So I'm reading about and listening to the disagreement that Dr. Novella had with Rhonda Patrick and Joe Rogan about cryotherapy and I'm wondering, if cryotherapy doesn't work (I really could care less honestly) would that also mean that putting an ice pack on a swollen injury wouldn't be helpful? Also, have those crazy looking "cryo-chambers" been around long enough to know how well or how little they work?
There is a rather big difference between cooling an injury with a ice pack and freezing your body. The latter tends to destroy your cells.
I think what's meant by cryotherapy is when they expose you to extremely cold air for a brief time. Not long enough to freeze your skin (frostbite). Because air has such low density, a sufficiently brief exposure won't damage you. IIRC the Oh, No, Ross & Carrie
podcast had an episode on it. To attempt to answer dteichrow's question, the difference is that an ice pack actually cools a part of your body, but not sufficiently to freeze it, whereas cryotherapy, in spite of the extremely cold temperature involved, doesn't even really do that. Also, an ice pack is aimed at a specific injured part of your body, whereas cryotherapy is claimed to provide generalized wholistic benefits.