This article looks at the anatomy of a cryotherapy chamber, it explains what the chamber is and how it works. Basically the chamber is the reverse of a sauna, you freeze instead of sweat. It is used for rejuvenation and healing of injuries and skin and muscle conditions.
What is a cryotherapy chamber?
The cryotherapy chamber is an improvement on the ‘ice bath’. It is carried out in a small unit or cubicle where a person stands or walks, in minimal clothing, and receives cryotherapy, a sub-zero immersion. Inside the chamber, temperatures can go down to hundreds below zero, typically from -110 to -300 degrees, usually with the aid of liquid nitrogen, sometimes Hyper-oxygenated air. Patients have to wear gloves, socks, hats and sometimes masks to protect their extremities. Treatment is brief, due to the extreme temperature, lasting only seconds to minutes. The chamber is simply a cubicle in which to stand or sit, while liquid nitrogen or another substance is released in the chamber, usually up to the neck, through controlled release from canisters outside, freezing the patient’s skin. The substance is very dry and not easy to breathe in.
The chamber is controlled by computer equipment outside, controlling the temperature and release of liquid nitrogen while monitoring the patient’s condition.
Bigger Cryotherapy chambers.
These are small metal walk-in units, often with wood panels, and insulated reinforced door and walls to keep the cold in and heat out. Some resemble a walk-in deep-freeze in build, but the difference is that with a cryotherapy chamber, the operator can see the patient while they are in the chamber, through a window, screen or door. With bigger chambers, these may allow more than one person at a time, for example athletes. With these, the patients may start in an induction chamber to acclimatize and bring their temperature down, then move to a connecting main chamber where the temperature is down to treatment temperature.
The chamber has an intercom, enabling to operators to check that the patient is alright, and the patient to communicate with the operator, ensuring the safety of the patient.
The pod style chamber is designed to only reach a person’s neck, thus leaving their head free where it can be seen and be out of the gas. The cryotherapy chambers that allow the head and neck to be free resemble shower or sauna units, and with these, the outside is hard metal. You can see the liquid nitrogen escaping around the head and neck while the patient stands in the soft padded interior. The walls of the chamber are very cold, so patients may avoid touching them.
When the patient goes into this type of chamber, they may be raised up by a lift-style floor controlled from the outside controls ,until their head is visible and above the gas. The substance release is rotated or the patient rotates, to ensure the whole body is frozen evenly up to the neck.