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Use of Whole Body Cryotherapy

Note: The statements on this website have been borrowed, with the kind permission of the publisher Edition K, from the content of the book "Power from the Cold" by Prof. Papenfuß.The author states explicitly in his book that the descriptions in his book (and on the homepage) are not in any way intended to act as a substitute for the careful clinical indication process and the observation of strict safety measures developed in individual cryotherapy centers, or as a substitute for the indication of whole body cryotherapy in combination with other treatments.


Based on theoretical knowledge, clinical studies and experience the indication list for whole body cryotherapy has been increasingly justified and indeed expanded over the last years. The opinions regarding some indications, however, are far from unanimous amongst the various cryotherapy centers.

The indication list prepared for this book (figure 4.1) includes on the one hand diseases for which whole body cryotherapy has been adequately proven, such as inflammatory-rheumatic disease, osteoarthritis (degenerative-rheumatic diseases) and chronic pains of various cause, and on the other diseases or health problems for which positive treatment results have been obtained clinically, but different assessments have been arrived at.

This concerns for example bronchial asthma, the listed skin diseases, central muscular spasms as well as disorders in central activity levels. Some of the analyzed indication spectra contain additional diseases (neuralgias, post-stroke conditions, collagenoses and some autoimmune diseases) that are not included in the discussion.

Scientific studies still need to be performed to better justify or indeed exclude those indications for which doubts still prevail. Looked in this way the indications listed here can be seen as optional, and the application of whole body cryotherapy must be considered in every individual case by a doctor.

The performance enhancing effects of whole body cryotherapy occupy a special role, and shall therefore be dealt with in a separate chapter of the book.

  1. Inflammatory-rheumatic diseases with primary manifestation at the joints (rheumatoid arthritis, Bekhterev’s disease)
  2. Degenerative-rheumatic diseases (osteoarthritis of large and small joints, also before and after endoprosthetic treatment, postoperative edemas)
  3. Cervical and lumbar vertebral-syndrome (discopathies, lumbago, ischia syndrome), also pre- and postoperatively
  4. Tendopathies (tennis elbows, inflammation of the achilles tendon, heel pain)
  5. Chronic pain states, also primary headaches, pain and stress processing defects (fibromyalgia)
  6. Disrupted regulation of muscular tone (spastic) with infantile cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular strains and hardening
  7. Blunt traumas of the joints and the musculature
  8. Psoriasis without and with joint participation
  9. Atopic dermatitis (neurodermatitis), bronchial asthma
  10. Signs of muscular fatigue
  11. Disruptions of equilibrium, disruptions in movement coordination
  12. Disruptions in central activity levels (central signs of fatigue, burn-out syndrome, sympathicotonic, parasympathicotonic and depressive reaction states, non-organic and pain-conditioned chronic sleep disorders)
  13. General psycho-physical deterioration in performance and ability
  14. Immune reaction disorders, caused by extreme muscular demands, age or stress-dependent functional constraints of the immune system
  15. Primary hypotonic circulation disorders

(Fig. 4.1 Indications for whole body cryotherapy)