The Norman Transcript

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March 16, 2014

Cryotherapy puts the freeze on pain

NORMAN — Cryotherapy has come to Norman. Whole body cryogenic physical therapy has been used in Asia and Europe for years, but this alternative approach to pain relief and athletic performance is just now making an appearance in the U.S.

“This was invented in 1978 in Japan to treat rheumatoid arthritis,” said David Shimanek, co-owner of Cryo Performance Therapy in Redbud Plaza, 227 34th Ave. SW, just across from Sooner Fashion Mall. “It’s been used for over two decades in Europe.”

Clients step into a cryosauna that exposes skin to temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit for two to three minutes. Liquid nitrogen is used to cool the skin quickly for a brief period of time — three minutes or less.

“Most people will experience a positive response the first treatment,” Shimanek said. “When they step out, most people say they feel rejuvenated.”

Sandy Fuzzell is a client who has used the treatments to boost weight loss along with her diet and exercise program. The cold temperatures are believed to burn as many calories in a couple of minutes as some people burn in a run.

“I sleep better on nights I do it,” Fuzzell said. “It makes me feel good.”

Cryo Performance Therapy is co-owned by Norman residents Dr. Gary D. Ratliff and Marianne Ratliff, DPh. Their daughter, Rebecca Ratliff is a trained Cryo technician.

“David has worked around these in Dallas and knew about them before I did,” Gary Ratliff said. “We were very excited to join with David and bring this to Norman.”

During a cryosauna experience, skin vessels and capillaries undergo vasoconstriction. It’s the body’s way of keeping the core temperature from dropping. After the procedure, vasodilation occurs. This causes toxins to be flushed out of the skin.

“We look at it as alternative medicine,” Ratliff said. “We think it’s going to help people. We’ve already seen people who have seen reduction in the amount of pain they have.”

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