What is Cryotherapy: The Complete Guide – Benefits, Risks, and More

Imagine immersing yourself in subzero temperatures, all in the pursuit of health and vitality.

This may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, yet it’s a reality for those who have embraced the frigid touch of cryotherapy!

Touted for its wide range of benefits, this cold therapy has taken wellness enthusiasts by storm, provoking both curiosity and skepticism alike.

With roots in ancient practices and modern adaptations that cater to various health goals, anyone from athletes seeking recovery to individuals aiming for weight loss or skin rejuvenation can experience the benefits of cryotherapy.

With all this buzz, you may be asking: what is cryotherapy?

In this complete guide, we’ll navigate through the frosty realm of cryotherapy.

We’ll explore its functions, uncover the potential benefits it holds, weigh the risks that come with the territory, and delve into the different types that cater to specific needs.

What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy, commonly known as cold therapy, is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a few minutes. It can be delivered to just one area or you can opt for whole-body cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy is not just a single treatment but encompasses a range of applications, from cryotherapy chambers for athletes to medical therapy for addressing abnormal cells in specific medical conditions.

The treatments have many potential benefits:

  • Reduces muscle soreness
  • Aids in muscle recovery
  • Smoothens and tightens skin
  • Burns away fat
  • May lower inflammation
  • Could offer relief from chronic pain
  • Suggested to help certain mental health conditions

Additionally, it is being explored as a medical treatment for a range of conditions, including some skin and liver cancers.

Although the full scope of its effectiveness is still under study, the potential benefits of cryotherapy have sparked interest in both the wellness community and medical field.

How does cryotherapy work?

The core of this medical treatment involves the use of very low temperatures to treat various conditions or to improve health outcomes.

Here’s a simple breakdown of how it works:

  1. Exposure to Cold: In cryotherapy, you enter a chamber or are misted by a device designed for cold treatment. For whole-body cryotherapy, you’ll be in a specialized enclosure, a cryotherapy chamber, that drops to extremely low temperatures.
  2. Body’s Response: Your body reacts to the extreme cold by constricting blood vessels to retain heat, a process called vasoconstriction. Once out of the cold, the blood vessels then dilate, which is known as vasodilation. This rapid constriction and dilation improves blood circulation and promotes healing.
  3. Healing Effects: The enhanced circulation promotes muscle recovery, reduces muscle soreness and damage, and can alleviate chronic pain.

Individuals should always consult with healthcare professionals before starting any type of cryotherapy, especially those with high blood pressure or heart problems.

Woman getting local cryotherapy

Benefits of Cryotherapy

For Pain and Recovery

Research indicates that cryotherapy may provide temporary relief from the pain of chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and muscle soreness after intense physical exercise, potentially improving quality of life for those affected.

Moreover, it is believed to assist in muscle recovery by reducing tissue damage caused by strenuous activities.

Its application might also lessen the transmission of pain signals, beneficial in managing chronic pain.

A big piece of the cryotherapy puzzle is reduction of inflammation, a culprit in various medical conditions including mental health disorders, cognitive impairments, and arthritis.

For Aesthetics

Cryotherapy has a range of benefits for those seeking to achieve the body of their dreams. These benefits include:

  1. Weight Loss: Cryotherapy sessions can increase metabolism, leading to more calories burned throughout the day. This can aid in weight loss efforts.
  2. Cellulite Reduction: The cold temperatures of cryotherapy can help tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
  3. Skin Rejuvenation: Cryotherapy can improve the overall appearance of the skin by increasing collagen production and reducing inflammation.
  4. Anti-Aging: The increased collagen production from cryotherapy can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Risks of Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is considered very safe for most people.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that, like any medical treatment, it comes with potential risks, albeit most are rare.

The most commonly reported side effect is discomfort, which typically subsides shortly after the treatment. Individuals may also experience mild dizziness or headaches due to the extreme cold. These symptoms are usually transient and resolve quickly after exiting the cryotherapy chamber.

Although less common, high blood pressure can occur during the procedure. Close monitoring by professionals can help manage this risk. Instances of frostbite are also rare but can arise if the skin is exposed without proper protection

Before trying cryotherapy, consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying medical conditions. When performed in a controlled environment under expert supervision, cryotherapy is entirely safe for the average person.

Below is a handy chart!

DiscomfortSomewhat CommonTemporarily during treatment
DizzinessSomewhat CommonTypically brief and resolves post-treatment
HeadacheSomewhat CommonGenerally mild and transient
High Blood PressureLess CommonMonitored and managed on-site
FrostbiteRarePreventable with proper skin protection
Cerebral BleedingVery RareSafety measures are taken to minimize this risk
Frozen LimbExtremely RareAdherence to time limits and protocols is crucial

It bears repeating: Cryotherapy can offer benefits, but always prioritize safety by consulting a doctor beforehand and choosing reputable providers like Contour Spa. You are always welcome to give us a call if you have questions.

