Ever been in so much pain that you thought you’d try anything to make it stop? Years ago, Alia Alston found herself in that predicament, and her journey for healing led to a brand new career. She and her brother partnered in a venture to make holistic cryotherapy treatment available to anyone — not limited to use by star professional athletes or relegated to elite private clinics. Their mission crystallized into Icebox Cryotherapy, a very different kind of wellness center and the first of its kind in Atlanta. Alia’s enthusiasm melts any confusion as she tells us more about her unique spa and her vision.
OK, Alia. What exactly IS cryotherapy?
Icebox Cryotherapy uses a cryosauna chamber of gasiform nitrogen to lower skin surface temperature down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit quickly — in 30 seconds or less — and maintain that temperature for two to three minutes. The body’s reaction to the sudden cold acts as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of the body. This innovative cold therapy decreases inflammation in the body through a systemic flush that detoxes your blood, pushes oxygen into your muscles and shifts your body into a hyper-healing mode.
How did you learn about this treatment?
I was in a bad car accident when I younger, suffering from multiple bulging discs in my neck and back. As I aged, the issues got worse, and after my second child, I experienced numbness in my arm and leg from a pinched nerve triggered by inflammation. An orthopaedist suggested invasive surgery, but I decided to research all other options before committing to that. My father and brother found the cryosauna, and it worked on me immediately! My neck pain became manageable and the numbness disappeared. Cryo doesn’t alter physiological structure of course, but it relieves the inflammation which causes low mobility and joint pain. After extensive research, we decided as a family to enter the cryo business, establishing the first retail location for cryotherapy in the country. Previously, all the other cryosaunas were located in professional training facilities or doctor offices and medical facilities.
What led you to open up the cryotherapy studio?
We wanted to take a therapeutic spa approach to cryotherapy, so that it’s more accessible to the public. I really wanted to offer people like me, suffering from injury, another option with a holistic approach to recovery. My brother, Ethan, worked as lead medic for Special Ops, so with his background and knowledge of recovery and my marketing/sales/retail experience, it was a no-brainer for us to partner on this venture. We love helping people achieve wellness through a natural route.
Tell us some of the benefits of this treatment.
Think about the variety of health issues that stem from inflammation. Cryotheraphy reduces that inflammation with a systemic flush. This treatment aids in muscular and joint pain relief, increases circulation and reduces inflammation, tightens skin and reduces appearance of cellulite, eczema, psoriasis and body acne. When the skin reaches a certain temperature, collagen production starts — that combines with the circulation boost for healthier skin overall. Clients rave about not only the energy boost cryo gives them throughout the day, but also about the improvement in their sleep quality. We also see significant business visiting post-surgery or after laser treatments. Cryo speeds up the healing process so they can look and feel better quicker!
Who should try it out?
Anyone over the age of 15. Our clients range from young athletes seeking muscle and joint recovery to elderly active adults suffering from arthritis and nerve pain. However, the majority of the cryo community are healthy, active adults leading busy lives who want to continue to do that with less soreness, more energy, less pain, better sleep and beautiful skin.
So many people launch resolutions for better health each year. What are some of your personal health and fitness goals?
I just started running last summer and ran my first half-marathon in November. With my neck and back injury, I never thought it’d be possible for me, but I truly believe blood flow keeps me and my spine healthy. I plan on running two more this year and get a bit faster hopefully. I’m in my 40s now, so I’m constantly trying to better my health. I actually feel better these past three years than I have in most of my 30s. Icebox puts me in a community of amazing healthy men and women who are so inspiring. I never was an athlete growing up, so this is a new stage for me … I guess you’re never to old to start!
As you’ve developed the clinic and built your business, what has most surprised you to learn about yourself?
That I picked an amazing husband who is so patient and supportive. Ha! But seriously, I’ve learned how much I love to help others. I leave my babies every day to come to Icebox and educate clients, assisting them as they meet their wellness goals. This business is my passion, and I want to teach my kids that hard work and dedication pay off. I’ve also learned that I’m quite a juggler — being a mom, wife, business owner and keeping a social life is tricky. My brother and business partner, Ethan, was deployed the first two-and-a-half years of Icebox, so I was “figuring it out” as I went along. I thrive on a challenge, thank goodness!
What are some of your favorite places around Atlanta for shopping, dining and hanging out?
I lived in town for eight years before moving out to the ‘burbs, so we head in to our old stomping grounds any chance we get. Lots of great memories for us there, and of course the best restaurants and shopping. I’m more of a boutique shopper than a mall shopper. My husband and I love trying new restaurants, but one of our favorite places is UMI in Buckhead. Best sushi in town.
Give us your go-to beauty treatment or secret.
Cryo, of course. It really has changed my skin. I think the other secret is water. I drink a ton of it!
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Nothing too fabulous … mostly business books right now. With Icebox expanding into franchising at the end of the year, I’m focused on learning more about that.
Do you have a bucket list travel destination?
I LOVE TO TRAVEL! Exploring is my absolute favorite thing to do. My husband and I went to Thailand last summer, and it was a dream come true. Next big trips are Italy and South Africa with our children. I want to make sure my kids realize there is a whole world out there with different colors, religions, smells, languages, tastes, etc. I hope that understanding keeps them open-minded and kind.
Tell us three things you just cannot live without — other than faith, family and friends.
Red wine, live music and Asian food.
Alia, thank you for explaining more about this new therapy alternative and for bringing this healthier option to Atlanta! Try a session of Icebox Cryotherapy and feel the impact for yourself. Icebox is located in the Buckhead Court Shopping Center at 3872 Roswell Rd.; learn more from their website at www.iceboxtherapy.com.