This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades in Europe have established WBC as a powerful modality for inflammation reduction and injuries.
Professional athletes have discovered the cryosauna as a powerful
treatment to decrease recovery time and increase athletic performance.
Although Whole Body Cryotherapy originated in Japan, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made Whole Body Cryotherapy the physical therapy it is today. The Olympic rehabilitation center in Spala, Poland opened in May 2000 and has been used as a training and injury
rehabilitation center for many athletes.
The Cryosauna is cooled to cryogenic temperature range of −200 °F to −240 °F.
In the Cryosauna, clients are protected with socks, gloves, and slippers. In the Cryochamber, clients wears additional mouth and ear protection.
Clothing worn during the treatment is minimal: for women clothing is
optional while for men genitals have to be covered with cotton underwear. During the 1.5-3min session the average skin temperature drops to 10 °C (50 °F), while the coldest skin temperature can be 0 °C (32 °F). The core body temperature remains unchanged throughout the process, however, it may drop slightly afterwards.
Clients report that the experience is invigorating and improves a variety of conditions such as psychological stress, insomnia, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, and various skin conditions.*
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can
drastically improve joint disorders such as rheumatoid- and osteoarthritis. Athletes are using whole body cryotherapy to recover from injuries and
improve their performance.
Skin exposure to temperatures below 200 degrees Fahrenheit triggers the systemic release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and decreases circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. This internal response decreases inflammation in all areas of the body.
The rapid cooling of the skin activates the production of collagen (similar to lasers treatments of the face, where very hot temperatures are used). The skin regains elasticity and becomes smoother and more even-toned,
significantly improving conditions such as cellulite and skin aging. Skin
vessels and capillaries undergo severe vasoconstriction (to keep the core temperature from dropping), followed by vasodilation after the procedure. Toxins and other stored deposits are flushed out of the layers of the skin and blood perfusion is improved. The anti-inflammatory properties of
cryotherapy are also used to treat chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.
The extreme cold exposure causes to the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect lasts for hours to days after the
procedure, causing the body to ‘burn’ up to 800 calories following the
procedure. After several procedures, the increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer. Another ‘survival reaction’ to the extreme temperatures is the
release of endorphins (hormones) that have analgesic and
anti-inflammatory properties, and improve mood disorders. WBC has been studied for the successful treatment of medication resistant depressive
Cryotherapy improves the function of the immune system and decreases stress levels.