Under Pressure: A Story of Life-Saving Technology

We all feel added pressure in our lives at times, but for some people it’s intentional — and literal. Thanks to new technology, these folks actively seek simulated changes in air pressure to help their bodies perform better and heal faster.

Sitting inside a pressurised pod to increase your energy might sound a little futuristic to some, but Square merchant Sharon Shum of Po Po’s Ponchos credits this innovative treatment with saving her life. This is not hyperbole. Sharon says the service, provided by Vancouver-based Altitude Performance and Health, helped her recover from a life-threatening infection. And guess what they used to process her payment? Square. Small world!

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Altitude Performance and Health is the first Canadian business to offer CVAC (cyclic variations in adaptive conditioning). The treatment is designed to use precise changes in air pressure to increase energy and speed up recovery. Owners David and Melissa Jakovac say that continually changing pressure stimulates the body’s natural adaptive responses and aids with recovery from inflammation, injury and fatigue by helping cells to absorb oxygen more efficiently. Sessions begin with a five-minute introduction to the changing air pressure, which then increases over a 20-minute period depending on the individual client’s needs.

David and Melissa started Altitude Performance and Health after researching the pods and trying the treatment themselves. “After many years as personal trainers, Melissa and I have always had a passion for helping people achieve their fitness goals,” says David. “When we saw the results of the CVAC pods for ourselves during a trip to San Diego, we decided to take the initiative and bring this technology to Canada.” Their hard work paid off when they opened Altitude Performance and Health in January.

For Sharon, the discovery of the CVAC treatment came at a critical time when she was suffering from near-fatal blood poisoning. In the ER, she went into septic shock, and they administered antibiotics. But because she’d had surgery in the area where the skin infection had begun, the antibiotics were not absorbing into the scar tissue. “By day three of the antibiotics, I was so sick that I was desperate to try something else, and I remembered this new business that was supposed to help oxygenate your cells,” she says.

Sharon went into the CVAC pod for six 20-minute sessions that day. “I came out of it clear headed, with much less pain in the infected site and able to raise my left arm to almost full range of motion with assistance,” she says. “By the second day of treatment, there was no more pain, and I was able to lift my arm to almost full range of motion unassisted.” Sharon successfully continued the IV antibiotics in conjunction with the oxygen treatments and mentioned to her ER doctor that she had been receiving the air pressure treatment. Her doctor let her know that Vancouver General Hospital performs a similar kind of oxygen treatment through hyperbaric chambers for diabetic patients who have wounds that aren’t healing.

“We are finding more ways the CVAC pods benefit the body all the time,” explains David. “These multi-baric pods have already helped people with chronic pain and fatigue, concussions, fibromyalgia, injuries, broken bones, migraines, open wounds, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, vertigo and, for athletes, increased endurance and greater power.”

Innovative treatment options require innovative payment systems to match, and David and Melissa have been working with Square from the start. “We love the convenience and flexibility it gives us when receiving payments through our smartphone,” says David. “It has impressed a number of our customers enough that they have looked into using Square at their businesses as well.”

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