Enduring temperatures of up to minus 190°C for a few minutes in a cold sauna is currently trending. Here you can learn why it’s beneficial and whether these extreme temperatures are painful. It is an interesting concept as is football predictions. But first, you have to lear about these trends.
A cryosauna, or Kryosauna (from the Greek “kryo” meaning “frost”), is a different kind of sauna. Medically, it falls under Whole-Body Cryotherapy (WBCT). The origin of today’s WBCT dates back to 1980 in Japan, where cold was used to treat Rheumatic Arthritis. In Germany, this form of therapy was introduced in 1984 as a treatment for rheumatic diseases. Cryosaunas are available in some rehabilitation facilities and specialized clinics, but more and more private studios are also emerging.
The use of cold for human health maintenance is nothing new: Short cold baths are part of Kneipp medicine. Going further back, Hippocrates, a famous ancient physician, is believed to have used cold as a therapy. This is suggested by the Corpus Hippocraticum, a collection of medical writings. Historians believe these writings are from various authors but were partly written by Hippocrates himself and mainly dealt with his teachings.
Currently, the Wim Hof Method, named after the extreme athlete Wim Hof, is gaining attention. Here, coldness in the form of ice baths is an integral part. The positive effects of the method have already been proven by studies. However, cold is just one of several parts of the method.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
A cryosauna can relieve pain. Its origins are medical, but today it is also used for sports and aesthetic purposes.
As suggested, cold is used for therapy in various diseases and complaints. However, the cryosauna, with temperatures up to -190°C, represents an extreme. Studies have already been conducted on this.
The applications summarized:
- Pain reduction, for example, after surgeries
- Rheumatic diseases like arthritis
- Reducing muscle soreness
- Skin diseases, for example, neurodermatitis or psoriasis
- Performance enhancement (though controversial)
- Strengthening the immune system
- Stimulating metabolism
- Increasing fat burning
Overall, cold is invigorating and has a positive impact on personal well-being. Cold causes blood vessels to constrict and reduces blood supply. When the body warms up again after the cryosauna, the vessels expand. This simplified process brings about positive effects: Blood circulation is improved and oxygen uptake is increased.
What does a cryosauna look like? The cryosauna resembles a barrel or shower cabin that is open at the top. Your head sticks out. Before starting the treatment, the height is adjusted to your body size. Next to the barrel is a tank with liquid nitrogen, which is led into the cryosauna. A problem here: Since nitrogen evaporates quickly, it must be continuously cooled and pumped in. This consumes a lot of energy, which we consider critical.
Inside the cryosauna, the temperature is between -160°C and -190°C. This is dry cold, meaning the air contains little moisture, so the cold is bearable. In a self-test, the feeling was described as a “pleasant tension.” You stay in the cryosauna for about two to three minutes. Throughout the treatment, you are in direct contact with a supervisor. If you feel unwell, you can immediately draw attention to yourself and leave the cryosauna.
Before using the cryosauna, you must undress to your underwear. Wearing socks and gloves is sometimes recommended. However, the recommendations vary from provider to provider. Note: You should not wear cosmetic products, creams, or makeup. Also, remove all your jewelry beforehand. To combat complaints, regular use is recommended. The frequency and duration of treatment, however, are individual.
The costs vary. On average, they range between 30 and 50 euros. Some health insurance companies cover the costs for certain indications.