Who developed the cryochamber?
Whole Body Cryotherapy was originally developed in Japan in 1978 by Dr. Yamaguchi and the benefits have been studied and refined in Europe since that time. Initially explored as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Dr. Yamaguchi found he could significantly reduce the soreness and pain his patients usually felt during manipulation of their joints, because the rapid decrease of temperature of the outer layer of skin led to the immediate release of endorphins and therefore less sensitivity to pain.
Has Whole Body Cryotherapy been researched?
Yes. Researchers in Europe have been developing and refining Whole Body Cryotherapy for over three decades.
How does the cryochamber work?
The cryochamber uses nitrogen gas vapor to lower the client's skin surface temperature from normal body temperature to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 to 45 seconds and keeps it that way for 2-3 minutes. The skin reacts to the cold and sends messages to the brain that stimulates the body to go into survival mode by shunting blood from the extremities to the core where the blood is enriched with oxygen, enzymes and nutrients. As the body re-warms, this nutrient rich blood is pushed back to the extremities. Enriched blood promotes internal organ regeneration, expels toxins from subcutaneous layers, initiates cell renewal process, triggers replacement of damaged cells and eliminates dead cells from peripheral tissues. Or simply put, it is rejuvenation of the body at the cellular level.
Is nitrogen dangerous for humans?
No, it isn't. Nitrogen is a non-toxic, natural gas. The air that we breathe is made up of 20% Oxygen, 78% Nitrogen and 2% of other components. That being said, since the nitrogen vapor is void of oxygen, participants should avoid inhaling it during the session.
How can I tolerate the cold?
The air is very dry, some people don’t even shiver. The cooled air flows over the skin, which in turn, creates the beneficial results. This process never freezes the skin tissues or organs. Only the sensation of being cold is perceived.
How does Whole Body Cryotherapy compare to an ice bath?
It doesn’t. You are simply unable to achieve the same results with an ice bath. The body’s reaction to low temperatures while submerged in an ice bath (45°F) is radically different from its reaction to cryo temperatures (lower than -166°F) in the cryochamber.
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 may 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 cryochamber 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 is maintained, the body continues to flush the tissue of toxins and circulates blood between the cardiovascular system and the vital organs. This cleanses the blood while continuing to add oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes. Once the participant exits the cryochamber, the body immediately begins vasodilation, returning the enriched blood to peripheral tissues.
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 45°F while the temperature in a cryochamber can reach -270°F. This means that skin surface temperature in an ice bath can only reach 41°F after a wet, prolonged, and often painful session while skin surface temperature in the cryochamber can reach 34°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 cryochamber does not actually freeze muscle tissue. It only creates a powerful illusion that the body freezes. In fact, upon exit from the cryochamber the blood flow back to the peripheral tissues warms the muscles almost immediately. Accordingly, the participant may use the cryochamber 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.
How will I feel afterward?
During each session the body releases endorphins, which are your “feel good” hormones. The effects from each session last at least 6–8 hours. As with any new regimen, consistency is key and increased results will be noted with regular use. Many report a higher pain tolerance when exposure is pre-workout, and decreased inflammation is noted with a post- workout exposure. You will also burn 500 calories or more per exposure, due to the body’s increase in metabolic rate.
Can I work-out immediately before or after my exposure?
Yes. In fact, it is recommended. If you work-out before your exposure, you can expect greater recovery due to the inflammation reduction. If you work-out after your exposure, you can expect a higher pain tolerance, more energy and greater flexibility.
Can I catch a cold from the effects of the cryochamber?
No. The immediate cold impact of the exposure will raise the internal body temperature for a short period of time. Repeated exposure to Whole Body Cryotherapy has been shown to boost the body’s immune system.
I am claustrophobic. Can I use the cryochamber?
Yes, you can. The chamber is open at the top and your head is raised above the level of the upper rim of the chamber, so you are never fully enclosed. You will remain in complete control as the door is never locked and you can step out if you ever experience discomfort.
How often should I use the cryochamber?
For optimum results, 2-3 times a week. It is safe for you to do up to two sessions a day, but it is only recommended for those in heavy training or post-surgery rehabilitation.
Do I have to take a shower before and/or after the procedure?
No, you don't. This procedure is absolutely dry and does not make your skin wet.
Why do I need socks and gloves?
The method of hyper-cooling the skin is so sudden 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. We provide gloves, socks and slippers to protect the areas that are most affected by this reaction to ensure your comfort during your exposure.
Who should not use Whole Body Cryotherapy?
The following conditions are contraindications to Whole Body Cryotherapy: pregnancy, untreated hypertension, heart condition, untreated hypothyroidism, symptomatic lung disorders, uncontrolled seizures, Raynaud’s Syndrome/cold allergy, fever, cancer during the past 5 years (a doctor’s release would be required), blood disorders, kidney conditions, open wounds and incontinence. Minors over 13 must have parental consent and have a parent present at least during the first session.
Is there a weight limit?
We can accommodate clients up to 350 pounds in our cryochamber. You will also have to be able to stand comfortably within the chamber without touching the sides in order to participate.
Are there age restrictions?
Yes. Although the cryochamber triggers normal body responses to cold, ours are only designed for an adult-sized body. It cannot hurt children, yet they are simply too small for our cryochamber. We recommend clients be at least 13 years old with parental consent.
What are the risks of Whole Body Cryotherapy?
Whole Body Cryotherapy is very well tolerated and has minimal risks: Fluctuations in blood pressure during the procedure by up to 10 points systolic (this effect reverses after the end of the procedure, as peripheral circulation returns to normal), allergic reaction to extreme cold (rare), and activation of some viral conditions (cold sores) etc. due to stimulation of the immune system.