Man, 71, suffers a blistering COLD BURN from a trendy cyro-chamber

Man, 71, suffers a blistering COLD BURN from a trendy cyro-chamber popular with footballers as experts warn they are dangerous and do NOT boost muscle recovery

  • Unnamed man used cold therapy to ease his arthritis and back pain
  • Nozzle malfunctioned, causing liquid nitrogen to spray directly onto his skin
  • Actor Mark Wahlberg claimed he uses cyro-chambers every day in a viral post

Trendy cryo-chambers are not safe or backed by science, experts have warned after a 71-year-old man suffered a cold burn injury.

The unnamed man used cold therapy to ease his arthritis and back pain.

But he developed a blistering rash on his back after a nozzle in the cryo-chamber malfunctioned, causing liquid nitrogen to spray directly onto his skin.

Cryo-chambers rose in prominence last September after actor Mark Wahlberg’s daily routine went viral. 

The Ted star, who wakes at 2.30am and is in bed by 7.30pm, claimed he spends an hour every day undergoing ‘cryo-chamber recovery’ following a 95-minute workout and half-an-hour of golf. 

But experts have now warned the therapy can be dangerous and there is no proof it boosts muscle recovery. 

An unnamed 71-year-old man suffered a cold burn injury while in a cyro-chamber to ease his arthritis and back pain. A nozzle malfunctioned, causing liquid nitrogen to spray directly onto his skin. After experiencing no initial discomfort, he later developed a blistering rash 

Cyro-chambers rose in prominence last September after actor Mark Wahlberg’s daily routine (right) went viral. The Ted star (left), who wakes at 2.30am and is in bed by 7.30pm, claimed he spends an hour every day undergoing ‘cyro chamber recovery’ following a 95-minute workout

‘With the rise of cryotherapy facilities and the ease that consumers can be treated, it’s important to spread awareness of the harmful side effects,’ said Dr Jordan Wang of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where the patient was treated.

‘Most consumers are unaware of the potential side effects and the lack of data behind how useful treatments are.’ 

Cold therapy has long been used to treat skin conditions, including viral warts. 

More recently, whole body cryo-chambers have reportedly helped ease pain and inflammation in multiple sclerosis and arthritis patients.

Spas and wellness centres are also increasingly offering cold therapy under the promise it speeds up muscle recovery, boosts energy and aids sleep.  

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Whole-body cryotherapy involves standing in a chamber with your head on the outside. 

The rest of the body is engulfed in a liquid nitrogen mist, which can reach temperatures as low as -140°C (-220°F), for up to five minutes.

The 71-year-old man is thought to have been burned after less than one minute of the liquid nitrogen spraying on his back, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

He experienced no stinging or pain at the time and therefore was not given first aid.


A man suffered amnesia that meant he forgot his credit card PIN and could not remember if his mother was alive after entering a state-of-the-art cryo-chamber.

The unnamed male, 63, believed to be from Switzerland, was hospitalised after presenting with sudden memory loss and repeated questioning – known as transient global amnesia (TGA) – half an hour after leaving a -140C cryo-chamber to relieve his shoulder pain.

Although test results revealed no serious cause for concern, doctors were worried by the patient’s inability to recall recent events, as well as his slightly raised cholesterol levels and vitamin deficiencies.

After spending the night in hospital, the patient made a full recovery but is still unable to remember the hours surrounding his cryo-chamber ‘treatment’ one year later.

The cause of his symptoms are unconfirmed, however, the cryo-chamber is suspected to be at fault due to sudden memory loss being associated with exposure to extreme temperatures.  

Once his blisters developed, the man applied a cream and bandage at home. He claimed he had undergone four previous cryo-chamber sessions without any side effects. 

‘If the burn had happened on the patient’s face in this case, that would have been disfiguring,’ said Dr Anthony Rossi, a dermatological surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who was not involved with the case.

‘Most of these cryotherapy chambers shield the fingers and toes, but what about his genitals or other areas? People are going into this thinking they’ll receive a medical benefit, but it’s a cool trend that lacks evidence.’

The US Food and Drug Administration does not recommend cyro-chambers, warning they can cause asphyxiation, frostbite and eye injuries. 

The NHS only recommends cold therapy to freeze off warts or verrucas when done by a GP.

‘When patients are undergoing non-FDA approved treatments, they need to be aware of the potential risks of that device or service,’ said Dr Lisa Chipps, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California, who was not involved with the case. 

A past case report found a 56-year-old man suffered a aortic dissection – tear in the wall of the major artery that carries blood out of the heart – after multiple cryo-chamber sessions. 

And a 47-year-old man developed cold panniculitis –  inflammation of the fatty layer beneath the skin – after eight sessions. 

Freezing temperatures can also cause water within cells to crystallise, damaging their membranes and proteins. They can also make blood vessels narrow, reducing blood flow.

And a 2015 Cochrane review – which combines high-quality studies to create gold-standard healthcare decisions – found insufficient evidence supporting cyro-chambers boost muscle recovery.  

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo is also said to be a fan of cyrotherapy. He is pictured on December 22 last year during the Italian Serie A Football match against AS Roma

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