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Saturday, Jun 3, 2023

Super Cold Cure

To help recover from a strenous workout, some athletes in the Valley are opting to enter a stainless-steel chamber chilled to -200 degrees Fahrenheit by billowing clouds of vaporized nitrogen. The two to three-minute-long treatment, known as cryotherapy, has become an increasingly popular alternative health and fitness trend. Though not an approved medical treatment by the Federal Drug Administration, cryotherapy aims to relieve inflammation, rejuvenate skin and speed up recovery from injuries. At Cryo Café in Encino, athletes submerge their entire body in a cryotherapy chamber, which is connected to 100-liter tanks filled with liquid nitrogen. The inside of the tanks is heated to liquid nitrogen’s boiling point — -321 degrees Fahrenheit — to create a vapor that fills the chamber. The extreme cold causes blood to rush away from a cryotherapy patient’s extremities and to their core, so they must wear wool gloves and slippers to protect from frost bite. Patients can also receive localized treatments from a wand that blows vapor at such low temperatures that it often freezes the hair on their body. Some even elect to have cryotherapy on their face. Cryo Café was founded by Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Jacob Perler last year. He leases space to operate the business in physical therapy clinic Sports Rehab LA at 16830 Ventura Blvd. World-class athletes including NFL stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones come to the facility to train or rehab at the center’s gym before receiving a variety of alternative sports medicine treatments. One such treatment, called cupping, involves applying a hot glass bulb to a patient’s skin, which creates a suction that is intended to increase blood flow and facilitate healing. Another, called the Normatec, is an inflatable suite that wraps around a patient’s arms or legs relieve lactic acid build-up after a workout. Grafting involves running a dull metal tool over a body part to loosen up scar tissue, while an electronic device that looks like a power tool called a Hypervolt is used as a massager. Sports Lab LA owner Dr. Patrick Khaziran said such treatments are catching on in the world of professional sports. “When you see an injured athlete recover months ahead of their timetable, this is how they do it,” he said.

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