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What Cryotherapy Chamber Is Best After COVID-19?

With wellness centers and gyms reopening many business owners are asking What cryotherapy chamber is best after COVID-19? With the entire landscape of health and wellness changed from the global pandemic many industry leaders are warning that all equipment must satisfy the post-pandemic customer. What does this mean for current cryotherapy chamber owners after COVID-19 and how can new businesses satisfy what the customer wants?

Four people standing in a cryotherapy chamber after COVID-19
Cryotherapy after COVID-19 will not be a group activity anymore, even with masks, according to a poll of 3500 CR readers.

The Best Cryotherapy Chamber After COVID Is…

Without endorsing any specific brand the best cryotherapy chamber after COVID is the one that makes the client feel safe. By and large most people will not want to participate in cryotherapy in pairs or groups. This has become a problem for electric based chambers such as the US Cryotherapy and Cryo Arctic.¹ Consumers want a personal experience where they are not exposed to another person’s germs. Chambers must now have an anti-porous interior. Some chambers I reviewed have antibacterial materials (such as the XR by Cryo Innovations). Others, such as the Juka have padded cloth interiors that do not allow wipe-downs effectively, and actually absorb liquids.

Is Head-out Cryotherapy The Best Now?

There has long been a healthy debate about whether or not cryo is best with the head exposed or not. While clinical studies are conclusive that it doesn’t not matter the debate continues due to marketing pressure. But cryotherapy and COVID have changed a lot. A Cryosauna Reviews poll of 3500 households (with 2965 people responding) the head-out cryosauna option is a clear winner. The reasons stated by respondents were telling: clients simply did not want to be in a chamber that could contain someone else’s breath even if everyone was wearing masks. The psychological effect of having one’s head out of the chamber was enough to make clients feel safer.

Is This The End Of Enclosed Chambers?

Enclosed cryotherapy chambers are here to stay, but with pandemic concerns now a regular conversation it may not be the time to invest in one. Clients are highly concerned about their immune systems and seek out cryo for its potential immune system benefits. Enclosed chamber owners should immediately address how they will sanitize the chamber and provide air-out times. For clients who do cryotherapy regularly it appears a definite shift is happening to choose cryosaunas instead of enclosed chambers.

  1. http://Louis, J., Schaal, K., Bieuzen, F., Le Meur, Y., Filliard, J. R., Volondat, M., Hausswirth, C. (2015). Head Exposure to Cold during Whole-Body Cryostimulation: Influence on Thermal Response and Autonomic Modulation. PloS one, 10(4), e0124776. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124776
  2. Both the US Cryotherapy C1 and Cryo Artic are single person chambers by design; however, in practice this author has seen operators allow two people in these chamber at the same time.
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Is “breathable air” better?

Breathable air cryotherapy machine with door open in blue, black, and white colors.

Is breathable air better for cyrotherapy? The controversy surrounds the difference between electric and nitrogen based cryotherapy machines. Liquid nitrogen machines chill the air with a cold gas. In contrast, electric machines chill the air in the same manner as a freezer or air conditioner. If you have ever been in either machine you know that breathing becomes noticeable as soon as the cold hits your skin.

What is “breathable” air?

Electric cryotherapy chamber designers use the phrase “breathable air” in their marketing. Sometimes people are afraid that they may inhale liquid nitrogen gas (or “gasiform nitrogen”) in an open-top cryotherapy chamber. But this rarely happens because the person’s head is far above the cold clouds of gas. Nitrogen chamber designers also point out the fact that the air we breathe is 78% nitrogen. Breathing pure nitrogen is not healthy; however, a small whiff of a cloud–such as at Creamistry–will not cause any problems.

Breathable air is harder than you…think?

You are breathing right now, and you have been since the day you were born. But breathing during cryotherapy becomes noticeable as the temperature begins to drop. In the current marketplace you have two options: a chamber powered by electricity alone or by liquid nitrogen alone. Electric cryotherapy chambers are walk-in type of chambers that chill your entire body from head to toe. When I first tried one I was excited as I thought it was a superior method. But I quickly noticed that my breathing was noticeable and that it was VERY COLD air. I did not panic, but the air felt thick and I had to mentally calm myself down.

What is the big difference anyway?

My cryotherapy journey began when my gym bought a nitrogen-based chamber a few years ago. My workout days are the same and I still use that machine every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I make my recovery a priority, but my evaluation of different chambers requires an open mind. I like trying EVERY cryotherapy method I find, and they are all pretty good. Whether the air is “breathable” doesn’t matter to me since I am not (and never have) had a problem in an open-top nitrogen machine. What I have noticed is these two major points:

  • Electric machines “feel” colder. When my head felt the cold it made my entire body feel cold. But overall the temp was not as low as what I am used to.
  • Nitrogen machines get the coldest of all but are more comfortable since my face and scalp do not feel cold.

These points seem a bit contradictory: one feels colder but is not as cold as the other. From my clinical understanding the head-in chamber feels colder because my head has all five senses getting cold at the same time. Head-out chambers keep my head warm while chilling me from the neck down so they don’t feel as cold.

