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Cryotherapy Terminology

  • Peter B. Marusich, CEO
  • Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy equipment owners and operators, manufacturers, and resellers often use different terminology to refer to their equipment and their list of treatments.

We have taken the time to lay down definitions of the different terms that pop up in the world of cryotherapy from our own experience and to clarify some of these terms and avoid confusion.
Many of these terms are used interchangeably.

WBC - Whole Body Cryotherapy ) Cryogenic Therapy

CRYONiQ uses the term Whole Body Cryotherapy to refer to cryotherapy treatments in open-top cryosaunas. Throughout the procedure, the client’s whole body is exposed to the cold except for their head.
There are several long-established fields outside of cryotherapy, such as beauty and skin care often employing the word body to refer to the torso from the neck down, which is how we see the term whole body cryotherapy in open-top cryosaunas.
Open top cryosaunas can be either nitrogen based or hybrid systems.

PBC – Partial Body Cryotherapy

CRYONiQ refers to Partial Body Cryotherapy as the application of cryotherapy on select or limited areas of the body, such as the extremities/limbs or parts of the torso.

Some members of the cryotherapy community refer to treatments in open top cryosaunas as Partial Body Cryotherapy. We believe the term partial body cryotherapy does not exactly characterize the extent of the treatment inside an open-top cryosauna.
We feel the urge to address this controversial topic as there is a lot of misinformation in the cryotherapy field. We come from a position of experience with nitrogen (neck down cryotherapy treatments) and hybrid (head exposed to cryotherapy) solutions in our business life.

According to the dictionary, the term "partial" encompasses two separate meanings, neither of which we believe is entirely suitable to refer to the treatment in open top cryosaunas and may be more fit for other cryotherapy applications.

Those two meanings are “incomplete” or “certain parts/areas”. The word "incomplete" does not fully characterize the extent of cryotherapy in an open-top cryotherapy chamber which engulfs the users whole body except for their head and brings about a negative connotation of being an "incomplete" treatment. The purpose of different cryotherapy equipment and systems varies and the exposure of the client’s head to the cold vapors is not necessarily the benchmark for the quality of cryotherapy, but instead a different approach to the same problem. The use of the term partial-body cryotherapy for open-top cryosaunas by large originates from some manufacturers and resellers of enclosed cryotherapy systems such as electric or nitrogen based systems (hybrids) for the promotion of their solutions.

As Partial Body Cryotherapy can also be used to refer to cryotherapy treatments applied solely on the limbs or select areas of the body or "certain parts/areas", this meaning goes on to establish a whole different category of equipment. Examples of products in this category include the Cryosleeve and solutions that focus only on specific areas and purposes.

FBC – Full Body Cryotherapy

Full Body Cryotherapy is a form of cryogenic therapy in which the body is fully/entirely exposed to the extremely cold temperatures inside an enclosed treatment room. "Full body" refers to the entirety of the users body and it cannot be used interchangeably for other systems.
The cryotherapy systems that make use of this term include electric and hybrid systems.

Hybrid Cryotherapy | Hybrid Cryotherapy Chamber | Indirect Systems

Hybrid cryotherapy is used to refer to nitrogen-based cryotherapy systems that use LN2 to cool down breathable air that ultimately cools the client cabin.
This term can be used for single person cryochambers or multiple person cryochambers using liquid nitrogen in the internal mechanism, but not inside the client cabin.

Cryo chamber | Cryochamber | Cryotherapy chamber | Cryosauna | Cryo cabin ) Cryogenic Chamber ) Cryotherapy Unit

These terms are used interchangeably to refer to both open-top cryosaunas and enclosed cryotherapy chambers.

*Every market refers to various cryotherapy equipment differently.

Cryotherapy Machine | Cryotherapy Equipment | Cryotherapy Device | Cold Therapy Machine

The terms cryotherapy machine, cryotherapy machines, cryotherapy equipment, cryotherapy device and cold therapy unit are used to refer to every single technology within the cryotherapy field that applies some form of cold treatment and requires electrical power to run.

Electric Cryotherapy | Electric Cryotherapy Chamber

Electric Cryotherapy is used to refer to enclosed cryotherapy equipment chambers cooled with the use of electric power that expose the users entire body to extremely cold temperatures for a set period of time. Electric cryotherapy chambers have a high consumption of electricity, but do not require any liquid nitrogen. Electric Cryotherapy chambers require a larger initial investment.

