Cryotherapy (cold therapy) is defined as the use of extreme cold (i.e. -200 degrees F) in surgery or other medical treatments. It can be used on just one area of the body or the entire body.
There are cryotherapy booths, like a large bathtub, that one might sit in for a few minutes, in which the temperature is achieved by use of liquid nitrogen. A practitioner may apply cold to the face or use a cryotherapy wand to administer the cold to a specific area. These procedures are not considered medical treatments and are likely to take place in a spa. Medical doctors might use cryotherapy to freeze warts or to freeze cancer cells inside the body in a surgical procedure.
Proponents of cryotherapy claim the following benefits:
- Ease muscle and joint pain and promote healing
- Freeze cancer cells
- May support weight loss (increase metabolism)
- Prevent migraine pain
- Reduced inflammation (which would positively affect or guard against a plethora of diseases)
- Relief from arthritis pain
- Treat eczema
- Skin tightening and reduced cellulite
Whole-body cryotherapy should be approached with caution. It can be fatal if you are exposed to very low temperatures for longer than a few minutes. Frostbite/damaged tissue is a possible side effect.
- Acute respiratory system disorcers
- Blood flow disorders cachexia
- Cold intolerance
- Diabetic nerve pain
- Heart conditions
- High blood pressure
- Raynaud disease
Whole-body cryotherapy is not approved by the FDA.
For research papers, search for “cryotherapy NCBI.”