Cryotherapy (ice therapy) is available in a number of different forms for active and passive support of a physiotherapeutic treatment program.

The six different forms of application are:

  • ice massage
  • ice pack
  • ice compress
  • cryo air (cold air)
  • cryo chamber (cold air chamber or cold air bath)
  • ice baths (full or partial baths)

Indication and effects:

Tiredness, poor concentration
increased activity of the reticular substance, muscle action

Hypotonic dysregulation
positive effect on peripheral vascular resistance and blood pressure

Chronic venous insufficiency
improved venous pressure and venous return, circulatory centralization

ice-induced bradycardia

Shallow breathing, slow breathing (bradypnoea)
deeper respiration, increased frequency


Superficial and deeper pain (vertebrogenic or visceral)
analgesic and anti-ischaemic due to reactive hyperaemia

Acute and subacute inflammatory processes, burns antiphlogistic

Haemorrhagic diathesis

Oedema, blockage (non-cardial)

General effects:
lowering of peripheral excitability and nerve conduction speed, raising of pain threshold.

The temperature of the ice medium will depend on the clinical indications, and varies between +3° and -180°C.