BMI unveils UK's first medical whole body cryotherapy pod

The UK’s first whole body medical cryotherapy pod was today launched by BMI Healthcare at BMI The Garden Hospital in London. The new cryotherapy pod, located in the physiotherapy department at The Garden Hospital, will offer patients, across a wide variety of medical fields, access to a treatment that can relieve pain, decrease inflammation and swelling, shorten rehabilitation times, help increase blood circulation and improve athletic performance.

The new treatment and innovative technology at The Garden Hospital  was made possible through a joint partnership with CryoClinics, a specialist provider in the field of whole body cryotherapy.

Using ice packs, or localised cryotherapy, is one of the oldest therapeutic treatments available to physiotherapists and is an internationally accepted way to accelerate recovery from injury. Whole body cryotherapy originated in Japan in 1978, but was pioneered in Germany, in the 1980s, by Professor Reinhard Fricke as a way to relieve chronic pain and arthritis. Whole body cryotherapy is a now a widely accepted medical treatment in both Germany and Poland where it is also used in the field of professional sports and athletics.

During the whole body cryotherapy treatment the patient enters the pod in their bathing suit, with socks, gloves, mouth and ear protection, and the pod is cooled to a temperature of -80°C for three minutes. Whilst in the pod, the patient’s average skin temperature never drops lower than 5°C. The core body temperature remains unchanged. Exposure to whole body cryotherapy triggers the release of endorphins and induces natural pain relief in the body. The immediate effect of skin cooling and pain relief lasts for five minutes, but the release of endorphins can reduce pain and inflammation in some patients for many weeks. The whole body cryotherapy treatment can be used in isolation for some conditions or as part of a patient’s physiotherapy regime following surgery or trauma, to further enhance recovery and mobility.

Colin Crosby, a Consultant in the field of Sports and Exercise Medicine at BMI The Garden Hospital comments, “The launch of the new whole body cryotherapy pod at The Garden Hospital is hugely interesting and one that I am glad to be a part of. This treatment, while accepted and widespread in Europe, is still in its infancy in the UK and The Garden Hospital is truly a pioneer in this new and exciting field. While I have a special interest in this treatment, as its acceptance amongst elite athletes has grown, it is the application and benefits to the mass public that are perhaps most exciting. Whole body cryotherapy has reported benefits across a number of medical conditions including tendonitis, muscle and ligament strains, back and neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and even anxiety and depressive illness. From a medical perspective I look forward to analysing the results of both my own and my colleagues’ patients who use the chamber and I hope the initial positive results we have seen continue.”

Kim McRae, Executive Director at BMI The Garden Hospital comments, “This joint venture between BMI The Garden Hospital and Cryoclinics is one that puts our hospital at the forefront of this new and emerging medical field. Initial results from our experienced physiotherapy team have been extremely positive. We are now looking into performing our own UK based research in a number of medical specialties.  I am confident this new treatment will increase the level of care we give to patients and help compliment the services already provided at The Garden Hospital. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to making this new service possible. In the future I hope this treatment will gain wider acceptance and benefit more people, from elite athletes to elderly people suffering severe arthritis."

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