BOC today launched the world's first Mobile Cryotherapy Chamber - a revolutionary new way to treat sports injuries and reduce recovery times.
Developed by BOC, a member of The Linde Group and the UK’s biggest industrial gases company, the treatment involves exposing athletes to temperatures of -135ºC for short bursts in a nitrogen-cooled Cryochamber. It was officially unveiled at Rugby League’s Warrington Wolves, one of a number of top sports teams who are already experiencing the benefits of the unique treatment facility. Earlier this month it was used by players at West Ham FC.
The ice bath is a long established - if notoriously uncomfortable - treatment for sports injuries. Elite athletes, top-flight rugby players and footballers are a valuable resource, and strength and conditioning coaches and sports scientists have been seeking new ways to help them resume training and regain match day fitness quickly and safely.
While based on the same principles - the benefits of cold in aiding recovery - Whole Body Cryotherapy does not subject the user to the shock and discomfort of being submerged in ice cold water. Users of the Cryochamber - up to two at a time - move freely about in a dry atmosphere for three minutes - less than a third of the time that’s required with a conventional ice bath treatment.
Chris Baron, Head of Strength and Conditioning at Warrington Wolves and Strength and Conditioning Coach at England Rugby League said: “Cryotherapy is a great tool in the enhancement of recovery for elite athletes whether from competition or an exhaustive training session. Having access to the treatment wherever we are playing or training is a major boost for us at Warrington Wolves.
“We have been trialling it for the past few weeks and it simply represents a far more time efficient, convenient and more comfortable alternative to other cold treatments - and the players prefer it. After treatment, players reported a greater feeling of wellbeing and a better night’s sleep post competition and training sessions.
“Cryotherapy has increased our recovery rate which in turn has allowed us to return to training earlier. At this elite sport level, the extra training at higher intensity can make a significant difference to performance and we are looking forward to building it into our training routines for the rest of the season.”
Reported physical benefits include significant reductions in rheumatic, muscle and joint pain and reduced inflammation, as well as improved sleep and higher energy levels. Wider physiological effects can induce beneficial chemical reactions in the blood to speed up recovery after intense exercise.
Stuart Askew, Cryotherapy Manager BOC said: “BOC’s Mobile Cryochamber is a step change in improving recovery times and supports more intense training regimes for athletes up and down the country. The chamber represents great value for money, allowing the treatment of an entire squad for just one day’s hire, whilst hotels, leisure clubs and gyms can attract serious athletes through adding it to their facilities.
“As the UK’s most experienced handler of cryogenic gases, BOC is uniquely placed to bring the benefits of this revolutionary treatment in the safest and most convenient way for customers across the UK sport, leisure and health industries.”
The Cryochamber can travel with teams to ensure they can receive treatment quickly after a match or competition. It is operated by a dedicated specialist from BOC who is fully trained in cryogenic gas handling.
Key features include:
A two-person chamber, large enough to allow athletes to walk around during the treatment, further improving the comfort of the experience.
A -60ºC ‘pre-chamber’, which athletes spend one minute in before entering the main -135ºC chamber for two minutes.
A robust air monitoring kit and a BOC onsite expert operator, fully trained in cryogenic gas handling who ensures user safety at all times.
A specially designed BOC Cryotherapy trailer to allow the chamber to be taken anywhere in the country.
Notes to editors
Evidence for the benefits of cryotherapy comes from a body of academic, peer-reviewed reports from various Eastern European Centres of sport science, as well as more recent research from the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance in Paris and the University of Milan . To complement this BOC are collaborating with two partners including two UK universities on research projects with two Super League teams to deliver the definitive analysis of the benefits of cryotherapy to exercise recovery.
Time-Course of Changes in Inflammatory Response after Whole-Body Cryotherapy Multi Exposures following Severe Exercise (2011) - Journal of Human Sport and Exercise.
Study from the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP), Paris, France
Nine well-trained runners performed three repetitions of a simulated trail run. All participants were tested immediately (after one hour), post 24 hours, and post 48 hours after exercise, using three different recovery modalities - Whole Body Cryotherapy, Infrared therapy and passive rest in a random order over three separate weeks. Maximal muscle strength and perceived sensations were recovered after the first WBC session (post 1 h), while recovery took 24 h with FIR, and was not attained at all through the PAS recovery modality.
Beneficial effects of the whole-body cryotherapy on sport haemolysis (2009) - Journal of Human Sport and Exercise
Study by the University of Milan’s School of Medicine
Ten rugby players recruited from the Italian National Team were studied. Tests measured key physiological parameters after exercise treatment with WBC such as mean sphered cell volume (MSCV), haptoglobin levels and other conditions that lead to sports haemolysis – iron deficient ‘tired blood’. Increases in haptoglobin and in the mean sphered cell volume after the treatment period led the team to conclude that Whole Body Cryotherapy was useful in preventing the associated physiological impairments to exercise such as induced iron deficiency.