Marketplace: Stone Cold Cryotherapy brings the chill to Park City
Through treatment, center claims to provide pain relief
When TJ Berry fractured his back in a snowboarding accident in 2008, he thought he’d have to live with the pain for the rest of his life.
Painkillers made him nauseous and back surgery, which carried a chance of worsening his injury rather than healing it, was too much of a risk. The pain didn’t completely stop him from playing golf and lifting weights, but he’d wake up the next day in pain, barely able to move.
A few years later, though, chance intervened. At the time, he was running a marketing company that was working for a cryotherapy treatment center. Cryotherapy — a form of treatment in which nitrogen gas is used to drastically lower an individual’s body temperature for a short period of time and purports to supercharge the body’s natural healing process — caught his attention.
Berry saw cryotherapy, which was riding a wave of national press attention because professional athletes were using it, as a potentially lucrative business opportunity. He and a friend who had a herniated spinal disc flew to San Diego to meet with a cryotherapy chamber manufacturer and try it for themselves.
To his amazement, Berry’s first treatment completely relieved the pain in his back, he said.
“Every time I did anything, I would hurt,” he said. “But we went down for one session, and we were both sold. It was relief right away.”
Within a few weeks, he purchased a chamber from the manufacturer. A few months later, he opened Stone Cold Cryotherapy in South Ogden. Now, after expanding to Salt Lake City and Draper, Stone Cold Cryotherapy has come to the Park City area. Berry recently opened his fourth location at 1748 W. Redstone Center Drive in Kimball Junction.
He said he decided to expand to the Park City area because dozens of Summit County residents were traveling to his Draper location. Two months in, it’s proven to be a good choice because there are a lot of people in the area from California or the East Coast who are familiar with cryotherapy because the treatment is popular there.
“Quite a few people were hounding us to get one up here, so we did,” he said. “It’s quite a good market. You’ve got a lot of homes in the area with a disposable income, which is important because it’s not something that’s covered in insurance. And there are a lot of people who are health conscious who understand the benefits.”
When Stone Cold Cryotherapy first opened in South Ogden, one of the biggest barriers Berry faced was potential customers’ lack of familiarity with the treatment. A few years later, the cryotherapy industry has exploded, and Berry doesn’t find himself having to explain what the treatment is as often.
But he still encounters one common issue: People are commonly hesitant to try the treatment because they fear being closed into a chamber that gets as cold as negative 300 degrees Fahrenheit will be painful.
However, their worries are unfounded, he said.
“As soon as people try it, our biggest response after the first session is, ‘Oh, that’s it?’” he said. “People kind of build it up and expect a lot worse. But as soon as it’s over, you warm right back up and you get relief immediately. It becomes easier and easier each time you do it, psychologically.
“Most people don’t just do it once,” he added. “We’ve got people who have done it once just to say they’ve done it, but most of our clients come back and are on a routine.”
One treatment session at Stone Cold Cryotherapy costs $50, but the center offers a number of punch-card or membership packages, as well. He’s said he’s hopeful the treatments will become part of many Parkites’ routines because he’s seen the tremendous impact cryotherapy can have on customers.
“I’ve had several people with really chronic conditions, whether it be arthritis, fibromyalgia or whatever, where their quality of life is poor,” he said. “I’ve had four or five people do a session and come out, sit on the chair and just cry. They said, ‘I don’t remember the last time I’ve been pain free. Even if this only lasts a day, I’ll come every day.’”
Stone Cold Cryotherapy
1748 W. Redstone Center Drive
In May, the long-time owners, Joy and Geir Vik, announced their retirement and passed on the business to the Brian and Dena Merrill, and their son, Dylan, who had been their friends and colleagues for years.
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