When cryotherapy — the pain relief treatment that involves stepping into a minus 100-degree cryochamber — began to trend several years ago, it was mostly restricted to celebrities and sports stars who could afford it.
Now, a trio of lifelong friends from Ridgewood have formed a cryotherapy company that aims to bring the high-tech holistic treatment to gyms across the city and beyond, and they’ve started out in their home neighborhood.
The three partners of Cryo with JNJ brought a Colombian-made cryo machine to Force Gym on Fresh Pond Road in October. After years of working in the cryotherapy industry, Jeffrey Montesdeoca, the founder and owner of the company, said that he ended up working with the gym after becoming friends with its owner as a member.
The growing trend of cryotherapy hinges on the idea that exposing yourself to subzero temperatures can relieve arthritis and back pain and create an increased sense of wellbeing and physical endurance.
“It basically pushes your threshold when it comes to fatigue. Also, you’re actually burning calories throughout those three minutes,” Montesdeoca said.
In the treatment, a large cylindrical chamber is connected to a tank of liquid nitrogen, which can cool the air in the device down to -310ºF.
Montesdeoca first learned about the emerging holistic treatment when he got a job working with high-profile celebrities and athletes at KryoLife, high-end Midtown-based cryotherapy company. He applied for the position on Craigslist not knowing anything, and ended up becoming a disciple after using it to supplement his own bodybuilding regimen.
But Montesdeoca said that he noticed an industry-wide problem with the standard machines. They needed to be cleaned every three hours. He claimed that media reports of clients who received frostbite were the results of companies who tried to surpass those limits and ended up hurting their business.
After briefly leaving the cryotherapy industry to work in social media marketing, he came back after he found a cryo manufacturer in Colombia that created a new type of machine that can go a full 14 hours without the constant maintenance. He thought that he could take the industry by storm by becoming the sole distributors of this new machine in North America.
In an Instagram promotion video for Cryo with JNJ, a voiceover says “Our mission has begun … in Colombia,” as a sublimated cloud of frosty air blows across the iconic Colombian Christ the King statue.
Montesdeoca got an injection of capital from his parents and family members in order to invest in the machines. He says his goal is to make this luxury service affordable.
And he has done that, relatively speaking. The now-closed KryoLife, where he used to work, charged $90 for a three-minute session. The Cryo with JNJ location at Force Gym charges $55 for a three-minute session for non-gym members, and $35 for members. For eight treatments a month, they charge $198 and are currently offering a $350 price tag for unlimited monthly treatments (normally $550).
“Once you’re inside there, you’re going to see that it’s just cold air that surrounds your body,” said Montesdeoca, “Doing those three minutes is going to make you feel like a brand-new you.”