Shop Talk: The Performist brings cryotherapy to Palo Alto | News | Palo Alto Online |


Shop Talk: The Performist brings cryotherapy to Palo Alto

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The Performist brings cryotherapy -- the use of extreme cold to speed the healing process -- to Palo Alto's Town & Country Village.

FREEZING AT TOWN & COUNTRY ... The big chill has arrived in Palo Alto. We're not talking weather, ice cream or the 1980s Kevin Kline movie. This chill is in the form of a chamber which gets down to minus 150 degrees centigrade. Part exercise studio, part athletic training, but mostly cryotherapy -- the use of extreme cold to speed the healing process -- The Performist opened last month at Town & Country Village, taking over the former location of Xercise Lab, which closed after a three-year run. The 2,000-square-foot-space has been transformed into a futuristic setting. Its showpiece is the cryotherapy chamber, which is said to offer an array of health benefits, including treatment for muscle soreness and chronic pain, as well as weight loss. That's according to Stephen Evans, a Palo Altan with a technology investment background and one of the owners of The Performist. "I was initially skeptical of cryotherapy," Evans admitted, but after extensive research and a visit to 12 other centers in the U.S., he and his three business partners were so enthusiastic about it, they decided to personally fund the venture. "We absolutely believe in its technology," said Evans, who gets treatments daily. "It's kind of like a supercharged ice pack. I use it every morning. I like it with my coffee." The small room used for cryotherapy has two unusual objects in it -- a 650 pound, 7-foot-tall cryotherapy chamber and a 230-liter tank of liquid nitrogen. When a client enters the chamber, liquid nitrogen is pumped into it, cooling the oxygen that envelops the body. The maximum time allowed in the chamber is three minutes. "You get a real endorphin rush that lasts for the next six hours," said Evans, who also talked about the weight loss benefits. "It burns up 500 to 800 calories in three minutes," he said. So what's the cold hard truth about cryotherapy? Can it really freeze away pain and pounds? "Whole Body Cryotherapy was invented in Japan in 1978 by Dr. Yamauchi to reduce pain and inflammation in his arthritis patients and improve muscle recovery," Evans explained. "It has since become popularized in Europe as people have realized it has much broader benefits, but it has only reached critical mass in this country over the past two years -- now there are 120 locations across the U.S."

The timing of the opening of The Performist comes on the heels of an accidental death of an employee at a Las Vegas cryotherapy center last month. Evans emphasized the numerous safety precautions in place at The Performist. "We have very strict protocols," he said. "We are constantly monitoring the chamber; there is always a trained staff person in the room. And the machine automatically shuts off at three minutes." Additionally, the chamber has a magnetic door that can be released at any time by the user or operator, and multiple sensors are installed to monitor the gas levels, according to Evans. "Also, we take your blood pressure and you must complete a detailed medical survey before you're allowed to enter the chamber," he said. The Performist is open daily, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The cost for three minutes of subzero temperatures is $55, and a monthly membership for unlimited cryotherapy visits is $850. In an effort to introduce the concept of cryotherapy to this area, The Performist is offering a complimentary first session until the end of the year. Evans calls it "First Freeze Free." And that's pretty cool.

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53 people like this
Posted by Stanley Cook
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Wow. What a con rip off. 850$!!

I give it 6 months til outta business

What a crock of b.s.

58 people like this
Posted by Really???
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

I can't see how this can possibly be legal. Cryotherapy would cause extreme harm to living tissue.

Someone call the Health Dept and the BBB and the AMA!

46 people like this
Posted by Tony Harper
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2015 at 11:13 pm

This sounds very dangerous. Especially in light of recent death of woman in cryo device

Not happy to hear of this shop at our Town and Country Village

Buyers beware. Danger Danger!

35 people like this
Posted by Charles Dreaden
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2015 at 11:24 pm

The real danger is in surrendering your health to charlatans. Ice baths don’t market themselves as cure-alls. Neither do they make spurious claims about general health benefits. Whole-body cryotherapy is a basic pain-relieving method that charges a high premium price for its show: an expensive piece of equipment with sub-zero temperatures and liquid nitrogen. It sounds like it should do something spectacular, but it doesn’t. PT Barnum would be proud of cryosauna and cryotherapy. Save your money: stay away from whole body cryotherapy. I would recommend that you stay away from any place that markets it. It is a pretty good indication you have good reason to be skeptical about any spa, therapy, or website that promotes it

Yes buyer beware ditto

2 people like this
Posted by The Performist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Thank you to Shop Talk for writing about the Performist and thank you also for your comments. We appreciate the debate. Please do come and try it for yourself if you are interested – your first visit is free at The Performist (see - we look forward to meeting you.

More specifically:
1) Benefits of cryotherapy: We cannot and would not claim to be a 'cure all'. The four founders of the Performist have all been using cryotherapy daily for several years, and we have all seen its recovery, pain relief and weight loss benefits first hand. That's why we all continue to do it daily and why we opened the Performist. We take a very scientific approach and have studied every research paper out there. Cryotherapy has been around for thirty years and the body of research is building- you'll find ten of the best scientific research papers on our website at if you're interested in reading the science for yourself or just Google Lubkowska's 2012 paper for a good summary of the research and benefits.

