New Smyrna’s new oxygen bar draws clients eager for alternative therapy

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH — First-time visitors stepping inside the small U.S. Highway 1 storefront may think they’ve opened a door to the future.

Don’t be scared. The bright, liquid-filled tanks lining the bar and the vapor floating out of a three-quarter-ton cylindrical back-room chamber aren’t harmful.

Quite the opposite.

“I like to say we’re a one-stop shop to relieve, recover and rejuvenate,” Seaside Cryotherapy and Oxygen Bar owner Arielle VanEck, 32, said.

Her clients swear by the healing powers of the cryosauna — an upright, human-sized machine that chills the body with a three-minute blast of subzero nitrogen gas — and the flavored oxygen inhaled nasally via bar-top tubes.

Sharon Yadon-Garcia, a long-distance runner, visits VanEck three to five times a week. She started cryotherapy after a half-marathon that left her legs extremely sore. Her chiropractor pointed her to Seaside.

“That afternoon I was going down the steps and realized, ‘Oh my God, my legs aren’t sore.’ That’s what sold me,” said Yadon-Garcia, 70. “Anybody that runs — I don’t care if they’re 12 or 80 — gets inflammation, and (cryotherapy) does take it out.”The treatment’s benefits are debated in the medical community, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory two years ago warning consumers that it does not have sufficient evidence to make a determination regarding the therapy’s effectiveness or safety.Yet advocates — including some pro athletes and teams — note that the idea behind it lines up with a long-standing tradition upheld in locker rooms and by worried moms: If it hurts, put ice on it. Rather than getting in a grueling ice bath or holding a bag of frozen peas to an ankle, they believe cryotherapy achieves the same result in a much shorter time and minus the melty […]

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