It’s called the “cryo smile.” That’s the expression spread across many peoples’ faces after they expose their bodies to negative 200-degree temperatures for three minutes inside a whole-body cryotherapy booth. Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is the modern version of plunging into a tub full of ice to cool and heal your body — and ever since Reno’s Andrea Guzman first tried WBC, she’s practically had a perma-cryo-smile. “When you come out of there, you can’t help but have this huge smile,” Guzman said while, fittingly, smiling during a video interview with the NNBW. “It’s the endorphin rush that you get when you come out of there.” Guzman was drawn to WBC due to lingering head and neck pain she suffered from being involved in three car accidents. The pain persisted for years, and she tried multiple methods for relief with little results. Eventually, she opened her mind to exposing her body to ultra-low temperatures. Three minutes in a freezing tank later, Guzman finally found the relief she was looking for. “I’m feeling great,” she said. “I do cryo every day that I can, and it’s been really helpful for my neck pain … I like what it does for athletic recovery, it’s good for your skin, and it helps with depression and anxiety.” Guzman wants others in the Reno area to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of WBC. So much so that she and her husband, Chris, decided to leave their old careers behind — an esthetician at a spa and a slot machine game developer, respectively — and open an Icebox Studio franchise in Reno. On June 9, the Guzmans had a soft opening of the cryotherapy business at 45 Foothill Road in South Reno. “It’s a good fit for what I think is the Reno lifestyle, because quite a few people are active and like to do outdoor sports or outdoor activities,” Chris Guzman said. “It pairs well with that in the recovery aspect and reduces inflammation and makes you feel better so you can go out there and enjoy life.”
People using a whole-body cryotherapy booth, as seen here, are exposed to negative 200-degree temperatures for three minutes.
The WBC concept comes from the simple observation that applying ice or other types of cold treatment can provide pain relief for inflamed, injured or overused muscles, Guzman said. In recent years, it’s reportedly been embraced by elite professional athletes — from LeBron James to Cristiano Ronaldo — seeking a competitive edge in recovery. “When you get an injury, more often than not, what do you do to make it feel better? You put an ice pack on it,” Guzman said. “So we’re essentially treating you with an ice pack all over all at the same time.” The Guzmans said some people are also attracted to cryotherapy treatments to alleviate pain without relying solely on pain medications.
Notably, the Icebox Studio franchise offers localized cryotherapy that targets specific areas of the body, as well as compression therapy, which works by applying controlled pressure to the lower limbs by using leg sleeves. The wellness studio also offers cryotherapy beauty treatments to tighten and tone skin. The Guzmans said cryotherapy also helps improve sleep. Chris Guzman feels the demand for wellness treatments like cryotherapy is a byproduct of people increasing their focus on taking care of their health and wellbeing during the pandemic. Added Andrea: “Anybody interested in improving their health, I think this would be good for them. This is just another avenue to better their health.” So far, the Guzmans say there is a customer base in Reno that feels the same; their Icebox Studio is on track to sell 60 memberships in their first month of operation, exceeding their goal of 50. Membership prices range from $69 per month to $189 a month. Members who sign up in the first month get additional perks and discounts on beauty services, they said. Based in Atlanta, Icebox Studio currently has nine locations across the country. The company says it has 38 franchise locations under development as part of its national growth strategy.
Its Reno location is the company’s first in Nevada.