Freeze Frame

A cool new way to reduce pain and elevate your mood

In 2015, Portland firefighter Deborah Weissenbuehler stepped into a -230 degree Fahrenheit cryochamber, a chrome cylinder big enough to contain her entire body. Her head popped out of the top, as though floating in a cauldron of nitrogen vapor. That session changed her life. After two back surgeries and eight years of chronic pain, she’d finally found a therapy that relieved her suffering.

She became an instant convert. “I went from taking 1,600 milligrams of ibuprofen a day to eventually not taking any,” says Weissenbuehler, co-owner of CryoPDX (1128 NW 13th Ave, 503-809-2796,, a storefront clinic she opened with business partner Sydney Hagen in November.

At the city’s only cryotherapy clinic, clients spend three minutes in a cryochamber in which nitrogen drastically reduces the air temperature. Constriction of the peripheral tissues of the suddenly chilled body sends blood to the core, where the cardiovascular system is thought to cleanse toxins while supplying oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes. After someone steps out of the chamber, the enriched blood immediately returns to their tissues.

“Usually people ask if it’s painful,” says Weissenbuehler. “It’s cold, but it doesn’t hurt and is very safe. And it can provide huge pain relief for anyone dealing with inflammation, from arthritis to recovery from surgery or injuries. ”

Weissenbuehler has accumulated a slew of client recovery stories. After three sessions a woman with arthritis opened a jar for the first time in four years. Someone took a minute off a mile on their run after three sessions. A police officer returned to work after chronic pain from an injury that had sidelined him for more than a year.

Weissenbuehler says people usually feel results after one to three sessions. Cryo PDX offers first-time sessions for $25 (the usual cost is $65) as well as monthly membership and multi-session packages.

Clients can relax in a sitting room, bathed in floor-to-ceiling light and equipped with decadently comfortable recliners and NormaTec compression devices, which help with rehabilitation and muscle tissue recovery.

If you’re feeling a little achy or need a post-workout endorphin boost, stroll over to this inviting clinic to give cryo a try. Walk-ins are welcome. –Ellee Thalheimer Photo by Ashley Anderson