cryo sauna benefits hdr

What Is The Difference Between A Whole-Body Cryo Chamber And A Cryo Sauna?

What Is The Difference Between A Whole-Body Cryo Chamber And A Cryo Sauna?

Local cold therapy for muscle and joint sprains has been extensively used for many years. However, more recently, whole-body cryotherapy has been widely used in sports medicine. Whole-body cryotherapy involves a brief exposure of up to four minutes at temperatures as low as -140 degrees Celsius. 

By rapidly cooling the skin the cold exposure in a cryo chamber causes the blood vessels in the skin and muscles to narrow. This reduces the temperature of the muscles which slows cell metabolism and promotes muscle recovery. It also reduces muscle soreness and is thought to do so through activation of cold receptors that promote pain relief. The effect of the narrowing of blood vessels on the surface of the body is to increase blood flow at the core. This leads to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, the ‘rest and digest’ aspect of the nervous system. Elevated parasympathetic activity is associated with greater health and wellbeing. 

What is a Cryo Sauna? 

Unlike in a cryo chamber, in cryo saunas – also called cryo cabins – the whole body is not inside the cabin (the head is outside). These cabins are open-ended metal tubes. In the cryo saunas the head is outside the cabin. The cooling in a cryo sauna is delivered through direct exposure to liquid nitrogen. This allows free nitrogen vapour into the cryosauna, which could potentially be very hazardous, causing asphyxia.

What is a Cryo Chamber? 

In contrast to a cryo sauna, in a whole-body cryo chamber, there is no exposure to liquid nitrogen. Instead, the chamber is cooled either through electricity or indirectly by liquid nitrogen. Generally, liquid nitrogen chambers can achieve colder temperatures. Most of the medical studies into whole-body cryo chambers have been done at -110℃. Only a few electric cryo chambers can get down to this temperature. In the liquid nitrogen chambers, the liquid nitrogen is pumped into pipes inside the walls of the chamber. This supercools the surrounding fresh air which is then pumped into the chamber. 

Because the head is inside the whole-body cryo chamber it is more effective at cooling the skin than a cryo sauna. Whole-body cryotherapy has also been found to be more effective at activating the parasympathetic nervous system than cryo saunas

If you are nervous about having your head inside the chamber, our safe liquid nitrogen cooled whole-body cryo chamber has an adjustable window so you can chat with your trained operator. The door is closed but not locked so you always feel in control when you are in the chamber.


Dr. Hugh Coyne

Private GP Parsons Green