FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a cold therapy involving skin exposure to temperatures between -110°C and -196 °C during three minutes. The goal is to lower the body temperature in order to get beneficial effects, some of them very interesting for certain pathologies. This extreme cold helps the release of endorphins and other substances that induce a beneficial body response at three different levels: circulatory, muscular and nervous systems. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and works as a metabolism activator.

It’s a Whole Body Cryotherapy cabin that allows to quickly lower the body temperature within a safe, controlled environment thanks to evaporated liquid nitrogen.

Cryosauna’s operation is based on the controlled evaporation of liquid nitrogen, a process that occurs at -196 °C. The cryosauna has components that allow the transfer from liquid to vapour and facilitate its circulation around the patient’s body.

Thermal contrast, or alternating application of heat and cold, was used by ancient Egyptians as a health and wellness treatment, and there are testimonies of its use in many different cultures throughout history: Turkish bath, cold pool after sauna, cold water immersion, etc. So it’s not a new treatment, but today’s technology allow us to reach temperatures that seemed impossible years ago, significantly boosting the benefits of thermal contrast.

We usually apply ice to an injured area to treat all types of pain, edema reabsorption, muscle and tendon pain. Localized cooling has the following effects:

  • Analgesia: decreasing pain on treated area. On the one hand, thanks to its direct action on the sensory nerve endings and pain fibres and receptors, slowing down the peripheral nerves conduction and decreasing or blocking the synaptic activity. On the other, thanks to indirect factors, like the reduction of swelling and muscle spasms on the injured area.
  • Reduction of the edema and inflammation: thanks to vasoconstriction and a decreased capillary permeability.
  • Vasoconstriction, because of the direct cooling of the smooth muscles and the reflex stimulation of the adrenergic endings. Blood flow gets decreased as the blood thickens, reducing the extravasation of liquid into the interstitium. Then, vasodilatation takes places as a rebound effect to maintain body temperature.
  • Decreased cellular metabolism, helping reduce the risk of secondary hypoxia in the injury’s surrounding tissues.

Cold slows down the peripheral nerves conduction and decreases or blocks the synaptic activity, hence its analgesic effect.

Cold also induces a decrease in cellular metabolism and inhibits the release of chemical mediators, such as histamine, which combined with vasoconstriction lessens the inflammation.

Localized cooling blocks or decreases the activity of A-delta fibers, which carry nociceptive information into the central nervous system, and decreases C fibers conduction velocity.

Vasoconstriction is caused by the the direct action of cooling on the vascular smooth muscles, as well as by indirect action, because its effect on the skin nerve endings causes a reflex excitation of adrenergic fibers. Vasoconstriction reduces the blood flow to the treated area. As a consequence, it also reduces the extravasation of liquid into the interstitium and increased the viscosity inside the vessels.

Localized cooling relieves pain in the injured area thanks to its direct action on the sensory nerve endings, pain fibers and receptors, as well as to indirect factors such as the reduction of swelling and muscle spasms on the injured area.

Effects of cryotherapy on an injured area are all at a local level.

The application of cold in Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) involves the entire spinal cord, in contrast to locally applied cryotherapy, where the effects are limited only to a few spinal cord segments. This means that only WBC produces effects at a systemic level on the organism.

Whole Body Cryotherapy has the following effects on the organism:

Analgesic effect: decrease in nerve conduction velocity, inhibition of nociceptive fibers and reduction of inflammation, edema and muscle spasms.

It blocks or reduces the activity of A-delta fibers, which carry nociceptive information, and decreases C fibers conduction velocity.

The analgesic effect of WBC is based on certain changes observed in muscle electrophysiology. Associated with the decrease of the skin temperature, there is a delay in the opening and closure of sodium channels, slowing down the sodium current responsible for the depolarization of nerve and muscle fibers. This allows to decrease de nerve conduction velocity of the neuron’s axon.

Having a longer refractory period conditions the decrease of potential action which, in addition to a decrease in the discharge frequency of the nociceptors, would explain the increase in the pain threshold and the potential hypalgesic effect of cryotherapy.

Anti-inflammatory effect: it is caused by neuroreflex action. Systemic inflammation activates the regulatory and protective processes. It is induced by the central nervous system, particularly by the structures related to the hypothalamus, the brainstem and the limbic system.

There is an anatomic and humoral basis for the functional connections, which transmit the information from the swollen area to the brain, becoming the active track for the autonomic nervous system, hormones (endocrine system) and the immune system.

Immune reactions can be limited to the areas of inflammation or can be generalized, affecting the whole organism. These are induced by the central nervous system, either through the autonomic nervous system (neuronal) or indirectly through an additional agent (endocrine system; neurohumoral system through neurotransmitters and hormones).

