What is whole body cryotherapy (WBC)?
Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is a therapy where the body is exposed to extremely cold, dry air (typically around -250°F) for two to three minutes. To achieve the very cold temperatures required for WBC, we use a device called a cryosauna. The cryosauna is a large tube which is open at the top. Clients wearing minimal clothing stand inside the cryosauna, while liquid nitrogen is pumped into the air inside the sauna to supercool it. This very cold air quickly reduces skin temperature to levels sufficient for therapeutic effects.
How often should I have WBC?
For best results, most people should use the cryosauna 2-3 times a week. It can be used as often as twice a day, but this is only recommended for athletes undergoing heavy training, rehab, or for those individuals using WBC to aid weight loss (WBC burns 500-800 kcals/session).
How does WBC compare to an ice bath?
WBC is reported to be superior in multiple ways. First of all, a 12-15 minute ice bath can be extremely uncomfortable when compared with 2-3 minutes of WBC. Second, an ice bath only decreases skin temperature to approximately 41°F, while WBC is able to get the skin as low as 32°F, which triggers a different physiological response. With an ice bath, toxins and lactic acid stay in the joints, whereas with WBC, they are released through the heart and lungs while blood is rapidly re-oxygenated. This increases the body’s metabolism and healing ability. Finally, ice baths create greater risk for hypothermia because the skin is wet.
What are the risks of WBC?
The main risk of WBC is a temporary increase in blood pressure as the cold constricts blood vessels. There is also the potential for activation of some viral conditions as the immune system is stimulated by the treatment. Some people may also experience claustrophobia and anxiety during the treatment. If WBC is administered incorrectly, there is a risk of frostbite, which is why we always have a technician working with you to insure safety.
Are there any age restrictions?
WBC is not recommended for children 13 and under. Children ages 14-17 are allowed to have treatment, provided that a parent or legal guardian accompanies them for the first session.
Are there any reasons I can't have WBC?
WBC is not recommended for pregnant women or people with Raynaud’s Syndrome. Those with heart conditions may have treatment, but must bring a doctor’s release clearing them beforehand. Also, in order to have treatment, you must be able to stand unassisted for the entirety of the treatment, and you must also weigh less than 350 pounds. Finally, anyone with external metal which can’t be removed (e.g. pins or screws sticking out of the skin), or anyone with moist/wet open wounds that can’t be dried and covered (including new tattoos) should not have WBC.
A Typical Session
Do I need to shower before or after a session?
No. The procedure is completely dry; it won’t apply any water to your skin. In fact, your skin should be fully dry before entering the machine.
What do I wear during a session?
Before entering the cryosauna, clients are required to put on wool socks, gloves, and slippers. Men are also required to wear underwear. Women may wear underwear or a sports bra if they want, but this is not required. Once you are in the cryosauna, only your hands and face are visible to the operator.
How long is a session? How long am I actually in the cold?
The entire process from start to finish takes about 20 minutes on your first visit, and 10-15 minutes on subsequent visits. The typical session length in the cryosauna (the part where you’re in the cold) is three minutes. However, a technician is always present during the session, who can immediately stop the treatment at your request.
How cold will I get?
The cryosauna cools to an average of -250°F. Your skin will cool to between 50°F and 32°F during the process.
How will I feel after a session?
During a session, the body produces endorphins, which relieve pain and cause general feelings of well-being. Many people report higher pain tolerance when they have WBC before a workout; they also report decreased inflammation when they have therapy after a workout. Effects from a session will typically last for a minimum of 6-8 hours. As with any therapy, regular sessions will tend to increase results.
Can I work out right before or after a session?
Yes – it’s a great idea. Higher pain tolerance, greater energy and flexibility, and decreased inflammation are all effects of WBC, so working out close to a therapy session is recommended.