Texas native Madison Jimenez was a cheerleader in high school, a physically demanding sport that resulted in joint inflammation. For relief, she turned to a service that uses freezing temperatures to deaden irritated nerves.
Cryotherapy has become a popular new form of treatment in Oxford for pain relief and faster healing.
“The constant pounding of my joints from tumbling caused unwanted pain,” Jimenez said, “but when I discovered cryotherapy, I no longer ached. Cryotherapy is very popular in Texas, so I was thrilled when Oxford Cryotherapy opened last year.
“Before, if I wanted therapy, I would have to drive all the way to Memphis, but now it is available five minutes down the road from me. No one can truly understand how well it works until they try it. I thought it was a joke at first, but after actually trying it, I realized how effective it can actually be.”
Oxford native Pat Messer opened Oxford Cryotherapy in January 2017 to show others how effective the treatment can be for arthritis and inflammation. The traveling nurse believed Mississippi needed cryotherapy because of the impact it had on her life.
“I first experienced cryotherapy in Texas after a woman saw me limping due to my rheumatoid arthritis,” she said. “I was skeptical at first, because arthritis patients do not like to be cold, but after trying it, I was able to sleep the best I had in 20 years.
“I first thought it was a placebo effect, so I tried it again the next day, but I experienced the same satisfaction and had no aching pains,” Messer said. “It immediately became something I swear by, and I couldn’t imagine life without it now.”
The science behind cryotherapy is to decrease body temperature up to -300 degrees Fahrenheit. Messer said this brings blood into the core and refreshes it before sending it back through the body, alleviating pain and swelling.
“You feel the same type of euphoria after freezing that you feel as your jogging,” she said. “It makes you feel really refreshed.”
The most popular form of cryotherapy is whole body cryotherapy, but there are other forms, including leg compression and spot therapy.
“Whole body cryotherapy is the extreme cooling chamber that exposes the skin to freezing temperatures for up to five minutes, which is what most people come here for, but we also offer other treatments that help specific areas on the body,” Messer said.
“Spot therapy helps with pain in specific areas because it focuses on that one area for a longer amount of time than you can spend in the chamber,” she said. “Our facials last 12 minutes, which help close pours, get rid of acne, and make your skin glow.”
Leg compression sleeves mimic the muscle pump of the arms and legs, which help enhance the movement of fluid in the limbs.
“The leg compressors work in different ways to increase blood flow for quicker recovery, which decreases muscle soreness and fatigue,” Messer said.
From Lebron James to Floyd Mayweather, many athletes have started using cryotherapy instead of the traditional ice bath because it is more comfortable and a quicker alternative.
“It originally came to the United States for athletes,” Messer said. “Most major teams have their own chambers because most athletes would rather get in a three-minute freezing chamber than a 20-minute ice bath.
“We have teams from all over Mississippi, including the University of Memphis, that come to our facility because it has picked up so much popularity in recent years.”
Cryotherapy can be done everyday, up to twice a day, as long as there is enough space between sessions for the core body temperature to reach a normal level.
“If done too close together, you are at risk for frostbite,” Messer said, “but it is completely safe when used correctly. I personally do not use it everyday, because I travel a lot, but when I am in town, I use it as often as possible.”
Messer highly encourages people with arthritis to use cryotherapy because she has watched it transform the lives of people including herself.
“I’ve had clients come in for treatment that go from barely being able to walk to doing activities they were used to doing prior to having arthritis,” she said. “The most rewarding part of bringing cryotherapy to Mississippi is seeing the effect it has made on so many people who otherwise would not have experienced it. Watching our clients feel better is the best feeling as a business owner, and for me to be the one to provide that comfort has been the best part of having a facility in Oxford.”