Whole Body Cryotherapy affects the inflammatory process through the application of extreme cold on the skin, in a similar manner as it’s explained in the pain reduction, through reduction of hyperperfusion by means of vasoconstriction, nociceptors desensitazion, and neurogenic liberation of mediators of inflammation.

Metabolic activation: intense cold inside the cryotherapy cabin causes a series of reactions in the organism in order to compensate the drop in the external temperature, activating the metabolism and accumulated fat mobilization. You can burn between 200 and 800 kcal in a WBC session, not only during the three minutes of cold application, but during the six following hours.

Relaxation: it’s a side effect of WBC. Helps sleeping, a greater relaxation and a better stress management. This effects are explained by neural reflex mechanisms activated by WBC, obtaining a modulating result of the sympathetic and parasympathetic activities within the autonomic nervous system.

WBC acts on the body surface during a brief period of three minutes. The shock effect produced by the extreme cold stimulus and the sudden lowering of temperature on the skin surface induces a neural reflexive process that affects different pathways.

Body’s cooling and heating depend on thermoregulation mechanisms controlled by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives input from free nerve endings and thermoreceptors in the skin, and detects temperature changes in the blood that irrigates it, in order to initiate a response to dissipate or maintain the heat.

In cases of sudden cooling, thermoreceptors or sensors that respond to cold stimuli, found on the endings of A-delta afferent fibers in the peripheral nervous system, increase considerably their impulse transmission speed.

These fibers carry the nervous impulse from the skin receptors to the brain and spinal cord. Signals that arrive at the spinal cord get into the neural circuitry of movement, pain, proprioception. This way, they modify transmission of the nerve impulse, having impact at different levels through the information transmitted by the efferent pathways.

In applying cold temperatures to the whole body surface, WBC exerts its effects on a systemic basis, affecting the whole organism, generating short-term organic reactions and activating long-term regulatory processes.

Due to the strong stimulus on the skin surface, Whole Body Cryotherapy triggers an indirect effect through inducing reactions in several systems. This way, it helps create a temporary adjustment and restore the homeostatic state, pain relieve and a reduction of swelling.

Cooling and heating of the body depend on the thermoregulatory mechanisms controlled by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives input from free nerve endings and thermoreceptors in the skin, and detects temperature changes in the blood that irrigates it, in order to initiate a response to dissipate or maintain the heat.

In cases of sudden cooling, thermoreceptors or sensors that respond to cold stimuli, found on the endings of A-delta afferent fibers in the peripheral nervous system, increase considerably their impulse transmission speed.

These fibers carry the nervous impulse from the skin receptors to the brain and spinal cord. The signals that arrive at the spinal cord get into the neural circuitry of movement, pain, proprioception. This way, they modify transmission of the nerve impulse, having impact at different levels through the information transmitted by the efferent pathways.

The main substances released during WBC are endorphins and serotonin. Endorphins are released through the spinal cord and the bloodstream, produced by the pituitary gland. They create a sense of calm and well-being, improve mood, reduce pain, slow aging, enhance the immunitary system and counter the high levels of adrenalin associated with anxiety.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in different regions of the central nervous system, associated with mood. Intervenes in regulating the appetite, sex drive, motor activity, sleep, as well as perceptive and cognitive functions.

Due to the strong stimulus on the skin surface, Whole Body Cryotherapy triggers an indirect effect through inducing reactions in several systems. This way, it helps create a temporary adjustment and restore the homeostatic state, pain relieve and a reduction of swelling.

Body’s cooling and heating depend on thermoregulation mechanisms controlled by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives input from free nerve endings and thermoreceptors in the skin, and detects temperature changes in the blood that irrigates it, in order to initiate a response to dissipate or maintain the heat.

In cases of sudden cooling, thermoreceptors or sensors that respond to cold stimuli, found on the endings of A-delta afferent fibers in the peripheral nervous system, increase considerably their impulse transmission speed.

These fibers carry the nervous impulse from the skin receptors to the brain and spinal cord. Signals that arrive at the spinal cord get into the neural circuitry of movement, pain, proprioception. This way, they modify transmission of the nerve impulse, having impact at different levels through the information transmitted by the efferent pathways.

Yes. A three-minute Whole Body Cryotherapy session can inhibit and resolve chronic pain during a few hours. After several sessions, this effect gets boosted and pain relief can last several weeks.

Chronic pain involves an amplified pain perception. Lasting pain relief is one of the most evident effects of WBC. After the action of cold on the skin, nerve information travels to the spinal cord through A-delta afferent fibers. Unlike local cold applications, the flow of information is not limited to a few spinal cord segments, but involves the whole spinal cord, given that afferent fibers are conducted from the whole body surface. This way, the effect is broader and stronger.

