Big Freeze: Pathway to Pain Relief


Big Freeze: Pathway to Pain Relief

Vaporized nitrogen flows from a cryosauna as Cryo Body Perfections owner Margret DeBruyn holds the door open. (VBR)
Vaporized nitrogen flows from a cryosauna as Cryo Body Perfections owner Margret DeBruyn holds the door open. (VBR)

Margret DeBruyn is a walking advertisement for cryotherapy. After a bad car crash she was left with chronic back pain when she tried cryotherapy and was amazed with the results. That prompted her to start a business to help others find relief.

“It’s something that is really amazing,” she said. “If you are in chronic pain it chips away at your life. You start to miss out on life. We can help give your life back to you.” She opened Cryo Body Perfections on North 10th Street in McAllen about a year and a half ago and quickly grew into a business that offers a full line of cryotherapy treatments, weight loss, supportive therapy and dietary supplements, all designed to help people enhance their quality of life.

Cryotherapy was developed in Japan in the 1970s as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis by exposing the body to ultra-low temperatures to trigger a systemic anti-inflammatory and endorphin response. As it spread around the world cryotherapy first became popular with athletes. “It would help with their recovery times and it could help their performance,” DeBruyn said.

Vaporized liquid nitrogen is used to create temperatures as low as 130 degrees below zero. Clients stand in what’s known as a cryosauna for a three-minute treatment. Internal core body temperature remains the same while the skin is dramatically cooled. “We put people in really cold temperatures to relieve pain,” DeBruyn said. “In essence we are using the cold temperatures to trick your body. Every time you get in there you reduce inflammation and kick out endorphins. It has great therapeutic effects for any pain in the body. It can also help people sleep better. It’s amazing how fast it can help you.”

Equipment for pilates exercises used in cancer rehabilitation, sports performance and senior flexibility. (VBR)
Equipment for pilates exercises used in cancer rehabilitation, sports performance and senior flexibility. (VBR)

The list of maladies that can be treated includes arthritis, sports injuries, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and relief from pain and discomfort for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. “We have a whole cancer platform,” DeBruyn said. “It’s a specialty we have that helps with cellular regeneration. And after surgery it can really help your healing time.” The staff includes trained and certified attendants to oversee the treatments.

Cryo Body Perfections has developed an extensive menu of treatments that includes localized cryotherapy where the vaporized liquid nitrogen is targeted to specific areas of the body. DeBruyn also offers weight loss treatments known as Coolsculpting. CryoFacials decrease wrinkles and lines and stimulate collagen production in the skin.

For sports injuries customers can opt for a licensed medical massage practitioner to provide a variety of massage techniques, or Normatec compression massage devices that help speed the body’s recovery process.

DeBruyn is also a certified instructor for pilates exercises, which focus on cancer rehabilitation, sports performance and senior flexibility. “Every lesson I do is tailored to your body at the moment,” she said.

Cryo Body Perfections incorporates an intravenous vitamin therapy for some clients, where vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are delivered to build up the body’s immune system in ways that help prevent illness, increase energy and slow the effects of aging. A complete line of nutritional supplements and skin care products are also available.

A first-time client receives a private consultation with DeBruyn to design a treatment program specific to the individual’s needs, whether it be cryotherapy, massage or exercise. 

“We are here to help people find relief from pain and enhance their quality of life,” DeBruyn said. “And we are passionate about it. That’s the energy we want you to feel.”

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.