Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is the exposure of minimally dressed participants to very cold air, either in a specially designed chamber (cryo-chamber) or cabin (cryo-cabin), for a short period of time. Practitioners are vague when it comes to recommendations on the duration of a single session. Recommended exposure for cryo-chamber is 150s, but no empirically based recommendations are available for a cryo-cabin. Therefore the aim of this study was to examine thermal and cardio-vascular responses after 90, 120, 150 and 180s of WBC in a cryo-cabin. Our hypothesis was that skin temperature would be significantly lower after longer exposers. Twelve male participants (age 23.9±4.2 years) completed four WBC of different durations (90, 120, 150 and 180s) in a cryo-cabin. Thermal response, heart rate and blood pressure were measured prior, immediately after, 5min after and 30min after the session. Skin temperature differed significantly among different durations, except between 150 and 180s. There was no significant difference in heart rate and blood pressure. Thermal discomfort during a single session displayed a linear increase throughout the whole session. Our results indicate that practitioners and clinicians using cryo-cabin for WBC do not need to perform sessions longer than 150s. We have shown that longer sessions do not substantially affect thermal and cardio-vascular response, but do increase thermal discomfort.
Keywords: Cardio-vascular response; Cryo-cabin; Thermal discomfort.
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