A-delta fibers, which carry the cold stimulus, have a faster conduction velocity than C-fibers, responsible for carry the pain signals. Faster conducting fibers inhibit the slower ones. These fibers compete for nerve excitation in the spinal cord tract, resulting in pain inhibition: nociceptors are desensitized or deactivated, reducing their ability to detect pain stimuli.

Whole Body Cryotherapy has positive effects at somatic and psychological levels.

When considering possible treatments for specific disorders, we have to bear in mind that most of the symptoms have psychological and somatic and psychological components.

When it comes to pain, especially chronic pain, the approach should be holistic (multifactorial) and multidisciplinary, emphasizing not only the nociceptive component, but also the affective and emotional aspects, since we can find organic (physical injury) and psychological elements (suffering, anxiety, fear, negative emotions) that increase the level of pain perceived by the patient.

WBC applies extreme cold on the whole body surface. This intense organic stress stimulates the pituitary gland and boosts the release of endorphins.

People who submit to a WBC session to relieve pain of any given etiology, and especially to treat psychogenic pain, perceive improvements in the state of mind and emotions management, which, added to the organic improvement, means a greater response effectiveness in suppressing or reducing pain.

In the end, WBC triggers a dynamic chain of process that gradually reduces the pain, in addition to improving the emotional wellness thanks to the interaction between the psychological and organic components. In reducing the pain, emotional wellness improves because the patient finds relief. And in improving emotional wellness, the subject feels more optimistic and hopeful, pain perception stops being the prevailing sentiment, and the mind can focus on other thoughts.

Chronic pain involves an amplified pain perception. Lasting pain relief is one of the most evident effects of WBC. After the action of cold on the skin, nerve information travels to the spinal cord through A-delta afferent fibers. Unlike local cold applications, the flow of information is not limited to a few spinal cord segments, but involves the whole spinal cord, given that afferent fibers are conducted from the whole body surface. This way, the effect is broader and stronger.

A-delta fibers, which carry the cold stimulus, have a faster conduction velocity than C-fibers, responsible for carry the pain signals. Faster conducting fibers inhibit the slower ones. These fibers compete for nerve excitation in the spinal cord tract, resulting in pain inhibition: nociceptors are desensitized or deactivated, reducing their ability to detect pain stimuli.

A three-minute Whole Body Cryotherapy session can inhibit and resolve chronic pain during a few hours. After several sessions, this effect gets boosted and pain relief can last several weeks. Chronic pain involves an amplified pain perception. Lasting pain relief is one of the most evident effects of WBC.

Inflammation is a physiological response of the body, a healing process essential to protect healthy tissues and repair the injured ones.

WBC modifies the centrally-controlled systemic defense, related to the interactions between thermal reception, nociception, localized inflammatory processes and central nervous process. As a result of Whole Body Cryotherapy application, the following effects can be observed:

    • Reduction of the dependent hyperperfusion by means of vasoconstriction.
    • Vascular constriction, through which the activity of mediators and neurotransmitters of local inflammation is reduced thanks to a reduction of the metabolism in the inflamed area.
    • Desensitization of the nociceptive system, which implies a pain relief.
    • Reduction of the formation and neurogenic release of local inflammation mediators and neurotransmitters, which implies a regression of the edema, pain relief and functional improvement.
    • Decreased muscle tone.

WBC effects on inflammatory processes can be noted in both acute and chronic inflammation.

Its mechanism of action consists in the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system though the alpha-adrenergic receptors, causing peripheral vasoconstriction. These induces adaptive changes related to analgesia, reduction of swelling and increases serum markers of tissue repair. Main effects are:

  • Vasomotor effects: In applying cold temperatures to the whole body surface, WBC produces a skin vasoconstriction, with blood flow reduction, that has also been observed at the joint level. Then, there is a vasodilatation of deep vessels (triple response of lewis), causing a higher interstitial hydrostatic pressure that favours lymphatic drainage.
  • Metabolic effects: decrease in oxygen consumption and drop in the treated area metabolism, which prompts a decrease in the secretion of both inflammatory (bradykinin and prostaglandin) and pain mediators. There are also changes at the systemic level, with an increase in hydroxycorticosteroids, catecholamines and aldosterone after a cryotherapy session.
  • Sensitive and motor effects: cold has an analgesic effects because of two mechanisms that act at the peripheral level:
  • Elevates the pain threshold of the nociceptors, phenomenon related to the synaptic conduction block.
  • Decrease the nerve conduction velocity.
  • Cold affects the sensory fibers in different ways: myelinated fibers are more sensitive than non-myelinated fibers. A-delta fibers (pain conduction) are the first to be blocked.
  • Furthermore, it is believed to have central effects, facilitating the endorphin activation. This would enhance its analgesic capacity, given that it has been proved that dispensing naloxone before a cryotherapy session does not reduce pain.
  • Neuromuscular effects: cold helps reduce spasticity thanks to two mechanisms:
  • Reduction of gamma hyperactivity
  • Decrease in neuromuscular spindle afferent discharge. This process induces a reduction in muscle tone, breaking the muscle pain and spasm cycle.

