Inside Fresno's only cryotherapy business

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From the neck down, Tony Urrutia was standing in negative 190 degrees chamber-- and he's doing it by choice. (KFSN)

From the neck down, Tony Urrutia was standing in negative 190 degrees chamber-- and he's doing it by choice.

Urrutia suffers from arthritis and use to spend hours icing his joints every day, and now he claims he's seeing results from whole body cryotherapy.

"Today, when I walk out of here, I will feel good for a good 48 hours-- in terms of joint pain, muscle relief."

Steve Votaw is owner of Valley Cryosport in Northeast Fresno. The business is the first of its kind in the Valley.

Cryotherapy was developed in the 1970's and works by exposing your body to extreme cold. Temperatures reach negative 130, 160, or 190 degrees in the chamber.

"The body goes into rapid repair mode because it senses that threat of hypothermia," said Votaw.

Votaw said your body tries to protect your vital organs, and once out of the chamber, your blood rushes through your system flushing out toxins and boosting circulation.

We watched Urrutia go through the treatment for three minutes, turning around in the chamber as Votaw guided him through the process. When he leaves the chamber, his body starts to adjust back to room temperature.

Urrutia comes in twice a week and pays about $30 a session. The therapy is not covered by insurance because it's considered a non-medical wellness treatment.

"I can say for me, there's no price to feeling good."

Votaw says his clientele ranges from professional athletes to those dealing with chronic diseases.

Clients are nearly naked inside the chamber and wear just gloves and shoes to protect themselves from hypothermia.

To take part in cryotherapy, the manufacturer suggests people five feet or taller are ideal candidates-- their youngest client so far is 12-years-old.

Votaw handles the equipment and the nitrogen.

"We're certified and tested on the operation of the machine by the manufacturer, which is an American company by the name of Impact Cryosauna."

The Food and Drug Administration says there is not enough research to know the effects cold temperatures have on blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism.

"We will probably never be an FDA labeled device, but the bottom line we know it provides help to clients," said Votaw.

Ernie Davidson has been living with Fibromyalgia for 10 years and now heads to Valley Cryosport twice a week for treatment.

For Davidson, her two minutes in the cryochamber can't come soon enough.

"You really feel it instantly. There's a head rush and a buzz as the endorphin's get released from the brain, so I'm kind of happy and glowing in a great mood."

A cool therapy, not medically approved, but given approval by these loyal customers.
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