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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.

    In this article, we provide definitions of the different terms that pop up in the world of cryotherapy and we seek to clarify some of these terms.
    Many of these terms are used interchangeably.

    WBC - Whole Body Cryotherapy ) Cryogenic Therapy

    The term Whole Body Cryotherapy is used to refer to cryotherapy treatments administered in electric and hybrid cryotherapy chambers as well as open-top cryosaunas. 
    Open top cryosaunas, also called nitrogen based systems use liquid nitrogen to cool down the air that is used inside the user cabin. The user exposes their whole body to the cold air except their head, which is outside the user cabin at all times.
    Hybrid cryotherapy chambers use heat exchangers combined with liquid nitrogen to cool down the breathable air inside the user cabin, which allows for full body exposure including the users head.
    Electric cryotherapy chambers use refrigeration systems to cool down the user cabin, which allows for full body exposure including the users head.

    PBC – Partial Body Cryotherapy

    Partial Body Cryotherapy is the application of cryotherapy on select or limited areas of the body, such as the extremities/limbs or parts of the torso.                                                
    Parts of the cryotherapy community use Partial Body Cryotherapy to refer to treatments in open top cryosaunas. However, the term partial body cryotherapy does not fully characterize the extent of the treatment inside an open-top cryosauna.                Partial Body Cryotherapy is 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.                                                
    The use of the term partial-body cryotherapy for open-top cryosaunas by large originates from manufacturers and resellers of enclosed cryotherapy systems such as electric or hybrid systems.

    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 user cabin.
    This term can be used for single person cryochambers or multiple person cryochambers using the cooling properties of liquid nitrogen in heat exchangers.

    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, or cryotherapy equipment that uses liquid nitrogen to cool down the internal mechanism. Open-top cryosaunas expose the users body, with the exception of their head, to an environment cooled using nitrogen vapors. 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 user 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 to -150°C | -180°F to -220°F. This cryotherapy device 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 cryo machines, also called handheld cryotherapy machine or portable cryotherapy machine operate at around -80°C/-110°F and require continuous supply of CO2. Treatments are applied with the use of a handle connected to a CO2 storage vessel.

    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 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 as a more advanced method of use of cold on the human body, is meant to induce the effect of vasoconstriction, aiming to temporarily slow down blood circulation in the treated area.
    After the initial effects of cryotherapy subside, the subsequent act of vasodilation can induce a change in blood flow and other physiological changes.
    Many times, people refer to cryotherapy as cyrotherapy, which is simply a typo. Cyrotherapy as a term does not exist.

    Read more about Cryotherapy in What is Cryotherapy?

    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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