How Often Should You Do Cryotherapy?

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How Often Should You Do Cryotherapy for Best Results?

Cryotherapy, a term that sparks visions of futuristic wellness wrapped in a chilly embrace, has surged in popularity among health aficionados, athletes, and beauty seekers alike. This innovative treatment, which involves exposing the body to subzero temperatures, promises a host of benefits from faster recovery times to improved skin tone. Yet, one question lingers in the cloud of cold vapor: how often should you do cryotherapy to achieve the best results? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the frosty depths of cryotherapy treatments, particularly whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), to unveil the optimal frequency for embracing the cold to enhance your wellness journey.

What Is Cryotherapy and How Does It Work?

Cryotherapy, Greek for “cold therapy,” is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes. While the practice dates back to ancient civilizations, modern cryotherapy began in Japan in the late 1970s and has since spread globally, gaining momentum as a non-invasive option for those seeking health and beauty enhancements.

The process usually involves a cryotherapy chamber or cryosauna, where temperatures can plummet to as low as -140°C (-220°F). During a session, individuals wear minimal clothing along with protective gear for ears, mouth, hands, and feet. The body’s exposure to the cold triggers a survival response, causing blood vessels to constrict and reduce blood flow to areas of inflammation. Upon exiting the chamber, the blood vessels dilate, and oxygen-rich blood floods back to the peripheral tissues, which can speed up cell renewal and repair processes.

Types of Cryotherapy:

      • Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC): The most common form, exposing the entire body to nitrogen vapor or refrigerated cold air.

      • Localized cryotherapy: Targets specific areas like a sore knee or an inflamed tendon.

      • Facial cryotherapy: Focuses on the face to stimulate blood flow and collagen production for anti-aging effects.

    What Are the Benefits of Cryotherapy?

    Cryotherapy boasts a wide array of benefits, endorsed by both anecdotal evidence and scientific research:

        • Reduced muscle soreness and faster recovery: Ideal for athletes or those with an active lifestyle.

        • Decreased inflammation: Beneficial for chronic conditions like arthritis.

        • Weight loss: The body burns calories as it works to heat up after a session.

        • Improved skin conditions: Can alleviate symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

        • Enhanced mood: The cold stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals.

        • Better sleep: Some users report improved sleep quality post-cryotherapy.

      While more research is needed to understand the full scope of cryotherapy’s effects, the current findings are promising. For instance, a study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation00357-4/fulltext) showed that WBC significantly reduced pain in individuals with rheumatoid diseases.

      How Often Should You Do Cryotherapy for General Wellness?

      The frequency of cryotherapy sessions can vary based on individual goals and responses to the treatment. For general wellness, starting with two to three sessions a week is a common recommendation, tapering down to once weekly or biweekly for maintenance once the desired effects are achieved. It’s important to listen to your body and adjust accordingly, as everyone’s reaction to cryotherapy can differ.

      Frequency Guidelines:


          • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sessions per week to acclimate the body.

          • Regular Users: Maintain with 1 session per week or biweekly for ongoing benefits.

          • Personalized Plans: Adjust based on individual goals, health conditions, and recovery needs.

        A balanced approach is key to reaping the benefits without overdoing it. Working with a cryotherapy specialist can help you tailor the frequency to your specific wellness objectives.

        What Does a Typical Cryotherapy Session Involve?

        A typical cryotherapy session is a quick but invigorating experience, usually lasting between two and three minutes. Upon entering the cryotherapy chamber or cryosauna, the body is enveloped in a mist of nitrogen vapor or refrigerated cold air, triggering an immediate drop in skin temperature. This rapid cooling elicits the body’s natural protective reactions, including the constriction of peripheral blood vessels and the conservation of heat for vital organs.

        During the session, it’s normal to feel a tingling sensation as blood rushes away from the extremities. After stepping out, the body rapidly reheats, causing blood vessels to dilate and enriched blood to flood back into the muscles and skin, delivering nutrients and oxygen that aid in recovery and rejuvenation.

        Safety Precautions:


            • Time Limit: Sessions should not exceed three to five minutes to prevent hypothermia or frostbite.

            • Protective Gear: Wear gloves, socks, slippers, and earmuffs to protect extremities.

            • Health Check: Ensure you have no health conditions that contraindicate cryotherapy, such as pregnancy, severe hypertension, or a history of strokes.

          It’s crucial to follow the guidance of trained professionals when engaging in cryotherapy to ensure a safe and beneficial experience.

          How Can Whole Body Cryotherapy Enhance Your Fitness Routine?

          For fitness enthusiasts and athletes, cryotherapy has become a go-to method for enhancing performance and expediting recovery. The cold exposure helps to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, potentially reducing downtime between intense workouts or after competitions. It’s also been suggested that cryotherapy can aid in injury prevention by strengthening the body’s response to stress and inflammation.

