It started with a simple desire to help more people.

Two massage therapists joined forces last fall to open a new multi-purpose massage and therapy clinic. H20 Float/Cryo/Massage, 1011 W. 27th, celebrated its grand opening last week after adding its newest service, cryotherapy.

“We didn’t want to be just relaxing, fluffy things. We really wanted to serve people,” said Ceena Owens, one of two co-owners.

The other business partner is Shayne Whisman. Both are massage therapists, and Owens is also a nurse. They desired to bring services to the northwest Kansas area that could help alleviate symptoms of several illnesses and conditions in non-medical ways.

H20 offers a wide variety of services, including hot stone, bamboo, deep feet and pregnancy massage, Chinese fire cupping, therapeutic body scrubs and cultural experience treatments. Customized sessions can be booked individually or as a couple.

There is an infrared salt sauna, which is beneficial for those with respiratory issues or eczema and other skin conditions, Owens said.

New to northwest Kansas is the use of cryotherapy, a treatment similar to an ice bath that frequently is used by professional athletes. Clients spend only three minutes in the cryotherapy chamber, which releases vapors at a negative 300 degrees using liquid nitrogen.

Addition of that equipment was the finishing detail for the clinic, which opened last fall. The cold therapy is used to pull out heat and inflammation, which is beneficial for people with arthritis, sore muscles or chronic pain, Owens said.

“The guy who put our (chamber) in, he was just headed to the Patriots to tweak theirs,” she said. “Most NFL teams have them. We always knew we wanted to bring that to Hays because we’re a manual labor community and people hurt.”

Another new treatment the business introduced is sensory-reduction float therapy. The business has two floating chambers that hold 1,700 pounds of salt and 100 gallons of water, which is 11 inches deep.

The treatments last an hour, with clients asked to shower before and after. This type of therapy is especially helpful for those with neurological disorders such as ADHD, PTSD and autoimmune issues, Owens said, noting local children with attention disorders already have tried the therapy and seem to benefit from the sensory release.

“They don’t see their hand in front of their face. They only hear their own breath and their own heart rate,” she said. “And the temperature of the air, the water and their skin is the exact same, so it’s like they’re floating in space.”

Because of Owens' nursing credentials, the business also offers certain medical services including lymphatic drainage and release treatment for those suffering from jaw pain as a result of TMJ disorders.

Owens also directs Fort Hays State University’s massage therapy program, which now is based at the H20 clinic. A large back room is set up with several massage tables and a lounge/kitchenette area for the students, who host practice clinics at the location every Saturday.

The program relocated to the business last semester, and it’s been beneficial for students to have a permanent facility if they want extra practice, Owens said. The clinic previously was housed in a shared classroom space on campus, but had to be disassembled immediately after Saturday hours.

“We see about 800 people a year in our massage clinics, where the community comes and the students work on them,” Owens said. “We have 15 students this semester in the program. This is our fourth year with the program.”

Owens and Whisman have been working to coordinate with other local businesses, providing office space for a local life coach and selling homemade bath and beauty products made by a Hays vendor.

Already several area doctors and chiropractors have been referring patients to the practice for alternative therapy options, Owens said.

“We had previous businesses in Hays, and we just knew there was more we could do,” she said. “Our goal is definitely not to get rich, but to pay off the debt and help the people.”