Though not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the number of cryotherapy providers continues to climb as users claim the treatments help relieve chronic pain. Cryotherapy chambers, developed in Japan in the 1970s by a rheumatoid arthritis doctor, place clients in temperatures as low as negative 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Location: 2320 Vickers Drive
And while the treatment is not new to Colorado Springs, residents now have more choices. The city’s newest spa, Goosebumps Cryotherapy, is offering a whole-body experience with its cryotherapy chamber, which can be cooled to negative 220 degrees Fahrenheit via a 550-liter nitrogen tank. Users can stay in the cooled chamber for up to three minutes. The spa also offers facial and targeted treatments using the CryoPenguin.
Goosebumps Cryotherapy, which had its soft opening Sept. 29 and will have its grand opening Dec. 2, was founded by sisters Debbie and Donna Mabon and Becky Boerjan, Debbie’s wife.
Donna, who lives in Cortez, was introduced to cryotherapy at her chiropractor’s office when she started treatments for pain in October 2016.
Her sister Debbie had been diagnosed with diabetes and fibromyalgia in 2015, and Donna asked her chiropractor if Debbie would benefit from cryotherapy.
“I went for the first session, and I felt really good afterwards, but I still had my pain,” Debbie said. “So I went the following day and that was the first time in a year I was almost pain free.
“I said, ‘Where in Colorado Springs can I continue this?’”
The sisters found two existing cryotherapy businesses in the Pikes Peak region, but both said they agreed Colorado Springs was big enough for another.
“We just started doing all kinds of research and got hooked up with a couple mentors — one in Castle Rock and one in New York,” Debbie said. “They helped us get everything going and taught us a lot about the business and that’s kind of how we started.”
Debbie does a cryotherapy session once a day, and is close to no longer needing medication, she said.
“We’re really excited about sharing our experience,” Donna said. “Obviously Debbie had a much more profound experience. … It’s definitely helped me, but for her it was a game changer.”
Since its soft opening, the spa has seen more than 100 visitors, including athletes, those looking to try it for the first time and people looking for pain relief for medical conditions like arthritis.
“A minute and a half to three minutes is the therapeutic value,” Debbie said. “It makes your body believe you’re going into hypothermia, so it rushes all the blood to your core organs. When you get out of [the chamber], it rushes the blood back to your extremities.”
Many people experience an energy boost after a treatment, Debbie said, and sometimes weight-loss is a side effect, she added.
“[Losing weight] is just a piece of the pie, it’s not a cure-all,” she said. “Otherwise we’d have a line 2 miles down the road.”
The main challenge they’ve faced is customers calling to ask if cryotherapy will help with certain medical conditions, Debbie said.
“If someone comes in or calls us and says, ‘Do you know if cryotherapy would help with this?’ … If I don’t [know the answer] I will explore and research and get back to them,” Debbie said.
“That would have to be our only challenge — is not knowing exactly what it helps or doesn’t help.”
The chamber set the owners back $72,500 and the cryotherapy spot treatment machine was $14,000. Total cost to open the business was around $120,000.
Financing came from the siblings’ mother, who also uses cryotherapy treatments.
Previously, Debbie and Donna worked in law enforcement. Debbie was a police officer with the Manitou Springs Police Department and Donna was a probation officer in Cortez and other jurisdictions throughout the state. Boerjan currently works for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
This is the first time any of the three have owned a storefront business.
“It was quite the learning experience. It was a lot of fun,” Donna said. “… People entered our lives who were amazing and really helped us along the way and guided us in the right direction.”
Though Donna lives in Cortez, she stays in Colorado Springs for a week every month to give Debbie a break from running the day-to-day operations. Their brother also works part-time for the spa.
Debbie said she eventually wants Goosebumps Cryotherapy to offer two chambers, an additional spot-treatment machine and a mobile cryotherapy machine to take to athletes.