The short answer is yes, cryotherapy is safe. However, this can be looked at much deeper as it all depends on the type of cryotherapy chamber or sauna you’re entering and the methods a company is using to expose your body to sub-zero temperatures. It depends on how the cryotherapy you use actually works.
How Does Cryotherapy Work?
During a cryotherapy session, you enter a cryotherapy sauna or a chamber which releases nitrogen gas between -120C and -140C for three minutes. As the temperature rapidly cools, oxygen is pushed through the system and then as the temperatures normalizes, your blood vessels expand.
Who Uses Cryotherapy?
Several well-known names rely on this treatment. Whether it’s to stay looking young, improve their overall wellbeing or if they use it for recovery after sports performances, it shows that cryotherapy is something which can not only be considered safe, but also a technique which works. Plus, there are many studies available which highlight just how successful this treatment has now become.
Some famous examples include elite sports teams such as the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the NBA’s Houston Rockets and the NHL’s New York Rangers. It’s suggested the 2016 shock-champions of the English Premier League, Leicester City, maintained their super-intense playing style thanks to cryotherapy.
For different reasons, high-powered individuals such as Jennifer Aniston, Willow Shields and Demi Moore have turned to cryotherapy. This is because it covers a wide range of benefits such as weight loss, stress relief and pain management.
Household names and teams like these wouldn’t continually take part in something considered unsafe which could have drastic side effects.
Has it Got a Reliable History?
Cryotherapy has changed over the years and it will continue to do so. If the two are to be compared, the historical technique of cryotherapy - which, unfortunately, some still use to this day - are considered unsafe compared to the latest method.
Traditionally, cryotherapy machines and chambers saw liquid nitrogen come in direct contact with people standing inside. Direct contact with liquid nitrogen is dangerous, so some companies, who are prioritising safety, are moving away from this method and adopting something much safer. Yet they still reap the same benefits.
When liquid nitrogen comes in direct contact with your body, there’s a greater chance of complications which can lead to asphyxiation - especially since you wear minimal clothing inside of a cryotherapy chamber. Your body shouldn’t ever come in contact with liquid nitrogen during a cryotherapy session because the nitrogen can quickly turn into a gas and replace oxygen in the body cells, which leads to asphyxiation.
Although professionals would be on hand and supervise the session and precautions could be taken, it’s more beneficial to find a cryotherapy treatment which is done in a much safer way.
The Newer Method of Cryotherapy
Here, your body doesn’t come into direct contact with liquid nitrogen. Instead, you will only be exposed to cold, breathable air, also known as cryogenically cooled air.
The difference between the two is that while liquid nitrogen once came into contact with your body, the safer method sees the liquid nitrogen cool oxygen in the air instead. Once the oxygen is cooled, this is what comes into contact with the body. For additional safety, trained technicians are always on-hand during the super-short sessions to monitor your body’s response and track progress.
However, despite the safer method, not every cryotherapy provider has adopted technology which can help eliminate the risk of asphyxiation. With this no longer a risk if the right company is sourced, then you’re able to to enjoy the many other benefits that this treatment can bring without having to worry about the potentially dangerous side effects.
From the early usage implemented by Dr. Yamaguchi in Japan, right through to A-List celebrities and elite athletes using cryotherapy today, it’s clear that more and more wellness-conscious people are on board with cryotherapy as they have experienced positive results.
With cryotherapy used in the way where liquid nitrogen doesn’t come into direct contact with your body, it can be deemed safe to implement it into daily and weekly routines.