Clinical trials have shown that Whole Body Cryotherapy increases healthy cellular survival, decreases undesirable cell growth (cellular metabolism), decreases inflammation, decreases pain and spasm and promotes the temporary constriction of blood vessels to control edema. Ice packs can do some of this locally on a knee or elbow, ice baths can do it globally but they’re painful and hard to endure. Only the most dedicated, high-level competitive athletes will submerge sore bodies for 15-20 minutes with varying degrees of effect. With Whole Body Cryotherapy, a therapy CryoSauna or chamber is cooled with liquid nitrogen, usually to a temperature of −166 °F to −220 °F (−110 °C to −140 °C), though temperatures as low as −256 °F (−160 °C) have been used. The patient wears shorts or a swimsuit and is protected from frostbite with socks, slippers and gloves.
The patient spends a few minutes in the chamber during which the average skin temperature drops to 54 °F (12 °C), while the coldest skin temperature can be 41 °F (5 °C). The core body temperature remains unchanged during the treatment, however it may drop slightly afterwards. This therapy triggers the release of endorphins which induce analgesia (immediate pain relief). Patients say that the WBC experience is invigorating and report that it improves a variety of conditions such as psychological stress, insomnia, rheumatism (arthritis), muscle and joint pain, fibromyalgia, itching, and psoriasis. The immediate effect of skin cooling and analgesia lasts for five minutes but the release of endorphins can have a lasting effect, where the pains and signs of inflammation as found in blood tests remain suppressed for weeks. These effects of extreme cold and endorphin release are scientifically studied.