The frustrating outcomes of the healthcare system strength test by the global pandemic became a wake-up call for many people to take better care of their health. Widespread closures of gyms and fitness centers throughout COVID pushed those focused on well-being to convert their offices, outhouses, and even potting sheds in the backyard into their home fitness and wellness space.
The rich and known have been installing top-rated cryosaunas and cryo chambers in their houses for several years already for easy access to immunity boost and advanced recovery offered by whole-body cryotherapy. And what is good to see is that the wider public, forced to focus on preventive health during the pandemic, start realizing the value of freezing therapy, too.
If you prefer having a cryotherapy machine at arm’s length rather than trudging to the nearest cryo center or if there are no cryotherapy services offered near you, this article is for you. Here we will discuss every question you may face while choosing and operating a cryotherapy machine at home.
This post may be an equally helpful guide for cryoentrepreneurs who’d like to enlarge their customer base with cryotherapy home users. For more information on how to start a cryotherapy business, read here.
Can cryotherapy be done at home?
There are many ways to exercise cryotherapy at home. Let us see what at-home cryotherapy can look like depending on your needs.
Good old ice packs
It’s the simplest and cheapest form of home cryotherapy. You can use an ice pack to help remedy sprain or muscle strain, to reduce pain from a bruise or burn. In pharmacies, you can find form-fitting ice packs for better contact with the injured area. But, frankly, a pack of frozen vegetables is no less effective for minor injuries.
The main advantage of this cryotherapy method is its availability and cheapness. The main disadvantage is that it can be used in limited cases for minor injuries and is not very efficient for more severe problems.
Another method of at-home cryotherapy is ice baths. Here we wrote about the main differences and similarities between ice baths and cryosaunas.
Even today, many people use ice baths for faster muscle recovery after intense workouts, for example, or as a rather effective method for the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia. Some people even buy professional ice bathtubs, which are deeper and allow for better body coverage than a standard bathtub.
This method of at-home cryotherapy is rather popular, but there are some disadvantages – uncomfortable feelings during a 10-minute session and low proved efficiency.
So what do you need to know when choosing a cryotherapy machine for home use?
What’s the budget for a cryo machine?
We have covered the price of cryotherapy machines in detail here. Still, as the machines bought for home use in their majority will be one-person devices, a quick recap will come in handy.
With a generous €70,000 and up, the world of electric nitrogen-free cryo chambers will open to you. Let alone a plentiful number of luxury nitrogen-powered cryosaunas.
Those on a lean budget but still zeroed in on having their own cryotherapy equipment at home may opt for a second-hand cryosauna with a great chance to get a high-end machine at around a 30% discount. Or you may go for refurbished equipment covered by a one-year warranty. This option is good not only for cutting your expenses but for environmental protection as well.
You are welcome to our used equipment hub to hunt the best option among the wide variety of cryogenic machines on offer.
When you do not have enough space to install a cryosauna, there is still a way to practice cryotherapy at home. We are talking about a cryogenic blower, or cryofan, for local extreme cold exposure. It is a compact device bringing multiple benefits for pain relief, muscle healing, and reduction of inflammations. In addition, it is widely used for beauty treatments and anti-cellulite procedures. More about devices for local cryotherapy is here. The price of a cryofan may vary from €4,000 to €16,000.
Now that you have a better idea of the price tag you are likely to face, it is time to think about the most suitable feed type for your machine.
Nitrogen or electricity?
In the dispute between cryogenic equipment manufacturers on the best cryotherapy machine type, nitrogen or electric, it is the customer who has the final say. No wonder about that. Whatever the benefits of a nitrogen-powered machine, with no reliable liquid nitrogen supplier nearby, an electric chamber is your only option.
Here we have summarized the major differences between electric and nitrogen-powered cryotherapy machines, which could help you make a choice. Apart from these, there are some essential factors at play: your budget, of course, comes first; secondly – the availability of liquid nitrogen suppliers nearby and thirdly, taking into account that electric cryo chambers tend to be on the larger side – available free space.
