Cutting-edge cryotherapy center finds a perfect home in DC

D.C. serves as a home for innovation in many sectors, though the category of holistic care may come as a surprise. However, that’s exactly what Capital Cryo offers for the greater Washington area.

Elizabeth Gondala, Director of Operations, and investor Pete Kaminskas spoke with What’s Working in Washington about the newly-opened cryotherapy business, and how it’s being welcomed in the D.C. area.

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While cryotherapy sounds high-tech and futuristic, it’s exactly what you’re doing every time you put a cold pack on a bruise. The difference with Capital Cryo is that it does “whole-body cryotherapy, local cryotherapy treatments, and cryo-facials using liquid nitrogen,” said Gondala. The treatment works to alleviate both acute and chronic pain and cut down on swelling.

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“Many athletes use whole-body cryotherapy in place of an ice bath. So instead of sitting in an ice bath for a long period of time… the liquid nitrogen cools the skin, it’s three minutes total, and that cooling of the skin helps blood flow and muscle recovery,” said Gondala.

And the investment is paying off. “We’ve had so many people come to us with incredible stories,” said Kaminskas. “A friend of mine, who plays the guitar, he’s pushing fifty and he’s starting to experience some early arthritis. After a ten minute local session on his hand and wrist, he was able to make a fist. He said, ‘Pete, I haven’t been able to make a fist like this in months’.”

Kaminskas said the idea for a cryotherapy center was something he and his wife Susan stumbled across after talking to friends in Atlanta who swear by the treatment for overall well-being. Once they heard about the benefits, he thought “this sounds like something that would really work in Washington.”

Capital Cryo, the first in the area, is garnering a lot of traffic. “We have seen so many different types of people walk through our doors since we opened last month,” said Gondala. She said that clientele includes not just athletes, but businessmen, office workers, and people with chronic pain.

Kaminskas likens the cold-air therapy to massages — people go for specific injuries, but also “because they’ve had a really stressful week,” he said.

Their experience also shakes the idea that D.C. is a particularly difficult place for entrepreneurship. “It wasn’t nearly as difficult as we thought it would be,” said Kaminskas.

While cryotherapy may have a reputation of being only for hardcore athletes, “what we really wanted to do was bring cryotherapy to D.C., but also to the large amount of folks that it could help,” said Kaminskas. “You know, the folks who are just looking for some recovery from an injury.”

Kaminskas said D.C. is a great place for the business because despite being a fast-paced, work-oriented area, “it’s also a city that is very open minded, cutting edge, and [adopts] new technology.”