2) Safety of cryotherapy: There have been over 2 million whole body cryotherapy sessions to date. The safety of our customers is of paramount importance to us. Our safety precautions include having a medical advisor on our Board, requiring a comprehensive medical questionnaire and blood pressure check for all new users, ensuring that one of our CPR trained staff is with you at all times during your treatment, multiple oxygen monitors on site, and a best in class new cryotherapy machine that shuts off automatically after 3 minutes and has a magnetic door that can be opened at any time by either the operator or the customer.

Regardless, Cryotherapy is not for everyone. All of the founders believe passionately in the technology and we're excited to share it with Palo Alto. Drop by or email us at

33 people like this
Posted by Sharon Symthe
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm

This sounds very crazy

No thanks, Ill pass!

4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 5, 2015 at 9:46 pm

By stopping by the facility, I learned that Performist offers a great deal more than cryotherapy- wish the article shared more info.

Its always nice to have new options in Palo Alto and it would be nice if residents could be more welcoming- even if the offerings are not suited to their tastes.

As I was curious, I read lots on the internet about cyrotherapy- seems several health office do offer cryotherapy and when its warmer I look forward to trying it!

Best of luck to the new facility, this seems like a fun interesting way to spend $60.

37 people like this
Posted by Freida Schumer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2015 at 8:19 am

[Post removed.]

11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 6, 2015 at 11:32 am

[Portion removed.]

I am a resident of Barron Park and have no affiliation with the business I am commenting on. - I give a business a chance to succeed and rather not insult their business

I think is very sad that "posters" are so hurtful and insulting on this forum-this has been happening on other threads also- not just here- nice that our kids witness community adults denouncing other in this public forums- not a good way to promote a healthy community. A bit of kindness and best wishes can go a long way-even if you don't think you will support the establishment.

18 people like this
Posted by Man with Coffee
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 6, 2015 at 11:47 am

Sounds unnecessary . . .

So is my nagging Skepticism.

I will try.

With my coffee.

24 people like this
Posted by Freida Schumer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2015 at 5:35 pm

[Post removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by Bambi
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 7, 2015 at 10:28 am

I have lots of friends who use this and love it! Glad there is now a Palo Alto location ! Do not knock it until you have tried it. Its been very helpful for many. Welcome to Palo Alto Perfomist.

29 people like this
Posted by Carrie
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

About a month ago there was an article in the paper that a young woman in California worked in one of these places. When her co-workers came into work one morning, they found her (this is real and I am not exaggerating) frozen solid, thru and thru - her entire body hard as a rock. There was no real safety guards or it seems even training to use this equipment. And it apparently not even safe for one person to be operating it in case they "get in trouble".

I hope the city makes sure there are safeguards.

And all for what - ridiculous, indulgent, needless, egotistical pursuit of me me me.

24 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2015 at 2:13 pm

So we can send someone who calls themselves Bunny and email regarding this business, and their named supporter on this thread is called Bambi? No thanks!

Carrie- thank you. I remember recently reading about that very avoidable tragedy.

33 people like this
Posted by Yeah, Right!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm

I had an appointment with my rheumatologist today, so I thought I would ask her about cryotherapy in regards to effectiveness for pain control.

She told me to avoid it at all cost because:

It can be dangerous, people have received frostbite injuries;
The City of Palo Alto is strangely lax about business licenses, unless you serve food;
This is one of those " health claims" businesses that the FDA hasn't had time to investigate yet-- but they will. Complaints are stacking up for other cryotherapy businesses;
If it were effective, it would require medical supervision and prior FDA approval-- neither of which this has;
Until the law catches up with this industry, it is unregulated: run the other way.

'Nuff said?

9 people like this
Posted by Bambi Bunny
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 7, 2015 at 3:46 pm

[Post removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by Cool lady
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:18 pm

There's a chiropractor in Mountain View who has offered cryotherapy for about a year. I took about 6 treatments with him, which apparently have permanently cured some bad psoriasis on both hands. I think cryo has also helped an arthritic hip (I'm 75). Besides the big capsule which comes up to your shoulders, the doctor now has a hand-held cryo unit which he uses to spot-treat pain areas and give facials -- cryo is supposed to encourage production of collagen. In the capsule, you wear knee socks, slippers and undergarments so you are relatively protected from the cold. The Mountain View man also plays great party music so you can dance and move around, which makes the cold less noticeable after the first few seconds.
Regarding the worker in Nevada who died in the capsule -- she chose to treat herself after hours when she was completely alone, a big mistake. Second mistake, she took her telephone into the capsule and dropped it. She bent down to pick it up and got stuck, couldn't get back up. Of course that is tragic, but please note that the Mt View man and the Performist people are always at arm's length from patients. One is never left alone.
I understand that the treatments sound crazy. But unless you have tried a treatment and considered it useless, it isn't time to call it quackery. The Mountain View chiropractor has many, many repeat clients who are being helped. I'll stand by him.

8 people like this
Posted by Freida Schumer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:22 pm

[Post removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by Lighten up
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:59 pm

It's a brand new shop in town. Give it a chance.

4 people like this
Posted by Freida Schumer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 7, 2015 at 9:03 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by A Noun E Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 8, 2015 at 10:18 am

Funny about 30 years ago was in a running club in Stockton. During one cold winter run a woman runner was discussing her theory of cold exposure to lose weight and called her idea "Freezing to Be Skinny". Since then research shows cold can turn white fat brown (ala baby fat ) and it burns for heat. And that people with metabolic syndrome hark back to ice agE survival etc. Not a pro or con comment on Performist. Wonder if just turning off the heater, shivering yourself to sleep and packing ice packs on fatty areas....or a cryogenic session longer and less cold might help.

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