Cryotherapy for Weight Management

Colin Cook

There is a 2018 article at the Women’s Health site titled “Can Cryotherapy Really Help You Lose Weight?” Spoiler alert: the short answer is “no.” To its credit, the article, which seems to be generally well-disposed toward the cryotherapy-weight loss connection, cites a rather damning 2014 clinical study of kayakers. In this study, regular whole-body cryotherapy sessions, even when combined with exercise, did nothing to change body composition. Does that mean cryotherapy is useless for weight management? Not necessarily.


It Is Limited to Indirect Effects

The story is complicated. First, the Women’s Health article suggested the possibility that a whole-body cryotherapy session might make you feel so good that you increase the intensity of a subsequent workout. That’s a fairly tenuous connection, to be sure, but it’s not nothing.


Second, as I wrote in this space a few years ago, there is evidence whole-body cryotherapy can activate brown fat. Brown fat is a special type of fat in your body that burns calories. If whole-body cryotherapy activates your brown fat, in effect, it temporarily changes your metabolism. But no clinical studies have ever shown that whole-body cryotherapy has any effect on body composition.


Whole-body cryotherapy doesn’t kill fat cells. It doesn’t permanently change your metabolism. It doesn’t substantially increase your calorie burn rate.


But Indirect Effects Can Help

On the other hand, whole-body cryotherapy does reduce inflammation and soreness and helps to alleviate muscle soreness. That makes it an excellent means of recovery from exercise, which is to say it can get you into your next workout sooner. That means you can exercise more often, which burns more calories. And that, finally, can help to reduce your weight.


So whole-body cryotherapy is not a fast, easy weight loss method. It’s just something that can assist you in your weight loss goals, if you use it to enhance your diet and exercise program. But that is not the last word on cryotherapy and weight loss.


A Cryotherapy that Does Work Directly on Weight

A 2018 study in the Journal of Obesity was titled “Mechanism Underlying Tissue Cryotherapy to Combat Obesity/Overweight: Triggering Thermogenesis.” The study reported on individuals who received cryotherapy from Clinic BioEsthetic, Paris. It found that those who received “multiple daily procedures” had a reduction in fat tissue “as assessed by waist circumference, body weight, and BMI, confirmed by whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometric scanning.” People who got 3 procedures, for example, lost on average 3% of their waist measurement.


But these were not users of whole-body cryotherapy. The study said the subjects received the cryotherapy directly on fatty deposits from a device equipped with cooling probes. It was, in other words, a procedure similar to the Cryoskin 3.0 service we offer here at Peak Recovery and Health Center. Follow the link to view before and after pictures from actual Peak clients.


Nevertheless, I would not recommend Cryoskin 3.0 as a weight loss program. Its effects can look spectacular, but in terms of your overall body composition, they are fairly modest. But I would recommend Cryoskin as a way to jump-start your weight loss program. Many people who use it are so enthusiastic about their initial results that it motivates them to commit to a long-haul, permanent weight management program through diet and exercise. 


A few Cryoskin procedures will not turn you into a model. But they may set you on the path to ultimately look like one.