AFM: What is whole body cryotherapy?
US Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy is a brief, cold shock treatment using sub-zero temperatures to stimulate the nervous system producing powerful pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and endorphin boosting benefits!
AFM: What are the benefits of whole body cryotherapy?
US Cryo: First and foremost, clinical studies have shown that whole body cryotherapy is a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory which not only helps those suffering from autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, but also helps people recover faster from strenuous workouts, physically demanding jobs, or injury and surgical recovery. Studies have also shown that whole body cryotherapy helps with pain relief, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts mood and energy, enhances athletic performance, provides immune system support, and improves sleep quality.
AFM: How long are treatment times?
US Cryo: Treatment times generally are between 2:00-3:30 minutes. Determining the appropriate treatment time is a precise science-based calculation on how each person regulates thermal temperature. According to clinical studies, the most accurate way to determine treatment time is to measure skin temperature before and after treatment in order to achieve a skin temp drop (difference) between 30-45 degrees. If the skin does not drop past 30 degrees, then the nervous system has not been fully stimulated. If the skin drops significantly (more than 45 degrees), it runs the risk of skin irritation, so it’s not always best to go in as long as possible.
AFM: How cold is cryotherapy?
US Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy treatments range from -120F to -240F, although most clinical studies are conducted at -166F. The temperature of the chamber is taken into consideration for treatment times as well. If the temperature is “warmer” (relative to cryo-regulars), then in order to achieve full stimulation of the nervous system, treatment times must be longer by 15 to 30 sec. If the temperature is on the “colder” end of the spectrum, then treatment times are faster because it does not take as long to decrease the surface skin temperature of the body. In order to get the safest and most effective cryotherapy treatment, do not focus on how “long you cryo” or how “cold you cryo” — it’s all about how your skin temperature drops!
AFM: What are the differences between nitrogen-cooled cryotherapy & electrically-cooled cryotherapy?
US Cryo: Nitrogen-cooled cryotherapy technology was the first type of cryotherapy to hit the U.S. market in the mid-2000s, which uses liquid nitrogen vapor to cool the body in a cylindrical cryo cabin. This kind of technology is called partial body cryotherapy because it does not fully expose the head, neck, and shoulders to the sub-zero cold. Newer models of nitrogen-cooled technology now involve full exposure, head-to-toe, with the implementation of a small window and use oxygen-rich gas to allow the user to breathe safely.
Electrically-cooled cryotherapy is the gold standard of the cryotherapy industry, particularly in Europe where cryotherapy is well-studied. Electrically-cooled cryotherapy allows the user to step into a fully-immersed, sub-zero environment with even cooling from head-to-toe which grants more accurate temperatures and treatment times, not to mention the technology has been proven to be more effective.
Clinical studies have shown that both technologies effectively stimulate the nervous system (and get the health benefits), however, due to the fact that the head, neck, shoulders, face, and chest are exposed in electrically-cooled cryotherapy technology, it creates a more powerful stimulation of the nervous system resulting in 20% more anti-inflammatory release compared to the nitrogen-cooled technology.
AFM: Who uses cryotherapy?
US Cryo: All different types of people use cryotherapy! Users can be as young as 11 years old and I’ve even witnessed a 90 year old do a cryotherapy treatment. Countless people suffering from autoimmune or inflammatory conditions use cryotherapy to lower their inflammation levels. Celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Hart, Meghan Trainer and Lady Gaga use cryotherapy regularly to enhance their weekly routine and recover from workouts. Not to mention, world class athletes like Lebron James, Christiano Ronaldo and Usain Bolt integrate it into their daily regimen to ensure peak performance. The reality is cryotherapy can be beneficial to everyone because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and endorphin release effects. More research needs to be conducted on the cryotherapy benefits helping those with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, but recent case studies have been promising!
AFM: Do you really burn calories?
US Cryo: Some claim whole body cryotherapy can burn up to 500-800 calories per session, but unfortunately, there is no substantial evidence to support the claim that cryotherapy burns calories at all. Other forms of cryotherapy, such as cold water immersion, have been shown to burn additional calories largely because they can decrease core body temperature which results in a thermogenic effect (the body uses calories to heat up the core). However, this thermogenic effect has not been proven with whole body cryotherapy yet largely because the benefits come from decreasing surface skin temperature, not core body temperature which remains relatively unchanged with whole body cryotherapy.
AFM: What are the differences between ice baths and cryotherapy?
US Cryo: Speaking of cold water immersion, ice baths, cold water immersion, or “CWI” is the tried and true method of cold therapy. Ice baths typically involve shoulder-down immersion of the body in water temps of 45-55 degrees for varying times between 5-10 minutes, which results in pain relief, accelerated muscle recovery, lower inflammation, and some endorphin benefits. Whole body cryotherapy is like an ice bath on steroids! Seriously, renowned researchers, such as Dr. Rhonda Patrick, have shown that the anti-inflammatory benefits are 200%-400% greater with whole body cryotherapy compared to ice baths. This is largely due to cryotherapy’s ability to stimulate the central nervous system rather than slowly decrease core body temperature. Cryotherapy can create a more powerful stimulus, which results in a more powerful response from the body to adapt and positively benefit your health! All the while, cryotherapy avoids the pitfalls of ice baths: getting wet, too much time, and “thawing” out after. You actually warm up quite quickly with whole body cryotherapy, especially when you follow it up with vibration plates, red light therapy, or infrared sauna to engage in contrast therapy!