Cryotherapy comes to area

Using liquid nitrogen to create an extremely cold environment, whole body cryotherapy promotes faster recovery and reduces inflammation associated with pain

DUNCANSVILLE — Two local physical therapists are now offering another form of therapy.

Tim Parnell and Aaron Kovach recently opened Crossroads Cryotherapy at 1978 Plank Road.

Whole body cryotherapy utilizes liquid nitrogen to create an extremely cold environment (as low as negative

230 degrees) for two- to three-minute treatments to promote faster recovery and reduce inflammation associated with either acute or chronic pain.

The extreme cold temperatures stimulate skin sensors to activate a central nervous system response using a release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain inhibitors and mood elevators, Kovach, who serves as chief operating officer, said.

“The cryotherapy chamber is a more effective and efficient ice bath, as it gets much colder than an ice bath, but by using gas to cool the chamber, the body does not get wet. So, it’s much more bearable, and you warm up much quicker afterward as you get a rush of oxygenated blood throughout the body,” Kovach said.

WBC is now commonly used in the professional sports and fitness realm.

“Tim and I tried it, and we both liked it and saw the benefits of it,” Kovach said.

Kovach and Parnell are seeing clients from young athletes to people in their 80s.

“Our biggest clientele are athletes and people with chronic arthritis pain,” Kovach said.

For example, they have been treating students from Lycoming College and Clar­ion University, as well as Hollidaysburg, Bishop Guil­foyle, Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis high schools.

During a cryotherapy session, the client steps into the chamber and their whole body is enclosed with their head above the gas-filled chamber.

An operator is with the client throughout the duration of the session to ensure safety and monitor heart rate and blood oxygen levels through a pulse oximeter clipped to the right ear lobe, Kovach said.

During the treatment, clients wear booties and gloves to protect their extremities from frostbite.

Kovach said there are no side effects to the treatment.

The treatment provides numerous benefits.

“It reduces inflammation pain and increases energy. It improves circulation and reduces the need for pain medication,” Kovach said.

“It also helps improve sleep,” CEO Parnell said.

Kovach and Parnell are pleased with the response that they have received. They have 110 clients and have done more than 300 sessions since opening in August.

“Chronic pain patients have responded well. It’s used in conjunction with therapy and helps reduce the need for chronic pain medication, as well,” Parnell said.

Jamie Van Buren of Hollidaysburg, an exercise enthusiast, is pleased with the cryotherapy.

“I needed something that would help me recover faster to get to the next workout. Tim told me he got it and said why not try it. It’s definitely helped me recover from hard workouts quicker,” Van Buren said.

Kovach said he would not be surprised if more businesses offering cryotherapy treatments pop up in the area.

“We wanted to do it now and be the first in the area. It’s become very popular in the bigger cities and is starting to spread. We wanted to be on the ground level,” Kovach said.

Current hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. during the week. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 696-3400.

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