Chill out—it’s good for you. In fact, experts say cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, can decrease inflammation, accelerate healing, improve your skin and even alleviate migraines.
Cryotherapy might already be part of your routine; think about applying an ice pack to an injury. On a larger scale, it can mean full-body immersion in high-tech chambers that lower your temperature below freezing, a trendy recovery hack for athletes and performers.
Cryotherapy includes a gamut of treatments, from handheld devices to plunge pools to enormous, sci-fi-like cubicles. Salons and clinics use these devices, but many manufacturers make them available to consumers.
Here are our top picks for cryotherapy devices on the market.
Vacuactivus ActiveCryo Cryotherapy Chamber
It looks like a time machine or transporter, but this sleek chamber can lower your body temperature to 184 degrees Celsius (280 degrees Fahrenheit) for therapeutic healing, rapid calorie burning or pain management, its manufacturer says. Unlike some devices, the ActiveCryo only requires one to three minutes in its plushly padded chamber to accomplish a full cryotherapy treatment. Though the chamber uses nitrogen gas for cooling, a built-in exhaust system protects the user from fumes. Vacuactivus claims the device has been proven to provide pain relief, enhance metabolism and stimulate cell regeneration.
Vacuactivus ActiveCryo Cryotherapy Chamber is available for $50,800.
How low can you go? CryoScience claims the CRYO Glacier is the only electric cryotherapy chamber that provides treatment at temperatures as profoundly cold as minus 140 degrees Celsius. Since there’s no nitrogen gas involved, CryoScience also contends the CryoArctic is the safest deep-cold treatment on the market. Well-designed and thoughtfully automated, the CryoGlacier features doors that open and close automatically; pre-programming features, with device start-up at an appointed time; and a rapid cooling time of 90 minutes to reach its lowest temps. CryoScience also promises access to technicians over Wi-Fi for assistance using the chamber, and a top-end sound system “to relax with a favorite song” while you’re on ice.
CryoScience CryoArctic is available for $70,000.
Coldture Classic Ice-Mini System
A terrific alternative to cryotherapy chambers—especially for the claustrophobic—this cold-plunge tub can chill water to 3 degrees Celsius for a deep, therapeutic chill. The tub’s insulated walls allow for fast, efficient cooling and maintain consistent temperatures. Coldture says the Classic Ice-Mini System is built with industrial-grade components, making it tough enough to handle regular, rigorous use—though we’re not sure how raucous you’ll get in a bathtub of freezing water. A UV disinfection filter and water filter keeps the action clean.
Coldture Classic Ice-Mini System is available for $5,032.
Subzero Cryotherapy Orthopedic
Popular with chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists, the Subzero Cryotherapy Orthopedic uses pressurized CO2 gas to cause “thermal shock” on a targeted body part. The sudden decrease in temperature activates the body’s healing response to relax muscles, promote flow of blood and nutrients, and reduce pain, the company claims. An LCD screen displays treatment time, battery level, distance from the skin and skin temperature; LED lights let you know you have reached a therapeutic temperature—or that you’re too close or too cold. A medical grade temperature sensor provides skin temperature in real time, too. Along with its healing properties, the Subzero promotes healthy blood flow and can reduce damaging blood vessel constriction, its maker says.
The Subzero Cryotherapy Orthopedic is available for $4,990.
UFO 2 by Foreo
For those moments when you can’t take a cryotherapy chamber with you, the UFO 2 offers a quick, handheld alternative designed mainly for skincare. About the size of a hockey puck, the rechargeable UFO 2 combines cryotherapy, thermotherapy, LED light therapy and sonic massage for a supercharged facial; it pairs with Foreo’s UFO-activated masks on pre-programmed regimens and routines through the Foreo app. Foreo claims the device’s cooling cryotherapy modes diminish lines and puffiness, and that “users report firmer-looking skin, with less visible pores. They also say skin feels supple and more elastic after use.”
UFO 2 by Foreo is available for $299.