Cryotherapy is safe and effective, but we understand you may have questions. The following are the most commonly asked questions regarding Whole Body Cryotherapy. If you have any further questions, please call or stop by CryoPDX to speak with an employee.
What is Whole Body Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is the use of extremely low temperatures for therapeutic benefit. In 1978, Dr. Yamaguchi of Japan began using freezing sessions of short duration on his patients’ skin surface for immediate relief of rheumatoid arthritis through the rapid decrease of temperature of the outer layer of skin.
In the 1980s Yamaguchi and his associates came to the conclusion that using a cryosauna, (also known as a cryotherapy chamber or a cryotherapy unit), for rapid short-term freezing of the skin’s surface has a more beneficial effect on the human body than its gradual cooling while immersed in an ice bath. Further study in Europe over the last four decades has established whole body cryotherapy as a powerful therapy for, and recovery from, a variety of conditions.
What To Expect with Every Whole Body Cryotherapy Session?
All whole body cryotherapy sessions are conducted by a trained and certified CryoPDX 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 the maximum area 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 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.
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.
Is Whole Body Cryotherapy different from an 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 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 painful, unrelenting, penetrating physical cold with the small benefit of temporary analgesic relief of pain. Conversely, in the cryochamber the body constricts peripheral tissues sending blood from the skin surface, muscle tissue, and surrounding joint space to the core (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. After exiting the cryochamber the body immediately begins vasodilation, returning the enriched blood to peripheral tissues that have been cleansed of toxins.
In an ice bath the temperature can only reach 45°F while the temperature in a cryotherapy chamber can reach -270°F.
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. In contrast, the cryochamber does not actually freeze muscle tissue. It only creates a powerful illusion the body freezes. Upon exit from the cryochamber, the blood flow back to the peripheral tissues warms the muscles almost immediately. Accordingly, you may use the cryochamber both before and after a workout which is impossible to realize with an ice bath.
Will I feel anything after my first session?
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 report noticing a deeper sleep and feeling reduced pain and inflammation the following 48-72 hours.
What can cryotherapy help with?
- Degenerative Disease of spine and joints
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
- Osteo and rheumatoid arthritis
- Auto-immune disorders
- Surgical procedures
- Sports and Fitness
- Decreases muscle soreness
- Eliminates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
- Rapid recovery from workouts
- Burn 500-800 calories/session.
Is it cold or painful?
Yes, it is cold but not painful. The temperatures reach downward to -240F.
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 face lotion or makeup.
How long will my first appointment take?
The first appointment with CryoPDX can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes. We like to fully educate our clients and help with any questions they may have. After the first appointment, sessions typically take 5-7 minutes.
Do I have to do anything specifically after my session? 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.
Is there anything dangerous about cryotherapy?
No, unless conducted by an untrained technician or if you have a contraindication. The cooling agent, nitrogen, is in 78% of the air we breathe every day. The CryoPDX 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 out 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.
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.”
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.
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, and aches and pains receive cryotherapy sessions 2-4 times a week.
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.
What benefit is there to purchasing a membership vs. purchasing single sessions?
Monthly membership offers significant savings over single session pricing. Also, membership includes some sessions of NormaTec compression therapy as well as unlimited cryotherapy.
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.
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 or have had seizures, have a severe case of Raynaud’s Syndrome, be pregnant, have any existing heart issue, 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.
Is it possible to do it too much?
If you notice 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.