Heat & Cold therapy - 6 types (Cryotherapy)

Work in progress… :construction_worker_man: :man_factory_worker:

A. Whole body

1. Cold showering or ice baths vs. warm showers (or baths, mudbaths)
Lady Gaga uses ice baths.

2. After sauna, i.e. hot & cold baths alternating, or showers alternating

3. Whole body cryotherapy (cold barrel, cold chamber, cold sauna) or heat chamber.
A female colleague of mine with fibro & cfs who doesn’t want to try cold, has bought an infrared-chamber for at home, which helps her. It’s a much deeper warmth than in the sauna.
WBC means going into a chamber or a ‘barrel’ (i.e. head out of the top) for 3 mins, the temperature should go down to at least -90°C, in my case -130°C at first was too cold, went back to -110°C, then up 120°C, 130°C whenever it had less effect, and then up to -150°C.
The first minute is no problem, the second is pretty stiff, if you’re not used to it, in the third you start counting down to zero, so that’s OK too. You can always see the left time and have someone to let you out as soon as you want to. Some people get claustrophobic in the chamber.
If you are taught & treated right and the appliance is a good one, you can’t get frostbite. In any case you can react if something is hurting too much by rubbing it with your hands. I don’t go in with gloves any more, I just rub my fingertips. So only underwear and socks &/or felt slippers.
I gets my Ache and stiffness down and often gives me energy as if I had no fibro, for minutes, usually hours, sometimes (in the summer) for 1-1.5 days.

Parts of the body

4. Hand grain baths (canola, alternatively rice, spelt, wheat) cold or hot.
You put 2-2,5kg of grain in the fridge or warm it to max. 45-50°C in the oven or microwave. Put in a big container and move your hands around in them. For me 3’ was the max. possible, but all others enjoyed one or the other or both.

5. Topical/localized cryotherapy: flexible tube or just arms under a tap or or heat, often moist: moor/mudpacks/fango.

6. Smaller Cold pads / ice packs or heat pads, warm water bottle, grain cushions (e.g. spelt, cherry, wheat), or gel pads for either, wherever necessary

Old posts
https://www.livingwithfibro.org/t/6-benefits-of-cryotherapy-for-body-and-soul/12759: Cold dipping - Finns & Swedes, 3 good links (incl. the second for combining WBC with localized C, cf. 3 & 5 above, last specifically ‘for fibro’), Cryo Clinic in Los Angeles.
https://www.livingwithfibro.org/t/heat-and-cold-therapy/189: heated mattress pad, large ones, moist ones, disposable ones, blankets, bag of frozen peas, “ice hurts”.
https://www.livingwithfibro.org/t/physical-therapy/108: a) 20 minutes of heat therapy followed by a light massage of icy-gel, then about 5-10 minutes of hand machine exercises.
Aqua Exercises/ Therapy Warmth when doing aqua gymnastics. - wouldn’t count this as heat tho…

3-fold European research evidence for (none against) whole body cryotherapy:

Italy 2013, Betoni et al.:

Spain, 2018, Rivera et. al:


= https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328464235_The_effect_of_cryotherapy_on_fibromyalgia_a_randomised_clinical_trial_carried_out_in_a_cryosauna_cabin
= https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00296-018-4176-0.pdf Spain, 2018, Rivera et al.
= Trial description here: https://ichgcp.net/clinical-trials-registry/NCT03425903 without results

France, 2018, Vitenet et al.:


So, basically, if putting a ice pack (which I already do) on your hurting muscles/joints helps, than also a cold shower (on your whole body) can calm the nerves? Or, am I simplifying this too much??
Thanks so much for this post - I have been interested in learning more about cryotherapy JCS! :blush:

I’d think a cold shower could then work all the more: For muscles & joints I usually use heat packs!
Each type may work differently, so I’m not sure if all kinds of cold work just because one does.
But main thing about using cold for me is staying under 3mins, for all kinds. But whole body cryo I can/could do for longer than others, now I’m used to it…