Celebrities & Professional Athletes Are Obsessed With Whole-Body Cryotherapy — What Does The Scientific Research Say?

Did you know countless professional athletes and celebrities LOVE whole-body cryotherapy (WBC)? 

Professional athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Floyd Mayweather, Steph Curry, Lebron James, the entire New York Nicks basketball team, and not to mention Usain Bolt — the fastest man alive— all routinely jump into whole-body cryotherapy chambers. These athletes have said WBC adds ‘an edge,’ to their training, speeding up their recovery time and boosting their overall athletic performance. 

Did you know? The former Olympic athlete & motivational speaker Tony Robbins is such a big fan of cryotherapy he bought his own chamber he uses at home. He does multiple sessions a day.

Aside from athletes, a massive number of Hollywood celebs also regularly chill out in cryo chambers for the anti-aging, elevated mood, and boosted metabolism. A-list fans include Demi Moore, Justin Beiber, Daniel Craig, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, and Mandy Moore….to name a few.

Celebs love regularly chilling out in cryo chambers, but what does the scientific community have to say about whole-body cryotherapy? Can you really burn 800 calories in one session?  Does whole-body cryotherapy honestly work? Keep reading below to find out the proven (& unproven) benefits of whole-body cryotherapy.

Celebs like Mandy Moore say they are “obsessed” with the cold cure beauty boost.

What does science say about whole-body cryotherapy benefits?

A recent review of evidence published in the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that Whole-Body Cryotherapy can do your body a lot of good. (1)

WBC has been shown to ⁠—

  • Reduce inflammation, muscle pain, and cell damage in athletes. (2)
  • Decrease skin or muscle temperatures to a similar (or lesser) degree as other forms of cryotherapy (such as applying ice packs)
  • Accelerate the perception of recovery after specific activities and reduce soreness in the short term.
  • The 3-minute treatment can be especially helpful for “adhesive capsulitis” (frozen shoulder), a condition marked by severe loss of shoulder motion that may complicate certain injuries. Scientists would like to conduct more long-term studies of treating with WBC for this problem.
  • Better sprinting performance in athletes. (3)

Nowadays, whole-body cryotherapy is a medical physical treatment widely used in sports medicine. That is why so much of the research is around athletes.

Can I really burn 500-800 calories from one whole-body cryo session?

Yes! We’ve had clients use smartwatches to track it. 

But you must stay consistent.

Though there isn’t a robust study on WBC specifically, there is definitely sound research on chilling out being beneficial. 

Studies have shown being in the cold for an extended period can help you shed off stubborn weight. Research suggests that being in the cold for an extended period regularly could help you shed pounds. (4)

This is because when it’s cold, your body works harder to increase your internal temperature. When we have clients who burn hundreds of calories from a single cryotherapy session, it actually occurs in the four hours after their treatment as their temperature heats back up. 

The research on cold exposure and metabolism also showed that participants have to get cold routinely. Metabolism rates returned back to normal after research participants stopped sleeping in the cold. (5)

The range of WBC benefits, reported by our clients:

Though there are some gaps in scientific research to back up some WBC benefits, we receive a lot of feedback from our clients. Purported benefits include:

  • Muscle, joint, and chronic back pain relief.
  • Weight loss & a boosted metabolism from regular maintenance sessions.
  • Higher energy levels.
  • Younger-looking skin and anti-aging effects from regular treatments.
  • Better mood and energy.
  • Immediate mood boost.
  • Mental focus & clarity.
  • Anxiety relief & decreased symptoms of depression.
  • Higher daily calorie burn (500-800 calories from one session)

How often do I need to do WBC treatments?

While a single session will instantly help, most of our clients come in 2-3 times per week

For new clients specifically, we recommend at least 3-5 treatment sessions per week for the first month of treatment. Some also like to try doing the ten-day challenge and then coming in for maintenance sessions once a week for the following month. A ten-day challenge is ideal if you can manage it with your schedule.

For more information on WBC treatment frequency, check out our blog post ‘how often do I need Cryo‘?

Why is there a lack of evidence for whole-body cryotherapy?

Even though we have ALL iced a rolled ankle (or knee) at some point in our lives – there seems to be a lack of hard evidence for all type of cold therapies in general.

For example, did you know applying an ice pack to treat local injuries isn’t even close to being well supported by science?

The science of ice pack benefits and cryotherapy is slim- but we all know it works.

This big systematic review published in the Journal of Athletic Training found limited evidence to support the use of ice in the treatment of ankle sprains. (6)  Another report that looked at the use of ice for different soft-tissue injuries concluded more high-quality trials are needed to provide quality evidence-based guidelines on cryotherapy.

What can you expect from a whole-body cryotherapy session?

At our facilities, we provide clients with gloves, socks, slippers, ugg boots, and earmuffs to protect sensitive skin before stepping into a cryotherapy chamber or receiving a localized cryo treatment.  We, of course, let our clients provide their own underwear 😉 

While it feels cold right away, the time passes quickly. (Especially when you have music or a staff member to distract you!) And the more times you go for maintenance sessions, the more of a ‘cold tolerance’ you will build.

We find clients don’t tend to get as cold after completing their first 5 sessions. Multiple maintenance visits make all the difference!

Not ready to step into a chill chamber? We also have partial cryotherapy treatments, where localized cryo is used over a specific part of the body, like the face or thighs.

Chances are you are going to get the shivers. You can also open the door at any moment to exit the cryo chamber to get out. We have some clients with lower cold tolerances that will simply stay in for two and a half minutes and still get the full range of anti-inflammatory benefits.

The bottom line – go somewhere you can trust – Cold Play Cryo! 

When it comes to WBC, you really have to do your own due diligence. You need to find a facility such as Cold Play Cryo you can trust and feel comfortable pursuing your health goals.  

We also recommend asking your doctor or healthcare professional about trying WBC.

Live in the southern Connecticut area? Lucky you! Cold play cryo is proud to be staffed with a group of wellness professionals that can effectively guide you. Frequency really depends on your individual wellness goals. 

Schedule, call, or drop by our Greenwich or Darien location for a whole-body cryo-chamber treatment today!

Phone(203) 349-3400