Glasgow a game-changer for spa firm
Athletes take the plunge as Colin's miracle bath treatment goes global
His first customers were horses, his products then found favour with the world's top soccer teams, and now Olympians and Commonwealth athletes are taking a dip in Colin Edgar's therapeutic spas.
In June 2002, CET Limited established itself as the first manufacturer of cryotherapy spas in Europe and this week around 20 of the spas will be available across 11 venues to sports stars taking part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
And some Northern Ireland athletes who were preparing to travel over to take part in the event got ready by using a CET spa at Arctic Sports Recovery Clinic at Elmwood Avenue in Belfast.
One of the most recent visitors was Gladys Ganiel, who will be representing Northern Ireland in the marathon.
The USA-born athlete is now an Irish citizen and achieved the qualifying time by completing last September's Berlin Marathon in two hours, 39 minutes and 26 seconds.
The spa works by blasting the body with ice-cold water, controlling inflammation and encouraging blood flow to aching muscles, flushing out the toxins stored after vigorous exercise, and aiding recovery time.
In fact, such is the popularity of the equipment at the company's Dromore, Co Down, base, the firm has sold out of stock.
"I have one part-built spa here at the moment, but apart from that, we're all out – but it's not the worst position to be in!" said Mr Edgar.
The company first targeted the equine market and Colin is currently working on a horse spa which is being sent to Ohio.
"Our customers were initially people in equine disciplines like racing, showjumping and dressage in the UK," he said.
"In America, rodeo horses receive a lot of treatment and polo ponies also.
"We found out that a lot of footballers were going into equine spas so we began working with the University of Ulster in 2007 to see if we could make a human sports-related product."
A prototype was produced and was installed at the Sports Science Research Institute at the University of Ulster and others were built and loaned to West Ham United and to the Ulster rugby team.
News of the healing properties of the spa began to spread, with teams like Fulham and Manchester City buying three each and two going to AC Milan in Italy.
"Sport these days is about consistency and rounds, athletes always want to recover quickly for the next game or the next heat and statistics show that if a footballer plays two matches a week, the chance of injury is sixfold compared to playing just one match a week, because of fatigue," said Mr Edgar.
"Sleep, good diet and cold water immersion are at the core of a good recovery."
Installation at the English Institute of Sport at Loughborough for pre-Olympic training at the London 2012 games paved the way for the company to become sole provider of spa equipment for Team GB during the event.
CET now has a spa in the main "athlete recovery centre" in the athletes' village in Glasgow and others in various locations across the city. The deal for the Commonwealth Games is worth around £30,000 and already the exposure has meant we have got calls from representatives of teams Australia, New Zealand and Barbados expressing interest in buying their own," said Mr Edgar.
"Between the equine and the human sports sides of the business, we now have clients in the UK, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil and Saudi Arabia – not bad for a company employing six people in Dromore!"