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For many of us, living with pain or inflammation from an injury or disease day in, day out for the rest of our lives is reality. But maybe it doesn’t have to be.

There’s a treatment in Australia that is starting to be used more widely that could bring some relief.

It’s called Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is a holistic therapy that involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time.

Cryotherapy was developed in the 1970s by a Japanese rheumatologist and introduced in Europe, the US and Australia over the next 20 years.

It involves taking a chamber down to between minus -110 to -140 degrees Celsius by using liquid nitrogen vapour to cool the chamber. Then, the person gets in the chamber and stays there for three minutes.

Some of the benefits of cryotherapy include reduced inflammation, increased circulation, improved recovery from exercise, relief from chronic pain, and a boost to the immune system. It also helps improve mood, reduces stress and promotes better sleep.

There are a handful of cryotherapy facilities in regional NSW including ‘Maitland Cryotherapy’ in the Hunter Valley.

Ben Watson is a full-time turbine maintenance fitter at Eraring Power Station. He has always prioritised his own self care and health through the more alternative, natural therapies like floats, saunas, and ice baths.

Ben had used cryotherapy before for his own injuries, but started his business after his best mate had a spinal fusion.

“I started cryotherapy probably about four years ago,” said Ben.

“I always loved that sort of stuff. I benefited from the cryotherapy especially for my knees after damaging my MCL in rugby.

“It was early last year that I bit the bullet. What pushed me even more was my best mate who had a spinal fusion. I got him some vouchers for his birthday, and I talked him into going.

“He said he’s always had sciatica pain in his legs and through his hips but with cryotherapy he gets five to six days relief. It’s not a magic pill, it’s not permanent, but it’s relief.”

Ben has a full body cryotherapy chamber as well as a spot machine to better target specific areas of inflammation or soreness.

“I’ve always wanted to work in wellness. When I helped my mate with his back, that really prompted me to get more exposure for cryotherapy so people know there is another avenue without taking medication.

“It’s all safe. We get the client in, show them the machine and the safety features. The door is on magnets, and we are here with you throughout the whole thing.

“We put you in the chamber and then we take you to minus 140 for three minutes to create that small stress response on the body and that’s when it starts activating the natural healing properties on the body and helping with that inflammation and pain relief.

“You can live on anti-inflammatories and all of that sort of stuff, you can’t get it from massage or dry needling – the natural response is something else,” Ben explains.

Ben’s clients range from young sports professionals, everyday gym goers, those suffering from an injury or ongoing diseases like arthritis.

“I think the next two to five years will be amazing in Australia with what we can get out there. I think all physios should have a machine like this. You can get the toxins out with the massages and then hammer it with the cold exposure to get the inflammation down.

“Cryotherapy is just an advanced recovery tool.”

As well as the cryotherapy, Ben also offers other natural therapies including a sauna, ice bath and redlight therapy. Right now, it’s all at Ben’s home, but his plan for 2024 is to move into a large warehouse space so he can help even more people.

“My goal is to have the best wellness centre in the Hunter. To get the exposure out there for what cryotherapy can do and add it into the other values I believe in as well.”

Contact Ben at Maitland Cryotherapy via his Facebook page

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