I recently took the plunge, I tried the of-the-moment whole-body cryotherapy. When it comes to interesting spa treatments and technology, I'm an eager and optimistic guinea pig, so this trend was no different. I left feeling invigorated and revitalized, ready to face the searing summer heat on the New York City streets. I was also excited to learn more about the technology and how this bone-chilling therapy has gotten so hot so fast. I chatted with Eduardo Bohórquez-Barona, cofounder and chairman of KryoLife (New York City), to find out how cryotherapy lured him away from private equity and into the spa world for good. (And check out my cryotherapy experience, American Spa's executive editor's cryotherapy thoughts, and more in-depth details on cryotherapy benefits.)
How many years have you been involved with the spa industry?
I have been involved with the spa industry for four years. Before that, I was actually involved in private equity. KryoLife was the first to bring cryotherapy to the New York metropolitan area, first testing out the technology in New Jersey when it was completely new to the American market. KryoLife then opened in New York City in 2013.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry? And specifically how did you start working with cryotherapy?
I was led to this when I was searching for an anti-inflammatory treatment for my knees. The wear and tear of playing sports, particularly soccer, was taking a toll on them. My former trainer presented the whole body cryotherapy as a potential solution, as it was already very popular in Europe.
What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?
Spas in general are a major industry, but I was surprised that the cryotherapy market did not really exist in the U.S. Also, the range of clients we see at KryoLife has been surprising, as we see everyone from professional athletes trying to compete at the highest level to regular people that just want to look and feel their best.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
I have found it very rewarding to see clients make so many positive improvements to their health and wellness, and be able to augment their lifestyle with whole body cryotherapy (WBC) treatments. The challenge is educating people on a treatment that at first seems a bit bizarre or scary. The U.S. medical culture is understandably skeptical about cryotherapy, but they seem to be that way with anything that does not involve pills and/or surgery. From what we see day-to-day with our clients and from the research done in Europe, we know that cryotherapy can do a lot, and we hope to educate the public on the benefits.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I am proud to have brought and implemented a technology that improves the quality of life for many individuals to a new place that wasn’t familiar with it. I am also very proud of the strict professionalism and safety protocols that KryoLife delivers to its clients.
What qualities do you look for in your spa staff?
The most important thing is that they have a caring personality. They should also be proud of their work and their treatment of the client. Being proactive in attending to client needs, an interest in health are all very important. We also often look for an understanding of alternative medicine and basic knowledge of the human body.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
Overall, the spa industry seems to be continuing to move toward the medical spa format, where they look to work with a clients’ health and wellness needs along with the standard beauty and relaxation goals of the past.
What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
We like to think there are no strange requests, as everyone comes with the same basic goal of improving their quality of life in some form. That being said, whenever a client asks for it to be even colder it makes me chuckle…it is already -256 degrees Fahrenheit in that chamber!
What new spa treatment would you like to try?
Since I am more focused on health, I would say infrared technology is getting pretty interesting.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
I do cryotherapy almost every day.
What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?
I actually used to manage a private equity fund.
If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
I have done private equity most of my professional career and this was supposed to just be another investment, but the industry seduced me and here I am!
How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
I always want to help people to be their best! And I have to love what I do in order to do it well.
What’s the best advice you’ve received.
Do the best you can and do it with passion!