FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is "Cryotherapy"?

Technically, the term cryotherapy refers to any therapy that utilizes cold (cryo).  However, at Chill N Out we use whole body cryotherapy, in which the client steps into a Cryo Sauna filled with cold gas which lowers the skin's surface temperature rapidly enough to stimulate regulatory functions of the body, similar to an ice bath but much more comfortable. 


Is Cryotherapy new?

Not only has this type of cryotherapy been around for several decades, but other types of cryotherapy, such as ice baths, are some of the longest standing types of recovery modalities in the world. 

Modern cryotherapy as we know it today was first used in Japan in 1978 during a study on rheumatoid arthritis. Since that time the technology has been further developed in Europe and the United States.  Cryotherapy first gained it's popularity with football players throughout Europe, followed by non-athletes, then came to America and became popular with our athletes (most NBA & NFL teams now have their own Cryo Saunas in-house).  As we follow in the same footsteps Europe, more and more people begin to discover the wonderful benefits of this treatment.  


How does Cryotherapy work?  Is there evidence?

During cryotherapy, you will step into the Cryo Sauna onto a platform that will lift you upwards until your head is above the lip.  Temperature inside of the Sauna will drop to somewhere between -120C to -160C (-186F to -256F) which will cause the skin temperature (not the core temperature) to drop rapidly.

This rapid vascular constriction sends all of the blood in your peripheral arteries to your core & vital organs.  Your session will last between 2 and 3 minutes (though if you become uncomfortable at any time you can simply push the door open).  Once your session is finished, your blood vessels vasodilate and pull oxygen enriched blood into your muscles, joints, and areas that may not otherwise receive good circulation.  This hormetic response also triggers the release of several chemicals that do a host of other great things for the human body.

 

Check out www.nih.gov for information on cryotherapy studies.

 


Is Cryotherapy Safe?

Yes. Single person direct injection CryoSaunas have been used properly for the past 30+ years without any severe adverse reaction ever recorded.  Problems have only arisen if a client steps into the machine with wet clothing, such as wet socks, as water will freeze immediately at these temperatures.  Additionally, CryoSaunas should never be used alone without direct supervision by a certified technician. The medical-grade nitrogen being used to cool the single-person CryoSauna is the same nitrogen that makes up the air we breathe (actually 78% of it).  The client breathes room-air above the lip of the Sauna and the heavier nitrogen vapors.  In order to protect the more temperature-sensitive tissues such as hands and feet, clients are provided with dry socks, slippers, and gloves. 


How Will Cryotherapy Make Me Feel?

Different people respond differently to treatments.  The release of endorphins & norepinephrine,  hormones that make you feel good and energetic create mood-enhancing effects which can last for days, and are noticed even after just one session. Most often, clients will experience a noticeable increase in energy levels and appetite as their metabolism ramps up post treatment.  Another commonly reported immediate affect is improved sleep & relaxation. 


Should I exercise before or after Cryotherapy?

Great question!  Cryotherapy benefits the body for different reasons when used before or after exercise. When using cryotherapy post strength training exercise, it is suggested that clients wait at least 1 hour. The flushing of toxins will assist in the removal of lactic acids which cause muscle soreness. When used prior to or between workouts, cryotherapy has been shown to increase performance & energy.  Unlike an ice bath, when your core temperature and tissues are actually becoming colder, Cryotherapy actually increases your internal temperature, so you can choose to use it pre-workout or post-workout. 


Is Cryotherapy the same as an ice bath?

All cold-exposure therapies utilize the same hormetic response from the body.  However, ice baths are to cryotherapy what a nap is to a full-night's rest.  The actual healing effects on the body do not occur during the 2-3 minutes you are in the CryoSauna, but rather for the hours immediately after.


So...how cold IS it?  I Hate the Cold.  No, I really hate the cold. 

No need to psyche yourself up.  The most common response we get from first timers is: "Oh.  That's it?".  Although the nitrogen gas filling the air inside of the CryoSauna can reach temperatures as low as -260F degrees, this vapor is much more dense than oxygen and can only penetrate the skin about 1/2 mm deep.  This means that while your skin feels cold, your core temperature is not dropping.  In some cases, your core temperature can actually rise as your body pulls blood from your peripheral arteries.  Still, everyone tolerates cold differently.  Your technician will guide you through your session and you can stop at any point that you feel uncomfortable.  Remember, unlike most cold-exposure therapies, cryotherapy is typically only 90-180 seconds.  Most clients find that by the time they have been chatting for a few minutes, they are finished before they know it!

 

 


The following conditions are contraindications to whole body cryotherapy:

  • Pregnancy

  • Severe Hypertension (BP> 160/100)

  • Acute or recent myocardial infarction (heart attack)

  • Unstable angina pectoris

  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat

  • Symptomatic cardiovascular disease

  • Cardiac pacemaker

  • Peripheral arterial occlusive disease

  • Venous thrombosis

  • Acute or recent cerebrovascular accident

  • Uncontrolled seizures

  • Raynaud’s Syndrome

  • Fever

  • Tumor disease

  • Symptomatic lung disorders

  • Bleeding disorders

  • Severe anemia

  • Infection

  • Severe claustrophobia

  • Cold allergy

  • Acute kidney and urinary tract diseases

As with any therapy, please consult your physician prior to undergoing treatment.  

Who Should NOT Use Cryotherapy?


Are there any risks?

Whole body Cryothherapy is generally very well tolerated and has minimal risks: Fluctuations in blood pressure during the procedure by up to 10 points systolically (this effect reverses after the end of the procedure, as peripheral circulation returns to normal), allergic reaction to extreme cold (rare), claustrophobia (also rare), temporary redness, and skin burns (only if exposed to low temperatures longer than recommended).  We suggest that all clients work their way up to colder temperatures & longer session times to further minimize these risks.  


Although patients almost always notice immediate effects after their first session, we still recommend committing to 5-10 sessions, depending on the condition of treatment, to notice the full range of benefits that cryotherapy can offer.  

How may treatments do I have to do?


Can I use cryotherapy if I am claustrophobic?

Many patients who suffer from claustrophobia can still tolerate cryotherapy well. During treatment, unlike a stand-up tanning salon, your head remains completely outside of the CryoSauna.  The door is never locked or even latched but simply held closed by a magnet and can be pushed open immediately if at any point you feel uncomfortable.  Additionally, your technician will never leave your side during a treatment.  Some of our claustrophobic clients have found that having the technician lift the elevator prior to them getting into the machine is also helpful.  If you have concerns, simply let your technician know so they are better able to assist you.