What To Expect with Every Whole Body Cryotherapy Session
All whole body cryotherapy sessions are conducted by a trained and certified technician who remains with you for the duration of your session. Inside the cryochamber you will only be wearing socks, slippers, and gloves; men also wear briefs. This allows for 90% of your skin to be exposed to the hyper cool air. It is fine to leave your hair down and have on face lotion or makeup. We ask that you do not apply lotion or any moisture to your skin an hour before your session. No jewelry or metals can be worn below the neck. (Some expections may apply; please see FAQ)
Your first whole body cryotherapy appointment can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes so that we can fully educate you on the process and answer any questions you may have. After the first appointment, sessions typically take 5-7 minutes.
Whole Body Cryotherapy vs. Ice Bath
Whole Body Cryotherapy is not simply a faster version of an ice bath. The body’s reaction to low temperatures while submerged in an ice bath (7°C/45°F) is radically different from its reaction to cryo temperatures (lower than -110°C/-166°F) in the cryosauna.
In an ice bath, the body attempts to warm blood in its core and send it to the peripheral tissues to prevent the skin surface from freezing (vasodilation). While in an ice bath, the body is struggling with actual, unrelenting, penetrating physical cold (not just signals from skin cold sensors). Blood begins cooling as it nears the skin surface and its return to the core begins to decrease the body’s core temperature. Eventually muscles start to congeal and freeze as well. The small benefit of a temporary numbing effect for perceived reduction of pain and inflammation is far outweighed by the potentially damaging effects of the ice bath.
Conversely, in the cryosauna (also known as a cryotherapy chamber or cryotherapy unit), the body constricts peripheral tissues sending blood from the skin surface, muscle tissue, and surrounding joint space to the core to protect core temperature (vasoconstriction). As the blood travels to the core it passes through the cardiovascular system where it is cleansed of toxins and supplied with oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes. As long as the exposure to the extremely cold temperature continues the body continues to flush the tissue of toxins and circulate blood between the cardiovascular system and the vital organs on a continuous loop. This continues to cleanse the blood over and over while continuing to add oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes. Once the participant exits the cryosauna, the body immediately begins vasodilation, returning the enriched blood to peripheral tissues that have been cleansed of toxins.
The key to this difference is the temperature of the environment, the skin surface temperature, and the speed of the reduction of the skin surface temperature. In an ice bath the temperature can only reach 7°C/45°F while the temperature in a cryosauna/cryotherapy chamber can reach -170°C/-270°F. This means that skin surface temperature in an ice bath can only reach 5°C/41°F after a wet, prolonged, and often painful session while skin surface temperature in the cryosauna reaches -1°C/30°F in just 30-40 seconds and the total length of time the skin is exposed to this invigorating, dry, temperature is never more than 3 minutes.
During an ice bath, tissue begins to freeze and muscles temporarily lose capacity. Muscle tissue then needs time to return to normal which requires the body to rest. Therefore, an ice bath must be scheduled at the end of a rigorous workout so the participant can recuperate overnight. In contrast, the cryosauna/cryotherapy chamber does not actually freeze muscle tissue. It only creates a powerful illusion that the body freezes. In fact, upon exit from the cryosauna, the blood flow back to the peripheral tissues warms the muscles almost immediately. Accordingly, the participant may use the cryosauna both before and after a workout which is an effect that is impossible to realize with an ice bath.
Lastly, while in an ice bath, oxygen supply to the skin surface is interrupted, and it causes skin surface injury that can promote skin disease if the procedure is often repeated. Significant health risks may involve the MRSA infection (a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to some antibiotics) if ice baths are not cleaned and maintained properly. There is no such effect in the whole body cryotherapy chamber as the client is surrounded by cold dry air and oxygen supply to the skin surface is not significantly interrupted.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Commonly asked Questions about Whole Body Cryotherapy
Q – Is it cold or Painful?
Yes it is cold but not painful. The temperatures reach downward to -240F.
Q – Do I have to wear anything specifically?
No, while in the cryochamber you will only be wearing socks, slippers, and gloves, and men also wear briefs. This allows for 90% of your skin to be exposed to the hyper cool air. It is fine to leave your hair down and have on a face lotion or makeup. We just ask that you do not apply lotion or any moisture to your skin an hour before your session. No jewelry or metals can be worn below the neck.
Q – How long will my first appointment take?
The first appointment can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes. We like to fully educate our clients and help with an questions they may have. After the first appointment, sessions typically take 5-7 minutes.
Q – Will I feel anything after my first session?
Because the effects of cryotherapy are different for every client, it will depend entirely on how your body reacts to the session. Typically, most clients feel an increase of energy and flexibility and a decrease of inflammation within the first few minutes or hours. Some clients feel the first impact the next morning after a sleep cycle. Many reports noticing a deeper sleep and feeling reduced pain and inflammation the following 48-72 hours.
Q – Do I have to do anything specifically after my sessions? Is there anything I should avoid?
No, there is nothing you have to avoid and nothing you should do after your session. Exposure to extreme cold temperatures warms the muscle tissue. This allows our clients to continue their normal tasks throughout the day, typically with more energy.
Q – Is there anything dangerous about cryotherapy?
No, unless conducted by an untrained technician or if you have a contraindiction. The cooling agent, Nitrogen, is in 78% of the air we breathe every day. With our certified technicians running your sessions are fully trained on safety and operational protocols, and are capable of stopping the session if you should want to get our before your session is done. Likewise, there is no lock on the door of the cryochamber, so you can step out at any time. Lastly, our Criomed cryochamber has a 3-minute auto shut off timer.
Q – How does the cryochamber get that cold?
We use Nitrogen to cool the cryochamber to -240F. It is transformed into hyper cool air which is what cools the chamber and allows it to get into “Cryo Temperatures.”
Q – Is it safe to go that cold?
Yes, it is. The length of the session maxes at 3 minutes, and our Criomed cryochamber has a 3-minute auto shut off timer. This short period of time does not allow your body to reach hypothermia.
Q – How often should I do cryotherapy?
This is very dependent on what you are using cryotherapy for. Most clients who are using it for overall health and wellness receive a cryotherapy session 1-2 times a week. Clients who have an injury, inflammation, aches and pains receive cryotherapy sessions 2-4 times a week.
Q – Can I use insurance as a form of payment?
No, We do not accept insurance policies. You can always ask your insurance provider if they can reimburse you, but we do not accept insurance for payment. Many of our clients use their health savings account cards just like a credit card.
Q – Can I share my package?
Yes, Cryotherapy packages can be shared amongst as many people as you would like but memberships can only be used by one person.
Q – Is it possible to do it too much?
If you notice that you are not seeing the same results as when you first started to do cryotherapy sessions, we recommend taking 2 weeks off and then starting over with 1-3 sessions a week. Your body will never become completely used to the effects of extreme cold exposure but the results will seem less intense with prolonged overuse.
Q – Are there any limitations on using cryotherapy?
Yes, a client under the age of 14 cannot use cryotherapy. The client cannot have high blood pressure, have had seizures, have a severe case of Raynaud’s syndrome, be pregnant, have any existing heart issues, have any major vascular issues, have clots or have had a brain aneurism, have any severe reaction to cold or have had a stroke. Other contraindications exist for which each client should fully read the waiver.