New IIR Informatory Note on Whole Body Cryotherapy/Cryostimulation 

Providing key insight in the field of cryostimulation, and particularly whole body and partial body cryotherapy, the new Informatory Note of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) explores the potential benefits, challenges and technologies used of this rapidly developing technique.

Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) and partial body cryotherapy (PBC), grouped under the term cryostimulation, are new techniques consisting in exposing the whole body (head excluded for PBC) to extreme cold for a short period of time. 


“The use of cryostimulation is growing exponentially.” 


Prepared by members of the eponymous IIR Working Group, and reviewed by a panel of international experts, the new IIR Informatory Note on “Whole Body Cryotherapy/Cryostimulation” details the history, the basic principles, the expected benefits and the main applications of this innovative technology. 


The publication also draws attention to the safety issues linked to this application of refrigeration, such as medical contraindications, anoxia or frostbite, and highlights that regulation, certification and risk assessments are crucial factors to the safe and correct use of this technique. 


Key takeaways of cryostimulation 


  • The first device was made in Japan in 1979 by Professor Yamauchi to treat rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • A generic and typical protocol is 3 minutes at -110 °C. 
  • Technologies used can include liquefied gases and vapour compression refrigeration cycles. 
  • The physiologic effect reduces cell activity of the body and consequently, the need for nutrients and oxygen. 
  • Solid scientific evidence of the benefits remains to be provided.  
  • Safety issues related to the use of cryostimulation are essential. 
  • The IIR Working Group on Whole Body Cryotherapy/Cryostimulation is actively working on the subject. 


This Informatory Note is currently free to download for IIR members! 


Summary for Policymakers 


Designed to meet the needs of decision makers worldwide, a complementary Summary for Policymakers, outlining the key issues identified in the full version of this IIR Informatory Note, is also available and is freely accessible. 



Both the Informatory Note and the Summary for Policymakers are available in French and English and can be downloaded at > Publications > IIR Informatory Notes