those who have tried it, say they’re believers.

And that a few minutes of shivering is well worth the benefits.

We spoke with a couple doctors about the procedure and they said it was a safe treatment.

One told us that studies show there appears to be a short term decrease in inflammation and pain symptoms related to exercise fatigue or chronic arthritis type conditions.

But they say most of the studies have been done on athletes.

For more information you can visit the Cryo Spa’s website at www.cryospa.com.

The Cryo Spa in Tulsa is the first one of its kind in our state, but we’ve learned that another one, called CRYO Performance Therapy. That’s set to open in Norman in the next week or two.