Your rheumatoid arthritis is flaring up? A trainer at your local gym suggests a safe and easy way to treat it: a three-minute session in a freezing tank, called whole body cryotherapy (WBC). He says not only will WBC help you put an end to rheumatoid arthritis pain better than an ice bath or pack, but also promises that a couple sessions will help with depression and weight loss!
Not so fast.
The problem is, this so-called “treatment” hasn’t been proven to do any of these things.
And despite claims by many spas and wellness centers to the contrary, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have evidence that WBC effectively treats diseases or conditions like Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stress, anxiety or chronic pain.
“Based on purported health benefits seen in many promotions for cryotherapy spas, consumers may incorrectly believe that the FDA has cleared or approved WBC devices as safe and effective to treat medical conditions,” says Aron Yustein, M.D., a medical officer in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “That is not the case.”
In fact, not a single WBC device has been cleared or approved by the agency in support of these claims.