Housed inside CrossFit Lakeland is a new business — and a new paradigm in athletic recovery and pain management. We stepped into the Cryosauna to experience it firsthand while owner Mike Knaisch told us why it’s such a promising alternative to traditional treatments for muscle and joint inflammation, fatigue, and even disease.
The Lakelander: Cold therapy has been around a long time, but the Cryosauna takes it to another level. How did the treatment evolve?
Mike Knaisch: The Cryosauna was invented by a Japanese doctor working with rheumatoid arthritis patients. He saw great success with those patients who received the therapy once, sometimes twice, a day. They experienced joint pain relief and their inflammation started dissipating.
It eventually gained traction in the West with some high-profile professional and collegiate athletes. Now it’s available to the general public for pain and inflammation relief.
TL: What happens to the body in the Cryosauna?
MK: When your body senses that it’s in a “hostile” environment — a subzero sauna, for instance — it enters a fight-or-flight response. Your brain and nervous system realize that they must act to survive. So your body shunts blood from your extremities and draws it toward your vital organs. But when you step out of the Cryosauna after the three-minute treatment and your body senses it’s safe again, it releases blood back to your extremities. But not only is the blood reoxygenated, it’s cleaner, fresher.
TL: What’s the difference between this and a traditional ice pack or ice bath?
MK: Traditional cold-therapy methods help with pain but they also cause numbness and close off circulation. So, if you have sore or inflamed muscles and joints, you’re letting that inflammation stay in that area. You feel less pain, because you’re numb. But we don’t want to do that; we want to flush it out.
When you’re in the Cryo machine for only three minutes, your body doesn’t have time to adapt to the cold and cause vasoconstriction. It actually causes vasodilation, which flushes out inflammation and lactic acid. In contrast to the stiffness and tightness of an ice pack, you can walk out of the Cryosauna and head to the gym.
TL: What kind of results are users reporting?
MK: Many with chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases experience relief of their symptoms. In fact, there’s a young woman who was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that comes in several times a week and claims it makes her feel 10 times better without the side effects of medicine.
TL: How many therapy sessions does someone need to see results?
MK: After the first session, you often feel some relief from pain and soreness immediately. It’s probably going to return in a few hours. If you stick with if for about a month, two to three sessions a week, you’re likely going to see some great results.
TL: Tell us about the packages you offer.
MK: For anyone trying it for the first time, we offer two sessions for $39, basically a buy-one, get-one. After that, we offer three sessions for $99 and 10 for $259. For four or five times a week, we offer a monthly cryo membership at $189 per month.
3111 U.S. 98 #106
Lakeland, FL 33803