Cryotherapy vs Ice Baths: Are They the Same?

Sep 12 | th7admin

Being exposed to very low temperatures generally makes people feel hypothermic, which is harmful to one’s health. However, when done in a controlled environment like our cryotherapy chamber, cold therapy can have many positive results.

Cryotherapy and ice baths are the most common cold therapy solutions that are effective. These terms often get used interchangeably, but the truth is these are two different forms of cold therapy. Although both use cold exposure, they have significant differences.


So is cryotherapy the same as an ice bath? Here is a side-by-side comparison of these forms of therapy and each one’s benefits.

CRYOTHERAPY VS ICE BATH TREATMENT: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Cryotherapy and ice bath treatment use completely different techniques but the mechanisms for each healing process are the same.

CRYOTHERAPY

Whole-body cryotherapy involves exposure to cold air for a few minutes at temperatures as low as -85 to -180 degrees, typically in a cryotherapy chamber, wearing protective garments on the extremities. 

HOW DOES CRYOTHERAPY WORK?

There are two main types of this treatment. One treats the entire body either with liquid nitrogen or an electric chamber such as the one at TH7 BodyLabs , while the type of cryotherapy treatment uses pressurised liquid nitrogen for a specific area.


Localised cryotherapy focuses on a specific spot, such as a massage, with cold temperature air. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures has a lot of benefits that are similar to cold water immersion.

THE BENEFITS OF CRYOTHERAPY

The goal of cryotherapy is to induce the cold shock response. This may have the ability to help us: 

ICE BATHS

Ice baths are a different kind of cold therapy that uses cold temperatures for the same benefits as cryotherapy. However, unlike cryotherapy, ice baths require users to take a cold plunge in freezing water.


The cold water is an alternative to freezing vapour discharged by a cryotherapy chamber.


A bath with extremely cold water and ice drops the skin temperature significantly and bolsters muscle recovery. Most major league elite athletes subject themselves to extreme cold by taking an ice bath. Doing this has several benefits that keep them at the top of their game.

HOW DO ICE BATHS WORK?

Unlike cryotherapy, an iced bath uses cold water or an ice bath at temperatures ranging from 15 degrees to 5 degrees. This temperature is higher than the requirements for cryotherapy because the thermal conductivity of water is 25 times greater than air, so humans lose body heat up to five times more quickly in water compared to the same temperature in air.

THE BENEFITS OF ICE BATHS

This treatment has very similar beenfits to cryotherapy. When you get in, all the blood flows away from your extremities to your core to try to keep it warm. When you get out, the blood flushes back to the extremities, starting the healing process, reducing inflammation, boosting mood and your immune system.

CRYOTHERAPY VS ICE BATHS: WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU?

Given the detailed explanation of both these cold therapy treatment solutions, which is the best for you? A side-by-side comparison of cryotherapy vs ice bath can help you determine which one is the best for your circumstances.


Ice baths are much more of a mental challenge than the cryotherapy chamber, telling your body to get into freezing cold water can be hard, but once you over come this challenge and focus on your breath then it becomes easier. With this comes a whole host of other benefits from overcoming obstacles and controlling yourself in a stressful environment.


Cryotherapy does not take as long as an ice bath, with 3 minutes being the maximum treatment time. The chamber is calibrated perfectly without putting your health at risk.

FAQS

Now that you know which treatment could be best for you, between cryotherapy vs ice bath, here are some interesting frequently asked questions for your attention.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO CRYOTHERAPY?

Many people wonder if this form of therapy is safe and if it can get done multiple times a week. However, cryotherapy can be done safely up to two times a day.


For general use, the number of sessions can range from three to five per week.

WHAT TEMPERATURE IS AN ICE BATH?

Based off the research, the best temperature of this therapy vary between 10-15 degrees. It can also be as low as 3 degrees but that is for advanced users and the key is to minimise the time in there. The lower the temperature, the less time in the ice bath.

SHOULD YOU SHOWER AFTER AN ICE BATH?

After a cold therapy treatment consisting of freezing water, you might feel tempted to take a warm shower to warm yourself up. Is this recommended?


Unfortunately not; try to allow your body to reheat on its own for optimum benefits. Therefore, try to take a warm shower after your body has reheated to allow your body to send fresh new blood to your extremities on its own.

IS AN ICE BATH EFFECTIVE THE NEXT DAY?

An ice-cold bath has immediate effects in repairing muscle tissue. These effects are long-lasting if you won’t overwork that same group of muscles that just recovered.


In addition to repairing muscles and preparing you for the next workout day, cold therapy with freezing water can improve your sleep quality. That will affect your performance on the following day and improve mental clarity during mental and physical challenges.

FINAL THOUGHTS

You can only know the full benefits of cryotherapy compared to an ice-cold bath from personal experience. However, cryotherapy and ice bathing are great for improving wellness benefits such as reducing inflammation, improving mental health, and muscle recovery.


TH7 BodyLabs has state of the art equipment you can use to experience these therapeutic solutions safely. There are different protocols to choose from when going for your cold therapy with guided professional help.