Open top Cryosaunas

The term open-top cryosauna is used to refer to cryosaunas/ cryotherapy chambers/ cryotherapy equipment that uses liquid nitrogen to cool down the whole system. Open-top cryosaunas expose the users body, with the exception of their head, to an atmosphere with higher nitrogen concentration which causes the cooling effect. Open-top cryosaunas generally offer more flexibility in operation as well as immediate startup, they may offer lower efficiency if not operated back-to-back. To ensure the safety of all clients, all operators must follow a stricter safety protocol.

Direct | Indirect Cryotherapy Systems

These terms refer to the method that given cryotherapy equipment uses to cool the client cabin. Direct units are usually also referred to as open-top cryosaunas and those with an indirect system are generally called hybrid systems.

Localized Cryotherapy | Local Cryotherapy | Cryo facial

Cryofacial, cryotherapy facial, targeted cryotherapy, local cryo machine, spot cryotherapy. These are the many terms used to refer to cryo therapy that is applied in a single area or spot on the client’s body at a given moment. Cryofacials are primarily used to refer to the application of cryotherapy on the client’s face and neck, while targeted cryotherapy as well as spot cryotherapy allow the client to request more intense treatment in particular trouble areas caused by injuries, muscle damage, and other conditions.

Localized Cryotherapy – Nitrogen Based Systems

Nitrogen-Based Systems make use of the extreme properties of liquid nitrogen starting from -120°C / -180°F to -150°C / -220°F. This system requires the continuous supply of liquid nitrogen. Treatments are applied with the use of a "wand" connected to an LN2 storage vessel. Liquid nitrogen is processed by the mechanism to form cool vapors.

Localized Cryotherapy – Electric Based Systems

Electric Based Systems make use of refrigeration technologies. Temperatures are limited to -50°C/-60°F. This system only requires electricity. Treatments are applied with the use of a "wand" connected to a refrigeration unit.

Localized Cryotherapy – CO2 Based Systems

CO2 Based Systems operate at a limit of around -80°C/-110°F and require continuous supply of CO2. Treatments are applied with the use of a handheld "wand" connected to a CO2 storage vessel. CO2 is processed by the wand.

Mobile Cryotherapy Unit

A mobile cryotherapy unit is a machine that is installed in the back of a vehicle, whether a trailer or an RV. A mobile cryo unit can be relocated to different locations such as sports venues and events.

Portable Cryotherapy Machine

A portable cryo therapy machine is a smaller device used for localized cryotherapy that can be easily moved or transported by the operator. This can be used to visit clients to perform physiotherapy, cryotherapy facials, equine cryotherapy and veterinary applications.

Handheld Cryotherapy Machine

A handheld cryotherapy machine is usually a CO2 based cryotherapy system with a "wand" that applies targeted treatments and weighs less than 4 lbs / 2 Kg. Much like the portable cryotherapy machine, handheld cryo machines can be used for physiotherapy, cryotherapy facials, equine cryotherapy and veterinary applicationa client. All handheld cryotherapy machines are portable.

Cryolipolysis

Cryolipolysis also referred to by users as CoolSculpting, uses cool temperatures to break down fat cells. This treatment takes advantage of the susceptibility of fat cells to break down under cold stress, compared to the durability of muscles and other tissue that remains intact.

Ice Bath

An Ice bath, also called cold water immersion, or cold therapy is a training regimen usually following a period of intense exercise. Ice baths are taken in a bath, tub, or ice-water for a limited amount of time. Ice baths are one of the oldest forms of cryotherapy. The procedure requires longer recovery times than modern cryotherapy techniques but has its charm and we highly recommend doing either modality when available.

What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is the conditioning of the human body using cold air, cold liquids or cold objects to make use of the beneficial effects of cold.
Cryotherapy induces the effect of vasoconstriction, that initially aims to slow down blood circulation in the treated area to alleviate pain and inflammation.
After the initial effects of cryotherapy subside, the subsequent act of vasodilation can induce a change in blood flow and other physiological changes.
Read more about Cryotherapy in What is Cryotherapy?

Many times, people refer to cryotherapy as cyrotherapy, which is simply a typo. Cyrotherapy as a term does not exist.

Cryotherapy for Warts

Cryotherapy for warts, often called cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze warts that can appear on the human body.  This type of cryotherapy is of purely medical background and is entirely separate from the type of cryotherapy that exposes people to extremely cold air looking for sports recovery and increased blood circulation.

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