DENVER (CBS4) – Like roads on a map, scars along Ian Wallace’s arm track his journey as a former rugby player, Coast Guard member and then sports enthusiast.

“(I) tried to push myself as an athlete, stay and shape and work out; and years of that caught up with me and my shoulder gave out,” Wallace said.

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Ian Wallace's scars (credit: CBS)

Ian Wallace’s scars (credit: CBS)

Eager to return to an active lifestyle, Wallace turned to the hottest new medical trend — an ice-cold treatment called cryotherapy.

“I was a little apprehensive at first myself, but when you go in there it’s actually not bad at all,” Wallace said. “It’s chilly, but its comfortable,” Wallace said.

Liquid nitrogen pumps into a chamber. For no more than two or three minutes cold gas zaps the patient’s body, triggering a release of hormones doctors say can heal. The temperature is an unimaginable 300 degrees below zero.

Ian Wallace in the cryotherapy chamber (credit: CBS)

Ian Wallace in the cryotherapy chamber (credit: CBS)

“It sounds worse than it really is. It’s cold but it feels good,” Wallace said.

“It’s the same concept as 500-degree oven. You stick your hand in there,” Dr. Ryan Tuchscherer with the Cherry Creek Spine and Sports Clinic said.

Those who do that feel the heat, but they don’t get burned unless they touch the side of the oven. Tuchscherer says cryotherapy works the same way.

“The gas is only penetrating a half a millimeter, so there is no freezing of the skin or freezing of the muscle,” he said.

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Von Miller in the cryotherapy chamber (credit: CBS)

Von Miller in the cryotherapy chamber (credit: CBS)

Some famous athletes in town have treated themselves to the icy thrill, including Broncos players Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas and Nuggets player Wilson Chandler.

Wallace swears by its results post-surgery.

“Especially doing the cryo treatments and such has been really speeding up my recovery,” he said.

The doctors claim cryotherapy reduces inflammation, eases chronic pain, alleviates arthritis and energizes.

CBS4's Britt Moreno in the cryotherapy chamber (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Britt Moreno in the cryotherapy chamber (credit: CBS)

Britt Moreno was encouraged to take the polar plunge. Wearing gloves, socks and slippers to protect her fingers and toes she stepped into the cold chamber. After a matter of seconds goosebumps covered her body and her teeth were chattering.

Two and a half minutes later she came out of the capsule and back to room temperature and felt an adrenaline rush.

“Our initial focus is to lower your skin temperature; we want to lower it roughly 40, 50 degrees,” Tuchscherer said.

Cryotherapy hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration yet. Pregnant women or people with high blood pressure cannot use the treatment. Each treatment costs $50.

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LINK: Cherry Creek Spine and Sports Clinic