Cryotherapy has been around since the seventeenth century. Over time, it has advanced from traditional ice baths to cutting-edge cryogenic chambers. The term “cryotherapy” is derived from the Greek word cyro meaning cold, and therapy meaning cure. Today, whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is performed by exposing the body to chilling temperatures of colder than negative 200 degrees Fahrenheit for two to four minutes. While we know that cryotherapy works, what exactly makes it so effective?

Just a single treatment of cryotherapy can help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle aches

Whole body cryotherapy penetrates only the outer layer of skin. Just a single treatment of cryotherapy can help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle aches, release endorphins, and aid in athletic recovery. While traditional ice baths can offer similar benefits, they have some major pitfalls. Within 20 to 30 minutes in an ice bath, the muscles begin to stiffen and can stay rigid for several hours. A whole body cryotherapy session takes mere minutes and treatment recovery is nearly instantaneous.

Blood rushes to the body’s internal organs, circulation increases and the body is forced to burn more calories to keep warm

The secret to cryotherapy’s effectiveness is the bone-chilling temperatures. While the liquid nitrogen used to cool the air is cold enough to penetrate the skin for rapid muscle recovery, it doesn’t go deep enough to damage the body internally. As the blood rushes to the body’s internal organs, circulation increases and the body is forced to burn more calories to keep warm. With the average session lasting just three minutes, whole body cryotherapy sure beats taking an ice bath.