Mindee Lee helps Angelo Aquino

Mindee Lee helps Angelo Aquino prepare for his entry into the Impact Cryotherapy chamber in Gilbert. The controlled dry chill lowers the ambient temperature from -30F to -184 F for a three-minute session.

A Google search for pain relief brought Angelo Aquino to the doors of a wellness center on Gilbert Road that offers healing through full-body freezing.

A Cryoshift franchise opened in April, providing pain relief, muscle recovery, weight loss, and mental clarity with the use of an Impact Cryotherapy chamber filled with nitrogen vapor for a controlled dry chill that lowers the ambient temperature from minus-30 to minus-184 degrees during the three-minute treatment.

“It’s like taking an ice bath but not getting wet,” Aquino said. “It helps with relaxation, stress relief and I use it a lot because I’ve had surgery on my neck, shoulders and lower back and have stiffness. I didn’t want to go to a chiropractor because they charge $200 to $300 a month and, sometimes, they hurt you.”

The Gilbert man, who has high-blood pressure, works as a route salesman for Frito-Lay that has him on his feet 12 to 14 hours a shift.

He has had 13 surgeries.

Aquino said he purchased a monthly membership at the end of May after he got hooked from a complimentary session.

The center also offers NormaTec compression therapy that compresses air to enhance blood flow and speed muscle recovery for the legs, arms, and hips, and an infrared sauna – both of which Aquino uses.

He said an infrared dry sauna is better than a wet sauna because it removes 20 percent of the toxins from the body compared with 3-5 percent for the wet.

According to Cryoshift’s website, the infrared therapy, which uses light to create heat, helps people relax with an invigorating deep tissue sweat” that leaves them fully refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, headache, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and found some evidence of benefit. However, larger and more-rigorous studies are needed to confirm these results, the medical website added.

Aquino goes five to six times a week for the whole-body cryotherapy, two to three times a week for the compression treatment and, if he has time, the infrared sauna.

Center Manager Sunny Settlers said cryotherapy is the most popular offering for   customers. Cryoshift has a monthly membership of 200 people, she said.

Medical News Today reported research on cryotherapy is as new as is the trend for the treatment.

That said, it stated cryotherapy can help with muscle pain and some joint and muscle disorders like arthritis and may promote faster healing of athletic injuries. Marathoners are known to take an ice bath after a race.

The online source for medical news cited a 2017 study that supports the benefits of cryotherapy for relieving muscle pain and speeding healing. 

However, the study found that cold water immersion was more effective than whole-body cryotherapy and it noted not all studies support the role of cryotherapy in muscle healing. 

When it comes to weight loss, it could support the process in that being cold forces a body to work harder to stay warm, Medical News Today said. 

It also said cryotherapy, which reduces inflammation, could reduce the risk of developing dementia and treat mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.  

Kris Price, co-owner and franchisee of the Cryoshift in Gilbert, said when she tried cryotherapy the first time, it was a little uncomfortable.

But as soon as she stepped out of the chamber, she said in a news release, she started to immediately see benefits.

“I began doing it daily and noticed that I have improved memory and focus, improved mood, slept better and had less pain overall,” she said. 

Aquino also noticed he is experiencing less stress and can sleep better these days since going to Cryoshift.

“I work crazy hours and I have a 2 ½-year-old that I take care of when her mom is at work,” he said. “My sleep schedule is messed up. I couldn’t relax and my brain could not shut down. I’m more easily able to be relaxed.”

And, given the triple-digit temperatures in the Valley, there’s an added benefit with cryotherapy.

“When it’s 110 outside, your body is still cool,” he said. “It takes six to seven minutes to drive home and I’m cool.”