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This study sought to (a) compare and contrast the effect of 2 commonly used cryotherapy treatments, 4 min of -110 degrees C whole body cryotherapy and 8 degrees C cold water immersion, on knee skin temperature and (b) establish whether either protocol was capable of achieving a skin temperature (<13 degrees C) believed to be required for analgesic purposes. After ethics committee approval and written informed consent was obtained, 10 healthy males (26.5+/-4.9 yr, 183.5+/-6.0 cm, 90.7+/-19.9 kg, 26.8+/-5.0 kg/m2, 23.0+/-9.3% body fat; mean+/-SD) participated in this randomised controlled crossover study. Skin temperature around the patellar region was assessed in both knees via non-contact, infrared thermal imaging and recorded pre-, immediately post-treatment and every 10 min thereafter for 60 min. Compared to baseline, average, minimum and maximum skin temperatures were significantly reduced (p<0.001) immediately post-treatment and at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 min after both cooling modalities. Average and minimum skin temperatures were lower (p<0.05) immediately after whole body cryotherapy (19.0+/-0.9 degrees C) compared to cold water immersion (20.5+/-0.6 degrees C). However, from 10 to 60 min post, the average, minimum and maximum skin temperatures were lower (p<0.05) following the cold water treatment. Finally, neither protocol achieved a skin temperature believed to be required to elicit an analgesic effect.

Costello, JT, Donnelly, AE, Karki, A and Selfe, J. (2014) “Effects of whole body cryotherapy and cold water immersion on knee skin temperature”. Int J Sports Med 35 (1) 35-40.

Full Article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23780900