Cryotherapy for Weight Loss: Will it Really Freeze Your Butt Off?
Cryotherapy for weight loss and other things is one of the hottest new wellness trends. There are lots of different claims floating around regarding its use. Some say it gives them more energy. Some say it boosts their immune system. Others say it helps with weight loss.
Is there any truth to these claims? Can you actually freeze your butt off? Is it really possible to stand in a freezing cold chamber for a short while and come out burning more fat than you did before?
As unpleasant as being that cold may sound, many people would certainly find it worthwhile to spend a few short minutes feeling unpleasant if it meant their weight loss would speed up. That said, it’s only worth it if it works. Can cryotherapy for weight loss really lead to measurable results?
According to fans of cryotherapy for weight loss, three minutes in a -306ºF chamber for three minutes can boost the metabolism. They say it will lead to an additional 500 to 800 calories burned away. Not bad for three minutes of discomfort!
The concept behind using cryotherapy for weight loss is that freezing cold air is blasted at the body from all sides. Being in the chamber fools the body into thinking it is under threat of freezing. This forces the body into survival mode. As a result, the brain signals to the body to send blood to the core area to protect the vital organs.
Moreover, the body starts to rev up its thermogenesis – that is, heat production. This requires a substantial amount of fuel to produce. Within the body, that fuel comes in the form of food you’ve consumed or fat that has already been stored.
Some research does show that if you are kept somewhat cold over a stretch of time, it may be helpful to weight loss. If you body is continually forced to work harder to maintain a healthy body temperature, it burns through more fuel. However, this research was not conducted on cryotherapy chambers. It was conducted on lower room temperatures.
One of the biggest studies of this nature examined the impact of spending two hours per day in a 63ºF room for six weeks. Another one examined the impact on weight when people slept in a 66.2ºF room all night for several weeks. Both of those studies showed measurable increases in weight loss.
However, reputable research has yet to examine the long-term weight loss benefits of spending a few minutes in an extremely cold chamber. That said, a study published in the Oxidative Medicine and cellular Longevity journal did show that six months of cryotherapy for weight loss didn’t lead to any change in body fat or overall body mass. This was true even when it was combined with regular aerobic exercise.