“Cryotherapy is like a cold shower on steroids,” says Sandy Dylak, owner of Catskill Cryo, which won the Chronogrammie for Medical Spa. “It’s three minutes, it gets your skin cold, and these extreme temperatures send your brain into fight or flight without any real danger.”
Like many new businesses, Catskill Cryo grew out of a personal need that wasn’t being fulfilled locally. “I was doing triathlons and was dealing with injuries,” says the Athens resident. An MRI showed that Dylak had extensive back issues that might require surgery, something she didn’t want to do. “I discovered cryotherapy, something my athlete friends knew about it and used, and when I tried it, my pain went away,” she says.
What is cryotherapy? Well, you’ve probably heard of a computer hack, food hack, or a house hack, but Sandy Dylak describes her business as a biological hack. “Cold is trending as a way to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation,” says Dylak. “It’s exhilarating and resets us.”
The temperature in a cryotherapy chamber is extreme: -230 degrees Fahrenheit in nitrogen chambers and -160 degrees in electric chambers. Your body responds to this perceived threat by reducing inflammation, pain, and anxiety and improving sleep.
Instead of surgery, Dylak traveled around trying all different kinds of cryotherapy chambers and talking to the experts. Once she learned enough and realized there was a need in the Hudson Valley for this therapy, she decided to open her own place on Main Street in Catskill.
After retiring from her position at Purchase College, selling her New Paltz home, and giving up her Westchester apartment, Dylak began building Catskill Cryo in March 2020, only to have the shutdown happen. “Now there’s enough word of mouth that there is quite a buzz and it takes time to get an appointment,” she says.
Dylak says that winning the Chrongrammy makes her feel rewarded for all of the work that she has done.