Readers melt cryotherapy claims by ABC

Oh, the wisdom of the crowds.

See the reader comments left in response to this ABC News story, “The Science of Cryotherapy: What -280 Degrees Feels Like.”

ABC Cryotherapy

The video story profiles a professional acrobat making all kinds of claims about what cryotherapy does for him.  While some text graphics displayed some mild caveats about evidence, the video itself and the enthusiastic statements of the acrobat and of the owner of the cryotherapy facility dominated the impression left on viewers. You can imagine how pleased the facility was to get free publicity from a national TV network.

The text story is about ABC News reporter Olivia Smith trying it herself.  She describes “improvements” after just one session, which she acknowledges could be all in her head.

Here’s what was in the heads of some ABC viewers/readers who left comments:

  • No doubt this is lots of hype and somewhat bogus. Anyone who lives in a cold state and is familiar with windchill knows there is no way you can be at even -58°C (that’s -72.4°F) for 3 minutes on bare skin and not suffer severe frost bite.-279°C? Yea right …. a complete joke. I’m sure that’s the temp where the nitrogen leaves the can but not even close to the temp on your body. Total BS.
  • This is ABC!
  • I strongly suspect the temperature is actually the temperature of nitrogen stream entering the tank and not the actual temperature of the air inside the tank. I also suspect that they do not use that much nitrogen.  True negative 279 degrees does not feel like anything because any cells that can “feel” anything have long been frozen by the time you get to that low a temperature.
  • Where’s the science? I don’t see one word in the article that is even close to being scientific.
  • This is the kind of ‘news’ story that just makes people dumber. Glad to see ABC is following in that time honored tradition.
  • Sounds like a lot of woo to me. Although I bet it works great for a hangover.

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Comments (2)

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Dave Seal

April 30, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Gary, thanks for posting about the ABC segment. I have not seen a single good news segment on whole body cryotherapy. I own two cryotherapy facilities in Texas. We don’t talk a whole lot about the temperatures that are reached in the cryosauna. It is really about cooling the outer layer of skin rapidly to about 3 to 10 degrees above freezing. This causes the body to go into survival mode. The body doesn’t know how long you are going to be in this environment so it prepares for the worst case scenario. Cryo has been around a long time in Europe and there are many studies from there.
Dr. James Andrews is on the board of Impact Cryo the first US based manufacturer of cryosaunas. He is one of the most well regarded orthopedics in the world. We have seen great results for athletic recovery, injuries and chronic pain. Some people use it as a way to stay healthy by doing it once a week. I always tell people that it must work, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t have any repeat customers.

    Stephen Cox, MD

    May 16, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Proof of safety and benefit should be offered and not just self promotion by the owner/operator or a respected physician, both likely to benefit financially. This resembles promotions by Dr. Oz. for other allegedly helpful health products.