Cryotherapy: FAQ

Cryotherapy: FAQ

Who developed this technology?

Whole body cryotherapy originally was developed by Toshima Yamauchi in 1978 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The benefits have since been studied and refined in Asia, Europe and Russia over the past 30 years. Recently, cryotherapy has been introduced into the USA and is becoming very popular among doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and most professional athletes.

What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen converted into a gas form in order to lower a client’s skin surface temperature by 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of 2.5 to 3 minutes in a cryosauna. As mentioned, the cryosauna is cooled using liquid nitrogen but clients are not in direct contact with the gas, which is dry.  The skin reacts to the cold and sends messages to the brain that acts as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of the body that commence a wide variety of processes to regenerate your body. As a result, you’re body is working to repair all areas that may not be working to their fullest potential.

Is cryotherapy safe?

Yes, single person cryotherapy has been used for the past 30 years without any severe adverse reactions ever recorded.  The only instances that have occurred are if a client of cryotherpay stepped into the machine and performed the treatment with wet clothing, such as wet socks, as water will freeze immediately at these temperatures. The nitrogen being used for the cryotherapy treatments is the same nitrogen that makes up the air we breathe, which is in fact 78% nitrogen.   In the single person cryosauna the client breathes the room air since the operator raises the platform the client stands up on so that the head is above the heavier nitrogen vapors.  This is to ensure the client does not breathe air within the cryosauna that contains 100% nitrogen, which can be dangerous. As a result, for added safety, our cryosauna is equipped with an oxygen monitor at the level of the client’s mouth. The nitrogen supply will shut off if the oxygen concentration drops by 0.5%.  In addition, protection of more sensitive tissues, such as your hands and feet, are insured by providing clients with dry socks, clogs and gloves.

Are there any risks to performing whole body cryotherapy?

Whole body cryotherapy is very well tolerated and has minimal risks. These risks include:

  • An increase in systolic blood pressure during the procedure by up to 10 points. Systolic blood pressure is the top number or first number read. For example, if a person’s blood pressure is 120 over 80 mm Hg, the person’s systolic blood pressure would be the 120. However, this increase in systolic blood pressure reverses back down to your previous number, prior to the treatment, after the end of the procedure since peripheral circulation returns to normal.
  • An allergic reaction to extreme cold (rare)
  • Claustrophobia
  • Skin redness
  • Skin burns only if exposed to the low temperatures longer than is recommended or allowed.
  • Activation of some viral conditions, such as cold sores, due to the stimulation of the immune system.

How is cryotherapy different from just doing an ice bath?

Cryotherapy differs from an ice bath in regards to the skin temperature achieved and the reaction your body has to each treatment. In cryotherapy, you are simply unable to achieve the same results as with an ice bath. When performing an ice bath, after 12 to15 minutes the skin temperature only arrives at 41 degrees while within 2 to 3 minutes of whole body cryotherapy the skin temperature gets as low as 32 degrees. As a result, this lower skin temperature allows for a stronger physiological response from the body to increase your speed of recovery and overall healing that does not occur with the traditional ice bath.

What do I wear during a whole body cryotherapy session?

When changing before entering the cryosauna, we provide and require clients to wear protective clothing composed of cotton socks, wool gloves and clogs. Men are required to bring and wear cotton underwear or bathing suit. Women are required to wear cotton underwear (no underwire in bra) or bathing suit. All other clothing is removed. You are provided with a robe in the changing room, in which you will remove after fully entering the cryosauna with the door closed.

Why do I need to wear gloves, socks and clogs?

Cryotherapy cools your skin so that the body is triggered to pull blood from the extremities to protect the body’s core temperature. The vessels around the core then constrict, holding the blood in the core. The extremities are then colder because of the decrease in blood supply. We simply protect the areas that are most affected by this reaction, such as your hands and feet to ensure your comfort and safety during your cold exposure.

Who should not use cryotherapy?

