Can cryotherapy help you lose weight?

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 11:42:47-05

Cryotherapy gaining in popularity at Integrated Medical Center in Jupiter.

Dr. Lisa Bassett is one of the physicians at the health clinic.

She says it helps patients who have issues with inflammation along with ridding the body of toxins.

"It does this by bringing the core body temperature down. Your body actually works harder, gets the blood back to the core, gets it rich of oxygen and nutrients," she says.

During cryotherapy, a person stands in a chamber for three minutes. The temperature inside drops to -256 degrees.

Days after a session, Bassett says your body still feels the effects.

"When you come out, your body realizes the core temperature is coming back naturally, flushes the blood full of nutrients back to the extremities," Bassett says.

While some are coming in for aches and pains, she says others come to burn calories.

Bassett says you can burn anywhere from 500 to 800 calories after a session.

"Because your body thinks your core temperature is dropping drastically, it starts to rev up your metabolism," she says.

Gloria Barredo uses cryotherapy twice a week.

"I knew it was going to be cold, that's a certainty. But I didn't think I would feel so good after," Barredo said.

Barredo is a dentist and uses cryotherapy for the aches and pains she experiences due to her line of work.

"Neck, upper back, shoulder. Typical of being hunched over," she says.

Barredo said the calorie burn is an added benefit.

"Over Christmas I didn't get to the gym as much, I indulged. I didn't gain any weight. It had to be this," Gloria said.

Dr. David Soria is the chief of emergency medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center. He says you shouldn't step into the tube so quickly just by hearing the benefits.

"Many times people buy into it just on the claims that are made or the placebo effect," Soria says.

He agrees that cryotherapy can help with inflammation but said the health benefits haven't been scientifically proven.

"The inflammatory mediators in the bloodstream will get pushed back into the tissue so cold could be beneficial to inflammation. However, the downside in those extreme temperatures is to your soft tissue and your organs," Soria said.

He says cryotherapy can freeze blood vessels and kill tissue eventually if you're exposed to the cold long enough.

"There are definite risk factors, especially if you have a weak heart, a problem with lungs, or if you're diabetic," Soria said.

He adds, "Any insult on the body can put a stressor on the heart, so when blood flow is compromised to that area of the body, decreased oxygen occurs and that can cause complications as extreme as a heart attack."

The doctor says you may burn extra calories while in the tube, but says you likely won't burn any extra once you're out of it.

"At the time you're in the chamber, your body starts shivering so you may be burning more calories. But overall it lowers your metabolic rate. Period."

But Soria said if it makes you feel better, then you should keep doing it. He says it's crucial, though, that you consult with your own doctor before you try it.