By Ryan Dentscheff for The Chagrin Valley Times| September 21, 2016
You might not be able to dunk a basketball or lead an NBA team back from a 31 deficit to win a national championship for Cleveland, but you can still be like LeBron James. Mr. James uses a somewhat unique body recovery and therapy method called cryotherapy, which will soon be offered for the first time in the Chagrin Valley by The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic in Pepper Pike.
Gary Williams, Controller at The LuJean Feng Clinic, presented plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission recently for the addition of a 540 gallon cryogenic tank, which will store liquid nitrogen. A secure fence will enclose the tank to be built at the doctor’s office on Pinetree Road, he said. Commission members are scheduled to vote on the proposal during their Oct. 3 meeting. The clinic plans to offer cryotherapy by November.
Dr. Feng said she became interested in cryotherapy after she learned Mr. James and Jamaican gold medalist Usain Bolt use the method to recover after workouts. Mr. James even has a cryotherapy unit in his home, she said, and Mr. Bolt has a mobile unit that he travels with. The way the procedure works is a patient steps into a cylindrical chamber, often referred to as a cryosauna, which then uses liquid nitrogen at minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit to supercool the body for one to three minutes. Individuals wear protective mittens and slippers while in the chamber to protect their hands and feet. A single session at The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic could cost $45 to $60, a Feng Clinic representative said.
And while cryotherapy is popular among extreme athletes, Dr. Feng noted that it can be beneficial to just about anyone. She said there have been various scientific studies on the topic that have found that people who suffer from chronic injuries and everyday pain can benefit from the treatment. “They benefit from better, faster functional recovery meaning greater range of motion and less pain after they had cryotherapy,” Dr. Feng explained. “People with fibromyalgia, people with arthritis, they could benefit because these are chronic inflammatory conditions not necessarily induced by injury but more induced by repetitive motion from everyday things.” Cryotherapy is beneficial, she said, because it helps the body produce antioxidants and decreases inflammation within the body, leading to faster recovery and general pain relief. There are individuals who should not engage in the cold blast treatment, including individuals who suffer from vascular disease, cold induced asthma, atherosclerosis or women who are pregnant, Dr. Feng said.
Experts say the trend is catching on.
“I think people are always looking for new therapy and ways to relieve pain,” Dr. Feng said regarding the popularity of cryotherapy. People like cryotherapy, she added, because it is more natural with less side effects than some other pain relieving methods. “Because there can be a lot of side effects to using aspirin, Advil, Aleve, this is an alternative therapy that doesn’t involve injuring your stomach or kidney as a result of taking these over-the-counter medications.”