If you’re reading this, you’re probably somewhat familiar with cryotherapy and you’ve probably heard about world-class athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo or Eddie Hall using buying cryo-chambers for their home gyms and recovery centers.
Seeing how they’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on this piece of chilling equipment, you’re probably wondering if that was a wise investment. After all, there are only so many sessions you can do in a week, right?
Well, not exactly.
While we certainly don’t recommend spending ten minutes in a freezing chamber using vaporized nitrogen to achieve sub-zero temperatures, there are far fewer limitations to this form of therapy than you might think.
So, let’s talk about it, shall we?
What Is Cryotherapy?
We won’t go into too many details, since as we’ve said, you’re probably already familiar with it, and you’re just looking for additional info. But, if by any chance this is the first time you’ve ever heard of cryotherapy, here’s a very brief explanation.
In short, cryotherapy is a therapy that uses extremely (and we don’t use that word lightly) low temperatures to treat various conditions, from chronic pain and inflammation, all the way to anxiety.
The temperatures can range anywhere from -120°C to -150°C, and the therapy itself is quite short, usually lasting no more than three minutes.
During that time, the patient is inside what’s called a cryosauna or a cryo-chamber, and the purpose of the session is to expose their skin to extreme cold.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on and answer the question you’re here for.
How Long Should You Wait Between Two Cryotherapy Sessions?
This is a great question. But, just like any other great question – there’s no simple answer to it. It depends.
Now, we know you’re probably sick to your stomach with the “it depends” answer, but what can we say – it’s just the way it is.
However, we won’t just leave you with a vague and useless answer like that. After all, you’re probably looking for proper guidance based on your situation. So, that’s what we’ll try and provide you with.
For General Wellbeing
If it’s just the general wellbeing and wellness you’re after, then you can safely do a cryotherapy session three to five times a week for the first month. Each session should last about two to three minutes.
You might even be able to get away with doing it two times a week, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
The reason for that is simple – even though the therapy itself is short, the effects are cumulative. In other words, the more sessions you do, the better results you’ll get.
For A “Quick Fix”
There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to cryotherapy. Or anything else for that matter. Maybe a haircut, but that’s about it. Either way, if you plan on going for one session only – don’t bother. It won’t make a difference.
For Weight Loss
Some folks may not realize it, but this form of therapy could actually help you lose weight. If that’s your goal, three to five three-minute sessions a week for at least two weeks should do the trick. But just so we’re clear, freezing yourself won’t amount to anything unless you eat clean and exercise daily. So, don’t go out leaving bad reviews just because being cold for a minute didn’t help you drop weight.
For Sports And Recovery
Recovery boost is the number one reason most people do cryo, according to adriameduae.com. This is the precise reason why most world-class athletes go out and buy themselves one. That, and the fact that a single three-minute session after a heavy workout will do wonders for your body. In other words, if you’re training really hard – you can do a single session every single day after you tear your body to pieces.
For Injury Recovery
Let’s say you’ve injured your shoulder or a knee. Instead of hopping in a cryosauna with your whole body, you could go for localized therapy a few times. What this basically means is having a beam of focused vaporized liquid nitrogen sprayed over an affected area for about, you’ve guessed it, three minutes. One to three sessions should do the trick.
For Chronic Pain
There are many reasons why you might be suffering from chronic pain. It could be inflammation, arthritis, or even fibromyalgia. No matter the reason, three to five sessions a week for at least two weeks should help you get some relief.
For Post-Op Recovery
This is a tricky one because every surgery’s different. However, we’re pretty confident that no one’s going for a cryo session after open-heart surgery, but an ACL reconstructive surgery’s another story. There were some instances where two twenty-minute sessions were performed during the day, and the patients showed great improvement. But in general, a few sessions per week, for a few weeks, should do the trick.
Could You Go Overboard With Cryotherapy?
There is a reason why the duration of WBC (whole body cryotherapy) never exceeds three minutes. Your body’s subjected to extreme cold, usually somewhere around negative 140 degrees Celsius, and there’s only so much cold your body can take. So, in terms of session duration – you can definitely go overboard.
As for the frequency, even though there are people who do a session every day, we wouldn’t recommend it to a regular Joe. There’s little to no chance you’re putting your body through so much pain and suffering on a daily basis that you need to freeze yourself every day. Therefore, the verdict’s the same for frequency, too – you can definitely go overboard.
As for how you’ll know – it’s rather simple. You’ll feel numb, tingly, you’ll feel a burning sensation, your nerves will act out, you’ll notice visible redness, and if you pull an Antonio Brown-like stunt – you might even end up with severe frostbite – so be cautious!
Now that we’ve answered the question, it’s important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some of you may have to wait 24 hours, others 48 or 72. It all depends on your goals, your body, and/or your doctor’s opinion.
So, if you’re unsure – always ask!
And lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the process! Sure, it might sting a little, but isn’t there a bit of pain in pleasure? Enjoy the road!