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Cryotherapy or called Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC), is currently being offered by clinicians as an alternative to cold water immersion or ice packs. Administered through the use of a cryogenic chamber, whereby the patient is placed in a cryogenic chamber for a short duration (i.e. no more than three minutes, which is comparable to ice swimming).
The MAC WBC are cooled using, highly efficiant electric refrigeration units designed and manufactured by MecoTech GmbH rather then the typically liquid nitrogen walk-in chamber units. Temperature of −120 °C (−184 °F)—although temperatures of −140 °C (−220 °F) or even −160 °C (−256 °F) have been used. The patient wear protective socks, gloves and mouth and ear protection, but in addition to that, wears nothing but a bathing suit. The patient spends a few minutes in the chamber. During treatment the average skin temperature drops to 12 °C (54 °F), while the coldest skin temperature can be 5 °C (41 °F). The core body temperature remains unchanged during the treatment, however it may drop slightly afterwards. Therapy triggers the release of endorphins which induce analgesia (immediate pain relief).
Patients report that the experience is invigorating and improves a variety of conditions such as:
muscle and joint pain
The immediate effect of skin cooling and analgesia lasts for 5 minutes, but the release of endorphins can have a lasting effect, where the pains and signs of inflammation as found in blood tests remain suppressed for weeks. The effects of extreme cold and endorphin release are scientifically studied.