          Fitness and Cryotherapy:


              • Recovery: Helps alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and speeds up recovery.

              • Performance: Some athletes report improved performance due to reduced muscle fatigue.

              • Injury Prevention: May fortify the body against future injuries through regular use.

            Athletes might opt for more frequent sessions, especially during periods of intense training or after competitions – sometimes as often as five times a week. However, it’s important to find a frequency that aligns with individual training schedules and physical responses.

            Can Cryotherapy Aid in Weight Loss?

            The concept of using cryotherapy for weight loss is based on the idea that exposure to cold temperatures forces the body to work harder to stay warm, thus burning calories. While it’s not a standalone solution for weight loss, cryotherapy can complement a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet.

            The number of calories burned during a cryotherapy session varies, but some estimates suggest that one session can burn up to 800 calories. However, it’s important to maintain realistic expectations and understand that cryotherapy should be part of a broader weight loss strategy rather than a quick fix.

            Weight Loss Approach:


                • Complementary: Use cryotherapy in conjunction with exercise and diet.

                • Metabolic Boost: The body’s calorie-burning process may be enhanced post-session.

                • Frequency: Incorporate cryotherapy 2-3 times per week for metabolic support.

              As with any health and wellness regimen, consistency and a holistic approach are crucial for seeing results.

              Are There Anti-Aging Benefits to Regular Cryotherapy Sessions?

              Cryotherapy’s potential anti-aging benefits are linked to its effect on skin health and collagen production. The cold temperatures can cause the skin to tighten and increase blood flow once you warm up, which may lead to a more youthful appearance over time.

              Regular cryotherapy sessions may contribute to:


                  • Improved skin elasticity: The cold can stimulate collagen production, leading to firmer skin.

                  • Reduced appearance of wrinkles: Enhanced blood flow and oxygenation might help diminish fine lines.

                  • Brighter complexion: The influx of nutrients post-session can give the skin a healthy glow.

                For those seeking anti-aging results, consistency is vital. Integrating cryotherapy into your routine 2-3 times per week may help maintain these skin benefits.

                Does More Frequent Cryotherapy Mean Better Results?

                There is a delicate balance between the frequency of cryotherapy sessions and the results one can expect. More is not always better, as the body needs time to adapt and respond to the cold exposure. Overuse of cryotherapy can lead to diminishing returns and even pose risks such as frostbite or hypothermia if not conducted under proper supervision.

                Finding the right frequency often involves a period of trial and adjustment. It’s important to monitor how your body reacts to the sessions and to seek professional advice to avoid potential side effects.

                Balance and Frequency:


                    • Adaptation: Allow time for the body to adjust to the cold therapy.

                    • Professional Guidance: Work with a specialist to determine the optimal session frequency.

                    • Listen to Your Body: Watch for signs of overuse and adjust your schedule accordingly.

                  Ultimately, the goal is to achieve the desired benefits without compromising safety or comfort.

                  How to Match Your Cryotherapy Schedule with Your Health and Wellness Goals?

                  Aligning your cryotherapy schedule with your personal health and wellness goals is essential for maximizing the benefits of this treatment. Whether you’re looking to boost athletic performance, manage chronic pain, or enhance skin health, the frequency and duration of your sessions should reflect your objectives.

                  Here’s how to tailor your cryotherapy plan:


                      • Define Your Goals: Identify what you want to achieve with cryotherapy (e.g., pain relief, recovery, beauty).

                      • Consult a Specialist: Seek advice from a cryotherapy provider to create a schedule based on your goals.

                      • Monitor Progress: Keep track of your sessions and any changes in your condition or well-being.

                    By customizing your cryotherapy regimen, you can better target your specific needs and aspirations.

                    What Are the Risks of Too Much Cryotherapy?

                    While cryotherapy can offer numerous benefits, there are risks associated with overexposure to extreme cold. It’s important to recognize the signs of overuse and to understand that there is a threshold beyond which additional sessions may not only be unnecessary but potentially harmful.

                    Risks of excessive cryotherapy include:


                        • Frostbite: Prolonged exposure to cold can damage skin and tissues.

                        • Hypothermia: A dangerous drop in body temperature that can occur with overuse.

                        • Nerve Damage: In rare cases, excessive cold can lead to sensory or motor nerve issues.

                      To mitigate these risks, adhere to recommended session durations and frequencies, and always use cryotherapy services that prioritize safety and have qualified staff.

                      Can You Get Benefits From Just One Cryotherapy Session?

                      Even a single cryotherapy session can provide immediate benefits such as a reduction in muscle soreness, a burst of energy, or a feeling of euphoria due to endorphin release. However, for long-term and cumulative benefits like chronic pain management, consistent sessions are typically necessary.

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