The Lowdown on Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy gaining attention for currently unapproved uses like pain relief, weight loss


Cryotherapy — ever heard of it? It's not your typical therapy. But some claim it safely offers natural health benefits.

Cryotherapy started in 1978 as a treatment meant for rheumatoid arthritis. Early therapies involved applying freezing instruments to small, targeted areas of the body, and the process has evolved over time into a full-body therapy.

Fans of the modern version of cryotherapy say it activates the body’s natural response to recover as it’s exposed to freezing temperatures. The therapy is often used for pain relief, improving circulation and weight loss, although large, peer-reviewed studies confirming these reported benefits are currently scarce.

The process is only about three minutes long. A dry vapor is cooled to about minus 220 degrees Fahrenheit and applied to your body during that time.

Full-body cryotherapy has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat any illness or provide any health benefit — nor has it officially been cleared as safe. Following the death of a cryotherapy spa employee earlier this year, Nevada issued guidelines that said cryotherapy machines may not be used by anyone younger than 18, shorter than 5 feet or who has a history of health problems like hypertension, stroke, seizures or infections, reports the Associated Press.

We stopped by Cryo Body Works in Austin, Texas, to find out more about cryotherapy. Check out the feature video for the full story.