The FDA Just Brought Down the Hammer on This Popular Beauty Trend

Full-body cryotherapy seemed like the most fabulous treatment ever when it started trending last year. A chamber that can literally ‘burn’ off fat via chilling? And you can lose 500 calories at a clip? Everyone wanted to try it.

But now, the FDA is officially taking the stance that this is one trend that lacks cred, saying that they do “not have evidence that WBC [Whole Body Cryotherapy] effectively treats diseases or conditions like Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stress, anxiety or chronic pain.”

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“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, MD, a medical officer in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “That is not the case.”

“Basically, this has been a treatment that’s become increasingly popular because of the hype and aggressive advertising,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD. “At this point there’s no scientific data that it treats any medical condition and achieves what it claims to do. Like many things, if there is some value, it hasn't been proven. Time will tell, but before I would have a patient or member of my family have a treatment, I would like to see scientific data with safety and efficacy. It is not without potential side effects and problems.”

Besides the lack of evidence, the FDA also stressed their concerns that patients may be opting to do WBC as opposed to other options that have a more established safety records and proven effectiveness. 

The bottom line: Talk to your doctor before considering this treatment.