The History of Cryotherapy
From the Egyptians to Modern Whole Body Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy has been with us for a much longer time than many people realize; the Egyptians were using cold therapy as early as in 2500 BC to treat inflammations and injuries. Today it is rapidly building a reputation for its many benefits, with the development of cold chambers and Whole Body Cryotherapy or WBC.
The Origins of Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy, taken from the Greek “cryo” meaning cold and “Therapeia” for therapy or cure, is not as new as we may think. It has evolved over time to become a very modern pain therapy, used not only for sports injuries but also for any kind of muscle pain, and more.
In an ancient Egyptian text, the Edwin Smith Papyrus discussed how during any kind of trauma, cold was used to treat inflammation. In 400 BC, Hippocrates used cold to treat swelling and pain. In 1050 AD, Anglo-Saxon monks used cold as a local anesthetic. In 1845, it was discovered by Dr. James Arnott that it was a very effective treatment for neuralgia and migraines. In other experiments, he discovered that tumors shrank when in contract with cold. Following his discoveries, new expansion systems were developed for cooling gases, and in 1892, John Dewar came up with the first vacuum flask for handling liquefied gases, and liquefaction of air was commercialized in 1895.
The First Use of Medicinal Liquid Air
In 1889, Campbell White used medicinal liquid air in the form of a swab, a brass roller or a spray. In 1907, Pussey used solidified carbon dioxide and successfully treated warts, and various types of Lupus. This marked the end of liquid air, and after 1910, carbon dioxide was mostly used in Cryotherapy. Liquid nitrogen became available in the market soon after World War II. In 1961, Dr. Ray Allington started using it clinically, he developed an apparatus that would be the prototype for any future nitrogen probe to come. Later on, Setrag Zacarian came out with a condensed liquid nitrogen spray used widely for local anesthetic purposes.
It was in Japan, in 1978, that WBC as we know it emerged. Dr. Yamaguchi treated all kind of pains including rheumatoid arthritis with freezing cold therapy, short duration sessions applied on the surface of the skin. He soon concluded that the rapid decrease of temperature created a sudden release of endorphins, and reduced pain. Eventually, the chambers were developed and Whole Body Cryotherapy soon became known for its virtues as a physical therapy and became a favorite for athletes on a worldwide basis. Cryotherapy Saunas are used today for a wide range of pains and soreness as well as for skin conditions.
If you would like to know if Cryotherapy is for you or simply have more information, please contact us, and we will be only too happy to help you.