Whole-Body Cryotherapy vs. Ice Bath
Whole-body cryotherapy is not just a faster version of an ice bath. The body’s reaction to an ice bath is very different from its reaction to cryotherapy. The main difference between ice baths and cryotherapy is the temperature of the environment and the skin surface.
The temperature of an ice bath is low as 45°F (7°C), while the temperature in a cryo-chamber reaches -321°F (-196°C). Because of this, the skin surface temperature during an ice bath can only reach 41°F (5°C); while the skin temperature during a cryotherapy session can be as low as 30°F (-1°C). Additionally, ice baths are a wet, lengthly, and occasionally painful experience, the opposite of cryotherapy.
During an ice bath, body tissue freezes, and muscles temporarily lose capacity. Muscle tissues then need time to return to normal, which requires rest. Therefore ice baths need to be scheduled at the end of a workout since recovery takes place overnight. In contrast, the cryosauna does not freeze muscle tissue. Accordingly, you can schedule a cryotherapy session before or after a workout.
Lastly, the skin’s oxygen supply is interrupted during an ice bath, which can damage your skin or promote bacterial infections. Cryotherapy prevents these risks by using cold, dry air; while the skin’s oxygen supply is not interrupted.