Cryotherapy is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy. The term "cryotherapy" comes from the Greek cryo (κρυο) meaning cold, and therapy (θεραπεια) meaning cure. Cryotherapy has been used as early as the seventeenth century.
Whole Body Cryotherapy can be administered in one of two devices, the Single Person Cryosauna and the Multi-Person Cryochamber.
With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures (-150 °C). The client is placed in a cryogenic sauna/chamber for a short duration of 1.5-3 minutes which lowers the client's skin surface temperature significantly and stimulates receptors.
This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades in Europe have established WBC as a powerful modality for inflammation reduction and injuries.
Professional athletes have discovered WBC as a powerful treatment to decrease recovery time and increase athletic performance. Although Whole Body Cryotherapy originated in Japan, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made Whole Body Cryotherapy the physical therapy it is today. The Olympic rehabilitation center in Spala, Poland opened in May 2000 and has been used as a training and injury rehabilitation center for many athletes.
The Cryosauna is cooled to cryogenic temperature range of −200 °F to −240 °F.
In the Cryosauna, clients are protected with socks, gloves, and slippers. Clothing worn during the treatment is minimal: for women clothing is optional while for men genitals have to be covered with cotton underwear. During the 1.5-3min session the average skin temperature drops to 10 °C (50 °F), while the coldest skin temperature can be 0 °C (32 °F). The core body temperature remains unchanged throughout the process, however, it may drop slightly afterwards.
Clients report that the experience is invigorating and improves a variety of conditions such as psychological stress, insomnia, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, and various skin conditions.