Can Cryotherapy Cure What Ails You?

Fight inflammation and pain one degree at a time.

Last year, I sprained my ankle boarding a plane bound for New York. I spent the next three days hobbling around Manhattan, struggling to ignore the pain.

According to Rob Remitz, cryotherapy could have saved my vacation. Remitz is the co-owner of CryoFit, a New Berlin clinic known for its whole-body cryotherapy, a treatment designed to reduce muscle inflammation and pain by dramatically lowering the patient’s internal temperature for a short period of time. Think of it as a giant ice pack.

Clients strip down to their skivvies and step into a special tank. Then they’re blasted with liquid nitrogen, which can get as cold as minus-256 degrees Fahrenheit, for about three minutes. “It’s really intense,” Remitz admits. “But it’s fast. You can do anything for three minutes.”

Cool Customers

Thinking of taking a polar plunge? These two clinics specialize in full-body cryotherapy.

15435 W. National Ave., New Berlin

333 W. Brown Deer Rd., Fox Point

And the benefits of cryotherapy may make up for the discomfort of being really cold for a few minutes. One Mil Mag staffer and cryo-convert says that she gets a boost of energy after each treatment. Other patients say that they recover from injuries faster, that they feel less pain and that the intense cold kickstarts their metabolism.

I couldn’t find much evidence to back up that last claim. But at least two scientific studies indicate that cryotherapy could potentially help people with injuries or illnesses reduce their recovery times or manage pain.

So, when I inevitably sprain something again, I may consider cryotherapy.

“The Big Chill” appears in the 2018 Health issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.