The term “cryotherapy” refers to any cold therapy, so simply icing your knee with a bag of frozen peas counts. But whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), the current wellness trend of choice, involves stripping down to your skivvies and spending three minutes in a chamber that’s chilled to -270 degrees Fahrenheit. Fans of the treatment include athletes, actors, and all-around fitspirational folks, from professional football, basketball and many other sports players.
Whole Body Cryotherapy treatments result in a very different response from the body compared to traditional ice baths. Two to three minutes in the Cryosauna, which is a cold, dry nitrogen vapor, is equivalent to 20-30 minutes in an ice bath without the uncomfortable feeling of submerging in ice cold water. The nitrogen vapor chills the top skin layers and cold receptors lowering the outer body’s temp 30-50 degrees. This causes the brain to restrict blood flow to your extremities, which is the body’s natural fight-or-flight response to extreme cold. The body reacts to the Whole-Body Cryotherapy treatment by releasing anti-inflammatory proteins and endorphins resulting in super-charged blood. Fifteen minutes in an ice bath of cold water initially causes the body to move blood to the extremities and results in a lowering of the body’s core temperature. Ice baths do no supercharge the blood like Cryotherapy.