A clinical study conducted at Clínica Meprysa (Madrid) showed the WBC effects at the inflammatory level in a patient, revealing a marked improvement in his symptoms following a prostatitis. This patient had been included in the study in order to evaluate the effects of WBC in his spinal injury.

WBC has proved to be effective to treat cellulite, flabbiness and fat accumulation.

The intense cold inside the cryotherapy cabin causes a series of reactions in the organism in order to compensate the drop in the external temperature, activating the metabolism and accumulated fat mobilization. You can burn between 200 and 800 kcal in a WBC session, not only during the three minutes of cold application, but during the six following hours.

During a Whole Body Cryotherapy session, the air inside the cabin is between -196 ºC (-320 F) at the nitrogen tank outlet and -140 ºC (-220 F) at the cabin’s middle point. Skin surface temperature goes down to 5 ºC (41 F), but thermoregulation mechanisms keep the internal body temperature at the normal 36.5 ºC (97.7 F).

In the USA, most of NBA, NFL and MLB teams regularly use Whole Body Cryotherapy. In countries like Poland, the Social Security System can prescribe up to 20 WBC sessions per patient. Now, its use is starting to spread globally: football superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, top teams like Real Madrid or Movistar road bicycle racing team rely on this treatment as part of their preparation for top-level competition.

According to medical research, there are four main positive effects of WBC on sports:

1. Increased performance: Whole Body Cryotherapy acts at muscular and cardiovascular level, so when applied before intensive exercise it increases physical performance and resistance. It produces an increment in blood flow and the release of chemical substances that help athletes reach more power, higher top speed and greater resistance to fatigue.

2. Recovery after excercise: Whole Body Cryotherapy, applied after great physical efforts, boosts muscle recovery, which implies great benefits during periods of strong physical demands, suchs as preseason or the busier weeks of the season. Its relaxing action causes a significant reduction soreness and muscle fatigue. Top teams are ditching ice baths for WBC.

3. Injury recovery: Whole Body Cryotherapy, in addition to preventing injuries, helps recovery and substantially reduces the time of convalescence in cases of inflammations related to hits, trauma and  overexertion. Also, it relieves pain and favors muscle regeneration.

4. Mental balance: Whole Body Cryotherapy favors the release of endorphins, neuropeptides that create a sense of well-being, happiness and relaxation. It provides mental balance to athletes, greater feelings of vigor and increased motivation.

As a general guideline, it is not recommended for people with heart problems.

If the session is scheduled after a meal, it would be desirable to wait at least two hours to let the process of digestion run its course.

If you have of the following conditions, it is strongly not recommended to have a cryotherapy session or at least you should ask your doctor:

  • Severe general condition
    Chronic cardiac decompensation
    Acute myocardial infarction
    Class II Heart Failure
    Heart rate with unfavorable prognosis
    High blood pressure ( ≥ 180/100 mmHg)
    Stroke
    Vascular diseases: Raynaud syndrome, systemic vasculitis
    Cryoglobulinemia, agammaglobulinemia, cryofibrinogenemia
    Fever (> 37.5 ºC / 99.5 ºF)
    Tuberculosis
    Malignant tumors
    Bleeding diathesis
    Severe anemia
    Hyperthyroidism
    Hysterical neurosis
    Cold intolerance
    Cold urticaria
    Pregnancy
    Children under the age of 10
Before the session
  • Reading and signing of the informed consent. This document explains the process and the necessary precautions.
  • Remove all metallic objects.
  • Put on the protective footwear provided.
  • Enter the cabin in underwear. Bra and panties in the case of women and slip in the case of men (cotton recommended) and socks.
  • Make sure the skin is completely dry.
  • Do not use any creams or lotions before the session. Remove all body cream residues, if used previously.
  • Cover body piercings with bandage.
  • Head must be above the top of the cabin before starting the session. The height of the base will be adjusted if needed.
  • The safety collar must be adjusted to the neck in order to avoid the exit of vapor towards the respiratory tract.
During the session
  • The person who oversees the session will be in the same room as the patient and the cabin at all times to meet the needs and demands that could arise.
  • When the equipment starts, the patient will slowly turn and rotate 360º, left and right.
  • The patient should tell the person who oversees the session any perceived discomfort.
  • The patient will be able to exit the cabin at any given moment: the door opens with a slight pressure. The door opening will end the session.
After the session
  • In the event of any unwanted effect, the patient shall notify the staff in charge of the session in order to receive the necessary explanations and pertinent monitoring.

If you have further questions, please contact our medical staff by filling in thel online form.

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