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New IIR Informatory Note: “Whole Body Cryotherapy/Cryostimulation”

Learn about the latest advances and the challenges related to these rapidly developing techniques.

The IIR has just issued a new Informatory Note “Whole Body Cryotherapy/Cryostimulation” prepared by members of the eponymous IIR Working Group chaired by Benoît Dugué and reviewed by a panel of international experts.

 

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 (typically 3 minutes at -110°C).

 

After exposure, patients experienced decreased soreness, oedema and inflammation, as well as musculoskeletal relaxation and increased range of motion. Cryostimulation is also effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression and accelerating muscle recovery in athletes.

 

However, solid scientific evidence of these benefits has yet to be provided. An intensification of research is necessary to identify the key variables inducing the benefits of cryostimulation and to define and adapt treatment protocols (frequency and exposure parameters in particular).

 

In addition, safety issues related to the use of cryostimulation are essential, in particular medical contraindications and physical risks such as anoxia need to be considered. This also requires the certification of operators and the cryogenic devices used.

 

This Informatory Note can be downloaded here (currently freely accessible to IIR members only).