3 San Diego Wellness Trends Everywhere in 2019
Specialists explain benefits and downfalls of cryotherapy, IV drips, and cupping
Consider it your fast-track, full-body ice pack. Pro football players, soldiers, and average joes have all stepped into these dry-cold chambers that drop to temperatures of minus 200 degrees. “The goal is a 30-to-50-degree skin temperature drop. When that happens, your body goes into survival mode,” explains Peter Tobiason, owner of La Jolla wellness boutique Livkraft. That means blood redirects from your skin and extremities to your vital organs. The benefits? Anti-inflammation, spikes in metabolism, and an endorphin rush. Of course, there are some precautions any provider should consider when putting you into your own personal Captain America situation: Exposure shouldn’t exceed three minutes to prevent hypothermia; they should cover your fingers, toes, ears, and face, which are first prone to frostbite; and protect you from pure nitrogen, which is a suffocation hazard—up until a few years ago, most cryotherapy devices used nitrogen, so the chambers only went up to the neck. The technology is improving. Livkraft’s device ventilates only oxygen into the chamber, making it safer for full-body exposure. There’s also a staff member in the room with you the whole time to ease claustrophobia and, for the best part, to hand you a warm robe at the end.
In the simplest terms, it’s like taking all of the vitamins and nutrients you would need to stave off the flu, liquefying them, and injecting them straight into your veins so they’re absorbed 100 percent. “If you take an oral pill, you’re absorbing 20 to 30 percent, because it has to go through the gastrointestinal system,” explains Leslie Black of Integrative Health Solutions in La Jolla. Like most naturopathic practitioners, she’s been administering intravenous therapy far before it came in “over-the-counter” forms at drip lounges, bars, and even home deliveries. But since these IV treatments are not administered by medical doctors, so far the biggest bane might just be the FTC, which is evaluating whether they need more medical oversight. As for side effects, Black says IV drips can induce fatigue, and, as expected, a fear of needles.
“It kinda looks like you’re attacked by an octopus,” says C. J. Epstein, chiropractor at Team Elite and team chiropractor for the Padres. That aftermath is what most people picture when they hear about cupping, or myofascial decompression. Physical therapists and athletic trainers like Epstein have long used the technique to restore blood flow and oxygen to tight muscles. Consider it a massage in reverse, as you’re lifting the tissues instead of pushing them. “Cupping sucks the skin up to bring blood and oxygen to the tissue.” Now, the therapy’s often offered in the same places you’d find massages and acupuncture. Some places go the traditional Chinese medicine route, using glass cups and fire to suck out the oxygen, which can cause burns. But fear not for our beloved Padres: Epstein uses only silicone rubber cups.