The Chemistry of Cryotherapy


Cryotherapy is defined as the use of extremely low temperatures for therapeutic advantages. In the type of Cryotherapy I have studied, you step into a chamber with exposed skin, except for underwear, socks and gloves, and are showered in liquid nitrogen that is chilled so subzero temperatures, for a few minutes. I chose this topic because I have done Cryotherapy in the past and wanted to see how it affected my body. My life was affected by it because at the beginning of the basketball season last year, I injured the top portion of my hamstring, and through Cryotherapy I was able to make an extremely quick recovery.Composition of ...

Formula of liquid nitrogen-N2

Muscle Tissue- Mostly containing leucine C6H13NO2, serine C3H7NO3, lysine C6H14N2O2, and glutamic acid C5H9NO4

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The two main components of Cryotherapy are liquid nitrogen and the amino acids the make up your muscles. Nitrogen is a naturally occurring element, and liquid nitrogen is just nitrogen in its gaseous form, chilled to a very low temperature. It was first produced in 1883 by Polish physicists, and is used today as a coolant for many things. It is produced throughout the world by using an air compressor to filter it to high-pressure air, is cooled, and expands, which separates N from the rest of the air. Next, amino acids are made from your intake of nutrients in your body, and are the polymers that bond together to form proteins. They become proteins through a process called translation that occurs in the ribosome. They develop along with the rest of your body, and we need these to continue to grow muscle.

Chemistry's Role

The two main components are both naturally occurring. Nitrogen is a naturally occurring gas, and is chilled to an extremely low temp to create liquid nitrogen. Your body intakes many nutrients throughout the day, and through natural processes creates amino acids, which undergo translation to create proteins, and thus help build your muscles. Chemistry plays a role in cryotherapy in a sort of cause and effect type of way. Your muscles get extremely chilled using liquid nitrogen, which stimulates the natural responses in your body. These responses help flush out toxins, help relieve sore muscles/hurt parts of your body, and even raise your metabolism. Endorphins and natural adrenaline can also be produced, which can help reduce depression and anxiety. Thanks to the chemistry that takes place in Cryotherapy, athletes can perform at a higher level, painful diseases can help be treated, and you can begin to live a happier life.

Background Research

    • Use of extremely low temperature to relieve pain.
    • Stand in a chamber almost completely naked and get “showered” by liquid nitrogen that is chilled to sub-zero temps, for 2-4 minutes.
    • These extremely low temps stimulate natural responses in your body, revvs up your metabolism to create heat.
    • Many beneficial effects such as: reduced swelling, inflammation, and pain.
    • Becoming more common for athletes to use this to reduce recovery time, thus boosting their performance.
    • Has a pressure of 5.0 MPa (50 bar)
    • Frequency-400 Hz


    • Company Website
    • Background on what Cryotherapy does.
    • Cryotherapy procedure

    • Background on history of Cryotherapy
    • Quick facts on Cryotherapy

    • Cryo- which comes from the greek word “krous” means cold, icy, and frost.
    • Technically, any use of cold material that you use for benefit makes it cryotherapy.
    • Ice packs cause blood vessels to restrict and reduce blood flow to area.

    • Only penetrates the skin, does not affect your organs at all
    • Should not be used if you are pregnant or have health conditions such as severe hypertension.
    • There are reports that it will help you lose weight. Your body gets cold and your metabolism increases as a result of it.

    • Also decreases injuring recovery time.
    • Can burn 500-800 calories in one session.

    • Head, shoulders, neck should be above the opening of the top of the tube to prevent you from inhaling liquid nitrogen.
    • An average of 7 lbs of liquid nitrogen is used in an individual treatment.

    • Facts on amino acids and what they do in the body.

    • Facts on liquid nitrogen and its production.

About the Author

Nano Stiffarm is a junior at Billings Senior High School. He enjoys playing basketball in his free time, and hopes to continue playing in college. Nano started doing Cryotherapy as a sophomore, and was interested in finding out more of how it affects your body.