Cryotherapy wellness center

Chrissy Ramos, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Business Manager Vicky Rolan, U.S. Cryotherapy Manager Todd Kramer, Christina Sanders, Shanae Barnes, Kaitlin Sanck and Frank Serrato cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the U.S. Cryotherapy wellness center at the Fort Hood Exchange Shopping Center on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018.

Shoppers at the Clear Creek Army and Air Force Exchange Service can now enjoy the newest attraction at the shopping mall: The new cryotherapy center is the first of its kind on a military installation.

The wellness center is operated by U.S. Cryotherapy and offers a variety of cold therapy services.

Kevin Kramer, CEO and founder of U.S. Cryotherapy, said he is excited about the opportunity to serve the military community.

“This is really exciting because we get to go into a new segment with active and retired military personnel that we can help and treat for recovery,” he said.

The cold therapy services include whole-body cryotherapy for the relief of muscle soreness, faster recovery and enhanced athletic performance.

“We are using walk-in chamber technology for our cold shock therapy, where we drop skin temperature over a very short duration in a very safe environment,” Kramer said. “That has physiological results which help stimulate the brain into releasing hormones and proteins for self-repair.”

Patients are advised to wear casual gym attire for a treatment.

The therapy center equips them with hat, mittens and slippers before entering the whole-body cryotherapychamber and exposing their bodies to -186 degrees Fahrenheit.

“It seems crazy but the reality of it is that you can tolerate it for a very short period of time and self-protect which is what we really want,” Kramer said. “We want the central nervous system to kick on and go into self-repair mode.”

Treatments in the chamber start at 2½ minutes, but can get extended to a maximum of 3½ minutes depending on the patient’s skin temperature, which is measured before and after the cold shock therapy.

The whole-body treatment activates the central nervous system to release beneficial hormones and enhance circulation to decrease pain and inflammation.

The wellness center offers additional services including localized cold shock therapy, NormaTec compression therapy and TheraGun muscle treatments. U.S. Cryotherapy does not use liquid nitrogen or any other hazardous chemicals in any of its services.

According to Kramer, the military community can benefit essentially from the cold therapy services.

“This population has such active training, you got injuries, you have general muscle and body fatigue, and then you have retirees that had a lot of whole-body stress in their lifetime,” he said.

Patients with acute pain, chronic conditions, surgical stress, fatigue and auto inflammatory diseases can especially benefit from cold shock therapy. However, experts also noticed secondary benefits from a continuous treatment routine.

“Some of the secondary benefits that you are getting from an immunological standpoint are improvement of sleep, reduction of stress, improvement in moods and energy,” Kramer said. “People start seeing those kinds of things as compounding benefits while we are dealing with the underlying issues of pain and inflammation.”

U.S. Cryotherapy started its business in 2011 and is operating in 22 other locations at this point. The exchange is planning to open at least two more cold therapy service centers over the course of the next year.

Lafaye Miller traveled from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to test the center during the grand opening Nov. 14.

“I’ve been studying the benefits of these treatments for a while and am really looking forward to the opportunity to test it,” she said.

According to Kramer, the average client uses the cold therapy services about two to three times a week for 15 to 20 minute visits.

“That is a really good protocol for maintaining your active lifestyle and getting rid of inflammation and pain,” he said. “Most of them are using chamber and localized treatment, but some of them will come and want to do a compression and muscle stimulation.”

Richard Jepson suffers from knee and shoulder pain. He tested the whole-body cryotherapy chamber during the grand opening and was happy about the immediate results he noticed.

“I feel good,” he said after his treatment. “At first it was pretty cold, but then your body gets used to it so it wasn’t such a big deal.”

The services are not covered by insurance companies. Interested patients can chose from treatment packages and monthly plans ranging between $40 and $169.

“If you have repetitive stress issues, lower back problems, shoulder pain, you are going to notice an immediate benefit — but we want to get you onto a program plan to get long-term, underlying condition improvement,” Kramer said.

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