The Effects of Cryotherapy on Depression


The Effects of Cryotherapy on Depression

Significant Reduction of Depressive Symptoms with Cryotherapy


According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. One of the studies on the benefits of whole body cryotherapy (WBC) for depression looked at 21 depressive symptoms. Some of those were depressive mood, sleeping dysfunctions, fear, hypochondria, obsessions, and phobias among others.


This fascinating study looked at 23 patients who were under the care of a psychiatric day clinic. Each patient was administered 10 total WBC sessions over 2 weeks, five days in a row with the weekend off in between. Before the first session, clients filled out a survey that ranked the severity of 21 different depressive symptoms. After the 10th WBC session, the patients filled out the survey again. The results showed that the severity of depressive symptoms in most of the 21 categories was reduced significantly. Among all the examined clinical depression symptoms the most spectacular was the improvement in sleep disorders. It concerned disorders of falling asleep, dream shallowing (numerous waking up during the night sleep), and early waking up in the morning (the change of intensity of symptoms equals 91%, 98%,
100%, respectively). Such symptoms as slow thinking, general somatic symptoms (headaches and others), and the loss of body mass were changed in over 80% in comparison to the state before cryotherapy. The fact of 80% improvement in dealing with dispiritedness, suicidal thoughts and tendencies seems to be quite significant.


We wanted to look at this and other studies for WBC and depression for 2 reasons. First, WBC is often actually prescribed in European countries as a treatment for depression and anxiety. Second, many of our clients have told us that WBC has helped them tremendously in this area. According to this and other studies that are using WBC for clients with depression and anxiety, and looking at the anecdotal feedback from all around the country, WBC seems like a great adjunct for those with depression and/or depressive symptoms.