What Is Cryotherapy?

What Is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is a medically accepted procedure that involves cooling an area of the body to the freezing point. Cryotherapy has different strains as a treatment choice. It is often used to destroy problematic tissues and is a procedure carried out by doctors.

This type of cryotherapy mainly treats skin conditions like moles, warts, skin tags, and some cancers, including prostate, cervical, and liver cancer.

Home Cryotherapy

You may want to perform some cryotherapy treatments without visiting an outpatient facility. Reflexology and cryotherapy, for example, are two types of procedures. Such treatments use a cold water pad applied directly to a certain area of your body. You can also use a home-activated cryotherapy machine, which circulates water through a cold, moist pad.

Whole Body Cryotherapy

In recent years, a new kind of cryotherapy called whole-body cryotherapy has appeared. Instead of applying an ice pack to an afflicted area, you venture into a cryotherapy chamber that caters to the entire thing body. Body cryotherapy, however, cannot be considered a medical treatment and is available at gyms, spas, and health centers.

During whole-body cryotherapy, a person may sit or stand inside of a chamber so that their head extends out through an opening for two to four minutes. What is the temperature of whole body cryotherapy?  The air in a whole-body cryotherapy enclosure reaches temperatures of minus 200 to minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Cryotherapy?

Have you seen many health claims for the benefits of whole-body cryotherapy? These claims surround illnesses like asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and a host of others. The FDA has revealed that none of these claims are supported by sufficient evidence. The scientific evidence suggests that whole-body cryotherapy and targeted cryotherapy may have health benefits.

1. Pain

If you’ve ever iced a swollen ankle or sore back, then you know what beneficial influence a cold can have. That is only because the cold could actually be numbing your somatic nerves and lessening the effects of pain.

2. Muscle Soreness and Recovery

Cryotherapy can alleviate muscle pain and swell after a workout. This can help deal with or prevent sports injuries. (More information on this can be found below.)

3. Athletic Performance

Cryotherapy has long-term benefits for athletes, including quicker recovery in between physical exercises, less pain, better mood, and a more extensive overall quality of life.

4. Migraines

According to research, cryotherapy can provide migraine relief. The researchers discovered that applying an ice pack to the neck with the use of a neck wrap could alleviate migraine pain.

5. Rheumatoid Arthritis 

A research study found that whole-body cryotherapy contributed to a decreased pain level in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Skin Conditions

Conditions such as atopic dermatitis may be aided using cryotherapy, which is known to be effective in the reduction of inflammation.

Risks Associated with Cryotherapy

The FDA warns of possible dangers connected to whole-body cryotherapy, including frostbite, burns, and eye injury from extremely low temperatures. Liquid nitrogen can be used to cool the chamber if the chamber is typically cooled with liquid nitrogen. This could reduce the amount of oxygen in the air and can lead to oxygen deficiency or asphyxiation.

The Risks of Whole Body Cryotherapy

Anyone wanting to try whole-body cryotherapy should speak with a knowledgeable physician before doing so. Pregnant women and people with low blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, poor blood circulation, or neuropathy in the legs or feet should avoid whole-body diode cryotherapy. The extreme cold may boost symptoms.

Other types of cryotherapy are considered generally safe and should be well-tolerated, though as with any treatment, there are some risks.

Risks of Physician-Assisted Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy for abnormal tissues may result in swelling, scarring, skin irritation, or bone fractures. And there’s also the possibility of nerve damage, resulting in loss of feeling. Among the patients have been cited as bleeding, cramping, and pain after cryotherapy around the cervix.

Targeted Cryotherapy Risks

Cryotherapy targeted to treat pain comes with its own set of risks, such as burns and frostbite. You should only apply cold therapy 15 to 20 minutes at a time. People with diabetes or conditions that impact the nerves should not take part in cryotherapy. These individuals may not be able to feel the severity of the treatment, which may lead to further nerve damage.

How Cryotherapy Can Help with Sports Injury Prevention and Recovery

Doctors have long been recommending cold compresses to alleviate muscle groups that have been injured or inflamed. There’s a medical reason for this, as the application of ice to the afflicted area reduces pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Reduced Soreness

More research has evidenced that cryotherapy can soothe an athlete’s muscles after a workout, reducing the risk of sports injuries. For instance, a Cochrane review identified that cryotherapy, which consists of submersion in a cold pool, reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness when compared to not taking any action at all or resting.

