Cryotherapy is used for achy muscles and inflammation, as well as speeding up recovery time, reducing pain, and recovering from surgery. Cryotherapy exposes the body to freezing temperatures that range from anywhere between -200 degrees Fahrenheit and -256 degrees Fahrenheit for short lengths of time.
Infrared saunas can also aid in inflammation, muscle recovery, detoxification, pain relief and more. Infrared saunas have been recommended by doctors for years because of proven relief from sports injury, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions.
“Infrared wavelengths penetrate the body to create heat, which creates profound therapeutic benefits,” Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, University of Southern California said. “They increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering more concentrated oxygen, which creates more energy to heal.”
“A similar effect happens when you get into a cryotherapy chamber. Rich oxygenation of blood releases throughout the body upon exiting, leading to a host of benefits,” Stacy Donnelly, COO of Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy said.
“What physically happens is your body says fight or flight – I’m freezing and I need to protect my organs so the blood rushes to your mid-section to protect,” Donnelly said. “There’s an endorphin release and oxygenation of the blood which leads to this oxygen-rich blood going to all of these extremities and areas of pain. It’s like your own blood doping.”
Donnelly’s husband, Jim Donnelly, and Steve Welch co-founded and own the Restore franchise. Both ex-college athletes themselves, Donnelly and her husband Jim went to a cryotherapy location five or so years ago she said, to help alleviate the aches and pains they were still experiencing from their college athletic days.
“We both were college athletes and now in our mid-40s, I remember what it felt like to be in good shape, but we have aches and pains now after years of athletics,” she said. “We loved the way you immediately felt better.”
Jim Donnelly and Steve Welch opened their first Restore location in 2015, and their first franchise in 2017. In the beginning, cryotherapy was their only offering, but Stacy Donnelly said they knew their business model had to evolve.
“We started with just cryotherapy and we saw that wasn’t a defensible business,” Donnelly said. “For not a huge amount of money, you could buy a cryotherapy chamber and figure out how to get liquid nitrogen shipped to your back door. So, we started then layering in a pretty sophisticated medical infrastructure and adding wellness modalities to our portfolio and evolved into what Restore is today.”
With more than 200 locations set to be open in 2021, Restore has a robust membership model with members and non-members alike able to take advantage of alternative ways to heal and stay healthy.
“Our members tend to stay with us for multiple years,” Donnelly said. “I think actions speak louder than words in a lot of ways. We have a very loyal client base that is seeing and feeling the effects of these modalities and having them all in one place where they can get cold and heat therapy, coupled with IV, and hyperbaric therapy – it makes it easier to take advantage of those services.”
“How often you go and why varies by customer,” Donnelly said.
“We first talk to our customers about why they’ve come in and what they’re looking for,” Donnelly said. “If they’re sort of hardcore workout guys or gals, they obviously feel and see immediate benefits from cryo – there’s an anti-inflammatory property. It allows that person to recover quickly so they can work hard again the next day.”
Kansas City athlete and Restore member, Molly Buchannan, has been going to their Olathe Point location in Kansas since they opened and has used a number of Restore’s offerings.
“Stretch is my primary service, but I’ve tried it all,” Buchannan said. “My favorite treatments are stretch, compression and sauna. As a runner, I find that these three treatments have significantly improved my performance and recovery. Plus, I feel so relaxed after those treatments.”
Using hot/cold therapy for pain, muscle recovery, or injury may be more beneficial than just using one or the other. Cold therapy eases pain by numbing the affected area and reducing swelling and inflammation. Heat therapy increases circulation and reduces joint stiffness and muscle spasm. By coupling the two together, you get a one-two-punch for relieving pain and aiding in muscle recovery.
“I love sauna for its health benefits, but I really enjoy how relaxed I feel during and after my session,” Buchannan said. “It feels so good to sweat like I just did an intense workout, but without all the work!”
While Restore didn’t initially have a partnership with Sunlighten when they opened their doors, they’re working toward incorporating the brand into additional locations.
“Our first infrared sauna was a different brand and we have evolved to Sunlighten,” she said. “We put one (Sunlighten sauna) in our house and tested it and preferred it, so now we are moving that to all of our locations. In 2021, we have a roadmap for Sunlighten to be in 200 locations.”
Donnelly said she feels like cryotherapy is a service you immediately feel the benefit from, while infrared sauna therapy is something to be done regularly to maintain health.
“For me, I think cold therapy is more immediate. You walk out feeling better than when you came in, almost every time,” Donnelly said. “The hot therapy – I know there are benefits, there’s a ton of science around the cardiovascular benefits. For me it’s a little bit more that I’m doing something good for myself. I do sleep better when I use an infrared sauna. I probably do it three times a week for 30 minutes at 145-150 degrees.”
As the need and want for alternative self-care and healing continues to grow, Restore is staying ahead of the game by continuing to research new and innovative offerings.
“We have what we call Restore labs,” Donnelly said, “where we have key folks in our company who are biohacker individuals constantly looking at different ingredients for our IVs and different wellness modalities. We test them in our Restore labs. We don’t get into testing the efficacy – we want that tested by the company who offers the product or service. We test whether that product or that offering would work within Restore. We have five to 100 things constantly being tested and some things bubble up and make sense and fit within our mission statement. Does somebody feel better when they walk out after experiencing this? Is it science-backed? These are the things that are important to us as we roll out new offerings.”
For more information on the services Restore offers and locations, head to their website.
Learn more about the many benefits of a Sunlighten infrared sauna.