Therapeutic hypothermia has been used for millennia, but in recent years was not in much clinical use due to an apparent high risk of complications. More recently, the benefits of induced therapeutic hypothermia have been rediscovered, mainly with the improvement in neurological outcome in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims. In addition, therapeutic hypothermia has been suggested to improve outcome in other neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury, neonatal asphyxia, cerebrovascular accidents and intracranial hypertension. This article reviews the history of the discovery of therapeutic hypothermia, as well as the current therapeutic applications and ways to deliver this treatment. Cooling techniques and recovery processes, as well as potential complications are also reviewed. Clinicians caring for a wide variety of critically ill patients should be familiar with the use of therapeutic hypothermia.