What are the running costs?
If you choose a nitrogen-fed machine, standard nitrogen consumption is what you should check right from the start. The golden rule is the lower, the better. Cryosauna consumes nitrogen both for precooling and for the session itself.
So if you do not plan to invite all your family, friends, and neighbors for the cold shock therapy on a one-comes-one-goes basis, you won’t avoid precooling before each session. It means the number of sessions you can squeeze out of one liquid-nitrogen tank will be less than in a cryo-center with a stable customer flow.
For example, with Cryomed Mini cryosauna, one of the most compact models and, therefore, most suitable for home use, a cryosalon may have some 11-12 sessions from a 35-liter Dewar. At the same time, you will be able to run almost twice as little, around 6 sessions. And that’s irrespective of a daily nitrogen evaporation rate, which can make up to 0.47 l per 35-liter Dewar tank, depending on the manufacturer.
A single session cost, given precooling and a 3-minute session in a Crymed Mini cryosauna, may range from as little as €5.7 and reach €11.5 depending on the liquid nitrogen price in your locality. Electricity consumption is so negligible (about 0.2 kW per precooling+treatment cycle) that you may easily take it out of the equation.
How to cut down nitrogen consumption?
- Do not store up liquid nitrogen if you plan an idle time for your cryosauna.
- Schedule your sessions in series. First of all, you will get more pronounced and long-lasting results out of consecutive cryotherapy treatments. Secondly, you will use your nitrogen faster than it will escape into the atmosphere. You do not want to literally throw your money to the wind.
- Build cold sessions into your family routine and kill two birds with one stone: get more treatments out of the same amount of liquid nitrogen (with back-to-back planning) and make your loved ones healthier. Don’t forget about the contraindications to cryotherapy here. In any case, before subjecting yourself or someone else to extreme temperatures, consult your doctor.
With an electric cryo chamber, your electricity bills will grow. And it is not even that it needs electricity for the treatment. Typically electric cryochambers need two to four hours (depending on the model and size) to cool down. Compare this with 3-5 minutes for nitrogen-fed cryochambers. With an average electricity consumption of 8 to 15 kW per hour, one cryosession may cost you €7 to €17. The final value will significantly vary depending on
- consumption rate;
- time needed for precooling;
- electricity prices in your country;
- treatment scheduling (similar to nitrogen cryosaunas, you can save costs if the sessions go one by one).
Maintaining your cryotherapy machine
Usually, nitrogen-powered and hybrid cryosaunas do not need any special maintenance except for cleaning the upholstery with a wet cloth and drying a cryosauna after a treatment. Fortunately, automatic drying is a matter of a few button touches.
Sure, you need to take note of any abnormalities like damaged power cables or unusual noises during machine operation. Luckily, most cold therapy machines have WiFi/LAN connectivity, enabling remote fault diagnosis and fixing.
With electric cryo chambers, you will need a mandatory yearly maintenance check by the manufacturer.
Does a cryotherapy machine need installation?
It depends on the machine type. Some nitrogen-powered cryosaunas are ready to work straight out of the box, for example, Cryomed Mini or Cryomed One. Others require additional effort to assemble, but if assistance is necessary, we will arrange for technicians to come to your place. Here you can read more about installing Cryomed’s cryosaunas.
All electric-powered cryosaunas require professional installation as they come with additional equipment. Most probably, before sending you a cryo chamber, a manufacturer will ask you to make a video of a potential mount place.
What room is suitable for a cryotherapy machine?
There are almost no hard requirements for proper cryosauna operation. However, having enough space in the room is important.
How much space is needed for a machine?
The answer depends on the cryosauna type. Apart from the cryosauna itself, allow some space for opening the door and placing a liquid nitrogen tank. Based on our experience, 9 square meters is the minimum required room space to install a cryosauna. However, Cryomed Mini can fit into 6 square meters or even less, as it has the smallest footprint in the market, just 1 square meter.
