Cryotherapy vs. Fat Freezing

Cryotherapy and Fat Freezing (or Cryolipolysis) are oftentimes confused. Both methods can assist with body sculpting and to target stubborn fat areas, but they actually differ widely in their approach, application, cost and results.

Fat Freezing (Cryolipolysis)

During this process your “problem flab” (usually arms, belly, chin, inner & outer thighs) is sucked into what looks like a big vacuum cleaner, which draws a roll of skin and fat between two cooling plates. These cooling plates then gradually lower the temperature of your fat cells.

Fat cells are more sensitive to the cold than skin. While the plates aren’t cold enough to freeze your skin, they are cold enough to chill the fat cells just enough to trigger a process called apoptosis, or cell death. In short, cryolipolysis selectively destroys fat cells and your body then has to drain away the dead fat cells over the following weeks and months.  Treatment time is from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on how many areas you want to treat. Results are promised between 10% and 20% fat loss in the treated area.

As with many cosmetic treatments, results can vary from person to person, and it may take a few weeks or even months to notice. It is advised to do at least 3 sessions in 30 day intervals, with most notable effects only seen after 8 to 12 weeks.

Side-effects can include bruising, loss of sensation in the treated area, lumpiness and in extreme cases paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (or PAH for short). With PAH, the treated area becomes larger rather than smaller, leaving a “painless, visibly enlarged, firm, well-demarcated mass” under the skin.

Local Cryotherapy

Cryo Wellness Slimming
Cryo Wellness Slimming

Local Cryotherapy on the other hand is a non-invasive therapy with almost no side effects. During a session the area is treated with nitrogen vapour of up to -160 ˚C and the skin temperature is brought down to about 4 ˚C. This stimulates the body to send a rush of oxygenated blood to help heat up the area, up to four times the normal amount, that speeds up metabolism and cellular activity, helps break down fatty tissue and stimulate elastin and collagen production to help firm the skin.

Contrary to fat freezing, the cold during this therapy only penetrates about half a millimetre into the skin, instead the nitrogen vapour triggers the cold receptors in your skin that send a signal directly to the brain and sets off your body’s own natural thermoregulatory response.

It is also important to ensure the lymph system is working properly, as it is the lymphatic system that is responsible for removing metabolic waste from the body. When it doesn’t function properly, it can cause water and toxin retention in fatty (adipose) tissue. It is therefore advised to follow-up your Cryotherapy session with a lymph drainage massage to help flush out the toxins. Massage has the added health benefits such a stress release, relaxation, boosting the immune system and relieving aches and pains.

As Cryotherapy sessions are much shorter you can treat multiple areas in one session. It ranges from about 15 to a maximum of 45 minutes depending on the number of areas you treat and you can have multiple sessions per week. It is advised to do the first 5 sessions close to each other followed by a lymph drainage massage in between.

We have seen results vary between 3 cm (moderate diet & exercise) to 7 cm (strict diet & exercise) loss around the waist in some of our clients.

After a course of Cryotherapy and lymph drainage massage treatments, you will see:

  • Reduction in body mass (centimetre loss)
  • Reduction visible in cellulite
  • Improved skin firmness
  • General improvement of skin appearance
  • Detoxification
  • Improved blood circulation


From research we’ve done on the internet, Fat Freezing pricing ranges from about R800 to R2000 per single area treatment. Cryotherapy starts from R360 per single area. Please view our amazing package deals where you save more when doing multiple areas together. Even with lymph massage (from R460) added, Cryotherapy comes out as much cheaper.

With both Cryotherapy and Fat Freezing it is important to note that this is not a replacement for exercise and good diet, but tools to help fight those stubborn fat areas and reach your ideal weight faster. The more you exercise and follow a stricter diet, the better your results will be.

You decide which therapy suits your lifestyle and budget better. Cryotherapy and massage are safe and enjoyable therapies that you can include in your health and wellness routine.