Posted 20 December 2015
The Sunday Times published a story on CryoLiving in Cape Town, the first company in South Africa to offer cryotherapy. The owner, Eugene Pienaar claims “[T]he cold is said to stimulate the release of “happy hormones”, cortisone and natural morphine, creating an anti-inflammatory and pain-killing response.” The cost is R495 for up to three minutes of “whole-body cryotherapy”. The article also points out that a Forbes article, titled “What Are The Cold, Hard Facts On Cryotherapy?“, noted: “Without nearly enough scientific evidence, the US Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved whole body cryotherapy as a medical treatment.”
Forbes Magazine continues: “A closer look shows that many of these claims are not yet grounded in credible scientific evidence. For example, there is no real scientific support that WBC [whole body cryotherapy] is effective as a weight loss or obesity prevention measure”, and ” . . a recently published systematic review of the literature did not find compelling scientific evidence that WBC is effective in preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise in adults”.
The Skeptoid, in an excellent article worth reading, reviewed the claims for this ‘product/treatment’, and made the following points:
“The term describes a myriad of questionable practices; some are built upon plausible mechanisms that lack a clear scientific foundation, and some are out-and-out chicanery”.
” . . . you are helping the affected area by reducing swelling and distracting you from the pain while you heal. It does not directly stimulate any healing process and is not a curative treatment. It’s a symptomatic treatment, like taking acetaminophen [panado].”
“The term cryotherapy sounds science-y and futuristic but it is a very featureless description. The combination of science sounding terms plus imprecise meaning makes it a pseudoscience bonanza. Similar to the oft-abused physics term “quantum,” using the word cryotherapy gives the aura of scientific treatment. The sham uses of cryotherapy go far beyond any medical science or any plausible medical benefit. Internet searches for the term produce a multitude of expensive and useless treatments bearing the name cryotherapy. The most egregious one, in my opinion, is “Whole Body Cryotherapy” AKA cryosauna.”
“Is it a “powerful treatment” for inflammatory disorders? No, not really. There is a ton of bad research related to this claim. The research shows either a fundamental failure to comprehend how the human immune system works or how to design an experiment. This research uses the same kinds of modalities employed to support other nonsense treatments . . .”
“Does cryosauna have cosmetic, psychological, or neurological benefits? Despite many claims of improved skin and cellulite etc., there is no evidence for its cosmetic usefulness—not even bad evidence”.
If you are unconvinced, read the excellent article at The Skeptoid.