Alternative Spa Treatments Come to Wheeling

Thrive, a business specializing in alternative spa treatments, is located at 1052 Main St. in a building that once housed West Virginia Business College.

Some really “cool” alternative spa treatments have come to Wheeling, and the most popular involves standing in a chamber registering temperatures 151 degrees below zero for three minutes.

Thrive — a spa located at 1052 Main St. in the former West Virginia Business College building — is assisting people seeking to energize, revitalize and combat pain through spa alternative offerings not involving medicines.

Customers instead freeze, heat, hydrate and float their way to wellness.

Thrive is the third business opened by Jessica Barclay and Vanessa Craig, who also operate two Play N’ Stay pet camp operations in Elm Grove and St. Clairsville.

Barclay said the stress of operating the pet camps led her to seek out alternative spa treatments, and she began to drive as far as Pittsburgh and Columbus for such services as cryotherapy, the treatment that utilizes sub-zero temperatures to reduce swelling and release the body’s natural hormones that speed up recovery.

“I kept thinking, ‘I wish someone would do something like this closer to Wheeling. We really need to bring it to the Ohio Valley,'” Barclay said. “There were so many people I talked to who were interested in the services, but they didn’t want to drive for them.”

Cryotherapy reduces pain in the body, and results in more energy to the user, according to Barclay. But to achieve this end, the customer must stand for more than three minutes in a chamber in which the temperature has been dropped to negative 151 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some customers, like Debbie Stanton of Bridgeport, come to Thrive every day for cryotherapy and other treatments. These provide her with a spark of energy and help with pain inflammation.

“It makes me feel like I can tackle what I need to tackle,” she said. “I know my body is doing what it needs to do to reset.”

Stanton wore a tank top and shorts into the cryotherapy chamber, but also sported ear-muffs, gloves and thick slippers to protect extremities from the extreme cold.

Barclay makes certain customers wear the proper attire. Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown recently failed to wear proper footwear in the chamber, causing frostbite injury to his feet.

In the same room of the cryotherapy chamber is a sauna, where the cryotherapy customer can choose to warm up after a session. The sauna reaches temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Localized cryotherapy, focusing on targeted areas of the body, also is available at Thrive. The customer lays back on a table while an attendant places a paddle with a temperature of negative 30 degrees upon them for a seven-minute session.

“It’s more comforting than an ice pack, and the effects last longer,” Barclay said.

Other treatments available at Thrive include flotation therapy, where the customer floats inside a pod filled with 10-inches of water. It is pitch black inside, and the therapy can be used as sensory deprivation treatment.

“The water is the same temperature as your skin,” Barclay said. “You’re not sure where you stop and where the treatment begins.”

Flotation therapy has been used since the 1960s for mental and physical wellness, and is currently a tool used for treatment of traumatic brain injuries.

Sweat therapy through the use of an infrared sauna at Thrive helps the body release toxins, raises metabolism and supports weight loss efforts, according to Barclay. It also boosts the immune system, improves ski and relieves join pain and stiffness.

Customers also can lay in “Halo” beds, where they receive dry salt therapy beneficial to skin and breathing, Barclay said.

“Joove” infrared light therapy offered at the spa increases the workings of the body’s auto-immune system, and can increase testosterone levels in men, she said.

Customers also can partake in IV hydration therapy, and be hooked up to various drips infused with vitamins and minerals. Normatec compression therapy is available to customers, and can provide pain relief for those suffering from hip, arm, shoulder or back pain.

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