Price Points

Blogging in this small field puts me out there. I am approached nearly once a week. Companies want advertising space on this site which we never sell. We don’t do that, so I won’t recommend either type of chamber over another. Instead I will leave you with these facts gleaned from the industry:

  • Nitrogen based machines cost anywhere from 45k to 65k. Most are made in Europe but two are made in the USA.
  • Electric machines cost anywhere of 80k to 150k.
  • Nitrogen machines are roll-in and go. They can operate as soon as they arrive. They do require a vent in small rooms.
  • Electric machines require professional installation and 220 volt power, along with some plumbing.
  • Hybrid machines that use liquid nitrogen gas to make a “breatheable air” environment are not as cold as a pure nitrogen chamber.

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Is Liquid Nitrogen Dangerous?

Liquid nitrogen is completely safe when it is handled correctly. Like any element you must take precautions. In the industry it is usually electric cryotherapy manufacturers that will say liquid nitrogen is dangerous. But is this accurate? Is it a more affordable form of cryotherapy?

Is liquid nitrogen dangerous for cryotherapy?

Nitrogen is a natural element and is 78% of the air we breathe. Liquid nitrogen is extremely cold, and this is why it works for cryotherapy. While it can be dangerous if it contacts your skin directly it is not dangerous as a gas. Cryotherapy changes the liquid nitrogen into a cold gas, -230°F cold, and it safely fills the chamber without any liquid contacting the skin. Earlier cryotherapy machines using electricity to produce cold air could only reach -150°F. Engineers developed Nitrogen machines to give the coldest temperatures possible.

Didn’t someone die?

Yes. Someone actually died in a liquid nitrogen cryotherapy chamber in 2015. Her name was Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, and she was a manager at a health-spa. Chelsea did not die from freezing temperatures as some early news reports stated. She went into the cryotherapy chamber after hours unsupervised and attempted to run a session all by herself. While in the chamber she tried to take a photo and dropped her phone. When she bent down to grab her phone she accidentally asphyxiated herself and died. Authorities immediately shut down the clinic for not following basic safety procedures that prevent these tragedies. Cryosaunas now use even more safety features. Developers used “redundant safety” to prevent this from ever happening again, such as these examples here.

Why isn’t it FDA approved?

The FDA has not approved cryotherapy for a simple reason: it does not claim to cure or treat any disease. This applies for all forms of whole body cryotherapy, both electric and nitrogen gas. The FDA has written warnings about liquid nitrogen for all consumer businesses: restaurants, gyms, and spas. But it also states that it is not the FDA’s role to regulate it as it is not used to cure or treat a disease. Most incidents involving liquid nitrogen causing an injury are in bars: bartenders top off cocktails with liquid nitrogen for a “smoke” effect. They are supposed to tell the customer to wait until the vapor clears before drinking, but sometimes this doesn’t happen and someone is harmed. Injuries with cryosaunas are quite rare due to the safety features designed into the machine.

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What Cryosauna is Right for You?

What cryosauna is right?  Two cryochambers side by side with a man standing inside each.
Choose wisely when purchasing a cryosauna.

What cryosauna is right for you depends on where you will put it in your business. If you have a large warehouse gym with plenty of room then any of these options will work. However, if you have a small space for your cryotherapy chamber then you must decide carefully. Choosing the wrong machine will only produce problems. You must consider nitrogen or electrical supply, venting, and maintenance in determining what cryosauna is right.

What Cryosauana is Right for a Small Building?

Most cryotherapy businesses have only one room for providing cryotherapy. This room must fit the chamber itself and provide enough room to open the chamber door. Additionally you must determine if you will want nitrogen tanks or an electric machine. Nitrogen tanks can be easily delivered and connected. Electric chambers must be professionally installed. They may also require HVAC construction and some plumbing work.

Liquid Nitrogen Cryosaunas are right for small businesses

Small business owners by far choose liquid nitrogen cryosaunas (or cryochambers) because of how easy they are for a startup. Deliveries of the chamber and liquid nitrogen come directly to your door. After uncrating the chamber and plugging it into a standard wall outlet all you need to do is attach the liquid nitrogen and turn it on. This is as easy as attaching a garden hose. The chamber regulates the flow of nitrogen and makes the process automatic. When the nitrogen runs low you can request a delivery and the delivery person will roll the new dewar of nitrogen into your store and remove the empty one. That’s it.

Electric Cryochambers are right for major venues

Electric cryochambers cool the air by a compressor. This is the same way an air conditioner works. Many stadiums use electric chambers because they simply have the room and the budget, and the 220 volt plugs and beefy circuit breakers they require. These chambers are more expensive than nitrogen machines, often costing almost twice as much. Additionally you will most likely have to hire a general contractor, electrician, and a plumber to install the machine. If you are leasing your building this may be impossible.

Liquid Nitrogen Cryosaunas

Liquid nitrogen cryosaunas were designed because of the problems with electric cryochambers. Many small business owners simply cannot afford a $100,000 chamber and hire a contractor, engineer, and maybe plumber. Nitrogen cryosaunas cost half of that and are plug-n-play machines. Roll it in, plug it in, and you are in business. Furthermore, nitrogen cryosaunas are the coldest available, reaching -230°F, while electrics typically reach only -150°F.