Anyone who may want to perform our cryotherapy service should be aware of the following conditions. These conditions are contraindicative and would be revealed to Revivify personnel in the health history form, in which a potential client fills out prior to treatment. This health history form will specifically list each of these contraindications to be checked off. If such a condition is checked off, the cryotheray treatment is denied to the potential client. The conditions in which whole body cryotherapy WILL BE DENIED to potential clients are anyone:

  • Who is pregnant
  • Who has severe or unmanaged hypertension
  • Who has uncontrolled seizures
  • Who has unstable angina pectoralis
  • Who has acute or recent myocardial infarction
  • Who has a heart arrthymia
  • Who has symptomatic cardiovascular disease
  • Who has peripheral arterial occlusive disease
  • Who has a pacemaker
  • Who had an acute or recent cerebrovascular accident
  • Who is being treated for cancer
  • Who has deep vein thrombosis
  • Who has Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Who has a fever
  • Who has a tumor
  • Who has symptomatic lung disorders (i.e. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Who has bleeding disorders
  • Who has severe anemia
  • Who has a cold allergy
  • Who has acute kidney and urinary diseases
  • Who has an infection
  • Who has any open wounds or ulcers
  • Who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Who is younger than 18 years of age without parental consent to treatment

Is cryotherapy comfortable? What will a session feel like?

A whole body cryotherapy session is of short duration (2.5 to 3 minutes) and the cold air is dry. In addition to being short and dry, there is no air movement or current over the skin. As a result, the session is very tolerable. You may have a ‘pins and needles’ sensation near the end of the session but this disappears immediately after the treatment.

How do I feel after the first treatment?

After the first session, your body starts this process of self-repair as mentioned. However, depending on the specific repair your looking to achieve from this type of procedure (i.e. arthritis, post surgical recovery, muscular recovery from exercise, etc…), the effects may take additional treatments. Regardless, after the first treatment, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel good and energetic. These mood-enhancing effects from each session can last for a day producing feelings of overall wellness, more focus, better mood and improved sleep.

Can I workout immediately before or after my exposure?

Yes. In fact, it is recommended. If you workout after your exposure, you can expect a higher pain tolerance, more energy and greater flexibility. If you workout before your exposure, you can expect greater recovery due to the inflammation reduction. However, if your workout includes resistance training, research has shown that individuals performing cryotherapy should wait an hour after resistance training as not to hinder certain bodily processes that aid in building muscular strength.

Can I catch a cold from a cryotherapy procedure?

No, the immediate cold impact of the cryotherapy session will raise the internal body temperature for a short period of time. This increase in body temperature may even kill viruses causing colds. In addition, the stimulation of the immune system will also help decrease the severity and frequency of future colds.

If I’m claustrophobic, should I still make an attempt to use whole body cryotherapy?

Yes, you should still make an effort to try whole body cryotherapy. We say yes since the cryosauna door is held by a magnet and never locked.  As a result, under your own volition, you may step out at any time. In addition, the cryosauna is open at the top and your head is raised above the level of the upper rim of the cabin. Therefore, there is not a feeling of complete envelopment of your body by the cabin.

Do I have to take a shower before or after?

You do not have to take a shower before or after a cryotherpay treatment since this procedure is absolutely dry and does not make your skin wet.

How many whole body or local cryortherapy sessions should I do?

The number of sessions to acquire the benefits elicited by cryotherpay treatments depends on the condition each specific client has. Therefore, the condition a client has determines the number of sessions a client should perform. Regardless, research has demonstrated that cryotherapy participants should perform 5 – 10 treatments in close succession, separated by 1-2 days, to maximize their results. As a result, this would be 3 sessions per week. After that you can take fewer treatments spaced further apart to maintain and improve on your results (e.g. once every week or two weeks). Regardless, every person performing cryotherapy is different and may experience the results differently. For example, someone may perform only two sessions per week and experience the results they desire while someone else needs to perform cryotherapy three times per week. This has been the case in other research studies performed regarding cryotherapy treatments and their affects on a wide range of health conditions.

Is there a weight limit?

Clients can enter the cryosauna that are 350 lbs. or less. In addition, the client has to be able to stand comfortably enough in the cryosauna so they are not touching the sides. We will assist you in accessing and measuring in the cryosauna for your safety.

What is the minimum age for cryotherapy?

The localized cryotherapy treatment can be performed by individuals younger than 18 years of age. However, the cryosauna is designed for an adult sized body in which the platform can be raised so their head is completely above the top rim of the cryosauna. Although the cryosauna triggers normal body responses to cold, ours are only designed for an adult-sized body. It cannot hurt children, yet they may simply be too small for our cryosauna. We recommend clients be at least 16 years old with parental consent. For those clients who are between 14 to 15 years old, both a physicians release and parental consent form are required. We will also assist you in determining whether the cryosauna is safe for your child.