Improved Recovery

Another study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance showed that cryotherapy was associated with higher perceived recovery after exercise. This research determined that cold water immersion was more effective than whole body cryotherapy.

Reduced Inflammation

Finally, in a literature review published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers determined that cryotherapy following a workout may result in recovery after pain, loss of muscle function, and indicators of inflammation and damage.

Musculoskeletal Sports Injury Recovery

Muscle and skeletal injuries (affecting muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, or other connective tissue) are the most common injuries to benefit from cryotherapy. Cryotherapy has also been shown to relieve pain following knee, hip, shoulder, and spine injuries.

When to Use Cryotherapy for Sports Injuries

Cryotherapy is efficient both immediately after an injury and during the rehabilitation stage. Immediately after an injury happens, cryotherapy slows down the metabolic process, thereby minimizing the extent of damage to the body’s cells, and the risk of injury to other cells. Cryotherapy is commonly used to reduce pain during rehabilitation.

Other Tips for Sports Injury Prevention

If you need to protect your knees and ankles from sports injuries, braces might help. They may be used around the ankles, knee joints, wrists, or shoulders, and can help relieve internal injuries that may otherwise force you to miss work or remain sidelined.

What to Expect During a Cryotherapy Session?

Whether you’re preparing for home cryotherapy or cryotherapy at a healthcare facility, here are a few tips to prepare.

First, how does cryotherapy work at home?

How to Do Cryotherapy at Home

The easiest method to do cryotherapy at home is to lay out an ice pack or bag of ice on the affected region. Some competitive athletes prefer to submerge themselves in an ice tub or even just a cold shower after working out. Wait 20 minutes before exposing your skin to these temperatures when using an ice pack. You should cover the ice pack with a towel before using it.

You can also use cold treatment machines at home, but some are customarily found in hospitals and physical therapy clinics. They are available in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and functions, and they can help you and your health care provider target your specific pain.

How to Prepare for a Cryotherapy Session at a Healthcare Facility

There are several types of cryotherapy, including cryotherapy for pain, whole-body cryotherapy at a spa or clinic, and medical cryotherapy to remove abnormal tissue. Preparing for cryotherapy will depend on the type and facility in which it takes place. 

Preparing for Targeted Cryotherapy

You may undergo cryotherapy to alleviate inflammation or suffering. The clinic you visit should provide you with all the details you need to know about how to prepare for your treatment. You could also fill out some paperwork to make certain that you don’t have any pre-existing conditions that will interfere with your treatment.

Preparing for Spa Cryotherapy

If you visit a spa or wellness center to acquire whole-body cryotherapy, it will be useful to bring socks and gloves in order to safeguard your feet and hands from frostbite. It’s also vital to wear loose, dry clothing. Before going to whole-body cryotherapy, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about any potential adverse effects.

Preparing for Medical Cryotherapy

When you’re undergoing cryotherapy as a part of medical treatment for abnormal tissues or cancer, your healthcare provider will let you know if you have any specific preparations that you must make beforehand. This can include not eating or drinking for a period of time.

What to Expect After Cryotherapy?

As you might expect, immediately following either targeted or whole-body cryotherapy, your skin may initially feel a little numb, and you might feel a slight tingling sensation. However, within a few minutes, your skin will begin to warm up. Typically, post cryotherapy muscle pain subsides, and you may experience a sense of calm and relaxation.

In the days following medical treatment of a site affected by a skin condition, the affected area will turn red and may blister. The pain should subside in a few days. If you had cryotherapy performed to treat cancer, you may experience pain and soreness in the area for a few days. Cryotherapy done on the cervix may lead to minimal discharge for a few days.

The Bottom Line

There are many different forms of cryotherapy, each with its own risks and side effects. Cryotherapy offered in doctor’s offices can assist with many types of skin problems, such as warts and skin tags, as well as for certain types of cancer.

Research into the effectiveness of whole-body cryotherapy is ongoing. Cryotherapy is believed to alleviate pain, in addition, to improve athletic performance, but studies have yet to prove the veracity of these assertions. Whole-body cryotherapy is proving to be a popular treatment to alleviate pain and help prevent sports injuries.

Consider trying cryotherapy at home with ice packs, ice baths, or cold water showers. You may also want to buy a cold therapy machine to further maximize the health benefits of cryotherapy.

Quick Navigation


Get Discount Code

[mailpoet_form id="1"]
Skip to content