Cryotherapy sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. It doesn’t have anything to do with freezing yourself to be thawed out in the future (that’s cryogenics), but some of the alleged benefits of cryotherapy really do seem like futuristic magic.
Broadly speaking, cryotherapy is any kind of body cooling for therapeutic purposes. The kind most people are referring to when they talk about cryotherapy is whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), which involves brief exposures to temperatures below -100 degrees Celsius in a cryotherapy chamber. Cryotherapy can also refer to treatments that target specific parts of the body, like cryotherapy facials, which focus, obviously, on the face, or medical cryotherapy, which is used by doctors to freeze off warts or cancerous cells.
If you can stand the subzero temperatures, many believe that cryotherapy has a wide range of benefits, from helping athletes recover after intense workouts to burning calories and reducing cellulite. If the incredible claims made by cryotherapy believers are true, it could truly prove to be a miracle therapy. Of course, research into cryotherapy is in its earliest stages, so many of the treatment’s supposed benefits are mostly theoretical at this point. If, at any point, you decide to try cryotherapy, talk to your doctor first—especially if you have known underlying circulation issues, as well as other pre-existing medical conditions, many of which may not jibe with cryotherapy.