Medical professionals owe a duty of care to patients and consequently require independent clinical evidence to justify deviation from accepted norms. Throughout the 20th Century, the pharmaceutical industry made many breakthroughs with the result that many patients developed a dependence on pain killers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to the point where superbugs began to build immunity.

In addition, the side effects of long term use of pain killers have not been recognised by the general public until relatively recently.

Historically, cold water immersion, especially cold salt water, was seen as an effective way to combat pain, inflammation and infection, but it lost it’s advocates with the rise in modern pharmaceutical discoveries.


Cold water therapy research & case reports

Today there is a growing body of evidence to support the traditional use of cold salt water for a range of conditions.

In 2004 Clare J Proudfoot and others from the University of Edinburgh proved that applying cold to the skin triggered transient receptor potential channels (TRP’s) that blocked pain signals being sent to the brain. The interesting aspect was that pain was blocked generally even though the cold was only applied to one limb.

And in February 2018 dr Tom Mole from Cambridge University published a Case Report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reporting the complete resolution of post-surgical pain following low-temperature open water sea swimming after several months of conventional treatment proving to be totally ineffective.

Even more recently another case report published in the BMJ in July 2018 by Christoffer van Tulleken from University College London showed how cold water swimming was effective in alleviating chronic post-natal depression after seven years of conventional treatment failing to resolve the issue.  Link…


What injuries* could benefit from cold therapy?

With the medical community conducting more research into the benefits of cold water therapy and the effects it has on patients and their recovery it is becoming increasingly apparent there are several areas of which cold water therapy could be more beneficial than conventional pharmaceutical interventions. 

  • Recovery from surgery on the knee, ankle and elbow
  • Control of inflammation in tendon and ligament injuries
  • Pain management for acute and chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, sciatica, brittle bone disease, non-specific pain etc.

An additional point of interest is the lack of side effects and the inexpensive nature of cold water therapy.


How cold water therapy helps with recovery in patients

Medical professionals are finding that cold water therapy after ACL or MCL surgery has several therapeutic benefits such as pain reduction because nerve activity is slowed down, as blood vessels compress reducing blood flow to the area, reducing swelling to the injury which leads to faster healing as cellular activity slows down.

Cold water therapy will decrease the temperature of the tissue which stimulates the cutaneous receptors, reduces swelling and inflammation, limiting the degree of injury for your patient, without the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, which can slow down the bodies natural healing process.

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What benefits would a CryoSpa ice bath have for your medical facility?

  • Faster recovery post-surgery especially for soft tissue injuries.

  • Provide a natural drug free alternative to patients with chronic & non-chronic pain such as lower back pain & rheumatoid arthritis. *

  • Alleviate or minimise side effects associated with long term pain management.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is the application of cold to produce a cold induced therapeutic effect.

Any temperature below the temperature of the skin, typically around 30°C / 86°F, can be considered to be cryotherapy though temperatures above 15° or 20°C / 60°F or 70°F will only have a mild effect.

Low temperature hydrotherapy is typically between 5°C / 40°F and 12°C / 55°F

Air temperatures can go as low -150°C / -200°F as air has a very low thermal conductivity (air is an insulator) but at these extreme temperatures cooling is solely by conduction to avoid severe frostbite.

How does an ice bath work?

Cold water immersion, or ice baths, help reduce tissue swelling due to muscle breakdown and micro tears that occur during intense, or lengthy, physical activity and, also, help to control inflammation.

Some inflammation is a good thing but too much can lead to secondary damage or hypoxic injury.

The mechanisms include aiding normalization of body temperature, flushing out muscles due to constriction of blood vessels & compression through hydrostatic pressure, a decrease in metabolic activity, balancing of the sympathetic & parasympathetic systems and a reduction in muscle damage.

This infographic explains it well – courtesy of Yann LE MEUR, INSEP – @YLMSportScience

Is CryoSpa therapy medically approved?

Sports recovery i.e. post-exercise recovery is a non-medical application for CryoSpa therapy.

However, treatment of soft tissue injuries such as tendon & ligament sprains is considered to be medical use.

In the USA, the FDA, which approves devices & medicines for medical use, have exempted hydrotherapy, such as CryoSpa therapy, from Medical Device Approval requirements due to the low risk to patients and the non-invasive nature of the therapy. Consequently, CryoSpa therapy is available for medical use throughout the USA.

In other countries that adopt FDA guidelines this rule will also apply.

In the EU hydrotherapy is not exempt from medical device approval so a manufacturer cannot make medical claims for such devices.

* Medical use may be limited in some countries. Please ask for details.