Cryotherapy, or cryogenic therapy, is any form of treatment using freezing or near-freezing temperatures. This can include cryosurgery, or cryoablation, where liquid nitrogen is applied locally to destroy abnormal cells (such as tumors or cancerous cells). Small-scale cryotherapy can include ice bath immersion or cryotherapy facials. Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) involves sitting or standing in a “cryochamber” for two to five minutes. During this process, a person will expose his or her body to liquid nitrogen in subzero temperatures, typically between -100 and -140 degrees Celsius. Patients are required to wear minimal clothing in the chamber, which can only include things like socks, gloves, approved underwear and possibly a headband and a mask to protect the ears, nose and mouth.
The most popular form of cryotherapy involves sitting in a cryotherapy booth for a maximum of 3 minutes. Some people undergo cryotherapy facials, which apply cold to the face only. Others use a cryotherapy wand to target specific areas, such as a painful joint. Most people use the term cryotherapy to refer to whole-body cryotherapy. This is non-medical treatment in a spa or similar setting. Doctors, however, also use cryotherapy. For instance, very cold temperatures can be used to freeze off warts or cancerous cells. Though unpleasant to begin with, cryotherapy tends to get better with each treatment, as the body adjusts to the low temperature. It is generally safe, but it is important to talk to a doctor before trying cryotherapy.
Some people undergo cryotherapy facials, which apply cold to the face only. Others use a cryotherapy wand to target specific areas, such as a painful joint.
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