By Mike Conley

With just a bit of extreme cold, your body can experience “elementary relaxation” in downtown Marion.

Located in the Larry D. Miller shopping complex, Elemental Relaxation offers whole-body cryotherapy, which proponents claim will induce a natural anti-inflammatory response, release endorphins and reduce body pain. It is located just outside the McDowell Fitness Center in the heart of the resort.

Elemental Relaxation has been in operation since the end of April. Carla Tompkins is the owner and operator with her partners Cameron Tompkins, her husband and Mike Cinquanto.

Tompkins told The McDowell News that she realizes this is a new service for Marion and McDowell County, but cryotherapy has been around for ages.

“Cold therapy has been around since the dawn of time,” she said.

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“It also helps with insomnia, depression and anxiety and increases your metabolism and strengthens your immune system,” she said.

At Elemental Relaxation, customers will be exposed to extremely cold temperatures inside a special booth. When you enter the chamber, the temperature is minus 40 degrees and it gradually cools down to minus 135 degrees. A first session lasts three minutes.

Whole body cryotherapy treatment uses an extreme cold stimulus that triggers an alarm response in the brain. This leads to the adaptation of the body to the new environment. The body is able to resist changes in the environment and adapt to maintain an optimal working environment for all essential internal processes – a balance called homeostasis. The most important parameter for the body to function properly is its core temperature. It should be kept within a narrow range, between 97.2 degrees Fahrenheit and 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Elemental Relaxation’s thermoregulation system takes care of that, according to Tompkins.

She added that this is equivalent to doing a 30-minute ice bath in three minutes without getting wet immediately. The cold temperature is intense but bearable. As soon as you step out of the cabin, your body warms up.

Tompkins said this therapy puts your body into “fight or flight mode,” which causes all the blood to rush to your vital organs.

“Your blood is infused with oxygenated nutrients and increased enzyme levels,” she told The McDowell News. “It also helps with insomnia, depression and anxiety, increases your metabolism and boosts your immune system.”

To get the true benefits of cryotherapy, you need to do more than one session. A single session costs $25 and 10 sessions cost $200. You can get 15 sessions for $300 and 20 sessions for $350. These sessions can be shared with others and do not expire. A one-month unlimited subscription costs $250 and cannot be shared.

Tompkins said those prices are being kept low for customers in McDowell County. The average price for a cryotherapy session in the United States is between $45 and $100, she added.

“We wanted to make sure our prices were affordable for people in the community,” Tompkins said.

The sessions are also short so as not to take too much time.

“You can get in and out of here in five minutes,” she said. “It’s a good activity, especially if you’re in a hurry. It is very rejuvenating. It will change your mood.

One of his devoted clients is Cecelia Reel, who comes to Elemental Relaxation almost daily.

“I reached out to Carla to try elemental relaxation to help with stress and anxiety,” Reel told The McDowell News. “I had a really tough year. So, I thought I’d give it a try. I had absolutely nothing to lose. I signed up for his unlimited plan. It was a great decision. Not only that helped me improve my mood, but it also helped me sleep soundly through the night.I highly recommend that if you’re just thinking of trying it, do so.

Another dedicated client is Steve Jones.

“I love it,” he told The McDowell News. “It came on my radar a few years ago from guru Tony Robbins. He said it and I agree 100% – the cryo machine is the equipment that allows me to use the other equipment I also struggled with skin inflammation for a while and found no solid help with my doctor and allergist, however when I started the regular cryo sessions it helped me more than anything they gave me.

Tompkins added that this therapy is not a cure for physical problems, but it has definite benefits.

“It won’t cure anything,” she said. “It’s just a tool. We see a big improvement in older people. It helps with mobility.

Elemental Relaxation will soon add a Himalayan Sea Salt Infrared Sauna, which helps fight many viruses that can attack the body and can lead to measurable weight loss from sweating. The sea salt infrared sauna can increase circulation to the skin, relieve stiff muscles and reduce the effects of a stressful life, according to information from Tompkins.

Elemental Relaxation is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. But the therapy takes appointments for the whole week. “We’re open seven days a week for appointments,” Tompkins said.

For more information, visit the Facebook page: c Tompkins said you can make an appointment through the Facebook page.