Cryo Therapy

Types of Cryotherapy

Each type of cryotherapy utilizes extreme cold temperatures to promote the potential benefits of exposing the body or target areas to cold, albeit with different approaches and objectives.

From whole-body experiences to targeted treatments, cryotherapy’s applications are rich and varied.

Whole-Body Cryotherapy

Embarking on a session of Whole-Body Cryotherapy (WBC) involves stepping into a specially designed cryotherapy chamber that plunges its environment to temperatures ranging between -110°C and -140°C.

In this extreme cold, individuals are minimally clothed to maximize skin exposure while protecting sensitive areas.

WBC is often sought after by athletes and individuals experiencing muscle soreness or chronic pain for its potential benefits in muscle recovery and pain management.

It may also improve sleep and reduce inflammation, making it a sought-after treatment for those looking for overall wellness

Cryo Slimming

Not to be confused with Whole-Body Cryotherapy, Cryo Slimming focuses on localized areas, particularly for fat loss.

It’s a non-surgical procedure that uses cold treatment to reduce fat deposits by freezing and killing fat cells, which are naturally metabolized and flushed out by the body.

The controlled application of extreme cold temperatures targets fatty tissue, leading to vasoconstriction and decreased metabolic demand in the treated region.

Those looking to contour their body or eliminate stubborn fat areas might find Cryo Slimming an attractive choice since it’s a non-invasive alternative to traditional liposuction.

Learn more about Cryo Slimming here.

Cryo Aesthetics

Cryo Aesthetics takes the principles of cryotherapy into the realm of beauty and skin treatment.

Utilizing extreme cold, this form of cryotherapy is intended to remove abnormal skin tissue, including various types of skin lesions such as benign growths, precancerous conditions, and certain superficial skin cancers.

By specifically targeting the affected tissue, Cryo Aesthetics can help in achieving clearer and healthier skin. This technology is increasingly being integrated into dermatological practices for patients who require treatments for skin imperfections that are not only effective but also minimally invasive.

Learn more about Cryo Aesthetics here.

Cryo Facials

Cryo Facials, performed using a specialized cryotherapy wand, fall under the umbrella of aesthetic treatments and are lauded for their potential skin benefits.

They have gained popularity for their ability to tighten pores, rejuvenate the skin by freezing and eliminating dead cells, diminish redness, and promote a revitalized complexion.

Cryo Facials are often considered as an add-on to routine beauty regimens for individuals looking for a non-invasive way to give their skin a fresher and more youthful appearance.

Learn more about Cryo Facials here.

Cryotherapy FAQs

Want to better understand this chilling yet invigorating experience? We’ve compiled a series of frequently asked questions to help you embark on your wellness journey with confidence.

How should I prepare for cryotherapy?

Before plunging into the frigid temperatures of a cryotherapy session, a little prep can go a long way to ensure you reap the maximum benefits from your treatment.

It’s important to come to your appointment with clean skin, which means you should remove any makeup, lotions, or powders from the areas slated for treatment.

Depending on the specific type of cryotherapy, you may also receive special instructions, such as restricting food and drink intake prior to the procedure.

It’s always advisable to consult with your primary care physician to discuss any health considerations and to determine if cryotherapy is a suitable option for your wellness plan.

What should I expect during cryotherapy?

Stepping into the world of cryotherapy can be likened to the revitalizing sensation of a massage or a day at the spa.

During a session, you’ll be engulfed in a refreshing rush of cold air or direct cold application, depending on the type of cryotherapy being utilized.

The extreme cold may trigger an exhilarating response, leaving you with a sense of rejuvenation. Although the experience can be intense due to the chilly temperatures, many find it to be an invigorating addition to their health routines, much like the refreshing feeling after a vigorous workout.

What should I expect after cryotherapy?

Immediately following a cryotherapy session, specifically for skin conditions, the affected area may exhibit signs of redness and could potentially form a blister.

These are standard reactions and mild discomfort—a mild ache or an itching sensation—is generally short-lived, dissipating within three days or so.

Post-treatment, the general consensus is one of renewed vigor; you might find yourself leaving the chamber or treatment area brimming with a newfound energy.

Does cryotherapy hurt?

An important consideration for newcomers to cryotherapy is the comfort level.

Rest assured, “painful” isn’t a word commonly associated with this cold treatment. Given its nature, it’s normal to feel a couple of different sensations such as soreness, a tingling or numbing effect, especially if you’re new to the experience.

However, these feelings typically subside within 24 hours. Cryotherapy aims to provide relief and rejuvenation, and discomfort, if present, is minimal and short-term.


Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, is a versatile medical treatment used for a spectrum of benefits.

By applying extreme cold, healthcare providers can address a variety of medical conditions, ranging from muscle pain to aesthetics.

The positive benefits of extreme cold have been valued since the time of Hippocrates, and we’re continuing the tradition at Contour Spa!

Explore our services here.

Please note that the information provided here is for educational purposes only. Individual needs for medical treatment should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

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