There’s no evidence yet showing that exposure to extreme cold eases muscle soreness after exercise
Philippe Garo/Science Source
For about $40 and a few minutes, a person can get a dose of icy air in a chamber colder than Antarctica.
It’s called whole-body cryotherapy, and proponents say the treatment can ease muscle soreness and help athletes recover from exercise and injury. “A lot of athletes are using it as an alternative to ice baths,” says Joe Costello, an exercise physiologist at the University of Portsmouth in England.
In recent years, cryotherapy has moved out of the elite athlete arena and into mainstream use. Now, health spas across the United States offer the treatment, which recently drew national attention when a Nevada spa worker was found dead after hours inside a chill chamber. Some centers claim that cryotherapy dulls pain and reduces inflammation by releasing endorphins and boosting blood circulation.