Is it cold in here? Healing starts at 200 degrees below zero cryotherapy fans say

Michelle Coefield swears by the benefits of cryotherapy at CryoPDX. She enters the chamber 5 to 6 times a week. (KATU)

There's cold, and then there's cold.

And as anyone stepping into a cryotherapy chamber will tell you -- 200 degrees below zero is really cold.

But devotees swear by it, saying it helps with everything from plantar fasciitis to restless sleep.

Nicole Hughley is a dog walker, so when the foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis began about a year ago, she decided to try cryotherapy at CryoPDX, which had just opened in the Pearl District.

“It was really cold,” Hughley said after a recent session in the chamber. “You pretty much strip down, you get into the chamber, and they pretty much blast you with negative two hundred degrees. At first it's a little shocking but you really do get used to it the more and more that you do it.”

Hughley says her plantar fasciitis is much better, and she credits cryotherapy for that and other benefits.

"Afterwards, you do feel amazing,” she said. “I definitely feel a boost of energy when I get out. So I am definitely ready to conquer the day."

CryoPDX co-owner Deborah Weissenbuehler and her business partner tried cryotherapy and found the results so amazing they started the business.

They will open a second location next week in Tigard.

“It was so profound for us that we wanted to buy one,” Weissenbuehler said. “And the only way we could get one was by starting a business. So here we are.”

Weissenbuehler explained what happens to the body when exposed to super-cold liquid nitrogen.

“It creates vasoconstriction, so unlike an ice bath, where you get dilation and the blood flows to that area to warm up," she said. “Your brain knows that when you hit minus 160 you can't survive that. So it starts constricting all the peripheral tissue.”

Weissenbuehler says when you step out of the chamber after three minutes, super nutrient-rich blood is going back into the body.

“That's where the healing process starts,” she said.

Business is booming. CryoPDX goes through twelve to fifteen 65-gallon tanks of liquid nitrogen each week.

“We go through a lot of nitrogen,” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration’s page on its website regarding cryotherapy does call some of the claims questionable.

According to the website, the FDA “does not have evidence that whole body cryotherapy effectively treats diseases or conditions like Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stress, anxiety or chronic pain.”

But if you want to test it for yourself, a trial session at CryoPDX cost $25.

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