With nitrogen cryochambers, think of additional space for coolant stock storage if you have more than one tank.
The ceiling height matters as well. For non-standard rooms with a height below 2.5 meters or sloped ceilings, take into account there should be enough space to accommodate the cryosauna itself, your head above the cabin edge, and preferably allow for some space above your head.
The minimum floor space for an electric cryo chamber is about 6 square meters, and the ceiling height requirement is the same as for cryosaunas.
Also, make sure the door frame is at least 67 cm wide to allow a cryotherapy machine inside.
What about the flooring?
Both nitrogen-fed and electric machines are heavy. The smallest nitrogen-powered device weighs about 250 kg. A walk-in cryo chamber may weigh 800 to 1000 kg. That’s why a good, solid floor is a must for a cryotherapy room. A concrete or a tiled floor is best. However, even wooden floors can support machines weighing 250 to 350 kg if they are not roller-mounted and have their weight evenly distributed.
Any special operating requirements?
Like with any other equipment, keep the room temperature within reasonable limits, better between 15°C and 24°C with a maximum of 55-60% humidity.
In the case of nitrogen-fed cryosaunas, think of good ventilation, as any extra nitrogen vapors should be evacuated from the room. So you have to prepare an opening in the external wall or the window for an exhaust ventilation pipe (100 mm in diameter). Alternatively, you can link the exhaust pipe to your home ventilation system.
Some locations require air inflow ventilation to ensure constant fresh air supply to the room. We also recommend installing a sensor to control oxygen content in the room
Safety tips for at-home cryosauna operation
In a cryo-center, a cryochamber or a cryosauna is under the care of professionals, while, at home, it may be accessed by any of your family members and even pets. For this reason, make sure to explain the dangers associated with extreme cold and liquid nitrogen to everybody, especially children, and keep a cryotherapy room locked every time not in use.
If you want to store tanks with liquid nitrogen in a separate room, provide proper ventilation, and again, better keep it locked.
We strongly recommend not to run a cryosession unattended, and not to run it longer than 3 minutes. However, Cryomed’s software does not allow setting session time over 180 seconds or running two sessions in a row for the same person.
A gentle reminder. Any Cryomed’s cryosauna comes with free access to an advanced cryotherapy study course. A better understanding of the way the extreme cold affects your body will help you get the most out of your cryotherapy sessions.
Can I safely do cryotherapy every day?
Normally, whole-body cryosessions can be done twice per day. But it greatly depends on your health status and the goals you want to achieve. For general well-being, metabolic boost, weight reduction 3 to 5 sessions per week will be enough. For more details read here.
Which home cryosession parameters are the best?
For the best results the temperature inside a nitrogen cryosauna should be within -130°C and -170°C. The session time is 3 minutes maximum to avoid overcooling or frostbite. Higher temperatures may affect the treatment efficiency. Lower temperatures may not be well tolerated. For more details read here.
Why should I precool a cryotherapy machine before a session?
To be efficient, the temperature inside the cabin should reach the preset value asap. Otherwise, the nitrogen fed into a cryosauna will have to cool not only the patient’s body but also the cabin walls. If so, the patient’s body cools slower, and the session feels less comfortable. For more details read here.
When should I not run cryotherapy?
There are health conditions which can prevent you from taking cryotherapy sessions. Some of them are absolute, meaning you are strongly advised against whole-body cryotherapy. Some are relative – you can take sessions, but only upon consulting your medical doctor. For more details read here.
Do you need a medical license to operate a cryotherapy machine?
Neither FDA nor other agencies classify cryosaunas as medical devices. A Cryomed’s operator training certificate is enough to use our equipment. Separate certificates are issued for the completion of Cryomed online course with best protocols for all applications and the hands-on operator training.